Airwave From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 1117 posts, RR: 3 Posted (7 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 1204 times:
Original article posted here. Fair use excerpt follows.
Quote: 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.
Speaking at a stadium packed with supporters in central Lara state, Chavez said he would hold a referendum to put the question of his remaining in office to Venezuelans if the opposition pulls out of upcoming presidential elections.
It was not clear if Chavez was talking about holding a legally binding vote to eliminate term limits or proposing a plebiscite.
The Venezuelan Constitution allows a president to be re-elected only once in immediate succession. Chavez is eligible for re-election to another six-year term in December, but if he wins he would not be able to run again in 2012.
One of his quotes was, "I...ask you...if you agree with Chavez being president until 2031." Does he usually refer to himself in the third person like that?
My apologies if this has already been discussed, but my seach didn't discern anything. If this is a duplicate thread, please delete. Thank you.
When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
Doona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3751 posts, RR: 13 Reply 4, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 1124 times:
Quoting CO7e7 (Reply 1): Is he planning on becoming like some Middle Eastern Presidents ??
Hey, not only Middle Eastern presidents do this kind of stuff, or would at least want to do this kind of stuff. You have the lunatic in Belarus, Berlusconi in Italy, and you won't see Vladimir Putin leaving the Russian throne for some time, the list goes on.
Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
LTU932 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 13864 posts, RR: 51 Reply 5, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1115 times:
Is that guy trying to undermine the very same constitution he had a Constitutional Assembly create for his "Bolivarian Republic"? What the hell is he thinking? Personally though, I've been expecting this from Chávez.
Quoting Doona (Reply 4): you won't see Vladimir Putin leaving the Russian throne for some time, the list goes on.
Why do you think some people already call him the "Tsar"?
Mdsh00 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 4119 posts, RR: 9 Reply 7, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1076 times:
Is this a big surprise? Chavez has been heading down the dictator slope for quite some time now. If successful, I feel bad for the Venezuelan people because most of them are good people and don't deserve this clown.
"Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a big fat white guy who is threatened by change."
Luisde8cd From Pitcairn Islands, joined Aug 2004, 2522 posts, RR: 32 Reply 9, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 1054 times:
He changed the constitution, he got his rubber-stamp parliament, he got his best buddies appointed justices in the Supreme Court, he changed the country's flag and seal, he changed history books and now he will use his pro-Chavez Electoral Council to make him win that referendum so that he can stay in power "legally" until 2031.
Meanwhile poverty levels keep rising and rising and the ignorant world thinks that he's actually helping the poor of this country. When he came to power he suspended several social welfare programs like:
- Bulto estudiantil (Student backpack given each year full of school supplies like notebooks, pencils, markers, etc... to poor kids in public schools).
- Vaso de leche y comida diaria estudiantil (A glass of milk in the morning and a complete meal at lunch break given for free to poor kids in public schools).
- Becas Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho (Great Marshall of Ayacucho scholarship program given to people who want to get higher education degrees. Students benefiting from the program were sent abroad to very respected universities. Some of them got the scholarships in Venezuelan universities.)
Etc etc etc..
People used to get those benefits without having to wear a red T-shirt or cap or without having to proove that they didn't vote against the president. Nowdays anyone who dares to oppose Chavez is regarded as a traitor to the revolution and can be openly discriminated while the justices of the country do nothing to prevent it.
Quoting Mdsh00 (Reply 8): Is this a big surprise? Chavez has been heading down the dictator slope for quite some time now. If successful, I feel bad for the Venezuelan people because most of them are good people and don't deserve this clown
LTU932 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 13864 posts, RR: 51 Reply 12, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1009 times:
It may not be the most accurate comparison, and I hate to make such comparisons, but it reminds me of Adolf Hitler and the Enabling Act. What Hitler did with the Enabling Act was to start consolidating all power for himself and even decree laws that may be unconstitutional, overriding parliament whenever he wants. However that law needed to be renewed every few years by what was left of parliament.
What Chávez wants on the other hand is to have the people decide on whether he should stay in office beyond the max terms he can serve, not Parliament like Hitler. But it should be obvious that this process will never be transparent, and that electoral fraud and/or intimidation of the voters in this plebiscite will be a given, so Chávez can win.
It is indeed the beginning of a dictatorship, though Chávez has already become in recent years a de-facto dictator. Part of what Chávez pretends with this referendum can in fact be compared to the Enabling Act of 1933, but not all of it. However, it opens the door for further acts by Hugo Chávez which may indeed render the very constitution he wanted and got drafted and approved useless. It will be only a matter of time before he fully consolidates power for himself. This is just the beginning for him.
Mexico, up for grabs
By Jorge G. Castaneda, JORGE G. CASTANEDA is a former foreign minister of Mexico and a professor of politics and Latin American studies at New York University.
May 9, 2006
CONTRARY TO recent expectations, Mexico has a competitive presidential election on its hands. With about two months to go before the July 2 vote, former front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the populist ex-mayor of Mexico City, has lost his lead in the polls and, most important, the aura of inevitability. Some polls show the National Action Party candidate, Felipe Calderon, 3 to 10 points in the lead.
Hubris has obviously hurt Lopez Obrador. But arrogance and disrespect for the electorate — his refusal to participate in a debate or to address any substantive issue — are not a sufficient explanation for his collapse in the polls. Another underlying reason for Lopez Obrador's unexpected downturn lies in his failure to move to the center and separate himself from the more radical stances and factions of his party — the Party of the Democratic Revolution — his allies (including many ultra-left radical groups in Mexico City) and his foreign sympathizers (in Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia).
Mexico remains a terribly conservative country; Mexicans desire change only sporadically and in small doses, and they generally loathe stridency, confrontation and clean breaks with anything. The former front-runner has proved unable to make the move from left-wing rabble-rouser to centrist statesman; his base has simply not permitted this transformation. That base is, in a nutshell, too intent on revolution. It is a minority (no more than 15% of the electorate) but a significant one, highly concentrated in two or three regions. It admires Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, wants to repeal NAFTA, renationalize parts of the economy and spend money extravagantly.
Lopez Obrador is not part of that base and does not subscribe to many of its tenets, but he is, increasingly, its hostage. Winning an election on the extreme left of the political spectrum is difficult anywhere; in Mexico, it is almost impossible.
Another factor explaining the populist implosion is the success of his main rival — not another candidate but Vicente Fox, the current president. Indeed, it almost seems as if instead of Calderon running for president, Fox is running for reelection. He is successfully — so far — transforming the July 2 vote into a referendum on his own record. And he is winning, thanks to the fact that inflation and interest rates are at their lowest levels ever; employment and foreign reserves are up; and consumer credit, anti-poverty programs, health coverage and housing are successfully expanding.
And who knows, Fox may even get immigration reform in Washington. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Fox, who is barred constitutionally from a second term, is finishing with a flourish. Logically enough, this helps his National Action Party colleague Calderon, whose merits are considerable but who could always use help from his friends.
But Lopez Obrador is not out of the running. He has 60% of voter preferences in the Mexico City metropolitan area, which accounts for a quarter of the nation's electorate. He has immense resources available to him. He inspires devotion, at times of a fanatical nature, among the country's poor, and they are a majority. He has shown himself to be incredibly resilient in the past, shrugging off one apparently fatal blow after another. He is not finished, despite his own best efforts.
The outcome of the election will largely depend on who can move faster and more clearly to the center — Calderon from the right or Lopez Obrador from the left. Another question is whether Institutional Revolutionary Party candidate Roberto Madrazo deservedly continues to sink, allowing many of his followers to switch to Calderon to head off a left-wing triumph; still another is whether Fox stays on a roll.
But for now, Fox and Calderon together are making Mexico's still-in-diapers democracy work, and Lopez Obrador is proving what many have always thought: When push comes to shove, Mexicans, despite their democratic inexperience, are not dupes. Like Cuba, the country had a revolution, but back in 1910; like Bolivia, it nationalized its oil, but back in 1938; and, like Venezuela, it lived through more than a decade of interminable populist rhetoric, but back in the 1970s and '80s. Once seems to be enough, on all counts.
Kids!....we are going to the happiest place on earth...TIJUANA! signed: Krusty the Clown