Archive for October 23rd, 2002

Crowds grow in Caracas and other cities.

October 23, 2002

Crowds were present in Altamira Square and other cities in Venezuela even as no new military officers joined those that declared themselves in civil disobedience. Many rumors around the city. The crowd tonight was much larger than last night. The first picture is that of the obelisk in the center of the square while the second one is a side view of the square showing people as far as one could see. Hard to predict what may happen, but I was surprised at the way it gained strength today.


Sergio Ramirez on Chavez, Lula and Latin America

October 23, 2002

Sergio Ramirez, who was Vice-President of the Sandinista Government in Nicaragua, who wrtote the very interesting book Adios Muchachos, had these very interesting things to say in yesterday’s local newspaper El Nacional:

 “I have given many opinions about Chavez. I think he had his moment, his first moments, and very important ones for the history of Venezuela. But the society is divided. And that to me is a failure. A million people here, another million there. And for a country to be divided, in strictly democratic terms does not matter. That can be resolved at the time of elections. But around some goals that are called revolutionary, of profound changes in society, it is not easy to resolve.


To me it looks that there lies the great mystery and the great challenge for politicians: to be able to carry out profound changes with a consensus. Someone, from the left, may tell me that that is impossible, because there will always exist concrete interests that will oppose it. But I believe that in these societies you will never do anything more without a consensus. That is what Lula is doing in Brazil. To me that is important

The other thing that seems important is that an elected officer, like Lula, should know that he will be in power for only five years and not his whole life. Maybe ten years, but no more. But those that prepare themselves to always be in that position would fail beforehand. There are no Government officials forever in Latin America”

Well said, I hope all our politicians read it.


Participatory Democracy: National Assembly changes electoral law, what next?

October 23, 2002

At a time that Venezuelans are clamoring for a referendum (which can be called by the National Assembly at any time). The week after the Vice-President (not the President, who refused to sign it, which was requested by the opposition)signed the declaration of principles with the OAS, which includes a dialogue to solve the political crisis of Venezuela, the National Assembly with the vote of only Chavez’ MVR party approved yesterday modifications to the Electoral Law. If approved by the President and the Cabinet, this will become the law. What is the problem?. Well, only that according to the Venezuelan Constitution, article 298, there can be no changes to the law between the day of an election and the previous six months. This means there can be no elections for the next six months. Will they also change in in six months and so on and so forth?

Curiously, only a year and a half ago, when he was still popular, Hugo Chavez refused to sign the so-called Declaration of Quebec, because he did not believe in “representative” democracy, but something more primitive called “participatory” democracy in which people have the right to have everything decided by referenda. How times change, no?