- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 14, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

John R. Thomson makes the bizarre assertion that the Feb. 15 referendum on term limits in Venezuela equates to a choice between democracy and dictatorship (“Democracy or dictatorial destiny?” Commentary, Thursday). This is not true, as regular free and fair elections will continue to be held no matter what voters choose in the referendum.

Venezuelans are being asked to decide whether all elected officials - not just the president - should have the chance to run for re-election after serving two terms in office. Winning an election still would require a majority of the popular vote.

Mr. Thomson also claims there is corruption in the voting process, but all electoral observers, including the Organization of American States, the European Union, the Carter Center and the NAACP have certified electoral processes in Venezuela as free and fair. Observers also have praised the National Electoral Council, the independent branch of government responsible for electoral oversight, for its transparency.

Tejas Kadia

Senior research analyst

Latin America Information Office

Washington

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