Monday, May 08, 2006

Hugo Chavez Seeking 25 Year Term? Not quite


This is reprinted from the blog Latin America News Review. It is a great resource on Latin American issues.

By Justin Delacour

Latin America News Review

May 8, 2006

A little scrutiny of a recent Associated Press report about Venezuela provides a lesson in how the English-language press often gets the story wrong. Take the first sentence: "President Hugo Chavez said Saturday that Venezuelan voters should have the chance to decide whether he should govern the country for the next 25 years."

No, such a referendum would not be about "whether he should govern the country for the next 25 years." A referendum would be about whether Chavez would be permitted to run every six years and --in the event that he were to continue winning elections-- serve multiple presidential terms. The AP report's opening sentence makes it sound as if such a referendum would do away with elections in Venezuela, as if its intent would be to grant Chavez a new 25-year term in office! The website of The Calgary Sun even titles the wire report "Chavez seeking 25-year term"!!

This is obviously an extremely poor piece of reporting. Chavez made it clear that, if the opposition committed to participating in the upcoming presidential election, he would not convoke a referendum to end presidential term limits. He explained that the intent of his threat to convoke such a referendum was not to perpetuate himself in power but rather to defend the Bolivarian Revolution.

Fortunately, Agence France Press (AFP) got the story right. The opening sentence of AFP's Spanish-language report reads, "Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez claimed Saturday that, if the opposition decides not to run candidates in the December presidential election, he could decree a referendum to permit his reelection for multiple terms until 2031."

So the choice for the opposition is simple. If they don't want a referendum that would end presidential term limits, they shouldn't pull out of the upcoming presidential election. As far as I'm concerned, the threat of a referendum is a perfectly reasonable (and democratic) way to dissuade the opposition from trying to delegitimize Venezuela's electoral process.

When Venezuela's opposition knows it's going to lose an election, it has a tendency to try to delegitimize the electoral process. Instead of facing up to the fact that it is unpopular, the business-led opposition tries to shift the blame for its electoral misfortunes to the National Electoral Council (CNE). The opposition claims that the CNE could commit "fraud" and that the vote might not be secret. Opposition conspiracy theories of this nature are legion. Never mind that there have been international observers on hand that have testified to the fairness of Venezuela's elections. Never mind that even the opposition's own polls show that Chavez is much more popular than they are.

In other words, many members of the opposition aren't really interested in trying to win elections because they know that they lack popular support. Many in the opposition prefer, instead, to try to create the impression internationally that Venezuela's electoral process is illegitimate.

One has to understand that, given the combination of the opposition's economic interests and political incompetence, it is very desperate. Since it is unable to attract popular support domestically, the opposition resorts to attempts to draw more U.S. hostility toward Chavez in hopes that such hostility might somehow weaken or destroy his presidency. Electoral boycotts are part and parcel of this strategy. The opposition wants to create the (false) impression internationally that Venezuela is another Ukraine and that Chavez wins elections by "fraud," etc. etc. That's what Chavez is up against.

OAS General Secretary Jose Miguel Insulza effectively summed up the problem that Chavez faces when he said the following about the opposition's boycott of legislative elections last December:

"We had a problem with the Venezuelan opposition, which assured us that they would not withdraw from the [electoral] process if certain conditions were met. These were met and, despite this, they withdrew."

Insulza continued, "if the path of abstention is chosen, then one cannot complain that the entire parliament is in the hands of one's political adversary."

RENEGADE EYE

51 comments:

troutsky said...

I had the great fortune of spending three weeks in Venezuela this winter as part of a Witness for Peace delegation and can corroborate what was written.Chavez has a mischevious streak and goes to lengths to tweak the opposition.(and others, Bush,Rice etc)Because his skin is dark it is especially frustrating for the elites to be in such a marginal position.The people (and me ) love it.The press makes no pretense about "balance" there, which is refreshing compared to the charade the US press engages in.

noserubber said...

"He explained that the intent of his threat to convoke such a referendum was not to perpetuate himself in power but rather to defend the Bolivarian Revolution"

hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

The Haikuist said...

Excellent post. It is a common tactic in some countries by those who can't win elections to boycott them and then claim that the election results are somehow not democratic because they weren't included in them. This is like the classic definition of hutzpah, where the son kills the parents and then pleads mercy for mercy in court because he was an orphan. We saw the same thing happen in 1984 in Nicaragua, which were also boycotted by the opposition parties, and of course the Reagan administration claimed that the elections weren't democratic.

beatroot said...

The leftist turn in central, south america is interesting. And I love seeing the inept ruling elites in the West wriggling with frustration.

But don't you think it's time for western 'progressives' to start being 'progressive' in their own backyard , and stop exporting their 'progressivness' to other, exotic places just because their progressive ideas have failed at home?

perhaps.

I do get the feeling that becuase the left is so impotent at home, they get very excited by stuff happening somewhere else.

Renegade Eye said...

Beatroot has a point to a degree. I would have more US news in this blog, if I believed the Democratic Party is a real alternative. The US doesn't even have a labor party, where a "deep entry" strategy could be implamented.

I posted about Chavez, because that lie is all over the news. I do realize his limitations. You can't build socialism, without destroying the old institutions. It is a bigger step, than a nice speech. There is a time to defend him, and that time is when a lie like the 25 more years things is broadcasted.

roman said...

At a time when new world economic blocs are evolving (EU, China, India, etc.) and a chance for advancing a combined total American Free Trade Bloc is posited, here's Chavez missing the big picture by opposition to any progressive ideas from us "janquis". I agree that the press is doing a hatchet job on him but his very public anti-Capitalist hostile rantings have invited just this type of negative press. He has taken a page from the Bush administration on Media popularity and made it his own. He is his own worst enemy.

sonia said...

Chavez faces the same dilemma as every other "revolutionnary" since time immemorial (from Robespierre to Lenin to Castro). He wants to destroy the old order and install a new one. But there aren't enough real progressives (like Trotsky) to do it. Reactionnaries and nationalists outnumber them. So in order to succeed, he has to pick a fight with his neighbors to rally nationalists to his side. But when he wins, those fascist nationalists won't just go away. Sooner or later, they will overpower the progressives (that's Trotsky in 1927) and his regime will start to resemble those of Napoleon, Stalin, Brezhnev or Castro today...

All this effort for nothing. Every time.

The Haikuist said...

I don't agree that Chavez is picking a fight--the fight was picked for him by the US. The reality is that revolutionaries in other countries will always get into a conflict with US imperialism, even if they want nothing better than to just be left alone. Remember little tiny Grenada? Remember Allende? Remember Guatemala in 1954? The story is always the same.

In reality, I feel like Chavez, despite his strong rhetoric, is trying really hard to avoid picking a fight. His revolution has proceeded very slowly, and he hasn't, for example, initiated any kind of mass nationalization of foreign companies. He may be talking loudly, but he is also walking carefully.

noserubber said...

haikuist

You cannot nationalise a foreign company. You can merely steal it's assets and run it off the pitch.

You have really signed up to the creed, eh? Allende, Grenda and Guatemala "all the same thing"

Do some fucking thinking of your own sometime, you dim turd

thepoetryman said...

It's a poor piece of reporting but not one due to sloppiness. It is due to the powers that be. I haven't a doubt that ir is a bit of propaganda work not sloppy reporting! Arrrrgggg!

Renegade Eye said...

Noserubber: You could learn about manners from people like Sonia or Roman. Take the childish personal attacks to Michelle Malkin or Powerline.

Allende, Grenda and Guatemala "all the same thing", sounds ok to me.

Roman: I think South American political leaders see China as their big trade partner.

beatroot said...

Just to pursue the point I made earlier. When Morales 'nationalised' the Bolivian gas industry on 1 may (international labour day) and hung a banner on the works proclaiming that the gas was now 'the property of Bolivians'.

And the westerb left sang the Internationale!

Western Lefties got excited. Rightwingers got angry.

But this, like much of the south american left, was gesture politics, not some revolution.

When you look at what really happened there it was actually Morales trying to do something about his declining support in the country. The 'nationalisation' was nothing of the sort. It was really a chance for private firms (mainly Brazialn) to re-draw business terms...they have 180 days to do this. While the gas is under control of the government, private firms will still be operating them and still be taking the profits But paying more tax).

If the western left stopped trying to project their radivalism onto other people they would have seen this move for what it was: populist gesture politics.

EmpiresFall said...

It's a good thing Chavez doesn't have any oil or we'd be trying to topple--

Wait.

troutsky said...

Beatroot, your derogatory use of the word "populist" echoes the corporate elite.What would you have Morales do to "prove' his credentials? The fact is the US left has everything to learn from our Latin, brown skinned brothers and little to export.Yours seems a colonialist attitude.

Roman needs to do some authentic research on the effects of NAFTA and the policies of the Washington Consensus for the last forty years. (start with Wikipedia)The media in Venezuela is unabashadly pro-opposition and owned by the same business interests our own media here is (though they pretend nuetrality)Why would Chavez wish to compete in a "popularity" contest in such forums?

Try cowboyincaracas.com for an interesting ,pro-Chavez perspective. Charlie is an ex priest from Wyoming who has lived there for twenty five years.

John Brown said...

Great Blog, Renegade!

I think we can best understan Chavez's move as a way of staving off what are clearly some pretty intense efforts to topple his government.

Right now Uncle Sam has military exercises going on just off Venezuela's shores, "Plan Colombia" on their border, and Uncle Sam's ever-growing presence in Paraguy.

Chavez knows that Uncle Sam's NED fixers in Sumate and the 'opposition' planned to first boycott the elections and then resort to terrorism against the government.

This move is a salvo meant to strike at the heart of the strategy. With any luck, it will be a moot point as the Bolivarian Revolution accelerates and brings a people's government to the healm - a revolution within a revolution, as Comrade Hugo calls it.

Renegade Eye said...

Red Angel: Do you have a blog? I visited several new ones last night.

Populism always has the unpredictability factor. It can encompass a Huey Long, Ralph Nader, Jesse Ventura etc. It usually manifests as class consciousness combined with chauvinism of some sort as nationalism or racism.

Much of the left realizes the limitations of a Chavez or Morales. Evo Morales has never in his life swayed from a parlimentary path. The question is how far the mass movement will push them. The left does have to stand up for them, when facing attack from CIA front groups, proxy armies, and military exercises obviously aimed at them.

Brian said...

Of course his objective is to become yet another president-for-life. Just because the opposition is weak and ineffective and disingenuous doesn't mean that Chavez isn't another populist cult of personality strongman.

I also disagree with the Haikuist. It's clear the US doesn't like Chavez and have acted unethically in Venezuela (shocking, I know). But populist demagogues like Chavez need a demon. If a meddling US didn't exist, Chavez would have to invent them.

Brian said...

I think one needs to avoid the intellectual trap of thinking that the enemy of the imperialist is necessarily pure as the white snow.

Brian said...

If Chavez were a true revolutionary, he'd have transformed institutions to perpetuate his revolution. A successful revolutionary makes himself dispensible.

The Haikuist said...

Brian, I don't disagree with your comment about the need for revolutionary instititutions that exist outside of the individual. I think, as I suggested before, that the Venezuelan revolution has proceeded very slowly and hasn't really gone very far towards instituting a widespread revolution in which the working class owns the means of production. While I think that the Bolivarian Circles are a step in the right direction, I just don't see that the revolution has gone that far yet. I am hopeful and cautiously optimistic, but I am not clear on where or how far this revolution is going.

I for one don't think that the enemy of the imperialist is "pure as the white snow." I am not a fan of Castro, for example. But I just don't see any evidence to support this assertion that "of course" Chavez wants to be president for life. Why "of course"? The Bolivarian constitution is one of the most democratic in the world, and he subjected himself to a recall election as required by that constitution--imagine Bush undergoing a recall election (he would lose badly if he did.)

I could certainly be proven wrong about Chavez, and I hope I won't be, but right now I just don't see any evidence that his revolution isn't democratic. My biggest concern about him isn't that it isn't democratic, but rather that it isn't really particularly revolutionary, and when all is said and one it will turn out to be more rhetoric than reality. I think that Chavez treads a fine line, since if he offends Washington too much, he will suffer the fate of Allende and others like him. So my concern is that he may be afraid to push the revolution too far.

As for inventing demons--Chavez doesn't have to do that. The demon already exists, it is in Washington, as every Latin American leader knows all too well.

sonia said...

Throwing Morales in the same bag as Chavez is wrong. Chavez only got elected after trying an unsuccessful coup d'état (just like Hitler). His thugs intimidate the opposition. He is an evil dictator, whether he gets 50% or 99% of the vote. Morales, on the other hand, is a true democratic leader who stands up to the Communist policies of Washington's War on Drugs. I hope Chavez fails miserably and Morales succeeds.

roman said...

troutsky,
Thanks for the advice. Yes, NAFTA being only 12 years old has not had a chance to develop fully to its stated promise of free flowing trade with Canada and Mexico but it sure as hell is a lot better than before 1994. The reason for this is the incredible economic imbalance that existed at the outset. Surely, you can see that such imbalances are impossible to rectify in a short period of time without pain to the economically advantaged side never mind the political repercussions. The urge to impose trade sanctions and tarriffs to protect constituant industry sectors remains strong. This is not a problem that is exclusively the province of NAFTA. Take a look at the EU situation with French farmers for instance. IMHO, in order to have a chance at a succesful redistribution of economic wealth and natural resources, time is of the essence. Radical revolutionary taking away from the "haves" to give to the "have nots" has never worked, does not work and will never work.
Gradual acclimation of the world populace is the only way to achieve the desired result. The policies that are being persued by this current US administration are prudent and balanced and in due time will attain that elusivedream of economic parity within our hemisphere.

The Haikuist said...

"He is an evil dictator, whether he gets 50% or 99% of the vote."

He got well over 50% of the vote in the last recall election, which was validated by international observers as being a thoroughly free and fair election. So much for him being an "evil dictator". Evil dictators don't conduct free and fair elections. This is the same kind of charge that was levelled in the mid-1980s against the Sandinistas, and it wasn't true about them either.

David Broder said...

The most important thing to remember about Chavez and Morales is that, while they make some limited reforms (e.g. higher taxes on hydrocarbons), they essentially are a brake on the radicalism of the masses. If it were not for their bourgeois-nationalist "leaders" making piecemeal reforms, the workers could achieve a lot more.

For example, Chávez has simply created partnership deals where the Venezuelan state and multinationals like Amoco or BP extract oil "together", with high taxes for the foreign companies. But after facing off the 2002 military coup, the strength of the working class is such that it would be possible to expropriate the multinationals. Chavez does not want to attack the bourgeoisie - he promised to one conference of businessmen to "de-activate the bomb of revolution" which threatens their property.

This is all the more true in Bolivia - while the social movements and trade unions had called for nationalisation of gas reserves and extraction, without compensating multinationals who took the resources illegally in the first place - Morales' "nationalisation" programme is in fact simply to buy shares in capitalised hydrocarbon firms off multinationals. He will not expropriate or drive out international capital - he's actually going to pay BP for an extra 3% share in Andina SA and Chaco SA, just so that the state has 51% control! The leader of the trade union federation, Jaime Solares, calls this "empty populism". When the masses mobilised in 2003 to nationalise the gas, Morales actually told them to take down their barricades - a 50% tax would suffice. During the demos last year, he wasn't even in the country! Now, with his fictitious "nationalisation" of gas, Morales is living out his weak, weak, reformist ambition.

They both show the limits of reformism - what both countries need is an alternative, which can only be provided by channelling existing working-class militancy into political opposition from the Left.

FLORIAN said...

Chavez is an idiot who's going to find himself killed in yet another bloody South American revolution. His "land reform" (land theft) was just one of many evils he's done since taking over as comandante de venezuela. Most Venezuelans will tell you the same too--funny how his biggest supporters are marxist/liberals who haven't even visited Venezuela--much less lived there.

Renegade Eye said...

David Broder: He is only 17 years old, and he writes one of the most sophisticated Marxist writing in blogdom.

Florian: I told him on his blog, there are great differences between Marxists and liberals. I'm producing a show this summer involving Venezuelan folkloric dancers. They want to return home. You don't have to go somewhere to have an opinion.

beatroot said...

Yeah, populism is a crap word.

But me spinning a 'corperate line' is slightly over the top. I was simply saying how things are and not to get too carried away by 'nationalization'...which always has been meanigless...and especially in the Bolivian case, where the nationalization is not a nationalization at all. It's a gesture.

The only difference between Morales and Chavez is...Chavez got nice lots of oil to wind up the US with...and he has my blessing in that.

As the politics of energy becomes the West's number one obsession (after terrorism) watch more governments such as these spring up.

They are throwing the west's fears back in their face.

Justin Delacour said...

"It's a good thing Chavez doesn't have any oil or we'd be trying to topple--

Wait."

Just wanted to say that I thought that quote was really funny.

John Brown said...

I think those of us living on Uncle Sam's Plantation should be wary of becomming to critical of Chavez. After all, compared to what we as revolutaries have been able to achieve here, he's done good work.

Granted, their revolutary process has not been perfect... but few ever have. We should credit Chavez for the good he's done - purging PdVSA, creating a popular resistance, educating the people about Uncle Sam's ambitions - while recognizing that he's an elected leader of a bourgeois republic and, as such, is subject to the pressures associated with it.

It is the working class, not Chavez, who must now accelerate the revolution. The Bolivarian government has given the groups who can do that room to work (instead of shooting them), and for that he deserves our credit and our support.

John Brown said...

Sorry about the sloppy spelling, everyone!

El Patro said...

Interesting article. You know, the new book The Political Zoo has a very funny description of Hugo Chavez. He is depicted as a horned toad with an excessive fetish towards "Beardus dictatorus Cubanus."

Sangroncito said...

Thanks for the link to that site. I'm going to take a look at it.

The media has been doing everything possible to discredit Chavez. Personally I am delighted by the "left-turn" that is occuring in Latin America.

Revolutionary Blogger said...

Awesome blog you got here, added you to my blog roll.

troutsky said...

This is one of the best discussion groups Ive found, wish I had more time.Some feel The Latin Leftists have gone to far, some think not far enough.As I stated at the top of the discussion I was fortunate enough to spend three weeks in Venezuela this winter and realized then the immensity of the "revolutionary" project and the difficulties that lie ahead. I personally believe it to be a brilliant strategy to create parallel institutions and foment change at a measured pace rather than rush headlong into "dismantling" and "expropriation" all at once.(and I am a Marxist)The true radicalness of these movements has to be judged in a historical context and in relation to the objective social conditions "as they exist" as well as the world polity right now.

As for Chavez being a "strongman ,populist" etc, the most hopeful thing I saw there were the new ,grassroots leaders springing up everywhere, assuring me the movement exists independent of Chavez.A revolutionary consciousness is being built in the workers but in a uniquely latin context, and we cannot impose our ideology but should stand in solidarity and hope.They are not perfect revolutionaries but look at us!

sonia said...

Some feel The Latin Leftists have gone to far, some think not far enough...

... and some think that those are not 'Latin Leftists' at all, but Latin Stalinists who, whether they 'forment change at a measured pace' or 'rush headlong', ultimately are leading Venezuela towards a bright, shiny future of TOTALITARIAN OPPRESSION

Whether they are not perfect revolutionaries is not an issue. The issue is whether they want to replace the bourgouis capitalist system with something that has NEVER existed before (and therefore probably cannot exist at all) or with something that has proved itself quite successful (at destroying freedom and prosperity) in the Soviet Union, Cambodia, North Korea, Albania, etc.

Renegade Eye said...

Putting the various Stalinist regimes, and the rightist Cambodian regime which was propped up by US, in the same sentence as democratically elected Hugo Chavez is over the top.

ramo said...

Wonderful post! Although the communist system grants a kind of absolute power that corrupts, and the system does not work as shown in past, US and it's other trade allies never stay behind their opponents in setting ever lower standards in hypocrisy. Just look at Pakistan, the dictator Musharraf is loved by US and allies and Mushy does sham elections and puts in jail all democratic leaders. And US knows that if they allow a true democracy, a mullah will be elected as President and will hinder US operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I do not oppose US operations there, but it shows how countries pursue double standards. It is a big bad world and only selfish interests rule.

Brian said...

"Evil dictators don't conduct free and fair elections"

Smart dictators DO conduct free and fair elections because everything is rigged well before election so they can afford to let the election day appear trouble-free.

Chavez's intimidation of the media, abuse of the rule of law, cult of personality and undermining of public institutions is no different than Berlusconi's. But at least Silvio of Nazareth never led a military coup attempt.

And the reason I say 'of course' Chavez wants to become president for life is because a) he wants to manipulate the constitution to run for further terms (Obasanjo in Nigeria is getting creamed internationally for this) combinded with the fact that, as Haikuist conceded, b) he's done nothign to strengthen national institutions after having absolute power for 7 years. If he'd done that, I would be more clement toward him. But he hasn't because it would've weakened his cult of personality appeal.

sonia said...

Ren,

If ten years from now Venezuela is still a democracy with free elections, free press, opposition parties, Chavez caricatures in newspapers, convertible currency, no rationing of goods, and free travel for all, I will gladly appologize to Chavez for my 'over the top' suspicions. I sincerely wish I am being too alarmist...

the flying monkeys said...

Thanks a lot for stopping by.

Being my first comment, perhaps I shouldn't say too much but Brian is quite correct "Obasanjo in Nigeria is getting creamed internationally for this"

However, let me tell you a little secret. In relation to both your posts and readers comments. I have always considered these very stimulating, quite interesting and in fact stopping by has always been a delight.

Please keep up the great work.

I will keep coming back.

Regards

glenda said...

Thanks. Lovely blog, well-informed commentary, with the exception of nr.

The Haikuist said...

"he wants to manipulate the constitution to run for further terms". What you call "manipulating" I would call 'amending' the constitution. It happens in all countries with constitutions. In fact, here in the US, members of our national legislature can run for as many terms as they want--as could US presidents until Roosevelt died. That no more makes him a dictator than Roosevelt was.

Regardless of whatever charges anyone wants to make against Chavez, the fact remains that the people were free to vote against him in that election if they wanted to--and they chose democratically not to do so.

It is true that I have concerns about the revolution, as I mentioned earlier, but different ones than the ones being levelled against him from the right. I think that these charges that he is undemocratic are a canard, sort of a knee-jerk reaction to his left wing politics and not with a lot of substance. My concern is not that it is undemocratic so much as that it isn't really that much of a revolution. As for establishing revolutionary institutions that will flourish without him, that is indeed a big question. The Bolivarian Circles seemed for a while to be the basis of a new democcratic revolutionary order, especially as they were being organized at a larger level into Bolivarian Houses. But I haven't heard much about them lately, and I don't know if they really will sever as the basis for a revolution or not. I had held out hope for Venezuela's revolution for a long time, but I really don't know where it is going. Chavez seems more bluster than action. Of course, I am happy to see him standing up to US imperialism, and he gets points for that, but ultimately the question remains in my mind as to how revolutionary he really is.

Static Brain said...

Here is some more information on Venezuela for you. Chavez and Citgo

Brian said...

If a constitution is changed simply to allow one person to extend his term indefinitely, then I'd call that manipulating the constitution.

if the constitution is changed on the premise that the country would fall apart if one particular person weren't in charge, then it's an admission of hideous failure. overdependence on the abilities (charisma, in this case) of one man is not the sign of democracy.

Obasanjo in Nigeria is being creamed internationally for the same reason, and rightly so. If Bush tried to manipulate the US Constitution to serve a third term, don't you think there'd be another hue and cry?

Chavez is a populist egomaniac dependent on the cult of personality over substance. It makes no difference to mean that he's supposedly left wing. As far as I'm concerned, he's no different than Belusconi.

The Haikuist said...

"If a constitution is changed simply to allow one person to extend his term indefinitely, then I'd call that manipulating the constitution."

No, actually, it is called democracy. We have congresspeople and Senators in the US who can extend their terms indefinitely. And, in fact, many supporters of Reagan did talk about extending the constitution to allow him to run for more terms. I have never favored term limits myself, because I consider them undemocratic. If the people want to re-elect a politician for additional terms of office, as they did in the case of Roosevelt, that should be their right--just as it also should be the right of the people to vote on recalling a politician at any time. That is a right that the Venezuelan people have, which they exercized a few years ago. Chavez can only extend his term if the people vote him in, and if the people do not remove him via a recall election. It is all quite democratic, actually.

The Haikuist said...

By the way, those who are interested in the subject of Chavez might want to read the article in the British paper "The Guardian", at http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1774913,00.html .

Brian said...

For one thing, the US Constitution has always allowed Congresspeople to serve unlimited terms. This is because they don't have the singular authority to decree laws or command the armed forces.

Check out the page on Venezuela at Human Rights Watch, hardly a friend of the Bush administration. I give them more credibility than the Bush apologists, Chavez apologists or yourself.

Curbs on free expression tightened. Human rights lawyer faces judicial persecution. Supreme Court packing (something else he shares with FDR). Attacks on judicial independence.

It's also a crime to insult the president and public institutions. It's hardly democracy if you can't criticize your opponent without being thrown in jail.


http://www.hrw.org/doc?t=americas&c=venezu

The Haikuist said...

And until the 1940s, the US constitution always allowed Presidents to run for as many terms as they wanted to also. In principle, there is simply nothing undemocratic about the absence of term limits. This complaint about Chavez having--horrors!--the right to run for multiple terms in free and democratic elections is so meaningless and irrelevant as to be laughable.

Renegade Eye said...

I deleted an apolitical personal attack on one of the people commenting.

the flying monkeys said...

It would appear the attempt by Nigeria's leading political party (pdp) may have failed.

The senate yesterday dismissed the "Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Amendment) Bill, 2006".

The bill, which contained 116 proposed clauses for amendment, had sought, among others, to alter section 137 (1) (b) of the constitution to extend the maximum tenure of the President from two to three terms of four years each.

Jay Cliche said...

noserubber

Nationalization of oil doesn't mean stealing foreign companies oil, it means that the country nationalizes it's oil. This means that it's resources are said to be owned by the government, and in this case a democratic government, to be used for the benifit of said nation. It's not stealing, by revoking charters. US companies had these resources for a while, and now they don't. Why don't you read and come up with YOUR own fucking opionion? That's really rude. Nationalization or natural resources is HARDLY stealing from a foreign company. It's simply a change in law to disallow foreign ownership of resources.

Please don't "1984 (change) the deffinition of privatizaion noserubber.

Great post Renegade...you were my first hit on this topic. I knew it had to be a lie, as western press hates anyone who privatizes there oil. Note Iran in the 1950's and today. That's why we are at war with them, because they felt that their national resources should benifit their nation first, not Britian and then Iran's paid top 10% and nothing to the general populace. This imperialism is simply wrong, and no matter what side tracks come about from their religion or other slurs, it's their right as a nation. Thanks for this post.