Monday, December 3, 2007

Venezuelan Elections – Defeat or Victory?

The US government – notably not just the Bush Administration, but the whole verbose shebang – has long been making nasty comments about Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez. To me all that bluster is more of the same vis-à-vis our usual process of demonizing a person or a nation until he or it becomes accepted as an enemy by the man on the street so our government can act against them without American censure.

Not only has Hugo Chavez been obnoxiously confrontational toward US policy and flagrantly pointing at BushCo as a group of international criminals, but he has been making sure that his country’s resources are used for the benefit of the entire spectrum of society in Venezuela with a special emphasis on the poor. For all those things, he has long been a hero of mine.

By a 51-49% margin in yesterday’s vote, the people of Venezuela voted not to grant Chavez the right to hold the presidency as long as he likes, but rather gave him notice that his term of office is limited. While I think that most of what he has accomplished in Venezuela has been beneficial for Venezuelans (and the world in general), I also think that the voters were right.

Those who hold absolute power indefinitely can and usually do build for themselves a vast and bountiful lifestyle that ultimately must be defended by limiting the power of the people. I don’t know about Chavez himself, but his family was beginning to show signs of that deterioration of national interest in favor of personal interests – big houses, new cars, etc. The kind of extravagances the rich gather to themselves everywhere they are permitted to amass so much more than they need and to taste the thrill of power that wealth provides.

It’s too bad because it goes so deeply against what Hugo Chavez has stood for and accomplished over the years, but it is true that absolute power corrupts absolutely, so congratulations to the people of Venezuela for the wisdom they showed in their voting. Now my hope is that Chavez, too, will recognize that wisdom and strive to maintain the efforts at populism that brought equal opportunity to all of his people and show it by being a bit more humble while keeping up his efforts to make sure that everyone benefits and no one is hurt by the power the wealth of his oil producing nation generates.

Viva Chavez. Viva Venezuela. Viva pas.

Would that we had some real populists gaining power in this country and voters with the wisdom of the average Venezuelan

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

The reason for going was to keep the crude flowing and raise a false flag abroad. – from a poem by Jack Evans titled 3500 Souls -

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