Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 04:54:58 AM EST
Unless all the polls lie, today [Sunday, 3 December], Venezuela's President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías will be re-elected for another six years with a wide majority. On the occasion, I thought I'll post
- an update of the graphs from my Venezuelan Boom diary of last year,
- to show how much Red Latin America became, post a list of Central and Southern American leaders with links to earlier ET diaries.
Update [2006-12-5 7:24:24 by DoDo]: Check the Official vote count page. Presently, they show the vote 91% counted. They say turnout was 75%. Chávez increased his lead to 62.57%, vs. 37.18% for main opponent Rosales. Chávez leads in all 24 states of Venezuela, including Zulia state, where Rosales was governor.
- promoted from diaries - whataboutbob
Venezuelan Boom update
The first graph is GDP growth, for this year, projected.
Chávez came to power at the very end of 1998, just when oil proces collapsed in the wake of the Asian Crisis. In 2002/3 was the big fight with the opposition and the oil strike. Since then, massive growth. For this year, planned was 5%, now it looks like it will be twice as much.
Note: most of it comes from the non-oil sector (in Q3/2006, 11.7% vs. 0.9%; allegedly due to maintenance, the product of the private oil sector even decreased 11.4%), and from the non-government sector (in Q3/2006, 12.3% vs. 2.7%). But the latter is fuelled by government orders: there is growth in all economic fields, but strongest in particular construction. I'd say Chávez's policies are more Keynesian than socialistic.
Above is the Puente Orinoquia, or Second Orinoco Crossing, a combined road-rail bridge for traffic to Ciudad Guayana and on to Brazil. It was opened on 13 November 2006 by Chávez and Brazilian President Lula da Silva (second photo). But much of Venezuela's public works spending goes for public transport projects, primarily subways (lines in Caracas, Valencia and Maracaibo were hastily opened during the campaign). Venezuela is also about to start a massive expansion of railway lines, both for freight and passengers.
I note Chávez has at last discovered green energy as a theme. In the framework of the 'Energy Revolution Mission', a massive programme to replace light bulbs with energy-saving ones was started, and after Chávez saw a similar programme in Vietnam(!), a programme of solar-powered streetlights [PV cells + storage batteries].
Balance of goods, goods+services, and goods+services+capital is positive, thus reserves increase. Debt generally still increases on nominal value (though both external and internal debt decreased in the second quartal), but decreases as percentage of GDP (now well under 40% in the broadest measure -- the EU can only dream of this).
Now let's look at the graph for GDP, as well as per capita GDP [my own calculation from official population numbers], with the pre-chavez year 1998 as 100%:
Per capita, this year, the overall development through Chávez's presidency just turned positive. Meagre, but as strange as it sounds, in the last 40 years, there was only one other longer period without decrease in this measure: the turbulent second Carlos Andres Pérez presidency (early 1989 to 1993), which after a big IMF-advised depression and a Gulf War oil boom, ended about zero per capita growth. But with a big increase in poverty.
As for poverty under Chávez, here is my third graph, showing the ratio of households in poverty (relative measure) and extreme poverty:
Note, these are numbers without taking social services into account, which would reduce the figures with a further few percentage points.
On the low point, 12-month inflation reached a record low of 10.4% in May, but during the campaign, has climbed up again to near 16% since.
On the media front, the Chávezista state TV -- opposition private media standoff continues, the Election Commission criticised both campaigns for numerous violations. Chávez's rhetorical excesses also reflect in some caudillo-talk with Alan García of Peru. I'm not sure anything significant has been done on the corruption front and in regulating police and military.
Chávez announced a few months ago his intention to call for a recall vote on himself mid-term, and if he wins that vote, he wants a referendum on voiding limitations on the number of Presidential terms.
Red Latin America
Below is a list of the current Central and South American leaders, their elections, and ET coverage if there was one. If you can do a better color map than mine, feel free to do so, I'll insert it!
- President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa (neoliberal), vs. counter-government by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (left)
Elected 2 July 2006 [single round election]
ET coverage: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.
- PM Said Wilbert Musa/People's United Party (Christian Democrat)
1998 [single round parliamentary election]
5 March 2003 [single round parliamentary election]
- President Óscar José Rafael Berger Perdomo (center-right)
28 December 2003 [2nd round]
- El Salvador
- President Elías Antonio ("Tony") Saca González (right)
21 March 2004 [1st round]
- President José Manuel "Mel" Zelaya Rosales (liberal)
27 November 2005 [single round election]
- President José Daniel Ortega Saavedra (left)
5 November 2006 [1st round but not absolute majority]
- Costa Rica
- President Óscar Rafael de Jesús Arias Sánchez (neoliberal)
5 February 2006 [one round]
- President Martín Erasto Torrijos Espino (fake centre-left->centre)
2 May 2004 [1st round but not absolute majority]
- President Álvaro Uribe Vélez (right)
26 May 2002 [1st round]
28 May 2006 [1st round]
- President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (hard left)
6 December 1998 [1st round]
30 July 2000 [1st round, new constitution]
15 August 2004 [recall referendum]
3 December 2006?
(Some ET articles of note: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
- President Bharrat Jagdeo (centre-left)
11 August 1999 [appointed mid-term]
19 March 2001 [backing party again largest in single-round parliamentary elections]
28 August 2006 [backing party again strongest in single-round parliamentary elections]
- President Ronald Runaldo Venetiaan (centre-left)
25 May 2005 [single round election]
- President Rafael Correa (hard left)
26 November 2006 [2nd round]
- President Alan Gabriel Ludwig García Pérez [ex left-populist->centre)
4 June 2006 [2nd round]
ET coverage: first round, second round
- President Evo Morales (hard left)
18 December 2005 [1st round]
- President Óscar Nicanor Duarte Frutos (right)
27 April 2003 [one round]
- President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (centre-left)
27 October 2002 [2nd round]
29 October 2006 [2nd round]
- President Tabaré Ramón Vázquez Rosas (centre-left)
31 October 2004 [1st round]
- President Néstor Carlos Kirchner Ostoic (centre-left)
27 April 2003 [1st round, 2nd round not held as opponent declined]
28 October 2007?
- President Michelle Bachelet Jeria (centre-left)
15 January 2006 [2nd round]
ET coverage: 1, 2.