April 9, 2006 [LINK]

Humala leads Garcia and Flores

According to exit polls conducted by four different organizations in Peru, Ollanta Humala has won about 30 percent of the vote in the first round of the presidential elections, while his rivals Alan Garcia and Lourdes Flores won about 25 percent each. The consistency of the preliminary soundings is striking. There were some noisy protesters at the voting station in San Borja (on the east side of Lima) where he and his wife Nadine cast their votes, requiring police protection for the candidate. Vague accusations of fraud were made, but so far there are no serious irregularities other than normal delays and long lines. See CNN.com and El Comercio of Peru (in Spanish).

UPDATE: As of 9:00, 83 percent of the votes had been counted in Peru, and Lourdes Flores is in second place, with 24.9 percent, while Alan Garcia trails with 23.5 percent. Ollanta Humala is holding steady in first place at about 30 percent. Unless there are a lot of uncounted precincts in Trujillo and other northern cities where APRA is known to be strong, it would appear that Flores is in good shape to go to the second round.

Chavez warns U.S. ambassador

After another incident in which Venezuelan mobs assaulted U.S. ambassador William Brownfield, hitting his car with eggs and tomatoes, Hugo Chavez blamed the victim. He said, "I'm going to throw you out of Venezuela if you continue provoking the Venezuelan people." Preoccupied with the far more menacing rogue regime in Iran, the State Department is in no mood to play games with clownish wanna-be's. See CNN.com.