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Cablegate: Chavez - Sao Paulo Media Reaction

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O 261610Z NOV 08
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INFO RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC IMMEDIATE
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RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 8929
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STATE INR/R/MR; IIP/R/MR; WHA/PD

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TAGS: KMDR OPRC OIIP ETRD XM XR BR
SUBJECT: Chavez - Sao Paulo Media Reaction

Title- Chavez' second defeat

Main editorial in center-right O Estado de S.Paulo (11-26) states:
"The regional elections held on Sunday in Venezuela pushed t
'chavismo' to the outskirts of the country and defeated the myth
that the poor are the pledged voters of the caudillo.... The most
concrete effect of the rejection to Chavez-whose 'great
accomplishments,' which influenced the vote, include a shortage of
staple goods, 30%-inflation and crime running rampant, especially in
Caracas-is the strengthening of the resistance to his plans to
perpetuate himself in power.... The disfigured opposition of years
past has rebuilt itself and has promised to challenge [Chavez] in a
united way during the 2009 congressional elections, public opinion
seems reinvigorated-and the source of power that exuded from oil at
more than USD100.00 has vanished."

Title- Elections show erosion of Chavez' popularity

Editorial in business-oriented Valor Econtmico (11-26) says: "The
state and municipal elections last Sunday gave [Chavez] an
uncontested victory based on the number of votes his allies obtained
and on the number of states where they continued in power.... [But]
the opposition once more galvanized the support of part of the
middle class that opposes Chavez, but what is significant is that it
deteriorated Chavez' traditional support base.... Chavez' political
power tends to erode even more because the good days of absurd oil
revenues are over.... Chavez has not given up and may once more try
to change the Constitution in order to get reelected.... Now that
the opposition is more engaged, the president will have two options.
He can either work with [the opposition] or become more radical, as
has been his style. If he chooses the last option, the consequences
are unpredictable."
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