Re "Venezuelan voters reject bid by Chavez to extend powers," Dec. 3
Although your headline proclaims the triumph of democracy in Venezuela's rejection of President Hugo Chavez's referendum, I remain skeptical. The election is simply Round 1, and this staged show is probably part of his plan. The 51% to 49% margin is indeed a photo finish, and Chavez has vowed to keep the issue alive. Chavez has magnanimously accepted defeat and states that he will respect the will of the people. He will undoubtedly expect the same consideration from his opponents and the rest of the world when his referendum passes by a narrow margin next time. Chavez is simply following the example set by the proposition process in California and other states -- if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. Democracy, with its inalienable rights, is a fragile entity: Its champions must prevail in every battle; its opponents need win but once. I hope that Venezuelans are able to maintain the constant vigil.