Endless Chavez

No more term limits - now Hugo Chavez can be voted back into power as many times as Orrin Hatch!

Even as he appeared on national television from the balcony of Miraflores Palace in Caracas before a cheering crowd of supporters, moments after electoral officials announced the results, a palpable fear was setting in among the opposition that this former army officer could become their president for life.

Or, at least until the oil money runs out. In other words, next Tuesday.

Hey, it was good enough for the US for 150 years.

Which of course ignores the early precedents set by the country’s first chief executives of not running for more than 2 consecutive terms. I’d rather have a precedent that is eventually formulated into a law rather than going from existing term limits to abolishing them.

Chavez has already declared he’d try to remain in power for at least another decade to “complete the socialist revolution”. Can’t wait to see how he proceeds to consolidate his power over the next few years, amid amazing populist support. I wonder how large the percentage of people below the poverty line in Venezuela is, since that seems to be his base that consistently votes for him thanks to all his social welfare programs.

More disturbing probably is a domino effect where several other South American nations attempt to remove term limits on presidents, which is already happening with Bolivia and Ecuador.

The thread title sounds like some teenage ephemera.

Or some of the grimmer UK towns. Chavs, chavs, endless chavez, as far as the eye can see,

While my general view of Chavez is quite dim -well, in fact I think he’s a fucking clown, but of the unfunny and dangerous variety- I cannot fail to notice how the right wing and US-friendly Uribe did the same(*) in Colombia to a much lesser international outcry.

(*) Not exactly the same, the constitution there was ammended without a referendum.

Mr. Chávez resurrected the push to lift term limits after voters narrowly rejected the previous effort, which was bundled within a broader constitutional overhaul in December 2007.

Now that’s interesting - he’s personally more popular than his proposals.

Hypothetically if the opposition wants to defeat him they could, oh, get people to vote for them. Doesn’t change much either way I suspect - look at what Putin did to get around term limits.

Why? I can see how his rhetoric is uncomfortably stupid at times, but I fail to see how his actions can have such dire implications, particularly with respect to the US. Most of the Chavez-US clashes haven’t actually been about substantial points of disagreement as much as they were part of increasing Chavez’s appeal in Venezuela. Venezuela is not Iran.

I do understand worries about him setting a South American example that fuels dictatorship, but it’s not like the US didn’t actively prop up despots in South America either. So again I’m not seeing how his actions are ultimately threatening.

The opposition isn’t really empowered. Chavez controls the state media which airs his relentless campaign drives and is required to air his speeches, as well as the fact that he controls all other branches of government.

I don’t see the major problem with this. Just because the US sets term limits, doesn’t mean that not setting a term limit is undemocratic. Many democratic nations don’t set term limits, including the UK, Canada and Australia.

It’s not the same since Chavez is actively attempting to curtail freedom of the press as well as the independence of the legislature and judiciary. The benefits and downsides of term limits can be weighed out of context, but they need to be considered as part of his overall effort, which seems to be systematically undermining democracy in Venezuela.

When Chavez does it, it’s TYRANNY.

Most of the U.S.'s problems with Chavez lie not in the socialist reforms he’s doing, but rather in a very increased military spending program which the U.S. says would “destabilize the region” and also cause increased tension with U.S. relations. In addition they have supposedly given weapons to FARC, which caused some protest in Columbia if I remember correctly.

I can see the point there. You get one country with more money, a much bigger military, and sweeping social reforms in the middle of several countries not doing nearly as well. What happens if Venezuela decides they need resources from a surrounding country at some point?

Term limits are terribly undemocratic and often not at all in the best interests of the people. It unnecessarily limits our pool of talent. If a company found a successful CEO, would they shoot themselves in the foot by saying “After four years, you have to go - no matter what!”?

Elections in Venezuela are free and fair. If Venezuelans want to be rid of Chavez, they can vote him out.

Did you word your first sentence correctly marged? It doesn’t seem to match the rest of your post.

I was thinking a romance novel.

What what?

I’m confused. Here are things I think about term limits:

  1. Not beneficial to the people being governed
  2. Not democratic

Was I not saying that?

haha, nevermind. my mind had things twisted around there for a min. your fine.

Oh good, I’m glad, cause I was seriously wondering if there was something wrong with me 'cause it looked fine to me.

Sure unless you count closing the opposition press, arresting members of the opposition, having your star court indict politicians of the opposite party, have your personal militia attack opposition protestors.

His main opposition won election and then had the Chavistas refuse to turn over power and destroy the building that was his residence.

Chavez is following the typical pathy to tyranny and the results will not be pretty in that country.

The FARC thing is a bit of a cop-out since they’re almost completely on the run in Colombia. Sweeping socialist revolution rhetoric is not the same as effectively funding guerrilla groups that threaten to destabilize South America, especially if said groups are ultimate failures.

I can see the point there. You get one country with more money, a much bigger military, and sweeping social reforms in the middle of several countries not doing nearly as well. What happens if Venezuela decides they need resources from a surrounding country at some point?

South America is not somehow rife with failed states. Brazil, which borders Venezuela, is a formidable economic power and one of the world’s largest democracies. Peru has an extremely high GDP growth rate. Chile is a very prosperous and stable democracy. The possibility that Chavez might find himself undeterred in pursuing a policy of lebensraum some time in the future is a bit remote, and the fact that it’s even a factor in a discussion of Venezuela strikes me as a bit reactionary.

Just because free elections exist doesn’t mean the government isn’t coercive, especially since the mass media is under state control and the opposition is ostracized. Robert Mugabe’s government isn’t automatically benevolent because they allowed elections.

My tortured attempt at rationalizing this makes me feel that it’s obvious Chavez is taking Venezuela down the path of dictatorship and despotism, and the fact that the percentage of poor people is high despite the country’s natural resources, and despite a decade of Chavez’s “populist” rule, is an indication of this. But I just don’t see it as a major threat to stability in the continent. Yet.