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Life Talk!

President for Life Chavez

gkisseberth

Germany

A firmer grip on power
Feb 16th 2009 | CARACAS
From Economist.com

The populist president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, wins a referendum on constitutional change

AFPAFP 

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BY WINNING a clear victory in a referendum on Sunday February 15th the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, has succeeded in removing constitutional limits to his indefinite re-election. The president, who has governed the country since 1999, immediately declared, to a crowd of cheering supporters at the presidential palace, that “this soldier is a pre-candidate for the presidency, for the period 2013-19”.

Venezuela's electoral authority (CNE) announced that 54.4% of votes were cast in favour of removing term limits for all popularly elected officials, with 45.4% voting against. It was a bitter blow for an opposition that had defeated the re-election initiative in a December 2007 referendum on a larger constitutional reform. Mr Chávez merely repackaged the proposal and threw the entire apparatus of government behind a blitzkrieg campaign to force it through.

“More than a struggle against a proposal,” said Omar Barboza, the president of A New Time, an opposition party, “this has been a struggle against the state”. Mr Chávez, he told a press conference, had shown “no scruples” in using public resources to wage his campaign. Public buildings and vehicles were plastered with pro-Chávez propaganda. State television and radio channels turned over almost their entire resources to promoting the campaign. And even the Caracas metro obliged passengers to listen to campaign jingles. The response of the CNE, which is dominated by Chávez supporters, was timid and slow.

In a bid to repeat their 2007 campaign tactics, the opposition parties took a back seat, leaving the student movement to spearhead rallies and marches. But the president ordered their dispersal “with a good dose of gas”, and the authorities even denied them permission to march in Caracas during the closing days of the campaign.

Parliament, in which Mr Chávez has an overwhelming majority, had been instructed to propose the constitutional amendment. It framed a tortuous, 75-word question which avoided all mention of the issue of indefinite re-election. Instead, it asked voters, in barely intelligible terms, whether they wanted to “expand the rights of the people”, by reforming five articles of the constitution.

The president obliged all radio and television channels to carry his victory speech, which came immediately after the CNE’s announcement. It was long on rhetoric and extremely short on magnanimity or reconciliation. “We have opened the doors to the future,” a rapturous Mr Chávez told his supporters. “What was being decided today was my political destiny, and the destiny of my life”. He reiterated his belief that the only future for Venezuela lay with his “21st century socialism”.

He had little but contempt for the opposition. Calling them, “those who would deny the motherland”, he said they had “failed today and will fail for ever”. When the crowd began to shout “Ledezma out”, in reference to the recently elected opposition mayor of Caracas, the president chastised them. He said they were “besmirching” his victory rally with references to “a truly insignificant being”.

Despite the victory Mr Chávez faces a difficult year. Although voters backed the constitutional change, opinion polls suggest that a large majority do not want to see his re-election. The price of Venezuelan oil has fallen by around $90 a barrel since last July. And at under $40, it is currently well adrift of the $60 established in the budget for 2009. Last year, more than nine out of every ten dollars in foreign earnings came from oil. There was a hint in the president’s speech of the difficulties that lie ahead. Instead of the further radicalisation of the revolution that many had been expecting, the president said this would be a year of “consolidation”.

Noting that his was a “government for the long term”, he promised that conditions would be “much better…from 2010 onwards”. That, he vowed, would enable the resumption of the revolution’s march. In the meantime, he promised a campaign against corruption, bureaucracy and crime. A tacit acknowledgment, perhaps, that winning in 2012 may take more than just an adjustment to the constitution.

03:24 PM Feb 16 2009 |

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fabs1

fabs1

United Kingdom

oh shit….

04:59 PM Feb 16 2009 |

fd2

fd2

Argentina

mm  chavez won ¬¬ thats too bad :/xDxD

05:29 PM Feb 16 2009 |

gkisseberth

Germany

at least he did good things for his people

 

he's pretty much ruined the economy of his country. It's an agriculturally rich country, yet people can't find food or it's horribly overpriced. (just one example)

05:39 PM Feb 16 2009 |

javamanju

javamanju

India

I hate this guy,

But his speech is always firey and sometimes good to here. 

05:54 PM Feb 16 2009 |

fabs1

fabs1

United Kingdom

"I hate this guy,

But his speech is always firey and sometimes good to here. "

 

Ditto on both.

06:11 PM Feb 16 2009 |

gkisseberth

Germany

these facts realy were before Chavez period but now he distributed the wealth of oil to people fairly

 

he'd love people to think that.  He has distributed a lot of the ol weatlth, but hasn't really helped peopleto become part of the economy, he's just passing out cash to win support.

 

When his own government showed in 2005 that poverty had actually gone up during his first 6 years, did he try to do something about it? No, he just changed the definition of poverty.

 

There's almost no freedom of the press, crime is rampant (the murder rate has tripled since he's been in power) and he provides money, weapons and support to terrorist groups. Now he can "legally" buy and bully his way to staying in power as long as he likes. The EU envoy was on the right track. This is a dictator in the making. 

06:12 PM Feb 16 2009 |

duvenp

duvenp

Venezuela

oh man i´m from venezuela and that´s so bad.. i feel so lost now.. i dont know what ill do for get out of here???.... i dont wanna life in a country when later we wont do whatever we want….!!! freeeeee

08:23 PM Feb 16 2009 |

fabs1

fabs1

United Kingdom

@duvenp:

 

Ay… poor guy. I feel sorry for you. Go to Canada!

09:10 PM Feb 16 2009 |

SantiagoC

SantiagoC

Uruguay

I have a venezuelan friend and he thinks the same than you duvenp :/

02:27 AM Feb 17 2009 |