May 31, 2002

YOU GO, HUGO :

Former ally seen as perfect man to push Chavez out (JUAN O. TAMAYO, May. 31, 2002, Miami Herald)
Luis Miquilena is 84 years old, a communist party founder and political godfather to leftist President Hugo Chavez. But to many Venezuelans desperate to oust Chavez and disarm a dangerous crisis, he might be their savior.

A relative centrist in Venezuela's profoundly polarized politics, Miquilena is quietly marshaling votes in the National Assembly for a constitutional reform that would force early presidential elections and replace Chavez.

He is just three votes short of the simple majority required, and the proposal is likely to be officially submitted in the next few weeks, said Alejandro Armas, an Assembly member from Miquilena's Solidarity Party.

But Miquilena is in a race against mid-level military officers threatening another coup against Chavez, who was toppled briefly, April 11-14, unless Chavez renounces his leftist ''revolution,'' his authoritarian ways and his incendiary rhetoric. [...]

Chavez has appeared chastened since April 14, opening talks with the opposition, firing unpopular ministers, accepting legal reforms that he once rejected and even criticizing some of his hard-line backers, popularly known here as ``Taliban.''

But many opponents say he is only trying to buy time to strengthen his rule and insist that his removal from office is the only solution to one of Venezuela's worst crisis in four decades of democratic rule.


Mr. Chavez has already dodged one bullet, but it's long past time for him to go. Posted by Orrin Judd at May 31, 2002 7:19 AM
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