Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s landslide victory, deemed generally free and fair by international observers, should send two clear messages to Washington.
First, Venezuelans support their president, thanks to his vast social programs.
Second, our policy aimed at driving him from power has failed.
After the United States spent the past eight years and millions of taxpayer dollars propping up a weak and divided domestic opposition while undermining Chavez — if not trying to oust him from power — Chavez comes out with another six-year term leading the hemisphere's biggest oil exporter to the United States. Venezuela accounts for approximately 15 percent of all our imports.
We can only hope that policymakers in Washington can read the writing on the wall. Rather than pour millions of dollars into Venezuela to support "democracy" programs which fund opposition political parties, U.S. policy should respect Venezuelans' democratic choices, even if that means their president calls Mr. Bush the devil.
— Pat Tillemans, Oxnard