Nicolas Maduro waves to supporters before is swearing-in Friday as Venezuela's… (Gil Montano / Associated…)
Re "A Venezuela score card," Opinion, April 19
Former U.S Ambassador to Venezuela Charles Shapiro's predictable assault on Venezuelan democracy failed to mention that about 79% of eligible Venezuelans actually turned out to vote in their presidential election. Compare that with here, the bastion of true democracy.
Last year, 55% of registered California voters cast their ballots, while only 20% of registered voters participated in the recent Los Angeles mayoral primary. And these figures are even worse if you were to include the millions of California adults who have never even made the effort to become registered voters.
Shapiro's "evaluation" was more of a provocation. Calling President Nicolas Maduro a "loser" and implying that the late President Hugo Chavez bought his previous election and that the nation's Electoral Council is corrupt amounts to trash talk.
To understand Shapiro's animus, consider these facts:
Shapiro served as ambassador under the Bush administration, whose hostility to Chavez was demonstrated most obviously when it condoned the illegal coup in 2002. Chavez also dared speak against the Iraq war and later referred to George W. Bush as the devil.
Perhaps most important, the Bush administration was not able to restore power in Venezuela to the country's more compliant "elites."
Geoffrey N. Lachner
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