Chavez calls Bush a bigger socialist than himself

Posted on October 16th, 2008 by bile
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Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chavez, knows a fellow leftist when he sees one:

Chavez, who calls capitalism an evil and ex-Cuban leader Fidel Castro his mentor, ridiculed Bush for his plan for the federal government to take equity in American banks despite the U.S. right-wing’s criticism of Venezuelan nationalizations.”Bush is to the left of me now,” Chavez told an audience of international intellectuals debating the benefits of socialism. “Comrade Bush announced he will buy shares in private banks.”

It’s pretty hard to argue with ol’ Hugo’s observations. (Link via Drudge.)

I don’t know that he’s left of Chavez… but he’s trying.

Police State Venezuela

Posted on June 5th, 2008 by bile
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Many people expected that after his painful electoral defeat in the constitutional referendum last year, Hugo Chávez was going to stop his systematic assault against democracy and civil liberties in Venezuela.

Last week, he decreed a new intelligence law (no need for a National Assembly here) that basically turns Venezuela into a police state. The new law requires that people:

“… comply with requests to assist the agencies, secret police or community activist groups loyal to Mr. Chávez. Refusal can result in prison terms of two to four years for most people and four to six years for government employees.”

The law also stipulates that the police agencies can conduct surveillance activities on the population, like wiretapping, without a warrant. Furthermore, the authorities can deny access to evidence to defendant lawyers under the grounds of “national security.”

It’s interesting how people sympathetic to Chávez around the world, but particularly in Latin America, call fascist to anyone who criticizes their beloved leader. They fail to recognize that many of his policies, especially laws like this one, have fascism written all over them.

As one socialist dictator falls this one rises.

Venezuelans Reject Chavez’s Plans for Constitution

Posted on December 3rd, 2007 by bile
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez suffered his first electoral loss in nine years as voters turned down his plan to revamp the nation’s constitution and tighten his grip on power.

Voters refused to abolish presidential term limits or allow government censorship during declared emergencies. Chavez also sought to shorten the work day and end central bank autonomy.

Chavez’s 69 proposed changes to the constitution were grouped into two blocks. The first set lost 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent, the second block 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent. About 8.9 million people voted, or 56 percent of those eligible, according to a statement on the election agency’s Web site.…

First the good news: Venezuelans rejected a constitutional reform that would further radicalize the country’s economy. Then the bad news: It really won’t make much of a difference. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez can bypass the results through decrees, local business leaders say.

The referendum over 69 changes to the constitution included reforms that would formally lift the central bank’s autonomy (and control over international reserves), reduce the work day from eight to six hours and give the government greater discretion in expropriating private property. One proposal included taking out references to the guarantees for private property (article 112 of the constitution) and instead create a “Socialist Economy.”

This shows, just like the 2000 and 2004 United States Presidential elections, the problem with democracy and republics. 4.512 and 4.548 million people have dictated 69 conditions for the other 11.381 and 11.345 million respectively. Even if you assume that the 6.993 million who didn’t vote don’t care either way, 49.3% and 48.9% of those who did vote are continuing to live under a system they don’t approve of.

I’m glad to see that some of Venezuelan people realize it’s a bad idea to allow the government to take control of so many things. Unfortunately for them, as the article says, Chavez still can implement many of his plans without approval from the people or their representatives. They could also attempt to place them on another national ballot. Given that it failed by such slim margins it could pass on another pass. I wonder why the 69 changes were split into 2 blocks instead of each having a separate vote. I’d imagine with how close the results were that some of them would have passed. I’m also very curious as to the reasons why so many did not turn up to vote. These were major changes proposed.

Gunfire erupts at Venezuela university

Posted on November 10th, 2007 by bile
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Masked gunmen opened fire on students returning from a march in which tens of thousands of Venezuelans denounced President Hugo Chavez’s attempts to expand his power through constitutional changes.

Students protested in at least six other cities, and several turned violent with rock-throwing youths clashing with police shooting plastic bullets at demonstrators.

The violence broke out after an estimated 80,000 anti-Chavez demonstrators — led by university students — marched peacefully to the Supreme Court to protest constitutional changes that would greatly expand Chavez’s power if voters agree to the changes in December. Unrest, if it continues, could mar a Dec. 2 referendum on the controversial reforms.

The amendments being protested would abolish presidential term limits, give the president control over the Central Bank and let him create new provinces governed by handpicked officials.

I’ve heard from coworkers with Venezuelan friends that a fairly large portion of the population does not like what Chavez has been doing. This seems to validate that. Lets hope the US doesn’t do anything stupid to unite the pro and anti-Chavez people like we are doing in Iran.

Venezuela Congress OKs Chavez’s Reforms

Posted on August 23rd, 2007 by bile
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Venezuela’s National Assembly, dominated by allies of President Hugo Chavez, gave unanimous initial approval Tuesday to constitutional reforms that would allow him to run for re-election and possibly govern for decades to come.

Final approval is expected within two or three months, and voters will then decide whether to approve the changes in a referendum.

The reforms, if approved, would extend presidential terms from six to seven years and allow Chavez to run again in 2013.

Other reforms would create new types of property to be managed by cooperatives, give neighborhood-based “communal councils” administrative responsibilities usually reserved for elected officials and create “a popular militia” that would form part of the military. The workday would also be reduced to six hours.

I’m looking forward to this. Will the people of Venezuela continue giving up control to Chavez as our voters have given to Congress and the President? Will the next president start a preemptive war with Venezuela the same way we have with Iraq?

Hugo Chavez rants for several hours

Posted on August 21st, 2007 by bile
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President Hugo Chavez Sunday announced that Venezuela’s official time will be put ahead by half an hour starting January 1.

“Its about the metabolic effect, where the human brain is conditioned by sunlight,” Chavez said in a rambling, seven hour discussion on his radio show “Alo, Presidente” with Science and Technology Minister Hector Navarro.

Specifically, Chavez said the Law of Metereology will be changed to reflect Venezuela’s new time grid on the map showing it to be three-and-a-half hours behind GMT instead of the current four hours.

Minister Navarro said the longer day would benefit “all Venezuelans in their jobs and studies.”

Chavez also announced an ambitious plan to build several artificial islands off the coast of Venezuela to harbor cities, submarine bases, scientific research centers, as well as oil and mining facilities.

“There’s 760,000 square kilometers (294,000 square miles) that no other country but Venezuela has a right to,” he said referring to Venezuela’s continental platform.

Have fun with that. I wonder what neighboring countries think of this. In the least it’d be a pain. As for the artificial islands… seems like a lot of effort and expensive. I really can’t wait till the oil market drops and he loses his income. Then we will see how good a socialist he is. Chavez in this ramble also called “Mr. Danger” (GWB) “a donkey” and “a drunkard.”