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Venezuela: Hugo Chavez to change his constitution

By Aleksander Boyd

16.08.07 - As I was dozing last night the issue of Chavez indefinite re-election came on the news: there he was in all his `democratic magnificence´ addressing a room chock full of assenting sycophants. The ridiculous pretence of his life-presidency crowning has got to be the most transparent power grab ever recorded; for let us never forget that only him gets indefinite re-election; governors, mayors and other lesser revolutionary creatures are to be disposed of, democratically of course. Thus the `most progressive constitution of the modern world,´ the one that `empowers minorities,´ `enshrines human rights´ and `allows for the democratic removal of elected officials´ is amended to include the most patent dictatorial provision. Venezuelans can sleep at ease now in the know that Chavez will respect, at the very least, one article of his constitution.

The issue is meant to be put to referendum however those wonderful Smartmatic machines will ensure a 70% approval rate. Internationally the press keeps its coyish approach, wires sending articles about the dictator´s `proposal´ to have the constitution changed. Quite frankly I fail to understand why the reporters and editors behind those wires have such a problem in utilising appropriate adjectives to describe the situation, for Castro´s apprentice long ago ceased to propose; as his idol he dictates and it´s unthinkable that his minions, having already granted him powers to rule by decree, will obstruct the passing of his latest wish.

The other day I took part in an online discussion where some people were arguing about the need of capitalising on the anti indefinite re-election mood shared by the majority of Venezuelans, so that the dictator´s wishes would be defeated in the coming referendum. It seems quite obvious that some folks still believe that electoral results are a true representation of what the Venezuelan electorate want. Again I just can not understand, so late in the game, the state of utter denial in which some live, convinced that Chavez can be defeated in his own game at the ballot boxes. It´s patently clear that the only way Chavez will, ever, leave office is through violent means as he will never be defeated so long as his non-auditable Smartmatics are in place. Either that or a sustained nationwide civil uprise which he has no logistical manner of countering.

The terrible thing is that in both cases innocent people will die, however the realistic chances of either scenario materialising are extremely unlikely, for as long as oil prices allow Chavez to maintain the artificial wealth bubble and fund some populist measures here and there -to keep the ignorant disenfranchised happy- nothing will happen. PDVSA´s output will continue its free fall but that doesn´t seem to bother the caudillo a great deal. In Hugo Chavez Fidel Castro has got a proper heir, communists the world over must rejoice this day. And Venezuelans will join the subhuman status of Cubans, condemned to live indefinitely without representation in a system that does not hear their say.

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