Chavez declares recall victory, foes claim fraud

Chavez declares recall victory, foes claim fraud

Patrick Markey CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, a populist who survived a coup two years ago, appeared yesterday to have weathered the latest challenge to what he calls his revolution to help the poor as he declared victory in a historic recall referendum.

With 94 percent of electoral rolls counted, 58 percent of voters cast ballots against removing Chavez from office, said National Electoral Council president Francisco Carrasquero. Chavez, dressed in a red shirt, appeared on the balcony of his Miraflores presidential palace in downtown Caracas and led hundreds of supporters in singing the national anthem before dawn.”The Venezuelan people have spoken and the people’s voice is the voice of God!” roared Chavez, who has diverted wealth from oil sales to housing, food and medical care for the poor majority.But opposition leaders claimed the same margin of victory as Chavez, saying the official results were a fraud engineered through the use of electronic voting machines.”We firmly and categorically reject the result.Chavez, dressed in a red shirt, appeared on the balcony of his Miraflores presidential palace in downtown Caracas and led hundreds of supporters in singing the national anthem before dawn.”The Venezuelan people have spoken and the people’s voice is the voice of God!” roared Chavez, who has diverted wealth from oil sales to housing, food and medical care for the poor majority.But opposition leaders claimed the same margin of victory as Chavez, saying the official results were a fraud engineered through the use of electronic voting machines.”We firmly and categorically reject the result.

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