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Chavez wins vote to scrap term limits in Venezuela

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Chavez didn't respect the results of the last referendum, so maybe he is the "sore loser"?

With the lower price of oil, the Venezuelan economy will soon go down the pan, hence the need to get another referendum in before things go pear-shaped.

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“Any attempt to take us down the path of violence, by failing to recognize the results of the people’s will, will be neutralized,” he proclaimed.

That's assuming he wins, of course. I wonder if he'll neutralize any attempt to take 'them' down the path of violence if/when he loses... or if he'll be the CAUSE. Anyway, Venezuelans are nuts if they let this guy in again. I realize his election was in part a backlash against the former American president, but I think most people soon realized how crazy Chavez is for trying (and succeeding in parts) to turn Venezuela into a Socialist state (perhaps Wolfpack ought to study Venezuela and learn what Socialism really means instead of pretending Obama is taking him there) and it's time to give the guy his walking papers.

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Sounds like another Noriega to me.

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Chavez has genuinely helped millions of poor people so he's alright with me.

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Agreed. Hail CHAVEZ

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Poor people!!!

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Chavez has genuinely helped millions of poor people so he's alright with me." No, its more like he catered to the poor to get where he is and if you think about it, that's a smart move for someone who wants a lot of power.

Let's just hope the US government doesn't try this. Bad enough we have people sitting in the government for decades, at least or president can't go no more than two terms but that needs to roll down hill otherwise it makes no difference.

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the low price of oil cud make venezuela pretty nasty! I agree he wants to be the new castro

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Chavez pushes his agenda using a propaganda machine that revels in "enemies," real and imagined. He's a dreadful demagogue. By the time the people who elected him realize their mistake, it will be too late. We are looking at the creation of a Latin American Zimbabwe, eventually with a similar living standard.

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Can he win with just over 50% vote. In most countries constituional change require 2/3 majority.

And it's a farce; he had the referendum last year and lost!

Chavez has genuinely helped millions of poor people so he's alright with me.

Not sure about that. I agree ha has the support of the poor. But this isn't an election; it is a 'convenient' and dangerous change to the constitution.

Absolute power corrupts... Look at Mugabe!

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I have not bothered to research Chavez enough to say whether I approve of his past. He has made some valid remarks against the U.S. government if I remember correctly, and while that will not make me love him, its certainly enough for some to hate him without even doing further research. Ignorance is bliss. Well, so is stupidity.

I can say however that this term limit thing makes me think so little of him now that I doubt his past could be so stellar as for me to even maintain a neutral opinion. It is a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad move to put it simply. I hope the people of Venezuela come to their senses. Term limits are no guarantee of democracy, but a lack of them is a guarantee of tyranny.

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Shameless dictator of 21th.century is here and on his way to self-destruction.

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skip: "Let's just hope the US government doesn't try this. Bad enough we have people sitting in the government for decades, at least or president can't go no more than two terms but that needs to roll down hill otherwise it makes no difference."

First, 'catering to the poor' is not necessarily different than helping them out, since you would probably need to help them in some way in order to cater to them. Second, I don't think there's any danger of the US becoming like Venezuela, and if so I think that danger ended with the last election.

I agree, though, that the guy is nuts, and it's sad that he has so much popular support. At first Chavez -- and I mean preelection Chavez -- seemed like a somewhat well-meaning charismatic guy, who, as Likeitis said, made some very valid points towards the US government, but boy did THAT change once he became president. Well, the valid points didn't necessarily change, but how he carried himself and what he set out to do sure did.

I can see perhaps changing laws so that you can have a third term, so long as the people consent, as not necessarily a horrible thing; but scrapping limits altogether so that you can potentially remain in power FOREVER is definitely not a good thing.

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Another Juan Peron in the making. Don't cry for me, Venezuela!

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First, 'catering to the poor' is not necessarily different than helping them out, since you would probably need to help them in some way in order to cater to them." Since they have the highest numbers.... I guess you just have more faith in government than I do.

it's sad that he has so much popular support" I prefer to use the word power. In a country like that, with its amount of poor, one can grab power quite easily I believe. even if he got 50++ support, how will he govern to those who don't vote for him? Just kick them to the curb?

I can see perhaps changing laws so that you can have a third term" ONly the president is affected by this on the national scale. Senators and congressmen can run without limits I believe. I remember Guiliani trying to extend them.

no, I want limits, otherwise we may as go back to having kings and queens.

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skip: "Since they have the highest numbers.... I guess you just have more faith in government than I do..... I prefer to use the word power."

You're mincing words, and your point is not necessarily any different than mine. What is power in government but support of the people? (it's not a military dictatorship... yet).

"even if he got 50++ support, how will he govern to those who don't vote for him? Just kick them to the curb?"

Again, I haven't said anything to the opposite effect.

"ONly the president is affected by this on the national scale. Senators and congressmen can run without limits I believe. I remember Guiliani trying to extend them. no, I want limits, otherwise we may as go back to having kings and queens."

Again, I never said I was against limits, I just said that if he were pushing for another single term, I could see that if he had a majority support. I did in fact say that I am against an unlimited term... are you simply choosing to misinterpret what I've written? It's pretty straight forward, particularly my last 'FOREVER is definitely not a good thing' line.

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oh, smitty, I didn't mention that you did say such words. I was just using your lines as examples.

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Sad day for Venezuela. Chavez did a lot to help the poor but at a very heavy cost, namely their democratic process. That's what he demanded in exchange for his social programs.

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likeitis: I have not bothered to research Chavez enough to say whether I approve of his past. He has made some valid remarks against the U.S. government if I remember correctly,

The only thing you know about Chavez is that you think he made critical remarks against the US government at some point in the past? I guess all of the minor details, such as moving Venezuela into a dictatorship, must have escaped your attention.

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Hitler Jr. in the making...just watch and see.

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"First, 'catering to the poor' is not necessarily different than helping them out, since you would probably need to help them in some way in order to cater to them."

I think Benjamin Franklin sums up my views on this quite nicely:

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." Benjamin Franklin--

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Nice quote.

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Chavez has screwed the poor for a generation by destroying the Venezuelan economy and relying on cash handouts to buy the popular vote. In the next few months the state sponsored shops are going to be empty and the people will go hungry. And that will be the end of that "revolution".

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Hello, Dictator!

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What kind of "dictator" rules by seeking a democratic vote to scrap term limits? Can anyone name any of Chavez's political enemies -- of which there must be many -- who have ever been arrested for purely political reasons?

By refusing to no longer buy American weapons and demanding that US active military people leave the country, Chavez reveals why those in the US (especially among the right-wingers and neocons) don't like him very much: he fails to dance to the US tune.

On the other hand, he has refused to privatize social security, nationalized some key industries, made health care and education (through the university level) available to all Venezuelans.

This does not mean that Chavez is not without flaws. No leader is. But there is no reason whatsoever that the US can't have friendly and productive relations with him, and I suspect that President Obama will achieve just that, disregarding the ignorant right-wing propaganda.

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It's their vote. At least they can vote either way, not like in countries where the president sits himself for life. < :-)

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"and I suspect that President Obama will achieve just that, disregarding the ignorant right-wing propaganda."

I think Chavez will have a hard time without bush to shriek about. That's why I doubt that any of Chavez's minions will cease the left-wing propoganda....

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skipthesong,

If we went "back" to having kings and queens, we might be just as bad as England or even Sweden! There's nothing wrong with having kings or queens. What's wrong is having kings and queens with unlimited powers.

It's bad to have presidents with unlimited powers, too. Venezuela will not be the only country to have a taste of that.

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Yabits, I had no idea that this was all about the right-wing and neocons. Thank you for the education.

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If you think "democracy = voting" then, frankly, you don't understand what democracy is. In order to be of any value, democracy must incorperate a spirit and tradition of liberalism, a system of checks and balances, and a mechanism for protecting minorities. It must be robust enough that citizens cannot vote away their rights and freedoms (or deny them to smaller constituancies). "Illiberal democracies" (such as is represented by Thailand's Red faction) are often no better, and in some cases wose, than non-democracies. While my pun on Chavez' "Hello, Presidente!" might have been a bit tongue in cheek, this is actually an extremely serious issue: this step weakens democracy (no matter how democratic the voting process) and brings Venezuela that much closer to dictatorship. Chavez may not be "presidente for life" yet, but in a few years... who knows? If he truely cared about Venezuelan democracy, rather than his own power, then he would never done such a thing.

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If he truely cared about Venezuelan democracy, rather than his own power, then he would never done such a thing.

Chavez might care about democracy, but it is obviously not as vitally important as getting a system in place that helps the great majority of citizens at the bottom rung of the social and economic ladder. Venezuela has had democracy, but the only ones it seemed to have benefitted were the large oligarchs and landholders. The country, despite its oil wealth had serious inflation (greater than 30%) and other economic problems long before Chavez arrived on the scene.

The failure of a system to deliver over the long run is what makes populists (and demagogues) like Chavez so appealing in the first place. The figure in US history he most resembles is Huey Long, IMO. "Every Man a King" and "Share the Wealth" could well be found in Chavez's playbook too.

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You can't help people at the bottom rung of the ladder without stripping them of democracy?

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You can't help people at the bottom rung of the ladder without stripping them of democracy?

An all-too-typical BS question. The title of the thread would indicate that the citizens of Venezuela have not been stripped of democracy.

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Yabits,

So we are to accept, then, that only Chavez can lead Venezuela to equality, rather than, say a politcal party/movement founded and/or lead by Chavez? Even if (and it is quite an "if") we were to accept that Chavez alone is uniquely capable, and that he motivated solely by concern for the public good, isn't this a remarkably dangerous precident to set, especially given Latin America's past experiance with strongmen and demagogues?

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So we are to accept, then, that only Chavez can lead Venezuela to equality, rather than, say a politcal party/movement founded and/or lead by Chavez?

It's a bit like asking if someone else can run Apple as well as Steve Jobs can. That is why a visionary leader's single most difficult task is to find and promote someone who can carry on the vision. And it's likely to be an area where Chavez will fail. However, Latin America's past experience with awful leaders indicates that prior democracy has presented little or no obstacle to their rise.

What Latin America has seen all too few of are real leaders with a vision, and who are able to communicate it to the people. Chavez, for all his faults, seems to be very unique in that sense. As to the dangers involved, that is for the Venezuelan people to take on and decide. One thing is nearly certain: By the US having Barack Obama as president, Chavez is going to find it much more difficult in the days ahead to play the same game that Bush made so easy for him.

Then-VP Nixon's famous trip to Caracas in 1958, where his motorcade was absolutely pelted by thousands of Venezuelans expressing their disgust at US policies, goes to show that anti-American sentiment is not something that started with Chavez. I strongly believe that whenever President Obama chooses to visit Venezuela, he will be met with a far different reception.

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You think Chavez is a visionary leader? :)

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You think Chavez is a visionary leader?

I appreciate the admission of ignorance regarding Bolivarianism and the Fifth Republic Movement that Hugo Chavez has authored, advanced, and fostered in his country. (That qualifies him in the eyes of most rational people as having a vision, ergo a visionary.) Anytime a person can get as much genuine support and followership as Chavez has, it makes him a leader ipso facto.

Readers can look back to the 2002 coup attempt against Chavez and how it was overturned partly as a result of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Venezuelans taking to the streets. It should be noted that the US was only one of two countries that supported the coup leadership, which held onto power for less than 48 hours. (Gee, now there's a real demonstration of the values of democracy, isn't it?) The rest of the hemisphere condemned it.

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I think I'm getting a much clearer picture of you now, Yabits.

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