December 1, 2003

You have mail from: Peter T. Bepler, II

Welcome back!  Were it not for a nod in The Devil's Excrement to your return, I would have missed your postings of the last few days.  I am genuinely excited for Venezuela.  As you pointed out over the weekend, the very process of dealing with Chavismo in all its aspects- the sneaky legalisms that rejected the signatures of the Spring campaign, the daily more ludicrous promulgation of obstructive regulations by the Electoral Commission, and now- the Reafirmazo is done!  And how very much has been learned, how many new leaders have emerged, how many new associations and organizations been formed- in Burke's words, the "little platoons" which are the locus of true democracy- thanks to the very strictures which the Chavistas thought would stifle and defeat the voice of democracy!  Amazing.

My fervent hope is that this remains, through its conclusion, a revolution of the "velvet" type- violence the province only of the paranoid rejectees- that if the Georgians- the Georgians!- can achieve what they did a week ago, the Serbians two years ago, the Czechs ten years ago- then so can Venezuela.  Let that be the guiding vision, and no defeat is possible.  Again, nice to know you are around and engaged, from wherever, as the wheel turns again. 


Thanks for writing in - and add the peruvians to your list as well! I do enjoy these email exchanges from readers, and like I said, I am on break now so I have plenty of time to devote to it.

(Still waiting to hear back from Mark Weisbrot!)

I agree that if the Georgians can do it, Venezuelans can certainly do it, and we will. But I don't agree, and strongly caution against, any kind of cynicism or flip condemnation of the Elections Council, CNE. CNE is the only life-raft that can take Venezuelan Democracy off of the sinking ship that is chavismo and into the safe harbor of fresh elections. I would caution against saying ANYTHING that can undermine its ability to carry out the crucial task at hand. It really is important now. We have to grow up as a country, we cannot keep questioning every institution that we cannot control - that's Chavez's trick, not ours.