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Venezuela election reform - round two
Old 01-23-2009, 08:39 AM   #1
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Venezuela election reform - round two

Venezuelan President Chavez personally wrote the revised Venezuelan constitution, which included a two term limit for president. He now regrets this and wants to stay in power forever continue his reforms until complete.

Chavez proposed a constitutional reform via referendum in 12/07 to allow several changes in the constitution, with three major areas Ė education reform, a redefinition of private property (granting the state rights over personal property) and allowing the president to run for re-election indefinitely.

All the reforms were narrowly defeated (51-49%).

The venezuelan national assembly has now approved a new referendum Ė this time only covering the reelection of elected officials (aka term limits). The date was set earlier this week, along with the text for the new referendum.

Iíve done my best to translate, but it has been quite difficult. Iím a poor translator, but this is the most convoluted, obfuscating electoral wording I have ever witnessed. An amazing expression of the political fear of truth and simple talk. Our system and politicians shine by comparison.

The referendum question (my poor translation) of 12/2007

Quote:
Do you approve of the constitutional reform, with all itís sections, sub-sections, paragraphs, temporary and permanent measures and dispositions, as presented in two parts, supported by the national assembly, with public approval and based on the initiative by President Hugo Chavez.
The new, revised referendum question of 2/2009

Quote:
Do you approve of the expansion of the political rights of venezuelans as considered in the ammendments 230, 160, 174, 192, and 162 of the Venezuelan Constitution as proposed by initiative of the national assembly to allow running for all publicly elected offices in such a way that the election be the exclusive expression of the peopleís vote?
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:54 AM   #2
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The new wording is a work or art--who could be against it? An "expansion of rights"! The election as "the exclusive expression of the people's vote"! The only positive signs are:
-- They are having a vote at all. Chavez is probably only doing it because he's confident he'll win (with the advantage of full control of nearly all the media and things like the misleading wording of the referendum). Yes, Chavez will get the fig-leaf of legitimacy provided by the election results, but at least he's not brazen enough to just take the country over by force.
-- The megalomaniac appears to have at least realized that the explicit mention of his name in the first referendum was not helpful.

A fine country with a lot of natural resources. It's a shame. One big benefit of low oil prices is that Chavez has less money to use in causing mischief and to use in masking the impact of his disastrous economic policies. If it continues long enough, he'll be gone.

Poor leadership is very expensive, and it's not the leaders who pay the price.
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:50 AM   #3
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Chavez counts the votes. The buzz among my VZ friends is that the margins were a lot wider than advertised. He couldn't ignore them, but he could make them seem smaller.

I would place bets on the results this time.
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
One big benefit of low oil prices is that Chavez has less money to use in causing mischief and to use in masking the impact of his disastrous economic policies. If it continues long enough, he'll be gone.
I would really like to believe this, but maybe long enough is longer than we think. Cuba is an example.

Ha
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:51 PM   #5
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I would really like to believe this, but maybe long enough is longer than we think. Cuba is an example.

Ha
A long and brutal dictatorship is possible, but hopefully it won't happen in VZ. They've known prosperity, have had a fairly decent-sized middle class, and the Internet and satellite TV makes it more difficult to get a despotic regime up and running today. Plus, Cuba (and North Korea) had big sponsors who were willing to subsidize them for decades just to poke the US in the eye. Russia might do the same for Venezuela, but they've got their own problems.
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Old 01-24-2009, 01:33 PM   #6
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Don't forget Morales in Bolivia. The trend is catching on.

Bolivian vote on constitution could help president - CNN.com
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Old 01-24-2009, 02:14 PM   #7
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Venezuela doesn't just have petroleum - there's bauxite, titanium, gold, diamonds, iron ore, lots of inexpensive electricity (guri dam) lots of caribbean coast and jungle (fish and wood). Plenty enough to finance Chavez and Venezuelan basic needs. Venezuela needs no subsidy.

Chavez's stay has already been long and brutal - but not a dictatorship so far. It's hard to see how he can achieve a legitimate victory in the upcoming vote, as even many of his supporters agree with term limits. We will soon see. I'm not optimistic, as he has already shown he is willing to do anything to stay in power, cause or incur any damage or pain, and he has been weeding the armed forces of officers not personally loyal to him.

Michael
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