Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez started up his usual Sunday TV and
radio program Aló Presidente again yesterday for the first time in more
than 2 months, announcing that 2008 will be the year of the three R's;
review, rectify, and re-advance.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced a "profound restructuring"
of his government, including the appointment of a new Vice-President
and changes in up to 13 out of 27 ministries in a surprise telephone call
to current affairs program Dando y Dando on Thursday night.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez granted amnesty on Monday to a number
of opposition leaders connected to the shortlived military coup against
his government in April 2002 and a two month oil industry shutdown
which caused an estimated $10 billion dollars damage to the economy and
ended in January 2003.
A deafening but dissonant chorus sung by rightists, centrists and false
leftists is celebrating the result rejecting the Venezuelan
constitutional reform by less than one percentage point. The result was surprising, because – and this
nobody denies – the degree of popular support for the Bolivarian
Revolution remains high, as does the people's approval of the
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was handed his first electoral loss since winning the presidency seven years ago when he narrowly lost a controversial referendum on 69 proposed changes to the constitution earlier this month. We host a debate with Greg Wilpert, author of “Changing Venezuela by Taking Power,” and Francisco Rodriguez, the former chief economist of the Venezuelan National Assembly.
What forces drove the opposition to Chávez's reforms?
What does the referendum's defeat mean for the future of
the Bolivarian revolution? And what did the majority of the
US press get wrong (or right) about the vote in Venezuela?
Our forum contributors, representing a range of
perspectives, tackle these and other questions.
Venezuela and Argentina accused the United States of carrying out a smear campaign against them yesterday after US officials arrested four individuals in Miami. The individuals were accused of trying to cover up an "international scandal" between Venezuela and Argentina, but both countries have rejected the claims.
Venezuela's Attorney General's office ordered the arrest of
opposition leader and Ex-Governor of the state of Miranda Enrique
Mendoza last week for his involvement in the 2002 coup
attempt. Opposition parties rallied to
his defense, but authorities
have yet to find and capture him.
While I began my visit as an international observer
of the democracy of the election process, finding it in many ways more
democratic than our own, I ended up also observing the internal
democracy of the Chavista movement itself and finding at its
grassroots an inspiring commitment to pluralism, critical debate, and
popular autonomy from which we also have much to learn.
The scenery of a political
defeat with a high abstention rate, even if it had resulted in a
pyrrhic election victory, places the strategic leadership of the
revolution in the only rational and emotional space necessary to
overcome the current situation: to recognise mistakes and correct them,
starting with the one sided view of the infallibility of the leader.