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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Facing the evenly split referendum on his "president for life" measure, Hugo Chavez tries to rally his base by attacking foes abroad.
....he warned at a huge rally on Friday that he would retaliate if the U.S. government interferes in the referendum.

"There will not be a single drop of oil for the United States," Chavez bellowed to hundreds of thousands of cheering supporters in downtown Caracas. "And if they want to come and take our oil they will face 100 years of war in Venezuela."


  • Just to clarify, the so-called "president for life" measure really only *removes term limits* for President. He still has to stand for *election* the same as now.

    Those critical of Chavez's anti-American stance (really an anti-Bush stance) should be reminded that Bush did sponsor a coup in 2002 to overthrow the guy. That tends to create hard feelings. Also, the short-lived coup brought some very unpopular people into power, who "suspended democracy". Yet opposition to the popularly-elected Chavez seems to be characterised as being pro-democracy.

    I am continually amazed at Americans' automatic association of the words "democracy" and "pro-U.S.", as if one naturally means the other. When democracies fail to create pro-U.S. governments, then they magically become dictatorships somehow.

    However, pro-U.S. dictatorships are somehow cast as being benign entities that are "working towards democracy". Latin America provides abundant examples of brutal, repressive pro-U.S. dictatorships that have been smiled upon and cheered.

    If a pro-U.S. government were in power in Venezuela now, how many people would even notice a story about term limits being abolished for President? How many of those who noticed it would applaud?

    We've had several decades of pro-U.S. governments in Venezuela, and those policies brought Chavez into power. So we blame Chavez, not the policies that brought him to power. Sounds fair, right?

    The hypocrisy is rank.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 1:06 PM  

  • But it's not just that is it? Isn't there also a change in the length of the presidential term?

    To the broader point, yeah, Chavez is justified in his antipathy towards the US, but on the broader scale, I consider him mixed.

    His first movements towards broad education and health clinics aimed at the poor was brilliant, but, in my mind, that has since been countered by some of his moves aimed at consolidating power.

    Again, my opinion mixed. Some good, some bad.

    But, more important than what I think, the majority of the Venezuelan people generally support him, and really, that's what matters.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 1:34 PM  

  • "But it's not just that is it? Isn't there also a change in the length of the presidential term?"

    "Art. 230 - Presidential term is extended from six to seven years. The two consecutive term limit on presidential reelection is removed."

    So, yes, one whole year is added to the President's term. And if "our guys" get voted in, they will benefit from that the same as Chavez would.

    "...that has since been countered by some of his moves aimed at consolidating power."

    Article 189 says otherwise. He is moving a huge amount of power to the local level. If he becomes unpopular, he loses a huge amount of power. Contrast that with our system, where a man with 29% approval can act as virtual dicator until the term is up.

    Meanwhile, the opposition is already planning "destabilization".

    What a commitment to the democratic process "our guys" have.

    I, too, am mixed about Chavez. Whatever he is or isn't, however, will not be improved by backing him into a corner. I also think that once Bush is gone, he will be a lot more reasonable and he will actually lose a significant amount of popularity domestically. The opposition in Venezuela is odious and not worthy of America's support.

    I will also refrain from beating the Chavez drum here further, as I feel I have already made my points. Either we will overthrow the man or we won't. You are certainly wise enough to make up your own mind about the issues involved.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 4:33 PM  

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