Latin America & Caribbean

Venezuela re-elects Hugo Chavez: Your reactions

President Hugo Chavez has secured his fourth term in power, following elections in Venezuela.

The polls were the first to present a real challenge to President Chavez since he came to power in 1998, as his key rival, Henrique Capriles, had been backed by 30 opposition parties. President Chavez won 54% of the vote, with turnout at about 81%.

President Chavez said he would "commit to being a better president", while Mr Capriles told his supporters not to feel defeated.

BBC News website readers from Venezuela have responded with their views on the poll.

Juan Borges, Maracaibo, Venezuela

Image caption Juan Borges, pictured with a friend, is delighted President Chavez won

Today the people of Venezuela won.

Personally, I don't like it that Chavez won by so little - but after 13 years in power, the fact that this administration has the support of the majority of Venezuelans is a great political phenomenon.

The most important thing about this victory is that there is the opportunity to create, for the first time in history, a socialist country by democratic means.

In addition, we cannot lose all the social development achieved by President Chavez, much less at the hands of neo-liberals.

To conclude, we are the majority and now everyone knows this.

Venezuela wants socialism and, from the Vatican to the US, they have got to admit this and treat Venezuela with the respect it deserves.

Grabiela Rojas Molina, Merida, Venezuela

Image caption Grabiela Rojas Molina is shocked by the vote outcome

I am speechless. After learning the results of the elections, the words "despair, desperation, hopelessness" are the only ones I can find to express my feelings. I simply fail to understand what has happened.

While standing in the queue yesterday I saw joy, courage and above all, hope in people's faces.

They, and I mean we, were certainly the vast majority.

Until the very moment I heard the announcement, I was convinced Hugo Chavez would lose.

Who are these "Chavez" supporters? I know only a few of those typical stuck-in-the-past "intellectuals" and have seen the others, the ones who hang about on motorcycles with their red shirts and guns.

But do they really constitute the majority of this country? I don't think so, so where is the rest, if there's any?

If you ask me for the future, I ask myself, "What future?"

This is definitely not democracy. Venezuela is falling apart into pieces and the results simply show how rotten our society is and how fearful people live.

With this new presidential term, corruption and social degeneration will only get deeper and worse.

Bibiana Sucre, Caracas, Venezuela

Image caption Bibiana Sucre's purple nail marks her as someone who used her right to vote

For six more years Venezuelans will have to live with the current government.

This is six more years of giving away our enormous oil revenues to support expired political models in foreign countries.

Six more years of doing nothing to solve the real problems affecting us.

Oil revenues should be used to invest in our own productivity and to solve the vast violence that kills around 10,000 people a year.

By the next time we have a chance to change our government, President Chavez will have stayed in power for 20 years. No decent or fair leader should stay in power for such a long time.

How low will Venezuela have descended by that time?

Right now I feel Venezuela is the daughter of all of us, the daughter who married the wrong guy, the guy that beats her, abuses her, exploits her, and gives her nothing but a few coins of spare change.

As our daughter, it's the obligation of every Venezuelan citizen to work hard to educate her, make her open her eyes and understand the urgent need to change the way our governments work and the excessive power that a president has.

Mauricio Rivas, Caracas, Venezuela

As a researcher in biological anthropology at the Central University of Venezuela, I am enthusiastic about the re-election of President Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan people have matured politically and the majority of us have shown, once again, our support for a project that goes beyond a presidential order.

The truth, right here in this country, can be observed in all the material achievements in our infrastructure, telecommunications and energy sovereignty, which benefit all the people.

Yes, it is true that there are still some problems yet to solve, but one has to point out the government's efforts to solve them too. The facts and figures will speak for themselves, and this new victory will not come from blind fanaticism, as the opposition believe, but from policies that allow those who are historically most disadvantaged to live with dignity.

The European economic crisis has shown us that the socialist project is the best way. Whilst in Spain the retirement age rises, taxes rise and the working classes are robbed of their benefits, in Venezuela, all workers from all sectors are favoured with wage increases, economic benefits and better retirement plans.

Beatriz Nunez, Caracas, Venezuela

My first reaction last night upon hearing the results was numbness. I held back the tears and felt a void akin to the sudden loss of a loved one. Today, I realise that life goes on and that despondency is not the answer.

I am deeply disappointed that so many Venezuelans have chosen to continue with a government that has done little to improve their lot and turned them into virtual beggars.

It has split us as a nation, creating artificial differences and sowing hate.

It has squandered astronomic amounts of money with the same indifference that it watches the number of lives lost to violence. More has been spent on weapons and propaganda than on education.

I am disappointed that Capriles' message of a new path for Venezuela did not penetrate all layers of the population. Apparently, fear overrode hope.

I am pleased by the record-breaking number of persons who did vote and by the increase in opposition votes. I am also pleased by the civility shown by the majority of the population.

Today, my hopes for the future in Venezuela are not yet clear. I hope the division into "patriots" and "stateless" disappears. I hope justice is dispensed fairly. I hope education, health and housing opportunities are open to all. I hope conflict turns to peace.

William Mora, London, UK

I voted in London, and I'm very happy with the results.

Image caption William Mora has voted for Chavez since 2002

I hope for my country a serious and responsible opposition able to respect the rules in a democratic system where a loyal opposition to the country is as important as a good government for the people.

The last 10 years has been a difficult period of civil disobedience and futile aggressions, denial of the facts in Venezuela and distortions abroad.

It's now the time to engage in a more responsible opposition exercise, and accept a proactive participation in a new kind of socialist system that overcomes the imperfections of the current socio-economic model.

I had not voted for President Chavez previously, but being part of the political rally on 11 April 2002, which lead to the coup d'├ętat shocked me deeply and forced me to re-evaluate reality under a new way of thinking.

I believe President Chavez is ready to engage his opposition, but one that plays with loyalty to the country and cares about the future and well-being of all Venezuelans.

Chavez is a master leader. He, more than anybody else, is able to see his own mistakes and work hard on them.

He pushes his followers to highest level of commitment to the cause of liberation of modern slavery (ignorance, poverty, deprivation, racism and discrimination).

Can the opposition match this level of commitment? That is my question in return.

Other comments

Venezuela has written another page of history, we, the majority want to keep President Hugo Chavez heading our transition toward a new socialism, one filled with [Simon] Bolivar and [Francisco de] Miranda's ideals. Now let us move forward and stop financing the radicals of the world. Victor Alvizu

Congratulations to Mr Chavez - 54% is far below the level of popularity he used to enjoy a few years ago. Mr Capriles, the opposition candidate, amassed that 47% in just three months. I hope this fact serves him well so he changes his strategy and starts listening to the voices of all of us Venezuelans instead of continuing his policies based on division. Rafael Pacheco, Maracay, Venezuela

Of course I'm happy. If it wasn't for him this country would be so much worse. It is better now and it will get better. Andrea del Boca, Caracas, Venezuela

The whole thing was a class act. Once again Mr Chavez won thanks to his many social projects, which the people fear will not continue if he goes away. Yes I did vote. I'm happy with the results and I wish Mr Chavez is able to do a very difficult thing to express the strength that needs to be shown in order to survive in Venezuelan politics. [He needs also to show] the humility to at least attract part of that population that opposes him fiercely. Leonardo Espinoza, Maiquetia, Venezuela

I did vote for Mr Capriles and I can't say I am happy for the result but if Mr Capriles in six months was able to win the hearts of six million people, then I don't know what he's going to achieve in the next six years. I know this will be the last six years of President Chavez. You just can't be a president of half a country. Oliveira, Aragua, Venezuela

Completely disappointed with these results. I sincerely believe Venezuela wanted something different. No-one is celebrating on the streets and the town is completely silent. I waited four hours to vote and many people I know were waiting in line since 04:30. The lines were massive and the spirits were of enthusiasm and hope of a change through our candidate Mr Capriles. I really don't understand what happened. I even cried when I heard the results. Marinel Guevara, Valencia, Venezuela

To be honest, I'm not very fond of Mr Chavez, nor Mr Capriles. Still I voted for Mr Capriles as the only government I've been able to witness has been President Chavez's. I wanted to see another face as the head of state, to see if things would change for good or for bad with someone else as a president. Unfortunately it didn't happen. I feel pretty disappointed for this was also my first time voting. The good thing about it all is that we were able to show the world that we have the right to express our opinion and to choose democratically another president. Amy Allsop, Falcon, Venezuela

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