Not So Noble After All

Chavez tried to fix results, demanded margin of error be shrunk
By Robin Frost,  Newser User
Posted Dec 8, 2007 4:23 PM CST
Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, acknowledges defeat in his referendum early Monday, Dec. 3, 2007, during a press conference in Caracas. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Why was Hugo Chavez so princely in defeat last week, never demanding a recount after losing at the polls? Because he did try to fix the vote behind closed doors, and relented only when officials slimmed the margin of defeat to help him save face, writes Newsweek's Jorge Castaneda.

Neighboring leaders were undoubtedly aware of Chavez’s machinations but chose not to speak out. Instead, they congratulated him on his gracious acceptance of defeat. Why? Mainly, Castaneda writes, because they need Venezuela's money. "Is this a sustainable stance for Latin democracy?" asks Castaneda. "Probably not, in the long term."