Dictator for Life
The people of Venezuela have said a resounding “no” to Chavez as a dictator for life. They refused to become a socialist state. They rejected the proposed 69 amendments to Venezuela’s constitution, and the idea that the state should wield even more control over the economy than it already has.

A reported 56% voter turnout, lower than expected, is one of the factors being blamed for Hugo Chavez’s stunning loss at the polls. Normally, 56% would be considered a good turnout in most elections. And there are many photos of Venezuelans lining up from dawn to vote, which would suggest a good turnout. It is only in Iraq, where the recently liberated people voted in mind-boggling numbers, that the Venezuelan turnout would appear low.

Chavez Determined to Have Own Way Despite Defeat
“President Hugo Chavez remains determined to transform Venezuela into a socialist state despite losing a vote Sunday on sweeping constitutional revisions.”

Suppression of free press
Hugo Chavez has worked to suppress free media critical of his regime. Like other totallitarian governments, Venezuela censors what its people are allowed to read and hear.

Support from the poor
Hugo Chavez’s chief support comes from the very poor, who may view his socialist policies as an improvement in their quality of life. In view of this, his defeat at the polls is even more surprising.

Time is on Chavez’s side
Hugo Chavez’s term does not expire until 2012, so he still has time to try other avenues for constitutional change, and a possible lifetime dictatorship. He has vowed that he will not give up, and not one word of the referendum will be changed.

Progressive Interview with Chavez
“Venezuela, Chávez told me, has more oil than Saudi Arabia. A nutty boast? Not by a long shot. In fact, his surprising claim comes from a most surprising source: the U.S. Department of Energy. In an internal report, the DOE estimates that Venezuela has five times the Saudis’ reserves.”

ABC News
“His defeat in a referendum was a political earthquake in Venezuela, an unprecedented blow to Mr Chavez’s hopes of turning his oil-rich OPEC country into a linchpin of Latin American socialism.”

Business Week
“Voters’ surprise rejection of the President’s constitutional reforms may mean more stability for business and the economy in the oil-rich nation.”

Implications for Barbados - Chavez, Castro, Arthur Link
The link, of course, that all three men have meddled with their constititions. Castro was the most “successful”. Chavez almost went all the way, and Arthur is playing catch-up. According to Barbados Free Press, “Will Barbados strong man Owen Arthur get the same lesson?”. Barbados Underground questions the political maturity of Barbados. Will Owen try to keep up with Fidel and Hugo in their swim (Chavez quote) “toward the same sea of happiness“, or will he flounder in the sea of despair? This only remains to be seen when Barbadian voters deal with their own coming referendum. Don’t be misled. The referendum has not been canceled, it has merely been postponed. Will Barbados become a Republic? Will the Constitution be changed? Only time will tell what Bajans will choose. Venezuelans chose “freedom and democracy” … for now.