Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chronicling Chavez

Daniel in Venezuela (link in sidebar) has been chronicling the recent events - the election - in Venezuela...

Daniel also recommends Roger Cohen, Times foreign editor and owner of a blog at the International Herald Tribune. He has started to write extensively on Venezuela and is now a must read for anyone interested on this topic. His latest column on the NYT, "The Limits of 21st-Century Revolution" is clear explanation why in the end Chavez will fail but also why we will have everyday more and more Chavez like concoctions trying to rule on us (unless?).
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From Newsweek: Attempted Theft - Hugo Chávez tried to overturn the results of Venezuela's recent vote but was rebuffed by the military.

Most of Latin America's leaders breathed a sigh of relief earlier this week, after Venezuelan voters rejected President Hugo Chávez's constitutional amendment referendum. In private they were undoubtedly relieved that Chávez lost, and in public they expressed delight that he accepted defeat and did not steal the election. But by midweek enough information had emerged to conclude that Chávez did, in fact, try to overturn the results. As reported in El Nacional, and confirmed to me by an intelligence source, the Venezuelan military high command virtually threatened him with a coup d'état if he insisted on doing so. Finally, after a late-night phone call from Raúl Isaías Baduel, a budding opposition leader and former Chávez comrade in arms, the president conceded—but with one condition: he demanded his margin of defeat be reduced to a bare minimum in official tallies, so he could save face and appear as a magnanimous democrat in the eyes of the world...

h/t: λεονιδας

19 comments:

  1. The C.I.A. will get him in due time.U.S. run terrorist organizations are okay according to some.I guess that we can expect some taxpayers dollars spent to fund C.I.A. op's and the Colombian military.
    I'm not saying that Chavez is perfect,but he certainly has done things for the poor and indigenous that we could adopt here.
    I'll remind you that we started to give reparations to Natives a while back (just one example of a few hypocritical stances we have,although I support giving reparations).It's one of the things that he's most criticized for.
    He's having an effect on us because he's showing the rest of the hemisphere the most effective way of achieving financial equality in the western world without the use of military force.
    I too to get concerned with his authoritative actions,but also realize that he was elected with a huge majority and that his main defractors remain to be part of one echelon of their society.

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  2. I'm not a Chavez fan, though for all the claims of "dictatorship," I've yet to hear of any serious transgressions against Venezuela's constitution or other laws.

    Yes, he did try to stack the courts by adding to their numbers, but FDR attempted the same thing in the 1930s. Both attempts were inappropriate, but in both cases the initiatives were all within Constitutional processes.

    And I support term limits for heads of state, but it's hardly a dictatorship without them, unless you count Britain, Germany, and most of Europe as dictatorships.

    I also have to comment that Chavez took the loss last week with grace, unlike some of his opposition.

    That being said, his rhetoric and his international associations leave much to be desired.

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  3. Cohen acknowledges that he took his defeat with some grace. It remains to be seen what will happen next.

    Yeah, shutting down the media, nothing wrong there... Daniel and other bloggers from Venezuela see a different side than you do. And they're brave enough to tell the story.

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  4. Rose,the FCC has been shutting down media here at an alarming rate since 1995.Can you explain what happened to the phenomenon known as pirate radio?It has been effectively shut down by our government.

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  5. Whatever, Mark, I'm just wondering what "Baykeeper" has to pay for his regularly scheduled 12 minutes of propaganda on KHUM... 'cause maybe there are other groups who would like the same deal... Is it $1200 a month? A week? More? Or less?

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  6. Eric: "I also have to comment that Chavez took the loss last week with grace..."

    Eric, you have apparently either not not viewed the Chávez video with his military leaders subsequent to his loss or you do not understand Spanish. Short of providing an English transcript suffice it to say that his "speech" was broadcast on national (state controlled) TV and was liberally sprinkled with the Spanish gutter word "mierda" (shit) referring to the election outcome. Hardly what one would characterize as "grace".

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  7. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Baykeeper doesn't pay a dime,and KHUM just considers it a public service.

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  8. Yeah, shutting down the media, nothing wrong there... Daniel and other bloggers from Venezuela see a different side than you do. And they're brave enough to tell the story.

    We have also shut down media in this country during times of crisis. I don't think it's appropriate to do it ever myself, unless there is a deliberate attempt to mislead and cause public panic. But again, there are plenty of countries where this happens. During WWI the press was pretty much controlled by the state with regard to war news, and people went to jail for merely expressing opposition to the war, including Eugene Debs. Suffragettes were sent to jail simply for criticizing the government, even though it wasn't even war related.

    They may have a different picture, but what I've been waiting to hear about is overt violations of Venezuela's Constitution or laws. So far, all I hear about is his rhetoric and political alliances, which I agree are sometimes out of line. But it's like the leftists here who call Bush "fascist." Show me where he has overstepped his constitutional power.

    anon 12:40 - I'm not familiar with that video, but I'll check it out.

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  9. It might also be worth visiting NewsWeek (of all places) to learn what the Mexican folks know about the "election".

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  10. Eric and Mark,
    I would be interested in learning of any instances in the U.S. where the media has been silenced (except by a Democratic Administration). As for "attempting" to stack the supreme court in 1935, FDR is a piker. Hugo has ALL of the Federal courts staffed by Chavistas and the CNE has yet to publish election results that match the actual vote. Property seizures and the nationalization of major industries is moving forward apace as well as are price controls and arms purchases from Russia. Does Venezuela really need 2 Kilo class submarines and 60 attack helicopters? If you read any Venezuelan blogs regularly instead of editorials in the NYT you would be aware of all this.

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  11. robin shelley12/13/2007 6:54 PM

    Project Censored from Sonoma State University's sociology dept. ought to be publishing its 25 top "censored" stories of the year soon. Flops a little to the left but is always interesting to read.

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  12. I agree, λεονιδας. The despair of the people comes through loud and clear on those blogs. Daniel points out over and over again that CNE has not yet released final results. And their disdain for the coverage in the American press is pretty clear.

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  13. robin shelley said:..."Sonoma State University's sociology department... Flops a little to the left but is always interesting to read..."

    Whoda thunk it? A real page turner. Keep us advised and we can work a reading of it between issues of People's Weekly World.

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  14. Did you read that Newsweek story λεονιδας linked to above?

    Attempted Theft
    Hugo Chávez tried to overturn the results of Venezuela's recent vote but was rebuffed by the military.
    By Jorge Castañeda | Newsweek Web Exclusive
    Dec 7, 2007 | Updated: 4:23 p.m. ET Dec 7, 2007

    Most of Latin America's leaders breathed a sigh of relief earlier this week, after Venezuelan voters rejected President Hugo Chávez's constitutional amendment referendum. In private they were undoubtedly relieved that Chávez lost, and in public they expressed delight that he accepted defeat and did not steal the election. But by midweek enough information had emerged to conclude that Chávez did, in fact, try to overturn the results. As reported in El Nacional, and confirmed to me by an intelligence source, the Venezuelan military high command virtually threatened him with a coup d'état if he insisted on doing so....

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  15. robin shelley12/14/2007 5:43 AM

    Leaning a "little to the left" is a far cry from communism, Pogo. Oh, well. I guess there's no danger of your brains falling out.

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  16. ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ - Believe me, I'm flooded with right wing (and left wing) complaints about Chavez. But nobody has sent me anything that indicates he has exceeded the bounds of his Constitutional power.

    Of course he's going to implement socialist policies. He's a socialist who was elected, confirmed, and re-elected on a socialist platform. That's what elections are about.

    I know there are people who are very upset about the direction of their country. I'm very upset about the direction of ours. That's because the political forces more ideologically in tune with me have been losing elections. It's the same in Venezuela, only a different ideology rules the day.

    I will check out the Newsweek Story.

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  17. Eric, Sorry to add to your "flood" but it is unlikely that your criteria for accepting Chávez' trashing of the Venezuelan constitution will be met.
    1. The use of the Tascón list of signers of the recall petition in 2004 by Rangel to fire ALL government employees on it
    2. The closing of highways by the military to prevent opposition rally participants from traveling to Caracas while the government was funding and expediting busloads of chavistas e.g. government workers forced to absent themselves from work and don government supplied red shirts to attend Hugo rallies
    3. The seizure of private property and broadcast media without compensation in violation of the constitution
    4. The arrest and detention without charges of political opponents in the outlying provinces
    5. The transfer of state treasure and assets to foreign governments and political allies without legislative approval even when he has total control of the legislature
    ALL of the above violations of the Venezuelan Constitution have been brought before Hugos courts and been dismissed by chavista judges. They are therefore by your definition "not violations" of the constitution. By your criteria Stalin never acted illegally. The irregularities in the elections of 2004, 2006 and the attempted theft of the most recent one are a whole other issue. It is interesting how those on the left will never utter a peep when these outrages are perpetrated by tyrants promising "socialism for the XXIst century" but will yell like a smashed cat if a law requiring valid ID to vote in an election is enforced in the US. The hypocrisy of your leftist friends is palpable.

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  18. I've heard of a couple of these. Do you have links to sources on the topics?

    Again, I think that firing supporters of the recall is wrong, but does it violate Venezuela's constitution? The same thing happened here until we passed civil service reform. And I believe that many government employees here are prevented from taking public positions on campaigns.

    I'd like more on the closing of the highways to prevent demonstrations. Please remember, there was an attempted coup just a few years ago. I think our law enforcement would be a bit edgy with a similar attempt here.

    And my understanding is that the courts in Venezuela have rebuffed Chavez on several key occasions.

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  19. Chavez is a brat, not a dictator.

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