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The Lounge => Media and Inspiration => Topic started by: JongWK on August 07, 2008, 09:35:24 am

Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: JongWK on August 07, 2008, 09:35:24 am
Remember all those laws that Chavez wanted to enshrine his power, but the people rejected in a vote last December? Well, he just passed them by special decree (http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080807/D92D4QGO0.html):

Quote

Venezuelans protest Chavez's new socialist push

Aug 6, 9:14 PM (ET)

By IAN JAMES

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Riot police used tear gas Wednesday to block hundreds of Venezuelans protesting the latest moves by President Hugo Chavez to concentrate his power. The demonstrators said a blacklist of opposition candidates and a series of socialist decrees are destroying what's left of their democracy.

Though the protest of about 1,000 people chanting "freedom!" was small compared to past marches, there is a growing public outcry over the sidelining of key government opponents ahead of state and local elections in November.

Chavez opponents also are outraged by 26 laws the president just decreed, some of them mirroring the socialist measures voters rejected in a December referendum.

"We said in the referendum that we didn't want that, and now he's put it in the decrees," said protester Josefina Bravo, a 59-year-old who wore a sticker reading "No means no" on her baseball cap. "That's the problem we have: All the powers are concentrated in the president."

Chavez issued the decrees just before the expiration of special legislative powers that allowed him to make laws without National Assembly approval for the past 18 months.

For a time after the defeat of his constitutional referendum in December that would have imposed radical economic changes and let him run for re-election indefinitely, Chavez seemed to be taking a more pragmatic, less confrontational approach to his socialist project.

Now the leftist leader is pushing hard again to remake Venezuelan society.

One decree establishes a civilian militia that critics warn could emulate the citizen groups that control many aspects of community life in Cuba. Another gives Chavez the ability to designate regional authorities who critics say could undermine the power of locally elected officials.

Other decrees empower Chavez to expropriate goods from private businesses and increase state control over food, punishing business owners who fail to comply with price controls with fines, closure and even 10-year prison terms.

The decrees came down just as the Supreme Court, whose justices were appointed by the Chavista-dominated National Assembly, on Tuesday upheld a decision by Venezuela's top anti-corruption official to bar 272 mostly opposition-aligned candidates from running.

The blacklist was drawn up by another Chavez ally, Comptroller General Clodosbaldo Russian. None of the candidates on the list have been convicted of corruption or other crimes. Opponents note that some pro-Chavez politicians who have been publicly accused of corruption aren't on the list.

Russian said his office has not singled out either political camp. And Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday that the disqualifications affect mostly pro-Chavez candidates, while sidelining only a small percentage of all the opposition candidates in the country.

He said Venezuelans should be proud that the Supreme Court has "stuck to the constitution."

Chavez said anybody who objects to his decrees is free to challenge them to the Supreme Court. But opponents figure there is little chance the justices will rule against this president. A day after upholding the blacklist, the same court on Wednesday dismissed a challenge by popular Caracas mayoral candidate Leopoldo Lopez and five other blacklisted politicians.

Referring to the group as "little boys," Maduro accused Lopez of considering himself above the law because he's from the capital's "bourgeoisie," and challenged him to prove his innocence.

But these opponents say the Chavistas have achieved what amounts to a presidential coup, sidelining any opponents with a good chance of winning mayoral and gubernatorial posts. Lopez accused Chavez and the Supreme Court of "giving a kick to the constitution" as he spoke to demonstrators.

"You're afraid of the people and you, president, hid behind the Supreme Court," he said.

Lopez led protesters down a Caracas avenue before police in riot gear blocked them in front of a government building, tossing tear gas canisters into the crowd. Protest leaders vowed more marches, including a larger one Saturday.

---

Associated Press writers Fabiola Sanchez and Rachel Jones, in Caracas, contributed to this report.
Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: RPGPundit on August 07, 2008, 11:51:39 am
Hmm. I wonder what the Chavez-fanatics over at Tangency will say to try to defend him this time?

RPGPundit
Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: JongWK on August 07, 2008, 12:32:58 pm
There's a decent thread over there, actually, though I guess it won't be long until apologists step in to explain us how we are getting it all wrong...
Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: HinterWelt on August 07, 2008, 01:18:15 pm
O.k. So as a US Citizen I know my part in the script is to hate Chavez. Who likes this guy? Honestly not following much of this at all but wondering why the second revolution has not come. Does he feed the poor or something?

Thanks,
Bill
Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: S'mon on August 07, 2008, 04:39:18 pm
Quote from: HinterWelt;233092
Does he feed the poor or something?


Yes, he does.  He'd be pretty stupid not to as he needs their support.
Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: Jackalope on August 07, 2008, 04:42:03 pm
Quote from: HinterWelt;233092
O.k. So as a US Citizen I know my part in the script is to hate Chavez. Who likes this guy? Honestly not following much of this at all but wondering why the second revolution has not come. Does he feed the poor or something?


I dunno, but I heard he's been handing out Ak-47s like they were candy, and doing his best to arm the populace (ostensibly in case of a US invasion), as well as putting a lot of economic control into people's hands at the neighborhood and town level, which means he's doing everything you absolutely should not do if you are seriously worried about the possibility of a popular revolt: arm the populace and decentralize economic power?  Sounds like a piss poor plan for maintaining a dictatorship to me.

I don't know what to think of Chavez.  He's certainly no Castro (and revolutionary lefty that I am, I don't hate Castro that much, and I think Cuba is an amazing story of post-colonial success), despite the right's attempts to paint him as such.  He says some inflammatory things, but he says them in Spanish so I have to rely on the American media to translate them and put them in context...and given the American media's history of misrepresenting politics in South America to protect American interests or diminish the effects of US meddling, I really have no reason to believe the hype.
Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: Jackalope on August 07, 2008, 04:43:39 pm
Also, anyone claiming that tear-gassing some protesters is a "step towards dictatorship" is walking on some really thin ice.  Looking at his list of offenses (tear gassing protesters, passing laws that closely resemble laws rejected in a referendum), I'd have to say that Washington State is "moving towards a dictatorship."

We tear-gassed way more people at the WTO gathering, and the local legislature has pulled the pass-after-rejected trick at least three times in the last decade (most notably with the public funding of the new Seahawks stadium, and the monorail project that was rejected twice),
Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: HinterWelt on August 07, 2008, 05:26:19 pm
Quote from: S'mon;233177
Yes, he does.  He'd be pretty stupid not to as he needs their support.


No, he does not have to be stupid, just crazy. ;)

Bill
Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: NotYourMonkey on August 07, 2008, 06:00:06 pm
From the sound of things, Chavez is trying to consolidate power toward himself.  
It is not a right thing, it is not a left thing, it is a Chavez thing.  

I see him as something of a mixed bag.  On one hand, a lot of things he's done have needed doing.  Others have been pretty broken.  Slip sliding away from being a Republic is never a good thing.

I think the Chavez hate in the U.S. is pretty overblown in the sense that this guy is no threat to us, and we don't seem to have near as big a problem when some nascent democracy slides toward right wing dictatorships, but still, deciding to consolidate power when an (apparently) free and fair vote told him "no" is not a good thing to do.
Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: RPGPundit on August 07, 2008, 06:48:09 pm
Quote from: Jackalope;233182

 He says some inflammatory things, but he says them in Spanish so I have to rely on the American media to translate them and put them in context...and given the American media's history of misrepresenting politics in South America to protect American interests or diminish the effects of US meddling, I really have no reason to believe the hype.


I've heard and can understand him in the original Spanish, and I can tell you that what he's said is pretty well as craptacular as the media translates it to be.  Granted that the US media tends to focus on the times he's being anti-american, so the fact that they're reporting factually on him at those times doesn't preclude the reality that their reporting would still be biased.

But yeah, the guy is a dangerous fuckhead. Mainly because he's such an egomaniac that he couldn't possibly bear being out of the spotlight in a quiet retirement. It just wouldn't be in him.  The only way he'll go is if he's forced out, either by his own people, the military, or some outside force.

His first reaction to the referendum going against him, apparently, was to rant and rave and threaten to ignore the results, until (allegedly) he underwent some gentle "convincing" by the armed forces implying that they wouldn't back him if he tried this.
So now, he's trying to do the runaround on this.

RPGPundit
Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: JongWK on August 07, 2008, 09:21:50 pm
Quote from: Jackalope;233184
Also, anyone claiming that tear-gassing some protesters is a "step towards dictatorship" is walking on some really thin ice.  


I see that you conveniently ignore that key opposition leaders were banned from the elections, that Chávez gave himself the power to appoint new authorities at whim, etc...
Title: Venezuela heading towards dictatorship faster than ever
Post by: John Morrow on August 07, 2008, 10:22:09 pm
Quote from: JongWK;233291
I see that you conveniently ignore that key opposition leaders were banned from the elections, that Chávez gave himself the power to appoint new authorities at whim, etc...


You have seen the apologists and they are here.