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FEAR OF CHAVEZ IS FEAR OF DEMOCRACY

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Greg Palast       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   12 comments

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Bush: If it’s our oil, why do Venezuelans get to vote on it?

GOP panicked that counting votes in Venezuela will spread to Florida
by Greg Palast
Monday December 3, 2007

The Family Bush can fix Florida. They can fix Ohio. But it’s just driving them crazy that they can’t fix the vote in Venezuela.

[Note: Watch the reports taken from the Palast BBC investigations in Venezuela in the newly released DVD, “The Assassination of Hugo Chavez.“]

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The Bush Administration and its press puppies - the same ones who couldn’t get enough of the purple thumbs of voters of Iraq - are absolutely livid that this weekend the electorate of Venezuela had the opportunity to vote.

Typical was the mouth-breathing editorial by the San Francisco Chronicle, that the referendum could make Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s President, “a constitutional dictator for life.” And no less a freedom fighter than Donald Rumsfeld, from the height of the Washington Post, said that by voting, Venezuela was “receding into dictatorship.” Oh, my!

Given that Chavez’ referendum was defeated at the ballot box, we now that, as a dictator, Chavez is a flop. Of course, without meaning to gainsay Secretary Rumsfeld, maybe Chavez is not a dictator.

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Let’s get clear exactly what this vote was about. Firstly, it was a referendum to change the nation’s constitution to end term limits for President.

Oh, horror! Imagine if we eliminated term limits in the US! We could end up stuck with a president - like Franklin Roosevelt. Worse, if Bill Clinton could have run again, we’d have missed out on the statesmanship of Junior Bush. While US media called Chavez a “tyrant” for suggesting an end to term limits, they somehow forgot to smear the tyrant tag on Mr. Clinton for suggesting the same for the America.

We were not told this weekend’s referendum was a vote on term limits, rather, we were told by virtually every US news outlet that the referendum was to make Chavez, “President for Life.” The “President for Life” canard was mis-reported by no less than The New York Times.

But ending term limits does not mean winning the term. As Chavez himself told me, “It’s up to the people” whether he gets reelected. And that infuriates the US Powers That Be.
Secondly, beyond ending term limits, the referendum would have loaded the nation’s constitution with changes in property law, work hours and so many other complex economic adjustments that the entire referendum sank of its own weight.

It’s the Oil.
Term limits and work hours in Venezuela? Why was this a crisis for Washington?

Why is the Bush crew so bonkers about Hugo? Is it because Venezuela sits on the world’s largest reserve of coconuts?

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Like Operation Iraqi Liberation (”OIL”) - it’s all about the crude, dude. And lots of it. The US Department of Energy documents I obtained indicate that the guys holding Bush’s dipstick figure that Venezuela is sitting on 1.36 trillion barrels of crude, five times the reserves of Saudi Arabia.

Chavez’ continuing tenure means that Venezuelans’ huge supply of oil will now be in the hands of … Venezuelans!

As Arturo Quiran, resident of a poor folks’ housing complex, told me, “Ten, fifteen years ago … there was a lot of oil money here in Venezuela but we didn’t see it.” Notably, Quiran doesn’t particularly agree with Chavez’ politics. But, he thought Americans should understand that under Chavez’ Administration, there’s a doctor’s office in his building with “free operations, x-rays, medicines. Education also. People who never knew how to read and write now know how to sign their own papers.”

Not everyone is pleased. As one TV news anchor, violently anti-Chavez, told me in derisive tones, “Chavez gives them (the poor) bricks and bread!” - how dare he! - so, they vote for him.

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Greg Palast's investigative reports appear in Rolling Stone, the Guardian and on BBC Television. His latest film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, on how Donald Trump stole the 2016 election, is available on Amazon. Palast is Patron of the Trinity (more...)
 

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