Hugo Chavez promises 43 more years of his rule as he turns his closing on the reform vote into a rally for a plebiscite

November 30, 2007
With promises of running Venezuela until 2050 if he lives that long, when he will be 95 years old, Hugo Chavez closed his rally
of the close of the campaign for referendum reform. And if some of his
supporters were having doubts about Chavez’ intentions, just daring to
say that revealed to a great extent he autocrat’s frame of mind.

And it was no longer
a matter of mine is bigger than yours. While I watched yesterday’s No
rally from the ground, I only saw this one from TV cameras, which
showed comparable rallies, which to me is quite a victory for an
opposition, which a month ago seemed destined to a huge defeat. Add to
this Chavez’ hundreds of buses, lots of money to buy attendance,
coercion and memos telling Government workers that it was mandatory to
attend and it was in fact surprising hat the NO rally seemed denser,
larger and more enthusiastic than today’s Si rally. In one radio
station a caller detailed how he went to work on Thursday at the notary
office somewhere in the East of Venezuela and found the office closed
and the bus waiting to take everyone to Caracas for the rally. He had
to go, but as he said he does not have to vote Si on Sunday after
leaving his sick son alone for a day and a half without recourse.

And throughout his speech Chávez kept bringing back the subject
to the only terrain where he can hope to win: A vote for No is a vote
against him, a vote for No is treason, a vote for No is a vote for Bush
and a vote for NO and a vote for NO was a vote to turn Venezuela into a
colony of the United States.

And there were
also threats of grabbing his rifle again if the opposition refused to
recognize his victory quoting polls that nobody has seen in which he
supposedly has a commanding 10-15 point lead.

was absolutely no content about the reform other than the pitiful
claims that somehow concentrating power on him gives more power to the
people. Chavez made one last attempt to turn the vote into a plebiscite on his rule, but he may have promised too many more years for people’s comfort. There was also the threat to cut off the US form oil supplies
if the opposition did not recognize the Si victory on Monday and he
claimed he would recognize the victory of the No if it happened,
apparently in reference to his former wife’s accusations that he would
have a difficult time accepting it.

And his
claim that he could be in power until 2050 illustrated better than
anything the autocrat’s frame of mind, why he wants the power, he needs
the reform and he deserves to be trusted. Nothing about the goals of
the reform and all about Chavez. Trust him, after nine years maybe he
has found the way, even if all he has for it is a name: XXIst. Century

In the end, the autocrat seemed to
be unraveling as he told his public how they are trying to assassinate
him, get rid of him, eh is the only hope, all international leaders
hate him because he is…Hugo Chavez.

All in all,
the speech seemed aimed at those already committed towards voting for
the Si and it is hard to believe it would convince any of the former
Chavistas who are having doubts about voting for the reform. But what
do I know, I never understood why they voted for him before…

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