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<nettime> Venezuela [Cisler, Bello]
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<nettime> Venezuela [Cisler, Bello]

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   Another view on Venezuela                                                       
     Steve Cisler <cisler {AT} pobox.com>                                                 

   What's going on in Venezuela???  Wrong Number!                                  
     "Ricardo Bello" <aracal {AT} well.com>                                               


Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 05:28:18 -0800
From: Steve Cisler <cisler {AT} pobox.com>
Subject: Another view on Venezuela

I thought it was interesting to see the postings on Venezuela. I thought
we might need another voice, so I asked an acquaintance who lives outside
the capital to explain things as he sees it.  Sorry, but he prefers that
his name not be used. I don't know much about the whole situation, though
I have visited the country three times to attend conferences. Steve Cisler

- --

> Any way, as to the political crisis:
> I will try to stick to the facts, as far as I have been able to get 
> them, and I might have been fouled by the powers that be.
> 1) Chavez has led the only bloddy political coup in the last 20 years, 
> during which many innocent soldiers and civilians were merciless 
> killed in the name of the "cause".
> 2) He was pardoned by a corrupt president (on his own words) who had 
> benefitted indirectly by the coup.
> 3) He was able to capitalize on the revulsion of a big chunk of the 
> population against the corruption and incopetence of the ruling 
> parties to win elections, aiided by some of the media that he is now 
> denouncing as personal enemies.
> 4) After he was elected, he took advantage  of his position to call 
> for a change in the constitution and called for a constitutional 
> assembly to be convoked. In this assembly, he had a strong majority of 
> supporters who enacted a constitution with very little debate and a 
> lot of following orders from Chavez.
> As a fact, there was some debate about the changing of the name of the 
> nation, during one of the frequent trips that Chavez has made during 
> his tenure to visit importan democrats abroad like Gaddafi, Saddam 
> Hussein, Fidel Castro and so on. The majority voted that the change of 
> name wasunwarranted, but upon Chavez's return he decided that the name 
> was to be changed and obediently the assembly complied.
> 5) He had de assembly dissolve the congress that had been elected in 
> the same election in which Chavez won the presidency, and remove all 
> the members of the supreme court which were sustituted by peple 
> directly chosen by Chavez, same as the General Attorney and the 
> Ombudsman. The constitution enacted by Chavez cronies gave full 
> political rights to the military (which formerly were not allowed to 
> vote nor to express any poltical preference) and established the right 
> of any military to disobey any order that could be interpreted as a 
> violation of the constitution.
> 6) On April 11, during the demosntration against him, he had all the 
> TV and radio station brodcast a speech he was giving, while people 
> were being shot and shown on screen by journalist, Chavez was saying 
> that everything was normal.
> 7) The army refused to obey Chavez's command to charge on the 
> demonstration. The chief commander, who was conferred by Chavez with 
> the highest decoration available in the country, previously obtained 
> by only one person, appeared on TV stating that Chavez had renounced 
> to the presidency.
> 8) Mr. Carmona stepped in as "interin president" and did some of the 
> stupidest thing that anyone can imagine, and was soon overthrown and 
> Chavez reinstated. 9 ) Chavez appeared again on TV , very humbly 
> stating that he would not seek revenge and vowing to amend.
> 10) He then proceed to replace all the military that were not faithful 
> to him. By then, 90% of the politicians that were his allies 
> (including the majority of the one who wrote the constitution) had 
> publicly denounced him.
> 11) In his weekly long TV appearances, Chavez has routinely called for 
> violence towards the enemies of the revolution and in particular the 
> media.
> 12) He has repetidely tried the use the racial factor as a weapon. 
> Although I cannot deny that there is still some racism in Ve., this 
> has never been a major political factor. In a country where 90% of the 
> population is mixed blood and where Betancourt, who was president in 
> the 60 was darker than Chavez, there is no factual evidence of this.
> 13)  It is a fact that the commercial media are biased against Chavez, 
> but this pales compared to the bias in favor of Chavez of the State 
> controlled TV, dubbed "Discovery Chavez".
> 14) Despite the fact that oil price has tripled during Chavez's tenure 
> ( a fact that his supporter claim is due to his clever international 
> politics) the economy is in shambles and in February there was a 50 % 
> devaluation of the currency, with many bankrupcies and the highest 
> rate in unemployment in Ve. history.
> 15) Chaves has succeded in sowing hatred among citizens and persuading 
> the poor that their share of the oil riches was stolen by the rich. 
> While there is a lot of inequity in Ve. which urgently needs to be 
> corrected, peple must be urged to work and corruption condemned. Both 
> aspects are conspicuosly absent from Chavez unending addresses. Not a 
> single government official, not even from the former administration 
> has been indicted, much less jailed.
> 16) Last week, when the country was in the middle of the political 
> crisis, Chavez traveled to San Salvador to "help in the rescue efforts 
> to recover the body of a drowned venezuelan athlete". Then he traveled 
> to Ecuador to "inaugurate a library". His planned trip to Brasil the 
> same week was cancelled at last moment. He has spent about a third of 
> his time in office traveling abroad in his luxury custom built airbus.
> 17) Although the oil workers and management enjoy by far the highest 
> standard of living in Ve, they do not directly have any participation 
> in the income of the state owned corporation, which has in fact been 
> milked by the government and deprived of working capital to the point 
> of having to borrow to finance investments. They have also been forced 
> to supply oil to Cuba in exchange for overpaid doctors and sport 
> trainers to compete with the doctors that have been is strike for more 
> than a year.
> 18) It is true that many shops did not adhere to the current strike, 
> because they rely on their sales for survival, but the majority of the 
> oil workers and managers walked out.
> 19) If Chavez is a democrat and has the support of the people, why is 
> he opposing early elections or even a referendum? He did not hesitate 
> to call for several elections (that where not in the law) when he had 
> the good will of the people, but now he argues that the law mandates 
> to wait until july of next year before an election can be called for. 
> According to the former constitution, which had a 4 year presidential 
> term, there would be elections next year. He had the term extended to 
> six years and established the possibility for the president to be 
> re-elected, negated by the former constitution.


Date: 11 Dec 2002 07:35:30 -0800
From: "Ricardo Bello" <aracal {AT} well.com>
Subject: What's going on in Venezuela???  Wrong Number!

The opposition submitted over 2.000.000 signatures calling upon
Article 71, not # 72. This article says:

"Article 71: Matters of special national transcendence may be
referred to a consultative referendum, on the initiative of the
President of the Republic, taken at a meeting of the Cabinet;
by resolution of the National Assembly, passed by a majority
vote; or at the request of a number of voters constituting at
least 10% of all voters* registered on the national, civil and
electoral registry.

Matters of special state, municipal and parish transcendence
may also be referred to a consultative referendum. The initiative
shall be taken by the Parish Board, the Municipal Council and
to the Legislative Council, by the vote of two third of its members;
by the Mayor and the Governor or by a number of voters constituting
at least 10% of the total number of voters registered in the
pertinent circumscription."

And although it does not have a legal effect on Chavezīs term,
the consultative referendum would put unquestionable pressure
on him as it would show the world the real correlations of forces
in Venezuela and the support Chavezīs policies have. So far,
Colonel Chavez has boycotted that possibility. And itīs true,
as you say: "... it should at least be noted that one of the
election board members abstained -- feeling the signatures were
not sufficiently checked" ---> that was Chavezīs man at the Consejo
Nacional Electoral, but 4 out of 5 board members approved and
supervise the checking, a qualified majority of 4-1, as the Supreme
Court demanded. The official timetable for this referendum to
take place on February 2nd has been published but Chavistas refused
to accept the ruling of Consejo Nacional Electoral (the expenses
of referendum must by assumed by the State, guess who must sign
the check). Why is he afraid of a democratic exit to the crisis?
See what the people have to say, let them vote.

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