Chavez Wins By Highest Margin Ever
Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrate in the rain in front of the Miraflores Palace as Chavez gives a speech from the balcony after official election results gave him a victory by a wide margin in Caracas December 3, 2006. The anti-U.S. Venezuelan president claimed victory with a cry of 'long live the revolution' as official results showed him heading for a landslide re-election win on Sunday. REUTERS/Rickey Rogers (VENEZUELA)
Hugo Chavez exceeded his goal of topping his 60% winning percentage in the previous election, with an apparent 61-36 victory over his conservative opponent. This tops a historic week in Latin America - the election in Ecuador, the happenings in Cuba and now Venezuela. Opponents of Latin America's "hard left" in Washington, Miami and Caracas will need to figure out how to proceed.
Imagine America taking the following steps: 1) Reacting positively to Raul Castro's diplmatic overture to the US. 2) Apologizing to Hugo Chavez for its lack of action in protecting against the 2002 coup and propose a new start based on mutual respect. 3) Have Congress try to pass the most favored trade partner status with the Andean nations - Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. These steps would signal a new beginning in which the overheated language can simmer down.