Venezuelans are waking up from the nightmare of Hugo Chavez, said Demetrio Boersner in Caracas’ El Norte. A vast wave of support for Manuel Rosales, the candidate of national unity, is rippling across the country. Rosales, a charismatic moderate, has captivated the nation as much with his show of virility—his eight children accompany him on the presidential campaign tour—as with his plans for “restoring democratic rule.” Cheering crowds greet him wherever he goes. Lovers of freedom can perhaps be forgiven for acting “over-optimistic, even triumphant.” But we must be on guard. Nobody expects Chavez to give up power without a fight. His henchmen in charge of state companies, including the main oil company, are ordering all employees to vote for him or lose their jobs. And he can be expected to put pressure on the electoral board that counts the votes. Assuming the election next month is stolen from Rosales, all true democrats in Venezuela must be ready—“ready to fight the totalitarian strength of the government, ready to defend a democratic victory.” Let Chavez hear our voices now: “We will take to the streets in defense of our constitutional rights.”
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