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Venezuela'pposition political fog-horns are already blasting through the accumulated smoke after shash & burn pogroms!

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VHeadline editor & publisher Roy S. Carson writes: It will certainly NOT engender brownie points for me, personally, in the coterie of fawning flunkeys at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, but it has to be said that history is in danger of repeating itself.

It is, doubtless, refreshing to see that President Hugo Chavez Frias has taken time off, to take Jerusalem very verbally to task for its enormous overkill in Gaza, at the same time as to risk being naturally branded an anti-Semite as a follow-on for any critique of what Israel says or does. And, while Israeli ambassador Shlomo Cohen boarded a flight out of Venezuela this weekend, it remains difficult to see what, if any, impression Chavez is going to have in the international arena where much of the mainstream media focus on Venezuela continues to be directed negatively on the President's endeavors to have himself and the rest of elected Venezuelan officialdom re-elected ad infinitum.

No truer words were said by Chavez himself than that it is ultimately "up to the Venezuelan people to decide" the toss when they convene in a national referendum on the subject in the middle of next month, for no matter how much the democratic opposition (and their cohorts in the not-s0-democratic fringe of the same) want to stomp their feet in disapproval ... it is a recognized democratic process by which the President's ambitions with their stand or fall.

The historical record of the 2004 referendum is that, fearing a Tascon List 2009, there will be many who will sign "SI" for the February referendum to take place rather than to have their employment futures jeopardized by an update publication, while the true test will come in the secret ballot that takes place on the day! Whither the wind? Who knows ... but there is every reason to suppose that the secret votes will NOT be as numerous as those at risk of Tascon-ization 2009.

Personally, and as far as it goes, I see nothing wrong in continuous re-election of elected officials, given the proviso that they may be kicked out of office at the half-way point of any successive administration if they blot their copybooks to the extent that the electorate becomes adequately enraged to seek their removal by due democratic process as prescribed in the country's Constitution.

Yes, there are arguments that power should oscillate between political shades, but Venezuela has already had enough of "oscillation" in the decades of corrupt 'Punto Fijo' Accion Democratica/COPEI political and economic mismanagement.

But, we must recognize that the NEW Venezuela is a "work in progress" and that it is very far from being complete ... some might even venture to say that it will never be complete! Sadly, there are political lessons still to be learned from history, including Venezuela's history, which, if neglected or ignored, will only take the country further down the slippery slope on which it has already begun to glide, un-gracefully!

Be it sheer political and managerial incompetence, insidious corruption or manipulations by organized crime, the problems are mounting and President Hugo Chavez must deal with them urgently otherwise the question of whether he should remain President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela until he reachers a doddery old age is relatively moot ... with the undeniable growth of corruption, incompetence and organized crime, it is his personal security that is most at risk and nothing would be served by an assassin's bullet other than to hurtle less-principled, incompetent actors onto Venezuela's political stage with the prospect of further years of mayhem before someone else is able to wrest the reins of power away from those who most definitely should NOT be entrusted with them, even today!

Sadly we've seen scenes where pro-government 'afficionados' executed a slash & burn campaign on the municipal offices and mayoralties from which they were ousted in the November 23 (last year) local and regional elections. Was it political immaturity, we needs must ask, or concerted attempts to cover-up multiple sins of corruption they had committed in office. Was history repeating itself in the discovery that there were many no-show municipal jobs for the grafting that supposedly went up in smoke with the pogrom in the wake of November 23?
  • Investigations, if properly conducted, will ultimately lay the blame but the opposition political fog-horns are already blasting through the accumulated smoke...
Venezuela's problem is NOT Chavez! I would venture that his original ethos when taking control of government in February 1999 was perhaps naive and well-intentioned. He did admit, when then, that he was NOT 'Mandrake the Magician' and called upon the grassroots of Venezuela to support him in his efforts to undo the wrongs of half a century, to pay off an accumulation of national debts incurred by at least three or four corrupted presidencies preceding him, and to at least try to get Venezuela back on the rails again ... if it had ever been on the rails in the first place!

VHeadline's critics on the one side claim that we are grafted solidly in support of the Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution, that we are diehard Chavistas (scarcely) and that there is no remedial action to be taken. On the other side, we are branded as 'escualidos' by the very ones who say we're Siamese twins with everything that the Venezuelan government says or does. NOT SO!

VHeadline has always striven to maintain an independent editorial line in support of Venezuela's democracy, Constitutionality and the Rule of Law! While it may be difficult for some people to take this on board, it basically means that we support the efforts of a duly-elected government of Venezuela to do that which is best for the people of Venezuela ... it is also the pledge of any President and/or Minister of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and SHOULD be the lifeblood of the body politic of whatever shade in Venezuela's multiplicity of political colors.
The sad part is that that multiplicity of political colors is a mish-mash of gray now like last month's Plasticine, once vibrant but now irretrievably so mixed up that it is neither black nor white but engaged in an endless, fruitless effort to regenerate itself, make sense of its environs and to try to re-shape the future.
The color of the moment is Chavez' red ... and there's every chance it can drown out the gray! Will it? Who knows? Venezuela has seen so many colors in its history where a predominance of the one or the other has had sad results on the whole ... like last month's Plasticine ... where a truly democratic society appreciates and values all colors as valid towards a concensus-ality that ultimately is the issue of true democracy.

Roy S. Carson
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Roy S. Carson is veteran foreign correspondent (45+ years in the business) currently editor & publisher of VHeadline Venezuela reporting on news & views from and about Venezuela in South America -- available for interviews -- call Houston (more...)
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