Moises Naim in the NYT

March 6, 2003

Reading my brother’s blog I am reminded that I also wanted to provide a link to the excellent article in the NYT by Moises Naim on Venezuela called “Hugo Chavez and the limits of Democracy”. I particularly point to the following paragraph which is what I have been pointing out all along since I started my blog:

“It is a measure of Venezuela’s toxic political climate that even though the constitution allows for early elections, and even though President Chávez has promised that he will abide by this provision, the great majority of Venezuelans don’t believe him. They are convinced that in August, when the constitution contemplates a referendum on the president, the government will resort to delaying tactics and dirty tricks. With international attention elsewhere, Mr. Chávez will use his power to forestall an election and ignore the constitution.

Venezuela’s citizens have been heroically peaceful and civil in their quest. All they ask is that they be given a chance to vote. The world should do its best to ensure that they have that opportunity.”

To those that tell me today that why should I doubt that there will be a referendum in August, I remind them, there can be no elections today in Venezuela due to a decision on a technicality by the Chavez controlled Supreme Court. This blocks recall referenda on 30 Deputies, 10 Governors and dozens of Mayors, all Chavez supporters. Why would it be any different four months from now? We recall just four of those Deputies and Chavez’ project to expand the Supreme Court by ten Justices does not pass. Convenient, no?

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