Chavez Power Grab: Venezuelan Constitutional Changes Approved
This week's Economist had a short blurb in the "The World This Week" section on how the Venezuelan National Assembly -- all Chavez cronies -- unanimously approved the constitutional change that removes term limits on Chavez. How surprising! And all it took them was 6 hours of debate.
The plan to abolish presidential term limits is part of a bundle of constitutional changes unveiled by Mr. Chávez on August 15th. These would remove the last remaining checks and balances to presidential power in Venezuela. They would strip the Central Bank of all autonomy, allowing the government to spend the country's foreign reserves. The government would be given power to expropriate private property by decree, and to promote co-operatives and state enterprise.
Perhaps in the midst of these dark days for Venezuela, there is still some good news.
The president remains popular, thanks to a bond with many poorer Venezuelans reinforced by quantities of oil money for social programmes. But there is much polling evidence that a large majority oppose socialism and value democracy.
...he is also the man who has declared his eternal friendship with Libya's Col. Gaddafi, Belorussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, Iranian leader Ahmadinejad, Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe, Sandinista commandante Daniel Ortega, imprisoned terrorist Carlos the Jackal, Saddam Hussein and, of course, Fidel Castro. Amongst the gringo masses, this side of Chávez is rather less well-known.
It's sad news indeed and a dark time for Venezuela.