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Chavez loses constitutional vote

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by BrAinPaiNt, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Backwoods Sexy Staff Member

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    Good News...for a change.


    By FRANK BAJAK, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 39 minutes ago

    CARACAS, Venezuela - Humbled by his first electoral defeat ever, President Hugo Chavez said Monday he may have been too ambitious in asking voters to let him stand indefinitely for re-election and endorse a huge leap to a socialist state.

    "I understand and accept that the proposal I made was quite profound and intense," he said after voters narrowly rejected the sweeping constitutional reforms by 51 percent to 49 percent.

    Opposition activists were ecstatic as the results were announced shortly after midnight — with 88 percent of the vote counted, the trend was declared irreversible by elections council chief Tibisay Lucena.

    Some shed tears. Others began chanting: "And now he's going away!"

    Without the overhaul, Chavez will be barred from running again in 2012.

    Foes of the reform effort — including Roman Catholic leaders, media freedom groups, human rights groups and prominent business leaders — said it would have granted Chavez unchecked power and imperiled basic rights.

    Chavez told reporters at the presidential palace that the outcome of Sunday's balloting had taught him that "Venezuelan democracy is maturing." His respect for the verdict, he asserted, proves he is a true democratic leader.

    "From this moment on, let's be calm," he proposed, asking for no more street violence like the clashes that marred pre-vote protests. "There is no dictatorship here."

    The White House took note of Chavez's setback.

    "We congratulate the people of Venezuela on their election and their continued desire to live in freedom and democracy," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

    U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns also said it was a victory for the country's citizens who want to prevent Chavez from having unchecked power.

    "We felt that this referendum would make Chavez president for life, and that's not ever a welcome development," Burns told reporters in Singapore. "In a country that wants to be a democracy, the people spoke, and the people spoke for democracy and against unlimited power."

    Chavez, who was briefly ousted in a failed 2002 coup, blamed the loss on low turnout among the very supporters who re-elected him a year ago with 63 percent of the vote.

    Seven in 10 eligible voters cast ballots then. This time it was just 56 percent.

    The defeated reform package would have created new types of communal property, let Chavez handpick local leaders under a redrawn political map and suspended civil liberties during extended states of emergency.

    Other changes would have shortened the workday from eight hours to six, created a social security fund for millions of informal laborers and promoted communal councils where residents decide how to spend government funds.

    Nelly Hernandez, a 37-year-old street vendor, cried as she wandered outside the presidential palace early Monday amid broken beer bottles as government workers took apart a stage mounted earlier for a victory fete.

    "It's difficult to accept this, but Chavez has not abandoned us, he'll still be there for us," she said between sobs.

    A close ally of Cuba's Fidel Castro, Chavez has redistributed more oil wealth than past Venezuelan leaders, and also has aided Latin American allies — including Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua — that have followed Venezuela's turn to the left.

    "He is a man who feels for the people, a man who has suffered, a man who comes from below," Carlos Orlando Vega, a 47-year-old carpenter's assistant, said outside a polling station in a Caracas slum on Sunday.

    Vega is among tens of thousands of Venezuelans who, under Chavez, have new government-provided homes.

    Chavez urged calm and restraint after his Sunday setback.

    "I wouldn't have wanted that Pyrrhic victory," he said, suggesting a small margin wouldn't have been enough of a mandate.

    Tensions surged in the weeks ahead of Sunday's vote, with university students leading protests and occasionally clashing with police and Chavista groups.

    Chavez had warned opponents against inciting violence before the vote, and threatened to cut off oil exports to the United States if the Bush administration interfered.

    Chavez, 53, also suffered some high-profile defections by political allies, including former defense minister Gen. Raul Baduel.

    Early Monday, Baduel reminded fellow Venezuelans that Chavez still wields special decree powers thanks to a pliant National Assembly packed with his supporters.

    "These results can't be recognized as a victory," Baduel told reporters,

    Baduel, who as defense minister helped Chavez turn back the 2002 putsch, said Venezuela can only be properly united by convening a popularly elected assembly to rewrite its constitution.

    Chavez has progressively steamrolled a fractured opposition since he was first elected in 1998, and his allies now control most elected posts.

    At opposition headquarters in an affluent east Caracas district, jubilant Chavez foes sang the national anthem.

    "This reform was about democracy or totalitarian socialism, and democracy won," said opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez said.

    "At least now we have the guarantee that Chavez will leave power," said Valeria Aguirre, a 22-year-old student who had braved tear gas during street protests.

    Lucena, the electoral agency chief, called the vote "the calmest we've had in the last 10 years."

    All was reported calm during Sunday's voting but 45 people were detained, most for committing ballot-related crimes like "destroying electoral materials," said Gen. Jesus Gonzalez, chief of a military command overseeing security.

  2. Rackat

    Rackat Active Member

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    I'm shocked that it didn't "pass".
  3. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Backwoods Sexy Staff Member

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    Same here. Figured it would pass, even though it really didn't pass.
  4. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    That is very good news indeed.

    This idiot was going to make himself dictator.
    He has started the decline and now he'll see himself toppled in authority if not fact.

    He lost a lot of his former political base with those insane ideas.

    He actually did a lot of good early on but any one person with too much power has a great chance of going bonkers....

    ...absolute power corrupts absolutely.
  5. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament...

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    I still don't think we've heard the last of this...

    He'll try another election or he will just take over by force in 2012...
  6. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    yea, sadly a guy can be completely normal then go nuts but a guy seldom goes nuts then remains completely sane.

    crack just doesn't unsmoke itself.

    chavez has to be careful now as he knows he can lose but trying to force through all of those amendments at once was stunningly stupid.

    i expect him to work to extend term limits to 7 years from 6 very soon. then he'll later try to grant (himself)a 3rd term. that would buy him until 2020.

    his anti-us rhetoric was a huge backfire ironically. not everyone is the middle east.
  7. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Backwoods Sexy Staff Member

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    Maybe I read it wrong but it seems there was something in place with this vote that it could not be overturned in the future.

    However that would go out the window if there was some kind of hostile takeover of government I would guess.

    And with this little sawed off runt's ego, I could see that happening.
  8. Eric_Boyer

    Eric_Boyer Well-Known Member

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    Somewhere, the surviving families of FDR have gathered together in celebration to share a bottle of champaign.
  9. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    SO, Jterrel, what do you say to all your hollywood liberal friends like Penn and company who have tried to turn Chavez into a hero?
  10. cachetazo

    cachetazo Member

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    Why would you? That's call democracy.

    You didn't bite into all that "dictator" bull****, do you?
  11. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    I'd say beware false prophets.

    As I mentioned earlier, Chavez did a really good job early on. He built up loyalty and provided a lot of basic human rights that had been neglected.

    But these movers were purely designed to make himself supreme ruler of all and that is a no-no period.

    Glad they saw it for it is and voted him down.
  12. cachetazo

    cachetazo Member

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    Has anyone of you readed all 36 parts of the proyect?

    Or did you just bite on the US media bs?
  13. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Backwoods Sexy Staff Member

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    I don't care if it says they will give every kid a lollipop and every person a brand new car every year for the rest of their lives.

    Anytime someone wants to make a change so they can become supreme leader with no term limits...it is not a good thing for a democracy.

    I would flat out flip if a US president tried to do that...even If I liked the President. They changed it for a good reason in the US.

    Too Much power is not good for anyone one man to have on a permanent basis IMO.

    Oh and that is not US Media bias/bs...It is MY OPINION.

    The guy is a little power mad, paranoid, nutbag who would love to get total power over the long haul, and something tells me that this is just a roadblock...for now.
  14. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    I did hear all the versions of the Spanish president blasting him, but only read the highlights including quotes of his colleagues about his constitutional amendments.
  15. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament...

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    So give us some meaningful translation...
  16. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    its the top ring tone in spain right now but also pretty highly rated even here, lol. mostly he said "shut up, kid".

    this article spells it out in good old anglais

    Chavez Blasts the Spanish King


    It's been almost two hundred years since Venezuela first declared its independence from Spain, but over the past few days Hugo Chávez stoked Venezuelan nationalism again by attacking King Juan Carlos of Spain. The spat, which could damage diplomatic relations between the two nations, began over the weekend during a hemispheric summit held in Santiago, Chile, during which Chávez called ex-Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar a "fascist." In one of his typical rhetorical flourishes, Chávez added, "fascists are not human. A snake is more human."

    Moving to damp down the escalating rhetoric, Spanish Prime Minister José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero then remarked: "[Former Prime Minister] Aznar was democratically elected by the Spanish people and was a legitimate representative of the Spanish people." Insensed, Chávez wouldn't let go. Though his microphone was turned off, the Venezuelan leader repeatedly tried to interrupt.

    Finally, Juan Carlos leaned forward and said, "Why don't you shut up?" According to reports, in addressing Chávez Juan Carlos did not use the formal mode of address in Spanish known as usted but rather the familiar form or tú, which is generally reserved for close acquaintances or children, not a head of state.

    Aznar and the 2002 Coup

    The summit ended in fiasco, as Juan Carlos stormed out of the meeting while Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega rushed to embrace and defend Chávez. Meanwhile, Chávez said the king was "imprudent" and asked if Juan Carlos knew in advance of the brief coup against him in April, 2002. As he left Santiago, Chávez openly questioned whether Spain's ambassador had appeared with Venezuelan interim president Pedro Carmona during the 2002 coup with Juan Carlos's blessing.

    "Mr King, did you know about the coup d'etat against Venezuela, against the democratic, legitimate government of Venezuela in 2002?" he asked. "It's very hard to imagine the Spanish ambassador would have been at the presidential palace supporting the coup plotters without authorisation from his majesty," he insinuated. The Spanish paper El Mundo quoted Chávez as saying that the king had "got very mad, like a bull. But I'm a great bullfighter - olé!" The Venezuelan firebrand added, "I think it's imprudent for a king to shout at a president to shut up. Mr King, we are not going to shut up."

    Though Chávez enjoys warm ties to the socialist Zapatero, the Venezuelan leader has long lambasted the previous Spanish regime. During Bush's first term the United States enjoyed a willing foreign partner in Spain. José María Aznar, who had reorganized Spanish conservatives into the People's Party (Partido Popular or PP) had been Prime Minister of Spain since 1996. Though Chávez exaggerated in calling Aznar a fascist, the Spanish politician's family certainly had clear fascist ties. Aznar's grandfather, in fact, served as Franco's ambassador to Morocco and the United Nations and his father was a pro-Franco journalist.

    In 2002, Aznar was Washington's willing ally in opposing Chávez. Prior to the April 12 coup, Venezuelan businessman Carmona visited high level government officials in Madrid as well as prominent Spanish businessmen. Though it's unclear whether Juan Carlos gave his blessing as Chávez suggested, once the coup had been carried out Carmona called Aznar and met with the Spanish ambassador in Caracas, Manuel Viturro de la Torre. The Spanish ambassador was accompanied at the meeting by the U.S. Ambassador, Charles Shapiro. As Chávez languished in a military barracks during the coup, PP parliamentary spokesman Gustavo de Arístegui wrote an article in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo supporting the coup. According to anonymous diplomatic sources who spoke with Inter Press Service, the Spanish foreign ministry holds documents which reveal the Spanish role. The documents reportedly prove that de la Torre had written instructions from the Aznar government to recognize Carmona as the new president of Venezuela.

    Diplomatic Fall Out

    The diplomatic tit-for-tat continued after the coup. After defeating the coup attempt, Chávez detained the president of Fedecámaras, Carlos Fernández, who was accused of helping to foment a lock out which reduced oil output in 2002-03. Fernández was charged with inciting unrest and sedition. In February 2003 Ana Palacio, the Spanish Minister of External Affairs, criticized the detention. During his Sunday radio and TV show, Chávez angrily shot back that Spain should not interfere in Venezuela's internal affairs. "We must respect each other," said Chávez. "Don't get involved in our things and we won't involve ourselves in your things. Is it necessary to remember that the Spanish ambassador was here applauding the April coup?" Chávez added, "Aznar, please, each one in his own place."

    The diplomatic chill continued late into 2003 when Aznar criticized Chávez for adopting "failed models" like those of Cuba's Fidel Castro. Chávez retorted that Aznar's statements were "unacceptable" and added that "perhaps Aznar thinks he is Fernando VII and we are still a colony. No, Carabobo [a battle of independence] already happened. Aznar, Ayacucho [another battle during the wars of independence] already occurred. The Spanish empire was already thrown out of here almost 200 years ago Aznar. Let those who stick their noses in Venezuela take note that we will not accept it." In a further snub Chávez stated that Aznar should respond to the Spanish public which protested PP support for the invasion of Iraq. "He should definitely take responsibility for that," Chávez concluded.

    Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Spanish Foreign Minister, has accused the previous PP administration of supporting the failed coup d'etat against Chávez in April 2002. Speaking on the Spanish TV program 59 Segundos, Moratinos remarked that Aznar's policy in Venezuela "was something unheard of in Spanish diplomacy, the Spanish ambassador received instructions to support the coup." Before the cameras Moratinos declared, "That won't happen in the future, because we respect the popular will." Adding fuel to the fire Chávez remarked "I have no doubt that it [the Spanish involvement] happened. It was a very serious error on the part of the former government." Chávez declared that Venezuela had no problem with the PP nor with Spain, and that for a brief moment the two countries enjoyed good relations. But later Aznar's political as well as personal views changed. "With Aznar," Chávez stated memorably, "there was neither chemistry, nor physics, nor math."

    Needless to say, Chávez's retort to Juan Carlos has not been embraced by all. In Spain, the press has rushed to defend the King against Chávez, while the Spanish community in Venezuela called for a protest march against the President. Peru and Chile, strong U.S. allies in the region, have also expressed support for Juan Carlos and have criticized Chávez's reaction at the summit.

    Still, Chávez has gained welcome political mileage from the incident, which has stoked unpleasant memories of Spanish monarchical rule. United Left, a Spanish political party, qualified Juan Carlos' statements as "excessive." Willy Meyer, spokesperson for the party, said that Juan Carlos behaved as if he was still in the 15th or 16th centuries. "The King can't tell the Spanish President to shut up," he said, "and doesn't have the right to do this to others outside of Spain."

    For the past eight years, Chávez has sought to build up the cult of Simón Bolívar, a Venezuelan who liberated the country from Spanish rule. Books on Bolívar are selling like hotcakes in Caracas, hardly surprising in light of the political importance which Chávez has attached to Bolívar in his public speeches. By attacking Juan Carlos, Chávez may cast himself as a true Venezuelan patriot fighting against the domineering attitude of the old Spanish Empire. It's a move that plays well to the Chavista base and Venezuelans' sense of national pride.

    Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Hugo Chavez: Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the U.S. His new book, Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left will be released in April, 2008 with Palgrave-Macmillan.
  17. cachetazo

    cachetazo Member

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    Why not? After all, lots of countrys have limited governs, yet those governs screw things up for decades.

    IMO, it`s not about the clown who put his face on the photo. Democracy, the way most countrys run it, is almost a fake.

    You can say have watever opinion you want on the guy, but to label Chavez as "dictator", only shows how screwed is your concept of democracy.

    Actually i believe this is a win for him. Because now e has proven, that oposite partyes can an WILL (if people want to) win.

    The man had one election/referendum for each year of govern, which president can say that? Hell, not mine either.

    América need more people like him. People with enough will power to stick up to the empire.

    If you add "genocide" to that list, i would bet my *** that you were talking about Bush entire family.

    Hehe, i had it as my sms ringtone for a couple of days. That "why don´t you shut up" line will stay in history haha.

    That was a total lack of respect to a president, supported by his people. Who the f... is some country´s king, to even open his mouth in a world leaders meeting.
  18. Rack Bauer

    Rack Bauer Federal Agent

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    Now if only that POS will just roll over and DIE, the world would be a better place.

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