Venezuelans Shutdown Chavez Bid For Absolute Power

The people of Venezuela stunned Hugo Chavez and defiantly voted against his referendum to change their Constitution and let him reelect himselve indefinitely. This power play must come as a shock to him as he has vocally tried to shove into the face of the world, as the liberal media has assisted, that the people want him as President forever. This show of democratic force shows that the people of Venezuela want his rule to end after this term and that they want democracy not his Communist end all.

The liberal media in the past few years has tried to portray any lack of dissent amongst the people and lie about the popularity of this despot leader. Now the truth is known to the world, Chavez’s only course to remain in power will be through police state tactics and then the true colors of Chavez will be known.

In recent weeks college students have rallied across Venezuela to defeat this referendum, Congrats, your efforts have paid off and you have shown the world that when the weak join together in force, they can defeat the all powerful…

The face of the defeated…

 AP

 

CARACAS, Venezuela —  President Hugo Chavez suffered a stunning defeat Monday in a referendum that would have let him run for re-election indefinitely and impose a socialist system in this major U.S. oil provider.

Voters defeated the sweeping measures Sunday by a vote of 51 percent to 49 percent, said Tibisay Lucena, chief of the National Electoral Council, with voter turnout at just 56 percent.

She said that with 88 percent of the votes counted, the trend was irreversible.

Opposition supporters shouted with joy as Lucena announced the results on national television early Monday, their first victory against Chavez after nine years of electoral defeats.

Some broke down in tears. Others began chanting “And now he’s going away!”

“This was a photo finish,” Chavez told reporters at the presidential palace, adding that his respect for the results proves that, unlike past Venezuelan governments, his respects the people’s will.

Exactly a year ago, Chavez won re-election with 63 percent of the vote.

“Don’t feel sad,” Chavez urged supporters, especially given the “microscopic differences” between the “yes” and “no” options in a referendum that opponents feared could have meant a plunge toward dictatorship. /**/

Chavez’s supporters said he would have used the reforms to deepen grass-roots democracy and more equitably spread Venezuela’s oil wealth.

The changes would have created new forms of communal property, let Chavez handpick local leaders under a redrawn political map, permit civil liberties to be suspended under extended states of emergency and allow Chavez to seek re-election indefinitely. Now, Chavez will be barred from running again in 2012.

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. The reforms would also have granted Chavez control over the Central Bank and extended presidential terms from six to seven years.

Chavez was gracious in defeat: “To those who voted against my proposal, I thank them and congratulate them.”

But he also urged calm and restraint.

“I ask all of you to go home, know how to handle your victory,” Chavez said. “You won it. I wouldn’t have wanted that Pyrrhic victory.”

Yet he made it clear he would remain a formidable foe.

Echoing words he spoke when as an army officer he was captured and jailed for leading a failed 1992 coup, he said: “For now, we couldn’t.”

The ever combative Chavez had warned opponents ahead of the vote he would not tolerate attempts to incite violence, and threatened to cut off oil exports to the U.S. if Washington interfered.

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.

At a polling station in one politically divided Caracas neighborhood, Chavez supporters shouted “Get out of here!” to opposition backers who stood nearby aiming to monitor the vote count. A few dozen Chavistas rode by on motorcycles with bandanas and hats covering their faces, some throwing firecrackers.

Opponents — including Roman Catholic leaders, press freedom groups, human rights groups and prominent business leaders — fear the reforms would grant Chavez unchecked power and threaten basic rights.

Cecilia Goldberger, a 56-year-old voting in affluent eastern Caracas, said Venezuelans did not really understand how Chavez’s power grab would affect them. She resented pre-dawn, get-out-the-vote tactics by Chavistas, including fireworks and reveille blaring from speakers mounted on cruising trucks.

“I refuse to be treated like cattle and I refuse to be part of a communist regime,” the Israeli-born Goldberger said, adding that she and her businessman husband hope to leave the country.

Chavez, 53, is seen by many as a champion of the poor who has redistributed more oil wealth than any other leader in memory. He says he will stay in power only as long as Venezuelans keep re-electing him.

Tensions have surged in recent weeks as university students led protests and occasionally clashed with police and Chavista groups.

Lucena called the vote “the calmest we’ve had in the last 10 years.”

Now comes the monkey play on how Chavez will try to force these laws down the stomaches of Venezuelans

Venezuelan voters have rejected a sweeping constitutional reform project launched by President Hugo Chavez. In Caracas, VOA’s Brian Wagner reports opposition leaders see the vote as a major blow to the president’s efforts to impose socialist changes.

Venezuelan opposition members celebrate at their headquarters in Caracas, 03 Dec 2007
Venezuelan opposition members celebrate at their headquarters in Caracas, 03 Dec 2007

Election tallies continued past midnight, when officials finally released a count indicating a narrow victory for opponents of the constitutional reform. It was the first election defeat for President Chavez, who helped write the nation’s constitution shortly after taking office in 1999.

In a nationwide address, Mr. Chavez congratulated his adversaries for their victory and said there is a long battle ahead. The president said the reform plan is not dead yet, suggesting he may try again to turn the proposals into law.

Mr. Chavez’s former defense minister, Raul Baduel, who emerged as a chief critic of the plan, congratulated the nation for conducting a peaceful vote. The retired general said the vote showed Venezuela’s people had resisted pressure to enshrine individual desires into the constitution.

General Baduel said the president tried to force the Venezuelan people to accept a reform plan that he proposed, and said he manipulated the people’s feelings in an effort to win its approval. He also warned that Mr. Chavez may use other means, such as executive order, to pass some of the measures, which include ending term limits on the presidency.

Other proposals would abolish the independence of the Central Bank, limit individual rights under states of emergency, and create new forms of community-owned property.

The vote ends a tense campaign period, which included repeated protests by opposition groups and violent clashes with police.

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