Venezuela; What does the wishy-washiness of the Government mean?

September 25, 2002

Well, tomorrow’s showdown between the demonstrators and the Chavez Governemnt may have been averted or postponed but it is unclear at this time what is happening or why.

Basically, the opposition had challenged the Governemnt by scheduling a demonstartion in an area designated last week by the Governmnet as “special area”. Today the Mayor of the municipality where the demosntration is to take place gave a permit to it. The Minister of Defense wrote to the Mayor telling him that the President had “graciously” approved the demosntartion from 4 to 6 PM. (It was scheduled to last longer). Later the Vice-Minister for Internal Security said the demonstration is from 4 to 10PM and there will be security.

The Government clearly appears to have backtracked but it is not clear why. Some say the military forced the President to allow the demonstartion. Others say it is a trap (I doubt it). The Mayor of Chacao where the demosntration is to take place will go tomorrow to the Supreme Court to hand in a copy of the letter as proof of the unconstitutionality of the decree given that the Constitution gives no power to the President to give permits for marches or demosntration. Furthermore, the decision violates municipal autonomy.

I will certainly be there with my gas mask and camera……..


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