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Hugo Chavez between a rock and a hard place

By Veneconomy

President Chávez’ excessive attacks on sectors who disagree with his way of doing things no longer raise anyone’s eyebrows. But to accuse the U.S. government –without proof- of being jointly responsible for the massacre of April 11, 2002, is quite simply to loose sight of what actually happened. The President’s desperation of the past few days has been quite evident. The fact that the process of verifying the signatures is drawing to a close and a call to referendum against him is imminent seems to have unbalanced the leader of the revolutionary process.

Many analysts think that the most recent attacks on the United States and, in particular, on Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Peter DeShazo, are part of the President’s strategy to isolate himself from the international community, which is following closely the political conflict in Venezuela.

Others maintain that Chávez is mounting these attacks to avoid the referendum, while yet others think that he is trying to discredit the international observers so as to slightly reduce the pressure of the electoral climate against him. The Bush administration, the Group of Friends, and even OAS Secretary General César Gaviria have all been targets of the President’s frenetic attacks on more than one occasion. But this time, it is expected that Chávez will resort to the pretext of national sovereignty to discredit the position of international players.

The view held by different sectors abroad on the Venezuelan political process does not suit Chávez. So, he accused DeShazo of “lying barefacedly” about the financing that foundations –with the support of the U.S. government- have given to organizations supporting opposition and government groups alike. On the other hand, Chávez did tell a barefaced lie when he said that if there were a referendum he would go to the polls, while he has been resorting to every trick in the book to avoid it.

The way things are panning out, it looks as though Chávez will find himself on the brink of illegitimacy. In order to continue with his “mega fraud” thesis, he will have to admit to a coup d’état or set aside, once and for all, the mask of democrat he shows to the world.

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