It's not unusual, but I'm caught like 'piggy-in-the-middle' between two extremes in the contentious political debate that seems to have Venezuelans more than usually at loggerheads in the run-up to Christmas. On the one side, we have diehard 'Chavistas' claiming that VHeadline has jumped aboard the 'escualido' bandwagon as if we were giving our full support to anti-government movements to overthrow the duly-elected President of Venezuela and what he stands for. On the other side, we have the diehard opposition extremists claiming that VHeadline is allegedly "showing its true colors" by giving full support to "un-constitutional and illegal" moves by President Chavez to impose himself as "dictator for life" on Venezuela.
- The debacle follow on, of course, from the November 23 elections in which the President's new United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won a majority of States and municipalities across the country. The democratic opposition made serious gains in a series of five key States and municipalities as well!
While everything focused on the local and regional elections as, somehow, being a plebiscite on President Hugo Chavez' popularity and performance as Head of State, the fact remains that he wasn't even up for election, although his campaigning across the country ahead of the election would have had you believe that he was on a copycat Obama/McCain election trail for the presidency not just of Venezuela but South America as a whole.
On the Democratic Opposition side, it was clear that the forces that had conspired to overthrow Chavez in April 2002 and in the December 2002/January 2003 oil sector lockout had regrouped, mollified their stance and finally conceded precedence to the democratic process over the economic and political sabotage that has keynoted their mode of conduct over a majority of the last ten years. Perhaps it is because the 'elder statesmen' of the Punto Fijo conspiracy are dying off in droves; being replaced by young bucks who have a perspective of many more years ahead of them in Venezuelan politics than years behind them to reflect upon?
Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.
Whatever! Purely from the aspect of democracy; the November 23 elections were a platform on which to build.
The run-up to the elections was, however, filled with a plethora of abuses on both sides that were/are unworthy of Venezuela's new-found democracy. While overplayed exuberance is to be expected from candidates convinced of their own overwhelming electability, the process by which their campaigns were conducted should require serious introspection...
If democracy is to achieve its fullest expression, elements of outright hatred and violence should have been eliminated as the disgrace they are to that process. Scenes of would-be voters being rounded up by motorcycle gangs and herded onto buses to polling stations were unseemly as well as the penchant in some parts for transport to be denied to those of another political persuasion...
The question of how long the polling stations should remain open was another bone of contention, with opposition radicals claiming they should have been closed "on time" while hundreds of would-be voters remained in the queues outside.
Surely, if democracy is to be served and to have its fullest expression, as many voters as possible should be allowed to cast their votes even if it means spreading the ballot over several days (as has been done in other countries) to contain the sheer numbers of people registered to make their mark in one direction or the other. Why not? The overwhelming gain is democracy, so what's wrong with that! Would the opposition have complained with equal vigor if they had seen similar scenes outside polling stations in predominantly opposition-held constituencies? I don't think so!
On the other hand, electioneering rhetoric and practice — unfortunately — showed little maturity. President Hugo Chavez' raucous involvement in what was essentially a provincial exercise of Venezuelan democracy was certainly unbefitting the role of a National Executive although, perhaps, excused by the fact that the PSUV is basically his "baby" ... but to throw the baby (that is democracy) out with the bath-water was illuminating to foreign eyes.
Quo Vadis? When a Head of State assumes the role of the judiciary to pronounce sentence on an opponent, claiming him to be a criminal and that he will see him in jail?
- It is insulting to any sense of presidential propriety that President Chavez should use such rhetorical descriptives of those who oppose him, no matter how bitterly they are opposed to his governance, no matter how much he may suspect that they are in league with "dark forces" to overthrow/assassinate him. Certainly he can allege, lay claim to intelligence gathering that shows ... but is it the proper role of a President to act as Judge and Jury to sentence his bitterest opponents (even rhetorically) to jail without due trial? I don't think so!
To revisit the issue requires another ploy ... and this time, Chavez wants to focus on indefinite re-election to the presidency.
- Currently, the Constitution deems two presidential mandate periods in succession to be enough! WHY? Because power-sharing cliques in previous presidencies had wishes to take alternative turns at the wheel of State, but (according to Chavez and his supporters' way of thinking) why deprive the nation of his presidential capacities when (according to Chavez and his supporters' way of thinking) the job's only half done!
So Chavez WANTS to be re-elected more times than two! "Many a slip twixt cup and lip" immediately comes to mind! But where, exactly, does the democratic opposition see an imposition?
- Of course, it may not be to their liking that Chavez should seek re-election more times than two, but if the people of Venezuela choose to modify the current Constitution to allow indefinite re-election to take place, who are we, or they, or anybody else to challenge the democratic will of the people?
Thankfully, the world can breath easy on that score, and we must credit the good citizens of the United States of America with sufficient gray matter between their ears to have kicked the incompetent out of office even earlier if the US Constitution had but allowed a half-way recall referendum as are a constitutional precaution as is enshrined in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
- Chavez has already survived one such a half-way recall referendum ... so the democratic process is secure in that respect at least.
Take 'Merrie Englande' as another point of reference, where the democratically un-elected Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher held sway for more than a decade through several governments in which her only point of election was to her Finchley (London) constituency, and, now, as an appointed member of the House of Lords, she's beyond definite or indefinite election ... for life!
Same thing too for the Right Honorable Anthony Blair whose only elected responsibilities were to his Sedgefield constituency in the north of England. No small feat for a 'foreigner' born in SCOTLAND in 1953!
Whichever way the dice falls, though ... whether Chavez realizes his ambition to be re-elected for a number of mandates AFTER 2012 remains the democratic decision of the Venezuelan people.
Q.E.D. — "quod erat demonstrandum"!
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