Monday, December 03, 2007

Bolivar! (or ‘Please, sir, I want some more power’)

Hugo Chávez’s attempt to amend the Venezuelan constitution has been narrowly defeated by the voters. Good. The proposals were an odd hotch-potch of measures to increase his own personal power and various leftist economic initiatives. There was no reason to bundle all these things together in a referendum, other than to use the latter as a bribe to get poorer voters to accept the former.

A gaggle of UK ‘Chávistas’ (Livingstone, Pinter, Benn, Loach…) wrote in the Guardian on Saturday:

We call on the international community to respect the outcome of the coming referendum and support the sovereign and democratic right of the Venezuelan people to self-determination.


Chavez himself seems to be accepting defeat in a conciliatory manner. I wonder whether any of his Western media fans will start bemoaning malign international influences for tipping the balance.


Andre said...

Definately. Although he did do some positive reforms - let's not forget that inflation in Venezuela is rising and that 37% of people still live beneath the poverty line.

I posted about this - as I said, constitutions are there to limit abuse - what he wanted would have given him free reign to do anything he liked.

Bob Piper said...

I think people have largely exaggerated the propsed reforms with all sorts of stupid comments like 'Chavez seeks to make himself President for life' which was used so often it must have been fed to them. Chavez was seeking to change the constitution to allow himself to continue to stand in elections, which doesn't seem entirely undemocratic.

For the British media to scream blue murder on this is definitely ironic considering their head of state has never stood in an election, nor will the next one, nor the one after that.