On Sunday (December 3rd), Venezuelans reelected President Hugo Chavez, an avowed socialist, who grabbed headlines recently when he referred to President Bush as "the devil" in front of the United Nations General Assembly. Chavez won 61 percent of the vote - extending his time in office for six more years.
However it appears that six more years is not enough for Chavez. In a speech on Tuesday, he announced plans for a constitutional amendment that would allow him to hold office indefinitely. "I feel obligated to push forward with this project of socialism," Chavez said in his speech, "Venezuelans, yes, 63 percent of Venezuelans voted for a shift toward socialism. And I have to make that wish true."
Since taking office, Chavez has lead Venezuela in what he calls a "Bolivarian Revolution" - his goal being to transforming Venezuela from a free democracy to socialistic regime. While in office Chavez has consolidated power, changed the constitution, and aggressively pushed various other socialist reforms. Earlier this year Hugo Chavez appointed 17 new judges to the Venezuelan Supreme Court, one of whom has publicly expressed a desire to see Chavez become "president for life."
Despite growing inflation, unemployment, poverty, and crime in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez has retained a measured amount of popularity. Chavez has managed to survive several efforts to remove him from office, including an attempted coup and a national referendum. He has held on to power in large part because of an aggressive propaganda campaign that has shifted the blame for the people's problems on everyone from the nation's bureaucrats to the tyrannical empire that is the United States.
When Chavez first came to power he immediately embraced Cuba's communist leader, Fidel Castro, as Venezuela's chief ally. He also called Iraq's Saddam Hussein his "brother" and aligned himself with Libya's Moammar Qadaffi. Chavez then formed alliances with North Korea's Kim Yong-Il and then Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
For the past seven years, Hugo Chavez, with the help of Cuba's Fidel Castro, has been cultivating his supporters in South America. Chavez has expanded his influence in Latin America and the Caribbean. This year, Venezuela has bought several hundred million dollars of Argentine bonds and offered similar financial support to Ecuador. Chavez also provides cheap oil to Cuba and several other countries, including Jamaica and some smaller Caribbean islands. Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Bolivia all have leftist governments, and in July, Mexico came very close to electing a Communist president.
When the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union collapsed, and China pursued broad economic reform, many foresaw the end of the threat once posed by the spread of communism. But while America has focused its attention elsewhere, socialism is on the move in South America.
• Chavez Is Here to Stay - TIME
• Chavez: Venezuela Backs Socialism Shift - Washington Post
• Chavez to Seek End to Term Limits in New Constitution - Bloomberg
• Chavez Wins Easily in Venezuela - IHT
from the December 05, 2006 eNews issue
Unfold the Evangel before your eyes!
Are you worn out?
Are you overwhelmed?
Are you rational?
Only rational, non-dogmatic persons can understand and accept this message. Give yourself a try. Nothing will be like before, I promise!
segunda-feira, janeiro 08, 2007