It is not in Venezuela, it is in Colombia.
I just watched on TV the reading of the Colombian High Court ruling saying that the law to call for a referendum that would allow for a third election for Uribe is not valid because it did not follow the rules for its elaboration. It is not a judgement on whether Uribe deserves reelection, just an observation that no matter what, a president is not above the law and he must follow the rules. Now as I am typing this there is the Uribe reply, also on Globovision, which is a concession speech of sort, with his call to follow the rule of law and that he would work for Colombia no matter where he is.
Can you imagine this in Venezuela? A court ruling against Chavez personal ambition? Him accepting the ruling? Chavez might win boatloads of elections but democracy is not based on elections only as this historical moment for Colombia reminds us. Democracy is only valid when the rights of the minority are preserved in their essential, not when the majority does as it pleases, roughing the other side with impunity. Make no mistake: all polls in Colombia put Uribe ahead had he been allowed to run again, which makes this moment even more transcendent as Chavez now behind in the polls is desperately trying to establish a state where democracy would be lost permanently.
This creates a difficult situation for Colombia as the succession of a president as effective, as purposeful, as successful, is going to create an emotional void of sorts that cannot be filled easily. But Colombia is a nation on the rise, with great institutions as we just could witness a few minutes ago. It brings us in awe, from Venezuela, that the country with the biggest and strongest army of Latin America, with the most successful and steel willed president, with a booming economy in spite of a larval civil war, world crisis and the sabotage of Venezuela is able to send Uribe away just like that. And Uribe accepts it rather graciously, though slightly choked.
Colombia does have the people to succeed Uribe: the candidates roster seems from here much better than what we could ourselves propose to replace Chavez. The US will have one more less excuse to postpone the FTA that Uribe can dedicate the rest of his term to get, as the great democrat of Latin America. And, as this blog is already on record for, the best way for Uribe to have a shinny place in Colombia's history, to have avenues everywhere named for him because the people do want them carry Uribe's name, if for him to leave office now. I would have preferred him to leave on his good will rather than been dismissed by the court, but if this is a blot on Uribe it is a gold star for Colombia's road to full modern democracy.