November 29, 2007


In Chávez Territory, Signs of Dissent (SIMON ROMERO, 11/29/07, NY Times)

Even some of Mr. Chavez’s most fervent supporters are beginning to show signs of hesitation at supporting the constitutional changes he is promoting, including ending term limits for the president and greatly centralizing his authority.

New fissures are emerging among his once-cohesive supporters, pointing to the toughest test at the polls for Mr. Chavez in his nine-year presidency.

In the slums of the capital, where some of the president’s staunchest backers live amid the cinder block hovels, debate over the changes has grown more intense in recent days.

“Chávez is delirious if he thinks we’re going to follow him like sheep,” said Ivonne Torrealba, 29, a hairdresser in Coche who supported Mr. Chávez in every election beginning with his first campaign for president in 1998. “If this government cannot get me milk or asphalt for our roads, how is it going to give my mother a pension?”

Both Mr. Chávez and his critics say opinion polls show they will prevail, suggesting a highly contentious outcome. For the first time in years, Venezuela did not invite electoral observers from the Organization of American States and the European Union, opening the government to claims of fraud if he wins.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 29, 2007 7:39 PM

In the last election, the pre-ballot polls showed Chavez losing, 58-42. The final result was a Chavez victory, 58-42. The algorithms in the machines were almost certainly switched. Who knows what he will do this time? Invade Columbia? Set off bombs in apartment buildings like Putin? Go to a bunker like Nasrallah? Set off explosives in the oil fields (like many political novels)?

Whatever happens, he'll almost certainly try to keep power, even if he has to fly Cubans in to try to prop himself up. What an excellent excuse to finish off Castro once and for all.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 29, 2007 8:30 PM

But Jimmuh said it was all legit last time! Cindy and Sean shook his hands, it was on CNN for crissakes, and he hates George Bush!

Unfortunately, whether he wins or loses on these changes, he's still in power and will change or suspend the constitution at will in the future. I'm sure he'll use this turn out to begin documenting for the arrest/death squad campaign he's bound to put into action.

Posted by: KRS at November 29, 2007 11:05 PM

“If this government cannot get me milk or asphalt for our roads, how is it going to give my mother a pension?”

As long as this kind of thinking that the government should be giving people stuff prevails, Chavez and his cohorts will stay in power. Only when people start looking to themselves, will things change.

Posted by: erp at November 30, 2007 7:11 AM