delegation that acted as international observers of the plebiscite in Venezuela
returned to Brazil with the idea of including the mechanism of popular referendum
in Brazilian law.
A popular vote was held
August 15 in Venezuela to decide whether President Hugo Chávez should
remain in office.
For Federal Deputy Maninha,
from the Workers' Party, who was a member of the delegation, Venezuela is
giving an example of democracy to the world and to Brazil, which could add
this form of participatory democracy to the Federal Constitution. "This
is an efficient instrument of social control that preserves the Democratic
State," Maninha observed.
Federal Deputy João
Alfredo, also from the PT, and who was also a member of the delegation, suggests
that next year the Brazilian National Congress should consider including the
referendum in Brazilian law as part of the political reform that is being
analyzed in the Chamber.
"With the political
reform, we shall have the opportunity to consecrate this form of participatory
democracy," he emphasized.
According to Deputy Maninha,
the opposition claim that the electoral process was marked by fraud is at
odds with the calm atmosphere in the streets. According to Maninha, "there
isn't the slightest chance that there was fraud in the voting process."
The results indicate that
58.25 percent of the Venezuelan population backs President Hugo Chávez,
versus 41.74 percent that opposes him. The observers' delegation visited at
least six large polling centers and, according to Deputy João Alfredo,
verified that the voting system utilized is "absolutely secure."
The Best for Bolivia
Recently, President Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva urged Bolivia to take the path to democracy, calling
it the best instrument for economic and political recovery.
Last October, Bolivia
went through a political crisis which resulted in the resignation of president
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada as a popular uprising raged throughout the
During a speech at a ceremony
celebrating the signing of agreements with Bolivia, Lula declared that the
decision by President Carlos Mesa (who substituted Sanchez de Lozada) to hold
a referendum on the country's energy policy and municipal elections in December
"will make it possible for Bolivia to discover what its population wants."
Lula went on to say that,
"At this moment, when Bolivia gathers strength, it can count on the friendship
of the government and people of Brazil. That is the message we sent Bolivia
last year during its crisis, and that is the message we send now. That friendship
also underlies these agreements we sign today."
Lula concluded by saying
that Latin America needs a "Bolivia that is democratic, prosperous and
united... a country based on the dreams of Bolivar who wanted borders to bring
people together, not separate them," said the Brazilian President.
Carlos Mesa endorsed those
words, saying that democracy was the only mechanism that would enable Bolivia
to get back on track. "We want democracy to be the crucial issue in our
future," he declared, adding that he still intends to convoke a Constitutional
Ellis Regina works for Agência Brasil (AB), the official press agency
of the Brazilian government. Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
from the Portuguese by David Silberstein.