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February 16, 2009
Venezuelans end term limits; Chávez to run for re-election

Voters in Venezuela passed a referendum to end presidential term limits on Sunday, allowing President Hugo Chávez to run for re-election.

Venezuela had rejected a similar measure about 15 months ago.

Moisés Naím, editor of Foreign Policy and a former minister of trade and industry in Venezuela before Chávez came to power, joins Martin Savidge to discuss the possibility of Chávez getting re-elected when his current term is up in 2013, how oil prices will impact the election and how the Obama administration should deal with Chávez.

Below, read what bloggers in Venezuela had to say about the referendum and the country’s future.

A blogger at “Caracas Chronicles” describes the scene at one polling station:

We’re leaving the polling center. Tibi gave the results and Chavez is shouting the national anthem on the radio. Everyone is in a commotion because a motorcyclist has just been shot in the head and killed near this polling station. His name was Ismael and it seems many people knew him.

Before I left, I told one of the Chavista, member of the mesa, that I was afraid that today we gave a blank check and too much power to a single guy, and that they day they wanted to change presidents it could be too late. Her reply: “el pueblo es sabio y paciente, nosotros sabremos pasar factura”. I sure hope so.

Blogger “Daniel” in Venezuela voices his disappointment with the results:

Venezuela has voted for an unacceptable type of politics. As such it has proven that a large majority of its people does not believe in democracy […] The novelty tonight is that as of now this is a permanent chasm, a profound division of the country that cannot be solved through democracy alone.

[…]The soft language of the opposition that “we agree with Chavez social programs but we can run them better” is never going to work. Today it has reached its limit.

Blogger “Julia” in Caracas strikes a more resigned tone:

The nasty purple finger confirms that I already voted, a few hours ago to be exact. I “voted” on some “elections” I never asked for, in front of an Electoral Institution I do not trust. But it is done.

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Hugo Chavez’s hero Simon Bolivar once wrote that “bringing democracy to South America was like putting a saddle on a cow.” How ironic, yet tragic, that Senor Chavez is confirming that Bolivarian declaration.


Well, I’m “33%/each: black-white-native Venezuelan born during a dictatorial regime, lived the change to democracy being 8 years old as part of a 8 children family of a 4th grader education builder and 6th grader disciplined organized and ambitious mother. The Venezuela I lived in and served as a Physician was, until this radical change occurred was the country of opportunities for every one who wanted to succeed in life. The country where “negro” (black) or “catire” (blonde) were sweet words for your mate or children. 6/8 my brothers and sister finished college and 2/8 technical school without paying a cent! because public education; some in my family required surgery or hospitalization without paying at all because public health. Through these programs ALL Venezuelans were profited from the national Oil Industry. Venezuela served as refuge home for WW2 Jewish, Spanish, then Argentinians, Chileans and so on. Sadly, frustrated ideologies characterized by thirst and hunger of power are gaining grounds around the world and the natural “light” Venezuelan mood (like the Cuban of the 50ths) allowed what has become a switch of power no to democratic minded people but idolaters of man hungry for dominion even by force. It is sad but is not a life sentence. It will change for the better, God’s will


I second Mr. Lotz. I’ll add, however, this one-sided “blog round up” is a shame on Worldfocus – if that name still applies! How about some representative views, eh? Mr. Chavez wins his referendum yet all Worldfocus can do is “round up” the opinions of the non-mestizo, bourgeois class while ignoring the majority of the people of Venezuelans who voted for this referendum. Some balance please!!!!!!!!


No one seems to ask why Chavez came to power. I visited Caracas in the 70’s and saw a country with a wealthy class and a large class in poverty, and a wealth of oil. There was something wrong with that picture. I’m surprised he hadn’t arrived sooner. A vacuum is always filled.

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