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<nettime> What's going on in Venezuela??? [2x]
nettime's digestive system on Mon, 9 Dec 2002 23:51:57 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> What's going on in Venezuela??? [2x]

Table of Contents:

   Rebelión_/_Narco_News'_Take_on_Venezuela?Mime-Version: 1.0         
     anastasios {AT} hell.com                                                             

   More Caracas News                                                               
     "Ricardo Bello" <aracal {AT} well.com>                                               


Date: Mon, 09 Dec 2002 07:49:24 -0500
From: anastasios {AT} hell.com
Subject: Rebelión_/_Narco_News'_Take_on_Venezuela?Mime-Version: 1.0

There seem to be a few perceptions of what is going on in Venezuela.  
Unfortunately, I seem to read the anti-Chavez take on things in most
articles. Below are links to articles that provide an alternative view of
the chaos in Venezuela.

- --Ak

Why Are the Coup Plotters So Impatient?
And How Venezuela Can Defeat Them Legally

By Heinz Dieterich Steffan
December 8, 2002

Translated by narconews  {AT}  http://www.narconews.com/Issue26/article556.html

The constitutional government of Hugo Chávez faces its fourth assault in
eight months. The April 11th coup d'etat launched a chain of mob acts that
were repeated under the banner of "civic" or "labor strikes," all of them
programmed with high levels of physical violence and media manipulation.

This high pro-coup intensity against Venezuelan democracy enters a new
paradox. The Bolivarian Constitution of 1999, born from the breast of a
Constituent Assembly and approved by referendum of the citizens is,
without a doubt, the most democratic in Latin America. As such, it
provides for removal of elected public officials. Its Article 72
stipulates that "all posts and magistrates that are popularly elected are
revocable," as of halfway though the term for which they are elected.

Applying this Article to President Chávez, the possibility of removing him
by recall referendum opens up in August 2003, under the terms of the Magna
Carta. That is to say, there is an institutional path to change leadership
that, according to opposition members is the goal of their street actions
whose utilization would protect the life of citizens, strengthen the
democratic government and civic exercise of power and improve the national
economic situation.

President Chávez has publicly affirmed that he will submit himself to this
constitutinoal instrument and the international mediators of the conflict,
like César Gaviria, secretary general of the Organization of American
States (OAS), have insisted that the adequate mechanism to resolve the
country's problems is the institutional path. However, the "strikers"  
dismiss the constitution and the hemispheric political institution,
insisting on an extra-constitutional solution and on street violence.

The question that this situation raises is the following: Why don't the
"strikers" wait eight months to reach their goal through peaceful and
institutional routes? What is the urgency that makes them act desperately
fomenting chaos, ungovernable situations and military coup instead of
working toward August?

The reasons for this behavior are obvious and can be summed up by three
points: Since the April 11th coup d’etat, which was their maximum point of
power, the conspirators have been weakened in two key ways. A. They have
lost internal unity and fight among themselves for power, and, more
importantly, B. They have lost a fundamental part of their social base in
the middle classes. During the 24 hours they were in power, during the
April 11th coup d'etat, it became clear that the middle classes had been
used as cannon fodder in a transnational dictatorial project. And the
previous mob actions via "civic strikes" only deepened the erosion of the
pro-coup clique's legitimacy, supported from foreign lands by Otto "Third"
Reich and recycled Spanish Franco fascism.

The second reason for the pro-coup haste is the entrance in vigor of
various important laws that come into effect on January 1, 2003, that
touch vital interests of the economic elite: Among them, the Land Law that
affects not just the large plantation owners in the country but also real
estate speculators and vacant lots in urban zones. The Hydrocarbon law is
even more important because it will permit the dismantling of the
meta-State of the petroleum business PdVSA, the corrupt oil group that
controls the economic life of the country and that is an integral part of
the New World Energy Order of George Bush.

Today, only 20 percent of the income of this mega-company goes to the
State. Eighty percent goes to "operating costs" that enrich secret
accounts of the beneficiaries of this economic cancer. The power of this
petroleum "steal-ocracy" has become propped up progressively during recent
decades.  In 1974, the company delivered 80 percent of its income to the
State and kept 20 percent ("operating costs"). In 1990, the ratio tied at
50 to 50 percent and in 1998 it reached the ratio of 80 to 20 percent.
It's logical that they are going to fight to the death of the nation to
defend "their" black gold.

Today, only 20 percent of the income of this mega-company goes to the
State. Eighty percent goes to "operating costs" that enrich secret
accounts of the beneficiaries of this economic cancer

The third reason the pro-coup forces are in a hurry is found in their
doubts about being able to win a recall referendum. Article 72 places
three conditions to revoke the term of the president. 1. A number of no
less than 20 percent of the voters signing petitions is necessary to call
the referendum. 2. The voter turnout must be 25 percent or more. 3. The
number of voters who vote for the recall have to be equal or more than the
number of voters who elected the official. Since Chávez was elected with
57 percent of the vote, the "strikers" will have to meet or supercede this
percentage in the August referendum.

There is an aggravating situation for the pro-coup forces. During the
period for which the official is elected "there can not be more than one
recall referendum on his term" according to the Magna Carta. Thus, an
eventual failure of the referendum will use up all institutional
possibilities of overthrowing the Bolivarian government.

In the current phase of the conflict, the clique that runs PdVSA and the
mass media in Venezuela are two fronts of the internal battles where the
destiny of the Boliviarian experiment is being decided. Having lost their
pro-coup nucleus in the Armed Forces and part of their social base in the
middle class, the conspirators have made the decisive battle of this mob
action that they call "an active strike with an ingredient of gasoline."
That is to say: Control of the petroleum steal-ocracy.

To defeat the attempt at strangulation by energy by the subversives opens
the door to the firing of the directorship of PdVSA and the recuperation
of the company for the nation. This will be the means of triumph or
failure by the government. All compromise with the conspirators on this
point will maintain the economic-union center of the counter-revolution
alive and weaken the popular process.

To defeat the conspiracy through legal, but firm, opportune and audacious
measures would reduce the internal hydra to jsut one head: the media
octopus. The politics of this octopus is explained by multiple economic
and political interests of wide influence, among which the quartet of
(former president) Carlos Andrés Pérez, Gustavo Cisneros (of Venevision
TV), Jesús Polanco (of the daily El País in Spain) and (Spanish
politician) Felipe González figure prominently. That will be the theme of
another analysis.


Date: 9 Dec 2002 04:41:21 -0800
From: "Ricardo Bello" <aracal {AT} well.com>
Subject: More Caracas News

29 wounded is the latest count for the Altamira massacre, in the middle of
an opposition rally. Is it possible that a single mad man could shoot with
that accuracy, while running, and hit so many targets in six seconds? Now
we have a real conspiracy theory. Chavez´s wife - she must be his ex- by
now -, went on TV last night, with the President´s daughter by her side,
asking the man to listen to the people, confessing she is afraid for her
security. The strike is one week now, the country is paralyzed: nobody can
go to work, even if you want to. Chavez spoke over five hours on his usual
Sunday TV program. He will not step down nor will he accept the electoral
option. The opposition said that a referendum has already been staged and
demands inmediate elections. The military, so far, has not make a move.
Only international pressure will make Chavez accept the fact that
elections are the only alternative to civil and violent unrest (from both
sides), a coup (from left or right) or Chavista military rule.


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