Results were announced earlier than expected last night—54.5% of voters support the removal of presidential term limits in Venezuela, while 45.6% oppose it. Chavez can now be re-elected for life.
My opposition friends seem devastated in a personal way, as if this means the loss of a country they love, because it will only lead to an increase in its negative aspects such as crime and rampant inflation. Some feel that those who voted "SI" are ignorant and naïve for giving this government so much power.
They say they're depressed, shocked, and angry--that there’s “no way back.” Everyone has Facebook here, and people are using it as an outlet to express how disappointed they are in the 32% of fellow Venezuelans who didn’t vote, lamenting that “cada pueblo tiene el gobierno que se merece.”
We saw the opposite reaction at a Chavista rally, however, right after the results were announced. People danced on top of moving SUVs, cramming into the backs of trucks and stroking passing cars with endless rows of “SI” banners. We also saw caravan after caravan of guys on motorcycles with red bandanas placed over half of their faces, revolucionario-style.
One of the older Chavista women who is always at the same corner on Ave. Francisco de Miranda was wearing a red sparkly hat and red spandex pants to compliment her bright red hair. We saw overjoyed hugs and watched reverentially silent crowds huddle around a small TV to witness their idol's post-win speech.
I was personally starting to align Chavez with really persistent men who get repeatedly rejected for dates without noticing or caring, but this was a big win for him.