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Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:09 PM

Chavez will not be sworn in on inauguration day

Source: CNN

(CNN) -- Medical treatment in Cuba will keep Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from being sworn in for a new term this week, a top official said Tuesday.

~ snip ~

Venezuela's vice president said in a statement Tuesday that the inauguration would occur before the country's Supreme Court at a "later date," hours after the opposition called on the nation's top court to decide whether that's possible.

~ snip ~

If Chavez is unable to be inaugurated before lawmakers on Thursday as scheduled, the constitution says he can be sworn in before the Supreme Court.

But the wording is not clear about whether the inauguration before the Supreme Court must occur on Thursday, whether it must occur in the country or who should run Venezuela in the meantime.

~ snip ~

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/08/world/americas/venezuela-chavez/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

How long would be an acceptable time to wait for the recovery of a national leader who is incapable of even taking the oath of office? A week, a month, 90 days, or a year?

40 replies, 4932 views

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Arrow 40 replies Author Time Post
Reply Chavez will not be sworn in on inauguration day (Original post)
FrodosPet Jan 2013 OP
Arctic Dave Jan 2013 #1
Bacchus4.0 Jan 2013 #2
Arctic Dave Jan 2013 #3
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #14
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #5
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #10
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #17
wordpix Jan 2013 #25
FrodosPet Jan 2013 #11
joshcryer Jan 2013 #12
JackRiddler Jan 2013 #23
quadrature Jan 2013 #4
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #6
quadrature Jan 2013 #8
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #9
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #16
wordpix Jan 2013 #26
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #27
wordpix Jan 2013 #29
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #33
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #28
wordpix Jan 2013 #30
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #34
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #15
wordpix Jan 2013 #31
bitchkitty Jan 2013 #32
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #7
Peace Patriot Jan 2013 #13
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #18
FrodosPet Jan 2013 #19
Peace Patriot Jan 2013 #20
FrodosPet Jan 2013 #21
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #36
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #38
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #39
Post removed Jan 2013 #22
JackRiddler Jan 2013 #24
Ken Burch Jan 2013 #35
tabasco Jan 2013 #37
fascisthunter Jan 2013 #40

Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:27 PM

1. Sounds like a great question to be put forth to their Legislators.


Anyone elses opinion outside the country is irrelevant.

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Response to Arctic Dave (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:30 PM

2. seems the adminstration already made that determination

yes a dead man can be president

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Response to Bacchus4.0 (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:32 PM

3. Tells you how much the other side sucks if the country elects a "dead man".


Maybe they shouldn't run fascist shitstains and they might win an election every so often.

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Response to Arctic Dave (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:37 AM

14. You probably remember Missouri's Dem. Gov. Mel Carnahan,

running well ahead of John Ashcroft for the U.S. Senate, when his small plane went down only a couple of weeks before the election, just as it happened for another Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, when he and his family were all killed flying in their small plane to a victory party immediately after winning the Democratic primary, just as Paul Wellstone died in his small plane just before his own election, etc., etc., etc.

In Carnahan's case, the ballots had already been printed with Mel Carnahan's name, and it was believed his wife might be sent in his place, perhaps, and the people voted for a dead man OVER John Ashcroft. (Of course Bush thumbed his nose at Missouri by appointing Ashcroft as his attorney general.)

Great post. You are so right.

(Remember when they KNEW they couldn't beat Chavez during the 2nd election, and they advised party members to boycott the election, then used the fact Chavez' side won and filled the Assembly to claim they'd been wronged, when they hadn't even run candidates, themselves. What a pile of maggots.)

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Response to Bacchus4.0 (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:29 PM

5. Delaying the swearing-in doesn't invalidate the election.

And it doesn't mean the PSUV no longer has any right to be in power.

Our party wasn't obligated to hand over the White House when JFK was assassinated, after all.

And really, there's nothing THAT superior about Capriles. If nothing else, the fact that the U.S. power structure prefers Capriles should be .proof that he'd be a total bastard to the poor and the workers if elected.

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Response to Bacchus4.0 (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:33 PM

10. You act as if it goes without saying that Chavez was dead. He isn't

And his death wouldn't invalidate the last election.

The man isn't evil...he's just fighting too hard for the poor to suit you and the State Department, that's all...the only reason anyone here is hostile to Chavez and his movement is that they accept the notion that the U.S. is ENTITLED to dictate the acceptable limits of the political spectrum in this hemisphere.

They used to call that mindset imperialism. It's not a way of thinking modern, civilized people should ever indulge in.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 04:16 AM

17. Trying to cling to the primative, power-mad, murderous, greedy, racist imperialism

that has been in place from the time after the genocide of the Native Americans, when they turned their ulcerous eyes to the other people to subjugate in the hemisphere isn't the way to go, and was dead wrong all the time it has been our national policy.

[sub]George W. Bush[/sub] was totally wrong in all his actions toward Latin America, that's why they rioted everywhere he went in Latin America in his travel. Everywhere.

For anyone to keep hanging onto something so ugly, so wrong as our earlier deadly policy shows a lowness of spirit and disposition this country doesn't need in the 21st Century. It only causes ill will, hatred, and suspicion, just like the kind shown to Richard Nixon when he made his ridiculous tour of Caracas in 1958, and he was protested everywhere by everyone who saw his motorcade barging past him.


It's time our right-wingers got over seeing the Americas as the U.S.'s backyard, where we can get cheap labor, cheap produce, where we can plunder their natural resources, overthrow their leaders, and commit atrocities against the people who protest it. That way is doomed to failure, and it makes the supporters of this policy look like monsters, assholes, and idiots.

Thanks for your great, informed comments on Latin America.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:40 PM

25. if he's not dead, he's very incapacitated bc he can't even sign a paper

keep fighting to keep your dictatorship alive while Venezuela is in shambles.

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Response to Arctic Dave (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:21 AM

11. I haven't read their whole constitution, just the relevent part

It would seem that, if it is anything like our system, allowing the inauguration would be a supreme court decision.

There is a specific date mentioned. Jan 10. And procedures for the President's incapacitation.



Chapter II: National Executive Power

Section One: President of the Republic

Article 225: Executive Power is exercised by the President of the Republic, the Executive Vice-President, the Cabinet Ministers and other officials as determined by this Constitution and by Law.

Article 226: The President of the Republic is the Head of State and of the National Executive, in which latter capacity he directs the action of the government.

Article 227: In order to be elected President of the Republic, it is necessary to be Venezuelan by birth, with no other nationality, to be more than 30 years of age, not a member of the clergy and not subject to any conviction by final judgment, as well as meeting fulfill other requirements prescribed in this Constitution.

Article 228: The election of the President of the Republic shall be by universal suffrage by direct and secret ballot, in accordance with law. The candidate who has received a majority of the valid votes cast shall be proclaimed elected.

Article 229: A person holding the office of Executive Vice-President, Minister or Governor, or Mayor as of the date he announces his candidacy or at any time between such date and that of the Presidential election shall not be eligible for election to the office of President of the Republic.

Article 230: The presidential term is six years. The President of the Republic may be re-elected, immediately and once only, to an additional term.

Article 231: The candidate elected shall take office as President of the Republic on January 10 of the first year of his constitutional term, by taking an oath before the National Assembly. If for any supervening reason, the person elected President of the Republic cannot be sworn in before the National Assembly, he shall take the oath of office before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice.

Article 232: The President of the Republic is responsible for his acts and for fulfilling the duties and obligations inherent to such position. Is obligated to endeavor the guarantee of the rights and liberties of Venezuelans, as well as the independence, integrity, sovereignty and defense of the Republic. The declaration of states of exception does not modify the principle of the President of the Republic's responsibility nor that of the Executive Vice-President or the Cabinet Ministers, in accordance with this Constitution and Law.

Article 233: The President of the Republic shall become permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice with the approval of the National Assembly; abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly; and recall by popular vote.

When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.

When the President of the Republic becomes permanently unavailable to serve during the first four years of this constitutional term of office, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the Executive Vice-President shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.

In the cases describes above, the new President shall complete the current constitutional term of office. If the President becomes permanently unavailable to serve during the last two years of his constitutional term of office, the Executive Vice-President shall take over the Presidency of the Republic until such term is completed.

Article 234: A President of the Republic who becomes temporarily unavailable to serve shall be replaced by the Executive Vice-President for a period of up to 90 days, which may be extended by resolution of the National Assembly for an additional 90 days.

If the temporarily unavailability continues for more than 90 consecutive days, the National Assembly shall have the power to decide by a majority vote of its members whether the unavailability to serve should be considered permanent.

Article 235: The absence of the President of the Republic from the territory of Venezuela requires authorization from the National Assembly or the Delegated Committee, when such absence continues for a period exceeding five consecutive days.


Ultimately, it IS Venezuela's proper place to decide. But no one has an obligation to respect them for shitting on the constitution that they themselves drafted.

Seriously - is it OK when OUR constitutional rights and procedures are violated? Why do they get a free pass?

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #11)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:25 AM

12. We'll see if they follow Article 234.

The way they're acting they don't have to elect the Executive Vice-President and Maduro can be president.

A coup.

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #11)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:30 PM

23. In short, there is no issue at all here...

certainly not for the next 90 to 180 days. Everything's running according to that text. Except that the usual pro-oligarchy suspects want to push the latest anti-Chavez hysteria in the usual hope that they can destabilize Venezuela.

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 09:59 PM

4. Day to day business, how is it handled?


(if there is any) how is day to day gov't
business being handled, signing new law,
approving appropriations, appointments, etc?

we don't know if Hugo is ever awake,
or even alive.
is there some caretaker.
fake signature.
one of Hugo's doubles helps out?

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Response to quadrature (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:32 PM

6. You're being disgusting. Nothing illicit is going on here.

This is no different than the situation would be here if, say, Obama were to fall deathly ill between now and the Inauguration.

All this talk is just about delegitimizing the PSUV and trying to create the impression that there's an obligation to hold a snap election on the Venezuelan Right's terms. In truth, there is no more such obligation than there would have been to have a snap presidential election in the U.S. once FDR died of his cerebral hemorrhage or once Lincoln or JFK were shot.

And Chavez doesn't have "doubles"...he's not Saddam, for fuck's sake. Quit trying to make the guy into an evil tyrant. He's just another head of state and all he's really guilty of is standing up to Wall Street and the Venezuelan upper classes-the rhetoric being spread against him is just like the bullshit that was spread about Salvador Allende between 1970 and 1973(when Allende was overthrown by the U.S. on Chile's "9/11". If Chavez is taken out of power, we can assume that the same kind of violent retribution that was carried out against Allende's supporters, the workers, poor and indigenous peoples of Chile, will be carried out against Chavez' supporters. There will be no "democratic" conservatism in Venezuela. Capriles is just a front for the real agenda.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:22 PM

8. the US has laws for the incapacity...


of a president.

other countries, not so much.

how many countries would tolerate
their president running off and
pretending to be alive?

in the old days, Hugo would have been
couped a long time ago.

we don't know if Hugo is alive or not.
it is entirely possible that
'Hugo, Incorporated' is simply waiting for
the best time to announce HC's retirement
or death.

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Response to quadrature (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 11:30 PM

9. In "the old days" Chavez might indeed have been overthrown...

But given that such events, in Latin America, always led to nothing but bloodsoaked streets and the persecution of the workers and the poor, why on earth would you PREFER such a thing?

Hugo Chavez isn't evil(and if he was actually dead, we would have heard).

You're being ghoulish and fighting for the restoration of the rich here...you should be ashamed of that.

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Response to quadrature (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:50 AM

16. The elitist right-wing there already had a coup which the people overturned

when they finally overcame the news blackout being enforced by all the private news media in Venezuela, and filled up the streets around Miraflores demanding their President be returned to them until the helicopter landed some time later and they saw for themselves that Hugo Chavez had been rescued from the same assholes who forced him out of office at gunpoint.

You don't know if he's alive or not, after various people from Venezuela have gone there since his operation, including members of the national assembly in the last few days to speak with him?

You don't know? You WOULD know if you bothered to read some.

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Response to quadrature (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:43 PM

26. Hugo also came to power in a military coup, don't forget

but, but, but, he is a "man of the people"

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Response to wordpix (Reply #26)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:17 PM

27. It's awful seeing you, explaining Venezuelan history to the other one.Not even close.

He led a coup against the man, former President Carlos Andres Perez who had ordered first the police to fire directly into crowds of protesting Venezuelans, then, after the police walked off the job, refusing to do it, he called out the military to continue the massacre in the horrendous filthy murder of Venezuelan citizens.

Hugo Chavez surrendered, and was imprisoned for two years, Carlos Andres Perez was impeached, and Venezuela's next President, Rafael Correa, pardoned him.

From a Wiki entry:

The Caracazo or sacudón is the name given to the wave of protests, riots and looting and ensuing massacre[1] that occurred on 27 February 1989 in the Venezuelan capital Caracas and surrounding towns. The riots — the worst in Venezuelan history — resulted in a death toll of 3,000 deaths,[2] mostly at the hands of security forces. The main reason for the protests were the neoliberal, pro-market reforms imposed by the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez, who had recently been elected in a campaign where he promised the opposite of such reforms.[1]


The clearest consequence of the Caracazo was political instability. The following February, the army was called to contain similar riots in Puerto La Cruz and Barcelona, and again in June, when rising of transportation costs ended in riots in Maracaibo and other cities. The free-market reforms programme was modified. In 1992 there were two attempted coups d'état, in February and November. Carlos Andrés Pérez was accused of corruption and removed from the presidency. Hugo Chávez, an organiser of one of the coups, was found guilty of sedition and incarcerated. However, he was subsequently pardoned by Pérez's successor, Rafael Caldera, and went on to be elected president after him.

In 1998, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemned the government's action, and referred the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In 1999, the Court heard the case and found that the government had committed violations of human rights, including extrajudicial killings. The Venezuelan government, by then headed by Chávez, did not contest the findings of the case, and accepted full responsibility for the government's actions.[3]


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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #27)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 09:29 AM

29. way to edit Wikipedia entry -how about this one re: Chavez causing 120,000 TONS of meat to rot?

Not to mention the grocery shelves are usually empty.

"Chávez has seized many supermarkets from their owners. Under government ownership, the shelves in these supermarkets are often empty. [38] In 2010, after the government nationalized the port at Puerto Cabello, more than 120,000 tons of food sat rotting at the port.[39] In May 2010, after price controls caused shortages of beef, at least 40 butchers were arrested, and some of them were held at a military base and later strip searched by police.[40]"


But, but, Chavez is to you a perfect leader and I am "awful" because I use facts.

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Response to wordpix (Reply #29)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 03:47 PM

33. Getting into Wiki to replace information with anti-Chavez crap

is an obsession with right-wingers.

Your claim Hugo Chavez "caused" the warehouse scandal is clearly not sensible. Why would the President of the country do that? Do you have any source for that fantasy?

The grocery shelves are usually empty? Is that right? Do you have a source for that? Are you aware how many Venezuelans now are able to buy food close to home, at discounted prices for the very poor? You really need to know what you're talking about.

I encourage any DU'er still unclear about what has happened in Venezuela since 1999 to keep on looking, researching, asking questions until you KNOW you've gotten to the truth. That can't happen if all you read is written to create the appearance of failure to people who don't know better.

Here's a great bit of shared info. from DU member,Peace Patriot on a thread by DU'er Bananas:

Venezuela's Agrarian Land Reform: More like Lincoln than Lenin

February 25th 2005, by Seth DeLong - COHA

Chavez Emulates Lincoln

In the history of land reform, the most accurate analogy to illustrate what is transpiring in Venezuela is not Zimbabwe or Cuba – Chavez officials have repeatedly emphasized that they are not emulating the Cuban model of land reform – but the U.S.’ own Homestead Act. Signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, the measure declared that any U.S. or intended citizen of at least 21 years of age could claim up to 160 acres of government land. Like Chavez’s Vuelta al Campo, there were many restrictions in the Act which benefited the recipients by ensuring that the new reform could not be manipulated by entrenched, moneyed interests. Under Lincoln’s legislation, the land could not be sold to speculators or used as debt collateral, and only after five years of “actual settlement and cultivation,” according to Section 2, could the homesteader submit an application for a land patent. Similarly, in Chavez’s plan, only after three years may the peasants obtain legal ownership of the land, and only then after they have rendered it productive. The Homestead Act was one of the most progressive and far-reaching government initiatives in U.S. history insofar as it helped to develop and secure an agrarian-based middle class, which had an epic impact on the future democratization of the nation. That Chavez is trying to emulate it in his own country, as part of his plan to extirpate Venezuela’s entrenched inequality, is an effort that all right-minded people should applaud.



Bananas' thread, well worth reading for real information:

From a more recent thread at D.U.:

More than 1 Million Venezuelans Benefit from Land Reform Program

The President of Venezuela’s National Land Institute (INTI), Luis Motta Dominguez, affirmed that more than 224,000 families have benefited from redistributed farmlands made available through the Chavez administration’s agrarian reform program.

The announcement was made during an interview with state television on Tuesday when Motta gave an update on the progress being made with respect to the country’s land redistribution program.

“It we take an average of 5 people per family, then we’re talking about 1.3 million people who have benefited from the redistribution”, the INTI President said while interviewed on the program Toda Venezuela (All of Venezuela).

Venezuela’s agrarian reform began in November 2001 when President Hugo Chavez signed by decree the Land Law, mandating the break up of fallow landed estates, known in Spanish as latifundios. The law gives the state the legal authority to expropriate any lands underutilized or illegally acquired and redistribute them to farming collectives comprised of wage workers previously without access to their own parcels.

According to Motta, INTI has been able to regularize some 7.7 million hectares (19 million acres) of land over the past 11 years and redistribute some 1.1 million (2.7 million) of those to rural laborers involved in state projects.

“The expropriation of these lands happens when there is a latifundio. We need to act so that these lands that were once concentrated in the hands of a single person and weren’t being used are handed over to the small producer”, the Land Institute President declared.

In addition to providing land and meaningful work to rural laborers, Venezuela’s land redistribution program is also designed to help decrease the country’s reliance on imported food items, a historical problem in the OPEC member state.

This is done, Motta informed, by turning the once underutilized lands into productive tracts in line with the country’s needs.

“All those lands that are not productive are being rescued. They’re being handed over to collectives or to agro-ecological projects in order to consolidate the food security and development. There is a constant monitoring and we’ve seen how production has increased throughout the national territory”, he said on Tuesday.

Recently, the government introduced a new program, Mission AgroVenezuela, with a similar goal - to stimulate agricultural production by providing assistance to any farmer willing to dedicate their land to domestic production.

The assistance comes in the form of low-interest credits through state financing as well as access to technical aid, supplies and farming machinery such as tractors and harvesters.

These initiatives along with continual evaluation and rescue of fallow lands have led, Motta argued, to greater work opportunities and higher living standards for Venezuela’s small farmers.


(Creative Commons license.)

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Response to wordpix (Reply #26)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 12:27 AM

28. He was freely elected...several times.

You're just going to have to accept, at some point, that the people of Venezuela really DO support the Bolivarian Revolution.

Why is that so hard for some people?

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #28)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 09:33 AM

30. when you stack your Supreme Court with your own people & do "other" to win elections & get your

policies through, including changing the Constitution to extend your own presidential term and the number of times you can be elected, you can win again and again and be dictator for life. If Chavez lives and runs the country for another term, it will be 20 years in power. Right now it's "only" 14.

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Response to wordpix (Reply #30)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 05:32 PM

34. If FDR has lived through HIS fourth term, he'd have served for 16 years, and might have won in '48

if his health had allowed(even running against the far-weaker Truman, Dewey's raw vote total actually FELL from what it had been in '44-and there'd have been no Henry Wallace Progressive Party candidacy if FDR had been seeking a fifth term, since the New Deal wouldn't have been abandoned and the Red Scare taken up the way Truman did).

Roosevelt was also accused of trying to change the Court. Was HE "dictator for life"?

You're echoing the Republican case for term limits there...did you realize that?

And I'm going to ask this again...like most anti-chavistas, you seem utterly unable to accept the idea that the people of Venezuela might genuinely, sincerely support the guy(Contra supporters in the U.S., including "even the liberal New Republic" back in the day, had the same inability to accept that the people of Nicaragua could support the Sandinistas of their own free will). Why is that? Why is it impossible for you to believe that the people of another country might want something you don't want them to want because they really DO want it?

Why assume it HAS to be a trick? A con? a repressive conspiracy? Why take the view of Venezuela and the Bolvarian Revolution that EVERY reactionary in history has taken towards ANY movement for social transformation anywhere that movement has ever occurred? There's not much difference between saying "The PSUV could ONLY stay in through unfairness and repression" and saying "if it weren't for them dadburn Yankee abolitionists, they'd STILL be singin' and dancin' in them ol' cotton fields back home".

The truth is, revolution always happens, and can ONLY happen, because the country where it happens WANTS it to happen. That's just reality, my friend. That's just the way of the world. Revolution can't be made in a country content with the status quo.

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Response to quadrature (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:44 AM

15. Why don't you make the slightest effort to keep up?

The Venezuelan government has been working just FINE, operating as usual. You haven't even bothered to look into it, have you?

If you don't know anything about how it's been doing, why would you imagine you have a valid opinion?

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #15)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 09:34 AM

31. oh, only Judi Lynn has a valid opinion, I'll be sure to pass all your posts by now

you are mean and nasty, too

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Response to wordpix (Reply #31)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 09:49 AM

32. LOL

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 10:33 PM

7. Why are you so obsessed with removing the party the Venezuelan people JUST elected from office?

It's not progressive to want to force a snap election just to boost the right-wing's chances of returning to power...and that's what backing Capriles is about in Venezuela...wanting the old days back.

Just admit it already.

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 02:57 AM

13. Five Key Media Myths about Chavez’s Health and Swearing-in

Exposing Five Key Media Myths about Chavez’s Health and Swearing-in


Over the last few weeks the private English media has stepped up its campaign against the Venezuelan revolution, spreading a number of lies and misconceptions around President Hugo Chavez’s health, the politics and legalities involved in his swearing-in for his new term, and the Venezuelan government’s handling of the situation.

The media, often taking its line directly from Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, is exploiting a sad time for the Venezuelan people. Media Observatory journalist Mariclem Stelling, talking on public television station VTV, called it a “combination of glee, irony, and necrophilia...an attempt to remove (Chavez) from his political role”.

“They build the news from the economic and political interests to which they respond,” she said.

Here, Venezuelanalysis.com debunks the top five lies currently being spread by private media.

1) The Venezuelan government is being secretive about Chavez’s health

This charge has been made by international media since Chavez first announced he had cancer in June 2011. Criticisms by the private media of government “secrecy” around his condition have intensified as the swearing-in date approaches, in part reflecting an increasingly fractious Venezuelan opposition anxious for details they could use to their advantage.

Mass media sources describe Chavez’s medical condition as “a mystery”, with outlets such as the Los Angeles Times referring to government information on Chavez’s post-operatory recovery as “sporadic and thinly detailed medical updates”. Outlets such as the British BBC and the Australian have picked up the opposition’s call for the Venezuelan government to tell the “truth” on Chavez’s health, implying that the government is withholding information, or outright lying.

The argument that the Venezuelan government is keeping secrets feeds into the discourse most mainstream media use in relation to the Bolivarian revolution, recently describing the government as “despots” (Chicago Tribune) and “autocratic populists” (Washington Post).

Other media has put out its own versions of Chavez’s state of health, with the Spanish ABC going to great lengths to describe even his bowel movements, and reporting that he is in a coma, and the multinational Terra mistaking its desires for reality, reporting that Chavez is already dead. These media outlets have just one “anonymous” source for their reports; they somehow, apparently, have an infiltrator (or an “intelligence source” as they call it) among Chavez’s Cuban medical team.

The government has in fact released 28 statements updating the public on Chavez’s condition since his operation on 11 December, an average of around 1 per day. These statements are available in full text on the internet, and are also being read out by communication minister Ernesto Villegas on all Venezuelan public television and radio.

In the latest statement, released yesterday, Villegas said that Chavez’s condition remains “stationary” compared to the last report, where the public was informed that he has a respiratory “deficiency” due to a pulmonary infection.

It is true however, that beyond mentioning the general cancer site; the pelvic region, the government hasn’t revealed the exact type of cancer that Chavez has, nor the exact nature of the operation that he underwent on 11 December. This is possibly due to privacy reasons.

When asked directly about this issue in a recent interview, Jorge Rodriguez, a doctor and key figure in Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), said “I’d give the example of Mrs. Hilary Clinton, who had a cerebral vascular accident. There are three factors which influence these cases: the part of the brain where it happens, the size of the affected zone, and if it produces a hemorrhage or obstruction. Well fine, I’ve not seen any serious and decent doctor ask in which zone she had the lesion. And I think it’s fine that they don’t ask because that lady has the right to privacy. I’ve not seen Ramon Guillermo Aveledo (the executive secretary of the opposition’s MUD coalition) asking to know if her accident affected her in the frontal lobe, in which case, of course, she couldn’t continue giving the instructions she normally gives”.

Of course, when the international media report on the Venezuelan opposition’s stance towards Chavez’s health situation, they invariably fail to mention that the opposition’s approach has a lot less to do with a crusade for truth, and more to do with its hopes of creating a political and constitutional crisis over the issue. They make out that the Venezuelan government is being deliberately misleading and manipulative with information, but would never point the finger at Western leaders such as George Bush or Barack Obama for not announcing the exact locations of their frequent, long, and luxurious vacations, for example.

2) It is unconstitutional if Chavez doesn’t take the oath of office on 10 January

This is another lie that takes a leaf straight from the opposition’s book. Most opposition leaders, and even the Venezuelan Catholic Church, are arguing that if Chavez cannot be officially sworn-in as president on 10 January then he will lose his status as president of Venezuela. They say that in that case, Chavez should be declared “permanently absent”, and the head of the national assembly, Diosdado Cabello, would have to take over as president and call fresh elections. The opposition also claim that the swearing-in ceremony cannot be postponed, and that if Chavez continues on as president after 10 January it would be a “flagrant violation of the constitution”. Their strategy is to use their own interpretation of the constitution in order to try and depose Chavez on a technicality while the president-elect lies in Cuba struggling in post-surgery recovery.

Private media outlets have latched onto this argument, and misinformed about the Venezuelan constitution. In a highly misleading article, the Washington Post claimed that a delay in Chavez’s inauguration ceremony would be “a stretch of the constitution’s ambiguous wording”. Similar comments were made in other U.S. outlets, with Time arguing that Venezuela’s constitution is “a murky map that could send the western hemisphere’s most oil-rich nation into precarious governmental limbo this year”. Reuters argued that the Venezuelan government is “violating the constitution” and the country will be “left in a power vacuum”, and the BBC, which maintained a more reserved tone, still portrayed interpretations of the constitution as muddied debate between government and opposition.

However, Venezuela’s constitution is clear on the situation. The conditions under which a president can be declared permanently absent and new elections called are covered by article 233, and are, “death, resignation, destitution decreed by the Supreme Court, mental or physical incapacity certified by a medical council designated by the Supreme Court with the approval of the National Assembly, abandonment of the post, [or] a popular recall of the mandate”.

Currently Chavez’s status is that of “absence from the national territory”, a status which is granted by the national assembly. This could eventually be declared a “temporary absence” from the presidency, which is granted by the national assembly for a period of ninety days, and can be extended for 90 further days, as outlined by articles 234 and 235 of the constitution.

What the opposition are trying to do is use article 231 of the constitution, which describes the presidential inauguration, to argue for Chavez’s deposal. The article states that the president elect “will assume their mandate on the 10th of January of the first year of their constitutional period, through a swearing-in ceremony in front of the National Assembly”. The opposition claim that Chavez’s inability to attend that ceremony means that he has not assumed his term and his “permanent absence” should be declared. However, as noted above, not being able to attend the inauguration ceremony is not considered a reason for “permanent absence” in the Venezuelan constitution, leaving the Venezuelan opposition without a constitutional leg to stand on.

Rather, this situation is dealt with by the second half of article 231, which states, “If for any supervening reason the president cannot take office in front of the National Assembly, s/he will do so before the Supreme Court”. No date is specified.

Venezuelan constitutional lawyer Harman Escarra, an opposition supporter who helped draft the 1999 constitution, explained in an interview with Venezuelan daily Ciudad CCS that constitutionally, even if the president can’t attend the 10 January ceremony, the new presidential term still begins, including the constitutional mandate of the president’s council of state, the vice-president, and government ministers. As such, he affirmed that in Venezuela “there isn’t a power vacuum”.

The constitutional lawyer further explained that under both the letter and spirit of article 231 of the constitution, “The President, from the point of view of sovereignty, is the President. There’s no other, and the mandate of the popular majority cannot not be overturned because of the issue of a date at a specific moment, because that would be to violate a sacred principle that is in article five of the constitution, which says that power resides in the sovereignty of the people”.

Therefore, it is erroneous for international media to report that Venezuela is entering a constitutionally ambiguous situation in which either the status of the president or the next constitutional step is not clear. Further, it is not only misleading, but dangerous to wrongly paint Chavez allies as looking to subvert the constitution to stay in power, when the opposition is trying to question the government’s constitutional legitimacy in order to provoke a political crisis and depose Chavez as president. The opposition is not the “critical” and “unbiased” democratic voice that the private media represent them as. Such reporting also displays a certain level of hypocrisy, as one can be sure that if the U.S. president or British prime minister were unable to assume a particular inauguration ceremony for health reasons, such outlets would not start casting doubt on their legitimacy, as they are currently doing with Chavez.

3) Should elections have to be called, they may not be “fair”**, and opposition leader Henrique Capriles has a good chance of winning

This third myth adds to the previous two to create the impression that the Bolivarian revolution is undemocratic. It is spouted by most private media, but especially media from the US, which rarely points out the utterly unfair conditions in which elections are held in its own country.

The Washington Post claimed that if Chavez were to die and new elections had to be called, “Chavez’s inner circle…may consider postponing the election or even calling it off”.

“That’s why the first responsibility of the United States and Venezuelan neighbors such as Brazil should be to insist that the presidential election be held and that it be free and fair**,” the WP said, and even suggested that “Mr Chavez’s followers or military leaders” might “attempt a coup”.

The US State Department has also called for any elections that Venezuela has to be “free and transparent”** and the Chicago Tribune in an article today said, “In October, Chavez vanquished his first serious challenger, Henrique Capriles, despite being too sick to campaign... Too sick to give speeches, he bought votes through political stunts like awarding a free government-built home to his 3 millionth Twitter follower.”

The Chicago Tribune’s statement is a lie; Chavez attended one to two huge rallies around the country in the month before the presidential elections, including one in Merida the authors of this article attended, as well as fulfilling his duties as president. And, of course there is no basis or need for these calls for “fair” elections. None of the private media will remind its readers of the 16 elections held over the last 14 years, that 81% of Venezuelans voluntarily turned out to vote in the October presidential elections, that Venezuela is building up participatory democracy through its communal councils, and that Venezuelans have access to completely free and widely available health care, education, and even to subsidised housing—basic conditions necessary for democracy to be practiced.

The Washington Post argued that the Venezuelan government “fears” free elections** because “a fair vote would be won by opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who lost the October presidential ballot but is more popular than Mr. Maduro.” This is wishful thinking, another example of the media mistaking its desire for reality. The opposition did not receive more votes than the governing PSUV in the recent 16 December regional elections, despite Chavez’s absence. The opposition is weak, divided, disillusioned after 14 years of losing election after election (except the 2007 constitutional referendum), has no street presence what so ever, and has no program or cause to unite around, beyond wanting power.

4) A split within the Chavista leadership between Maduro and Cabello is coming

This is another idea bandied about by the Venezuelan opposition and propagated by the international media. The notion, or hope, is that if the worst were to happen and Chavez were to die, Chavismo would immediately become divided among itself and fall apart. In particular, it is argued that national assembly president Diosdado Cabello would try to seize the presidential candidacy of the PSUV from Vice-president Nicolas Maduro. Some opposition figures appear to be actively encouraging this, with opposition legislator Maria Corina Machado demanding that Diosdado Cabello take power on 10 January and that “distrust” and “fear” exist between Cabello and Maduro.

On cue, always backed by vague “analysts” or “observers”, the international media has informed the public of, “A potential rift inside Chavismo between Maduro’s more socialist faction and that of the more pragmatic Cabello” (TIME), or, “Mr Cabello wields considerable power and is thought to harbour his own political ambitions” (BBC), and that, “Chavez's death or resignation could set off a power struggle within the party among Maduro, Cabello, Chavez's brother Adan and state governors” (LA Times).

Such commentary has been slammed by Maduro, Cabello and other leaders within Chavismo, who all stress the unity of different currents within the Bolivarian movement in the current difficult situation. Indeed, the scenario of a direct power grab by Cabello or any other figure within Chavismo of Maduro’s role as successor if Chavez cannot assume his presidential term is very unlikely. Just before Chavez flew off to Cuba for surgery in December, he told the nation that, “If such a scenario were to occur, I ask you from my heart that you elect Nicolas Maduro as constitutional president of the republic”. Chavez has such strong support and respect from among his followers that it would be almost unthinkable for another leader within Chavismo to publicly go against Chavez’s express wish that Maduro be his successor. Any attempt to usurp Maduro’s leadership and candidacy in fresh presidential elections would be seen as political suicide.

5) That the revolution is over without Chavez

Most private media have also subtly cast doubt that the revolution will continue without Chavez, suggesting that the leadership will collapse, that Venezuela is already in “economic chaos” and “disaster”, that Venezuela is living a political “crisis” right now, and that the revolutionary process can’t survive without Chavez. The Chicago Tribune said that, “Whoever ends up running Venezuela will preside over the mess Chavez made of a prosperous and promising nation” and there is now “high unemployment, record inflation and rampant crime”. This is despite Venezuela ending 2012 with 19.9% inflation, the lowest in years, and unemployment lower than the US.

The media is ignoring the fact that the country has been doing fine this last month without Chavez, that the PSUV leadership won 20 out of 23 states in the regional elections in December, without Chavez’s presence, that there is no crisis here; schools started again as normal today, the barrio adentro clinics are open, people are working, shopping, returning from Christmas season vacations, as normal. There is no panic buying, no looting, no political unrest.

Most importantly, the media is ignoring, is invisibilising the biggest factor there is; the people of Venezuela. Chavez isn’t just a person, or a leader, he represents a political project; of economic and cultural sovereignty, of Latin American unity, of freedom from US intervention, of all basic rights satisfied, and of participatory democracy. The majority of Venezuelans have showed their support for that project by turning out to vote en masse time and time again, including in elections in which Chavez wasn’t running, with voting rates generally increasing each year. In most other countries people would be tired and would have gotten over so many elections by now. Venezuelans have marched in the thousands and millions around the country again and again, not just to support electoral candidates, but to march for workers’ rights on May Day, as well as for other causes such as gay rights, defending journalists against violent attacks by the opposition, in support of various laws, and more. It was Venezuelans, en masse, who helped overturn the coup against Chavez in 2002.

The list of gains over the last 14 years is a long one. To mention just a few: complete literacy, broadly available and free university education, free healthcare centres in most communities, free laptops to primary school children, free meals for primary school children, subsidised food, subsidised books, increased street culture and street art, a range of new public infrastructure such as train lines and cable cars, laws supporting the rights of disabled people, women, and so on, government assisted urban agriculture, legalised community and worker organising, nearly a 1000 free internet centres, music programs, pensions for the elderly, and much more. These huge changes can’t be quickly reversed, and the Venezuelan people have every reason not to let them be.

Further, over the last 14 years, Venezuelans have woken up. They read and know their laws, everyone, even opposition supporters, spends hours each day debating and discussing politics and economics. Apathy still exists, but is way down. There is a political consciousness and depth that can’t be turned off overnight.

While it is true that after Chavez there will probably be bureaucracy, corruption, reformism, and some internal disagreements, these issues existed with him as a leader as well. Any change in political circumstances is an opportunity to bring these problems to the surface and to confront them.

The people of the Bolivarian movement are fighters, and are here to stay.


This work is licensed under a Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives Creative Commons license




**The U.S. State Department, the Washington Psst and assorted other shills of the transglobal corporate rulers demanding "fair and transparent" elections is so egregiously absurd, hypocritical and "Big Lie"-false that one hardly knows where to begin. Let me begin with the facts about Venezuela's election system vs. this farce we call an election system in the U.S.

Venezuela uses electronic voting, but the programming code is OPEN SOURCE CODE--code that anyone may review--and they conduct a whopping 55% audit (comparison of ballots to electronic totals)--over five times the necessary audit to detect fraud in an electronic voting system.

The U.S. uses electronic voting, but it is run on 'TRADE SECRET' code--code that the public is forbidden to review-- and half the states in the U.S. DO NO AUDIT AT ALL of the electronic totals, and the other half do a miserably inadequate 1% audit. Furthermore, 75% of the voting systems in the U.S. are controlled by ONE, PRIVATE, FAR RIGHTWING-CONNECTED corporation--ES&S, which bought out Diebold.

There are many other election system issues on which Venezuela shines--shines so brightly, indeed, that Jimmy Carter recently said that Venezuela has "the best election system in the world." Venezuela's system has been closely monitored and its elections certified by every major election monitoring group on earth.

Our system stinks to high heaven. Venezuela's system is superior in every respect, from its transparency and verifiability to public participation and enthusiasm. Our system is MADE TO ORDER FOR FRAUD. Venezuela's system is made to order to reflect the will of the people. Our system is invisible, shadowy, controlled by "TRADE SECRETS" and vast amounts of dirty money and dirty deals. Venezuela's system is transparent, open, public and accountable--and it is a system in which you don't have to be a millionaire to run office--everyone has a chance to rise to leadership positions and to be elected to office.

Venezuela is a DEMOCRACY. Is the U.S.? It is arguable that it is NOT--though I believe that we still are a democratic people, longing for good government and a real and fair say it how it is run and what our tax dollars are used for, and are mystified about its failure to represent us and are very, very demoralized about changing things for the better.

Not so in Venezuela. Venezuelans ARE running their own affairs, as a sovereign people, and they are among the most positive-minded people in the world. (They rated their country fifth in the world, as to their own happiness and future prospects!)

This is what makes these lectures from corporate shills about "fair and transparent elections" so utterly ridiculous--so mind-bendingly unreal, and, in truth, so evil--because the perpetrators of this kind of lie are not doing it in ignorance. They know exactly what they are doing. They are turning the truth on its head.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 04:42 AM

18. So glad to see this thread, as it led me to read your wonderful article,

and comments.

I am so proud and pleased to be able to file your post away for re-reading, and sharing with anyone who could use some enlightenment.

One article like this tells those of us who do see right through the corporate crappola our own perceptions are absolutely on track. I'm certain most of us have been following this closely, and have arrived at many of the same conclusion.

Thank you for sharing this vital information. We need and appreciate it.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 09:25 AM

19. OK, I got it. The Person is bigger than the Process

The Revolution is more important than the Constitution.

"Most importantly, the media is ignoring, is invisibilising the biggest factor there is; the people of Venezuela. Chavez isn’t just a person, or a leader, he represents a political project; of economic and cultural sovereignty, of Latin American unity, of freedom from US intervention, of all basic rights satisfied, and of participatory democracy."

Living Colour said it best:

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #19)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 10:13 PM

20. I don't think you understand that paragraph or its article very well...

...nor the history of the Venezuelan Constitution, which was written by the People and voted on and approved by the People, in 1999**, as part of a leftist democracy revolution. Yes, Chavez stands as a symbol of, and implementer of, this political project, but the project was created by, and is shared and implemented by, the People of Venezuela. When it came under threat, it was the People of Venezuela who defended it and restored Constitutional order. When it has been challenged by dirty rotten sabotage, such as the oil bosses' lockout, it was the People of Venezuela who saw this for what it was--treason--endured in spite of the ravages of dirty deeds like this, and supported the Chavez government in fighting back (for instance, ending that lockout). And when it has been challenged electorally, the People of Venezuela have, time and again, come out to vote for the Chavez government, by big majorities--including giving 20 of 23 governorships to Chavez's party in the recent by-election, with Chavez too ill to campaign for his party's candidates.

The paragraph that you cite is NOT supporting a "cult of personality" but rather its opposite--the primacy of the People of Venezuela in creating this leftist democracy movement--their own "New Deal"--which has inspired other Latin American peoples and is well-described in the paragraph as "a political project; of economic and cultural sovereignty, of Latin American unity, of freedom from US intervention, of all basic rights satisfied, and of participatory democracy."

I'll admit that the wording in the first part of the paragraph is a little awkward ("Chavez isn’t just a person, or a leader, he represents a political project...".), but, in the context of the article, it DOESN'T mean that Chavez should be worshipped in a cult, but rather that he has REPRESENTED THAT PROJECT--the Peoples' project. Further, if he is disabled or dies, the project will and must go on. It is the clear will of the People for the next six years. It is NOT dependent on one leader--as the disinformationists in the corporate media have tried so hard to make people believe. It is a genuine, widespread, majority-supported assertion of human and civil rights, fairness and independence from U.S. dictates.


**The Constitution of 1999 was the first constitution approved by popular referendum in Venezuelan history, and summarily inaugurated the so-called "Fifth Republic" of Venezuela due to the socioeconomic changes foretold in its pages, as well as the official change in Venezuela's name from the República de Venezuela ("Republic of Venezuela" to the República Bolivariana de Venezuela ("Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela". Major changes are made to the structure of Venezuela's government and responsibilities, while a much greater number of human rights are enshrined in the document as guaranteed to all Venezuelans – including free education up to tertiary level, free quality health care, access to a clean environment, right of minorities (especially indigenous peoples) to uphold their own traditional cultures, religions, and languages, among others. The 1999 Constitution, with 350 articles, is among the world's longest, most complicated, and most comprehensive constitutions. (MORE)
(my emphasis)

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:49 AM

21. Chávez, or at Least His Sash, Is Set for Venezuela Inauguration


~ snip ~

“Anyone who has a sash, bring it along, because tomorrow the people will be invested as president of the republic, because the people are Chávez,” Diosdado Cabello, the president of the National Assembly, said Wednesday. “All of us here are Chávez, the people in the street are Chávez, the lady who cooks is Chávez, the comrade who works as a watchman is Chávez, the soldier is Chávez, the woman is Chávez, the farmer is Chávez, the worker is Chávez; we’re all Chávez.”

To no one’s surprise, the Supreme Court, full of Chávez loyalists, ruled on the eve of the ceremony that Mr. Chávez’s inauguration could be postponed and that his team of advisers could smoothly move, in his absence, from one term to the next.

The court declined to set a time limit for the swearing in, raising the possibility that the country’s deepening uncertainty could go on for weeks or months. And it did nothing to clear up the stubborn mystery of the president’s condition.

~ snip ~

The lack of information has left Venezuela tied in knots. Mr. Chávez has loomed so large for so long — with speeches that have lasted for hours, frequent Twitter posts and his outsized singing, ranting, poetry-reciting and foe-bashing personality — that his sudden silence has created a sizable vacuum.

~ snip ~


Nope, no cult of personality here. Truly Venezuela is the model for Occupy's leaderless revolution.

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #21)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 06:04 PM

36. Not a cult of the personality...the power of the people.

The PSUV isn't just one man...it's the poor, it's the Rainbow, it's all the previously downtrodden of Venezuela.

What you're seeing is the people of Venezuela taking a stand against those who want to steal everything from them...those who are using Capriles as a front for a Chicago-school economic takeback.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #36)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 06:51 PM

38. The oligarchs want to return Venezuela's oil profits to a small group of elites,

and withdraw ALL the progress made in providing education, medical assistance, shelter, discounted food prices, clean water, etc., etc. etc. to the vast poorer (previouslywildly impoverished, exploited) sector which was completely ignored, and hopeless until the people started standing up to these greedy fools after the Caracazo massacre.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #38)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 07:16 PM

39. Some of the comments we see here come show the inability of even some "liberal" Americans

to accept that any possibilities of life outside the narrow constraints we have here, any way of organizing your existence along more just, less soulless, more human and gentle lines, could truly exist anywhere. They can't accept that anyone, anywhere, can shape a different, better life, a democratized reality.

It's not that those people are bad, or that they have unpleasant intent, it's that they've been consumed by the propaganda of limit and futility, the hatred of dreams and of dreamers, that we are all bombarded with on a daily basis.

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Response to Post removed (Reply #22)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:33 PM

24. Whereas I take no pleasure in your epic projection.

It's sad and pathetic.

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Response to JackRiddler (Reply #24)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 06:02 PM

35. I'd say he doesn't love ENOUGH weed.

That's the kind of post you write when your pals are Bogarting the joints.

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 06:08 PM

37. I really don't fucking give a shit


It ain't fucking Venezuela Underground.

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Response to FrodosPet (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 07:18 PM

40. I Wonder what Gollum would Say...

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