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I’ve spent the last four days with a giant grin on my face.

It could not have gone better.

The psychologically important four million signature mark looks to be within striking distance. The scale of popular mobilization against Chavez has stunned even the most optimistic opposition leaders. The government’s attempts to block the process have been disjointed, weak, and inneffective; the president’s contention of massive fraud little more than laughable – as OAS, the Carter Center, and the US Congressional delegation observing the process have gingerly (if diplomatically) pointed out.

This weekend, the radical-chic rhetoric of Greg Palast and Naomi Klein and Mark Weisbrot and The revolution will not be televised and all the hipster rich world lefties who have bolstered the Chavez regime has crumbled like the ideological house of cards it has been all along. The heroic vision of the Chavez regime has been comprehensibly debunked along with the myth of mass working class support for the government.

No more satisfying end to the political crisis could be imagined. Chavez will be ousted in strict accordance with the constitution. His presidency will end not in a smoky backroom deal, or through some sort of military hanky-panky, or anything like that. He will be tossed out of office through the direct, officially-registered revulsion of millions of Venezuelans who refuse to stand by while their democracy dies.

The overwhelming, central, crushing fact of political life in Venezuela today – that two in three Venezuelans reject Chavez’s autocratic vision for the nation’s future – can no longer be wished away or dismissed as opposition media baron rhetoric.

The signatures are in.

The numbers are conclusive.

The nightmare is almost over.

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Known to friend and foe alike as Quico, Francisco Toro is Executive Editor at Caracas Chronicles.

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