Hugo Chavez -- often portrayed by as an authoritarian dictator by the US press -- has conceded a narrow defeat on constitutional reforms and tipped his hat to the Democratic process.

Interesting, how reality strays from the US narrative.

I think this is, in a way, good news for Chavez. Yes, winning with a 60 percent mandate would have been his ideal choice. But by conceding a razor-thin defeat, and humbly tipping his hat to the Democratic process, the accusations that he is an authoritarian become transparently fruitless.

Had he, for example, won less than a percentage point, he would not have had the clear mandate he needs to implement what he calls, "21st century socialism."

Chavez still has until 2012 to try again: the experiment continues, and the world watches.