[OPE-L] Venezuela Votes Today, Puts (Socialist) Democracy in Motion

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sun Dec 02 2007 - 13:27:11 EST

Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2007 12:06:44 -0500From: vio@veninfo.orgSubject: Venezuela Votes Today, Puts Democracy in Motion

Dear Friends,

Venezuelans vote today in a national referendum on changes to the 1999 Constitution.  As the voting unfolds, stay informed about what is going on by tuning in to Radio Venezuela en Vivo.
Beware of two main errors in U.S. media coverage of the referendum.
First, inaccurate poll data is being used to make the misleading claim that most Venezuelan voters oppose the reforms.  The bad numbers were released on November 24th by the polling firm Datanalisis, which predicted a majority 'no' vote in the referendum.  The head of Datanalisis - who lost credibility as an impartial observer in 2002 when he told the Los Angeles Times that President Chavez "should be killed" - invalidated those poll results in an interview with Reuters on November 29th by saying the opposite: that "The most probable [projection] is that there will be no surprise and Chavez will win 60 percent against 40 percent."  That just doesn't add up.  Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC explained that, "As a statistical matter… [the] remarks can be considered an admission that his previous poll was not valid."
TAKE ACTION: Did your local or regional newspaper use the Datanalisis poll?  Write letters to the editor explaining that the numbers are not correct.  For reliable public opinion data, click here.
Second, U.S. newspapers are falsely claiming that election monitors are not present in Venezuela for the referendum.  The U.S. State Department has been aiding those rumors: spokesman Sean McCormack told the Chicago Tribune today that "There won't be observers on the ground, so the outside world won't really have much insight into the [election] procedures that are implemented."  On the contrary, there are about 100 official electoral observers present throughout Venezuela to the witness the voting.  All were invited by Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE), which chose a balanced group by accepting an equal number of observers proposed by the pro-reform and anti-reform camps.  Organizations present to ensure that the vote is free and fair include the NAACP, which is the oldest election monitoring group in the U.S.
TAKE ACTION: Let people know that Venezuela's referendum is democratic and being carried out according to democratic principles regarding free and fair elections.  Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper pointing out that election monitors are, as always, present.
The polls close at 4 pm today.  Get preliminary results by visiting www.veninfo.org

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