Chávez bid deflated, win for democracy?

To the surprise of many opposed to Hugo Chávez’s slew of proposed reforms that would have consolidated even more power in the Venezuelan president’s hands, the grab was defeated Sunday with 51 percent voting no. Almost immediately, Chávez conceded defeat.

"I understand and accept that the proposal I made was quite profound and intense," he said, according to the Associated Press.

Here in Miami, Venezuelans on political asylum predicted in the New Times that they would pass, joining those in the opposition that warned of election fraud. After the results, Venezuelans talked of having faith restored in democracy. That can only be a good thing. But, here on vcrisis, a Venezuelan blogger in exile warned anti-Chávez camps, in which he is a participant, not to get to smug:

“In accepting defeat the caudillo regains some lost democratic lustre and his Smartmatics have been given a fresh start. Some have even suggested that no fraud was ever committed in the last years, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. However we have seen how previous sheepish attitudes have evolved. I for one do not trust it and that’s the reason why I do not feel the happiness shared by my fellow compatriots, especially after watching Chavez’s warning: “enjoy your victory for now.” -- Janine Zeitlin

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