December 6, 2007


As Chávez lashes out, murmurs of discontent (Simon Romero, December 6, 2007, NY Times)

Some of Chávez's most vociferous loyalists, among them the lawmaker Iris Varela, called on him to effectively ignore the referendum results and enact some of the proposals by using the decree powers granted to him by the National Assembly this year.

But in an explicit rejection of the authoritarianism and widening cult of celebrity that had characterized Chávez's movement in the last year, others are calling for his followers to embrace a more pluralistic path.

"Chávez is a human being who makes mistakes," said Luis Tascón, a lawmaker in the National Assembly, which is controlled almost entirely by the president's supporters, including Tascón.

"If Chavismo is to consolidate its historical relevance," Tascón, 39, said in an interview at his modest apartment here, "it has to be more than about one man."

Such a statement from within Chávez's movement would have been nearly taboo in the days before the referendum Sunday, when accusations of treason were leveled by Chávez and senior officials against anyone who opposed the sweeping constitutional changes he had put forward. But no longer.

Dissent among Chavistas, as the president's supporters here call themselves, and former Chavistas can now be heard on the floor of the National Assembly, after the release of voting tallies that showed the proposals lost in Petare, La Vega and Caricuao, vast slums in this city that were pro-Chávez bastions a year ago.

Losing such support in such emblematic strongholds has been a shocking revelation for Chavismo, a movement that has long been centered around the president himself and is hard to define in ideological terms.

Remove the person, end the cult.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 6, 2007 6:11 AM

If Chavismo is to consolidate its historical relevance," Tascón, 39, said in an interview at his modest apartment here, "it has to be more than about one man.

"If"? "Consolidate"? "Historical relevance"? "More than one man"?

Hmmm. What can it all possibly mean?

Posted by: Barry Meislin at December 6, 2007 8:36 AM

Chavismo is nothing more than Latin American Mobotuism - pure kleptocracy.

Posted by: Brandon at December 6, 2007 10:36 AM

It's pretty funny to me that he enacts idiotic socialist economic policies that produce shortages of basic foods, and then is surprised when the poor vote against him.

Still, it's depressing that he got 49% for his "make me a dictator" reforms.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 6, 2007 3:50 PM

Of course Chavismo is hard to define in ideological terms. Gangsters have only one "ideology", from Stalin to Mao to Castro to Idi Amin to Pol Pot to Assad to Saddam to Kim to Mugabe.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 6, 2007 7:42 PM

I read in the Times Online (I think) the vote was 62%NO, 38%YES when finally tallied, and the the previouse figure carried by the press on Sunday night 51% to 49% was a tally with 60%+ votes counted or something like that.

But I haven't seen anything other than those figures cited above, so if it is the 62% NO, the Chavezistas probably are abit concerned about their longevity on the public dole, and need to speak out.

Posted by: KRS at December 6, 2007 7:59 PM