Now that we have gone through all the electoral analysis that was needed, it is time to measure the consequences for Venezuela of Sunday 7 result. What country are we left with? What can the opposition do? What are chavismo next steps? What if...? What about...?
I think we may as well start with the social consequence for the country since we will all suffer from that.
Beyond fraud stories and campaign hits and misses, the reality is that Chavez won because the system of dependency he created between the state and the poor worked for him. All evidence points to that. For example we have the tale of officials abusing the gullibility of people by giving them a key and telling them that that key will open the door of their future home, but if they voted for Chavez. That the home will be shoddy, that they would never be the real owners, that they could not sell, it, rent it, pass it on to whomever they wanted, is not something that people in need can consider objectively. But at least these people have an excuse of sorts. Those that have none in my book are those who accepted cash for vote. And yet part of the Chavez victory was based on that, and will in the future.
Once we face the harsh fact that Chavez victory may be "legal", but certainly not legitimate, we must face even more unpleasant facts that follow.
People who voted for Chavez live in the same country that I live. Henceforth they also suffer from high crime, water and electricity shortages, deficient public services, deficient health care, food shortages, high inflation lack of real jobs, etc, etc... In fact I probably suffer less from these ills than they do, or at least my means allow me to tolerate the situation better. Yet, I voted against Chavez and they voted for him. The implication is staggering: people have decided that the system is OK. That they may have been forced to do so is irrelevant, they did it in the end and are thus guilty of their misery, at least in part.
And yet, this is not all. When Chavez won his reelection, all the sins he committed since 2006 have been validated. It is not that he was forgiven, he never asked for forgiveness, he even went as far as saying that all these ills did not matter because the only thing that mattered was for him to remain in office. It is just that all his actions and crimes have been proven irrelevant for his voters. In other words, all that Chavez did, from enabling laws to allowing Venezuela to become a narco state is now "legal" because validated through the vote.
What does this tell us about our society?
The style of the last 6 years of Chavez has been marked by a vulgar and violent language, by threats, by narco activities, by unjust expropriations, most without compensation, by segregation, by atrocious judicial system, etc, etc, etc... in short: by criminal activities. The degradation of our society has been for all to see, beyond any material consideration that we may contemplate. And yet 8 million of Venezuelans have said clearly, on October 7, that they do not care. We are in front of one of the biggest selfish acts in our history, a society crafted by chavismo, a society that does not care where it benefits come from, as long as they come. This goes beyond entitlement.
And yet, this is the society that both sides inherit and will have to do with.