By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 27 – Hugo Chavez’s United Socialist Party retained a majority of seats in the Venezuelan parliament on Sunday but lost the 2/3 majority that allowed the president to implement policies virtually by decree.
Cuba’s Fidel Castro was among the first to react to the partial victory in a newspaper column signed at 3:24 a.m. on Monday.
Fidel Castro said: “The enemy managed a portion of its objectives: keeping the Chavez government from having two thirds support in the parliament.”
However the former Cuban president said he still thought the vote was a victory for the Chavez forces. He noted the high 66.45 percent turnout and that the United Socialist Party (PSUV) had obtained at least 95 seats in the 165 member legislature “with a large number of young people, women, and seasoned activists.”
While President Chavez did not mention the overall popular vote count – referring only to the district by district legislative results where his party won a simple majority – a foreign press report from Bloomberg said 52 percent of the total votes cast went to the opposition, saying that Chavez was strongest in smaller rural voting districts.
Sunday’s elections realign the parliament after the opposition parties dropped out of the last vote in 2005 leaving the Chavez forces complete control of the legislature.
Chavez did not see the vote results as a loss for his socialist revolution. “My dear compatriots, this has been a great campaign and we have obtained a solid majority, sufficient to continue moving forward,” said Chavez.
The Venezuelan leader faces his next presidential election in 2012.
Venezuela is Cuba’s closest economic and political ally. Tens of thousands of Cubans work in the South American country as doctors, educators, sports trainers, and numerous other professions in an exchange that allows Cuba to obtain the fuel and oil products it doesn’t produce.