Mérida, December 4, 2007
(venezuelanalysis.com) – Leaders from various countries and political parties
around Latin America congratulated Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez for his "democratic posture" in accepting
defeat in the referendum on Sunday. Meanwhile, Chavez assured yesterday that
nothing had been lost and that it simply wasn't the right moment for the
"I made a mistake in
selecting the strategic moment to make the proposal," said President
Chavez during a telephone call to the state-owned TV channel yesterday. The
Venezuelan leader explained that perhaps many of his supporters are still not
ready for an "openly socialist project," but insisted that it was not
a significant loss.
"We just lost a
possibility, but the project of the government will continue," he said.
"We did the right thing. We did everything for it to be approved, but we
haven't lost anything. We have gained in knowledge and in culture."
Responses to the results of
Sunday's referendum came from various countries around the region yesterday,
many of them congratulating the Venezuelan president for recognizing and
accepting the defeat of his proposal.
Argentinean President Nestor
Kirchner called President Chavez a "great democrat" and said he
wished politicians in Argentina
could practice the same recognition of democratic results.
"If only that could happen
where there is a candidate that lost by 23 points and now says that we
cheated," said Kirchner on Monday.
Bolivian President Evo Morales
praised Chavez "because he submits his thinking, his feelings, and his
ideas to the decision of the people. And that is democracy."
President of Paraguay Nicanor
Duarte also praised the Venezuelan president, stating that "his posture
demonstrates that he is a great democrat and it puts to death the impression
that he is authoritarian."
And while the Cuban leader
Fidel Castro said Chavez' acceptance of the results was "dignified and
ethical," Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque reminded journalists
that "the only thing that has been rejected, by a narrow margin, is a
reform project. Chavez is president and has been elected until the year
Even the President of Peru,
Alan Garcia, with whom Chavez has had previous disputes, said that President
Chavez "shows that he is a leader that knows how to listen to his people,
and knows how to accept the results."
From Brazil the response was a mixed
one. While the Brazilian government praised Chavez for accepting the results in
a "very calm and elegant way", the political opposition in Brazil
celebrated the defeat of the president's proposal.
"The defeat of Chavez will
make the clumsy ones that are pushing for the reelection of Lula think
twice," said Brazilian opposition leader Onyz Lorenzoni.
The political opposition in
both Bolivia and Nicaragua
also viewed the defeat of Chavez' proposal as a political victory in their own
countries. The Nicaraguan opposition to President Daniel Ortega took advantage
of the defeat to ask the Nicaraguan leader to re-think his proposal for
controversial neighborhood organizations.
"This is a lesson that
President Ortega should study in detail," said former right-wing
presidential candidate Eduardo Montealegre.
But foreign policy advisor to
Ortega, Miguel D'Escoto, denied that Chavez's loss on Sunday was a defeat.
"I would have loved to
have won yesterday in Venezuela, but we keep moving forward, and it made me
very happy when Chavez said he is not giving up and he is going to ask again
(about the proposal)," he said.
There was no official response
from President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe, who has had relations frozen with the
Venezuelan government after the recent conflict regarding Chavez's mediation
efforts with the FARC. Colombian Senator Lucia Ramirez, however, expressed
concern over the fact that Chavez "reiterated that [the defeat] was only
And although the government of Spain has been
at odds with the Venezuelan president in recent weeks, Foreign Minister Miguel
Angel Moratinos said that "the free expression of the people's will has
been accepted by all sides, and that shows the good operation of a democratic