Down with Chavez

By By Pamela Talledo

By Pamela Talledo

Venezuela’s controversial President, Hugo Chavez has, once again, given us something to talk about.

Recently, Chavez proposed a reform that would eliminate his re-election limits, extend his presidential term from six to seven years and make the Central Bank (of Venezuela) non-autonomous. Additionally, he proposed increasing the government’s power to be able to expropriate private properties without the court’s approval.

I feel this situation is awfully wrong. It will affect the country in a negative way and will prevent it from succeeding in the long term — and I think this is only the start.

What does all of this mean? His proposals were very radical and are definitely a huge step in his plan to make Venezuela increasingly socialist. Most importantly, it means that Chavez will have control over billions of dollars (both national and foreign) by having control over the Central Bank. It also means that he has the opportunity to stay in his position as president for a long, long time.

Before these proposals take hold, they have to be accepted by the National Assembly. This is not a difficult task for Chavez because most of his political allies control the Assembly. It could take a couple of months for the plans to be accepted. Then, however, a national referendum would have to take place in order for the citizens to approve the reforms.

Chavez is very good friends with Fidel Castro. Many people think that because he admires him, he wants to make Venezuela communist — though he denies it. The country, which had been very rich some time ago, is now a very poor country and its oil revenue is not getting anywhere. These proposals to reform the constitution will not make the situation any better. In fact, they will make it much worse. Telecommunication, electricity and oil companies have already been nationalized during Chavez’ reign. Foreign investment in Venezuela is decreasing heavily and will continue to do so.

The “people”, as Chavez refers to lower classes, have nothing. Food and health care are scarce. Where is the oil money, which was supposed to be for the “people?”

That is the question to which nobody seems to have the answer.

Nevertheless, Chavez still says that he is engaging in participatory democracy.

This is what Chavez claims but not what is actually happening. These steps are clearly showing strong socialist tendencies instead of a democracy. It seems instead that the only ones really participating in this democracy are Chavez and some of his close friends in the government. He claims that these reforms should be regarded as the most important thing because they will be beneficial for Venezuela’s poor and limited-resourced.

The opposition has reacted strongly to these proposals by saying that they will not allow Chavez to become another Fidel Castro and Venezuela another Cuba.

I agree with them.

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