Update: It's not too late, baby. Chavez had his hat handed to him over the supposed reforms by a miniscule percentage of the voters. Inquiring minds can only suppose that the NO vote must have been much larger to force him to declare defeat. The Venezuelans have triumphed, for now. As long as he is in power, they must remain vigilant. He will not stop here.
Interesting Op-ed piece in today's New York Times by a longtime associate and former defense minister who has broken ranks with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. The money quote:
The proposal, which would abolish presidential term limits and expand presidential powers, is nothing less than an attempt to establish a socialist state in Venezuela. As our Catholic bishops have already made clear, a socialist state is contrary to the beliefs of Simón Bolívar, the South American liberation hero, and it is also contrary to human nature and the Christian view of society, because it grants the state absolute control over the people it governs.
Wow! He discovered the Mediterranean, as me good old mom would say. But he does have some interesting things to say about the forces that brought Chavez to power and especially the lack of results for the poor. Politcal parties, note he does not limit it to Chavez (one has to wonder why) have created a false properity and a notion of entitlement.
During the economic boom years, ushered in by a sustained increase in oil prices, the parties dispensed favors, subsidies and alms. In the end, they taught the people about rights rather than obligations, thus establishing the myth that Venezuela is a rich country, and that the sole duty of a good government is to distribute its wealth evenly. President Chávez has been buying and selling against this idea, continuing to practice the kind of neopopulism that will reach its limit only when the country receives what economists call an “external shock.”
Interesting, but mayhap too little, too late.