Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chavez: The Meltdown Continues

Venezuelan National Guard soldiers fire tear gas and
rubber bullets at students, unseen, outside the
Metropolitan University in Caracas

Seems like the paranoid megalomaniac is getting a bit antsy, and things continue to get ugly in the streets of Venezuela.
President Hugo Chávez is encountering unexpectedly strong opposition to a referendum on constitutional reform which would cement his rule in Venezuela, with violent clashes between rival demonstrations and security forces feeding a mood that the country is at a turning point.

According to opinion polls, the socialist leader could lose this Sunday's vote amid unease over his radical policies and ambition to stay in power for decades.

Defections from his movement's ranks and food shortages have galvanised a student-led opposition campaign which is due to climax at a final rally in downtown Caracas today.

Defeat would stymie Chávez's effort to abolish term limits and oblige him to step down in five years. He has expressed a desire to keep running for president until 2030.

The president, a formidable and charismatic campaigner, has cast the referendum as a verdict on his rule and said anyone who supported him but voted against would be a traitor. "It's black and white. A vote against the reform is a vote against Chávez," he told state television.

He said he would enter a period of "profound reflection" if he lost, but dismissed the prospect. "We're obligated to victory, to continue triumphing. This is a battle of world proportions."
Nothing like a two-bit thug dictator thinking so highly of himself.

Further adding to the air of paranoia surrounding Chavez is the news Venezuela may expel the U.S. envoy, claiming, of course, we're interfering in the referendum.
Venezuela could expel a U.S. diplomat it suspects of interfering in its internal affairs by working against President Hugo Chavez's plan to run for reelection indefinitely, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro told state television he had a document that appeared to be from an American at the embassy in Caracas referring to a plan to impede the anti-U.S. president winning a referendum on Sunday.

"If it's true, we are going to declare this official from the U.S. Embassy persona non grata and eject him from the country because he would have been interfering in the internal matters of Venezuela," he said.
Chavez has grand designs, such as redrawing Venezuela's map to further consolidate power.
"The strategy is to strangle the mayors and governors," said Ramon Martinez, a governor of eastern Sucre state and a former communist guerrilla who recently broke with the president over the referendum and other issues. "Chavez will decide everything."

Chavez' project, said Manuel Donis Rios, a Venezuelan historian, mirrors the policies of 19th-century dictators who appointed military commanders to rule outlying areas and crush dissent.

Since the start of the year, Chavez' Bolivarian revolution has taken a radical turn to the left, and the 69 amendments on Sunday's ballot would enshrine many of his socialist ideas in the constitution.
As he further spirals toward dementia, the good friend of Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey claimed he would leave the government should his socialist dreamstate not come to fruition.

As if.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he will leave the government should voters reject his proposed changes to the constitution in a referendum, raising the stakes in an election pollsters say is too close to call.

``The voice of the people is the voice of God,'' he said today in a televised speech in the city of Merida. ``In the case that the reform isn't approved Sunday, I will start to pack my bags because I will have to leave the government.''
The people of Venezuela should be so fortunate.

Now, as the vote draws closer, the violence has ratcheted up. Some more photos:

An opponent to President Hugo Chavez, left,
uses an iron stick to hit a Chavez supporter during
a rally against the reforms to the nation's constitution
proposed by the president in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela

University students help a fellow student escape the tear gas
fired by Venezuelan National Guard soldiers
outside theMetropolitan University in Caracas

A university student points his slingshot toward
police during clashes outside the Metropolitan
University in Caracas

More coverage at Gateway Pundit.

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