At the time I am writing this editorial there have been no results from Venezuela’s referendum, nevertheless the lesson to the world is of the outmost impact. While other countries spend millions of dollars campaigning only to obtain a meager voting participation, Venezuelan voting has been massive.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, in Caracas as an independent observer of the vote, said it was the largest turnout he had seen in the many elections around the world that he has monitored.

In Chavez’ own words: “It is a true democratic fiesta. It is a battle that resounds worldwide.”

The stage has been set and the people want to express themselves through their vote. But there are too many interests at stake.

On one side those who have owned the media and have their interests linked to United States.

On the other, are the poor people who for the first time have benefited from the government actions towards them.

Let us hope the result does not have a tragic end like Allende’s in Chile years ago. After he was rightfully elected, interests from abroad killed him and put Pinochet to rule the country. It should be remembered that United States helped the military in that country come into power.

If democracy means to be lead by the people’s vote, then even if the foreign powers do not like it, that vote should be accepted as the people’s will.

One thing is sure. For more than three years the two groups in Venezuela, those pro Chavez, and those against him have moved throughout the entire country, reaching out to everyone in order to change the current situation. Both sides have shown courage, and persistence.

The massive voting on August 15, 2004 is a wonderful message of hope and a warning to the ruling governments. The people are awakening and they are noticing that the power was always in their hands, but they have stopped using it.

When nominating and voting is done only through money campaigning, the result is just a struggle between groups in power. A different situation is when the people resolve to be part of the decision making.

A respectful salute to all the Venezuelans who actively participated in this historic day, no matter how they voted. Their example should be followed by many of the more developed countries.