Skip to comments.Venezuela's Chavez at a crossroads: Will he blink or charge ahead?
Posted on 01/22/2005 10:57:30 PM PST by Kitten Festival
... Zeta's Editor Rafael Poleo says that Chavez main problem ... may be that he has so many crises burning simultaneously, that he has no time to worry about ... running the state.
Poleo is right and he is wrong. He is right because even if Chavez is really the night owl that he is supposed ... it will be hard for him to juggle all ... he is trying to handle today. He has conflicts about land interventions, company confiscations, the image of hero Danilo Anderson being destroyed, and now the Granda affair. But Poleo is also wrong because revolutions dont care about running the affairs of state and making people live better. They just want to appear to care and push forward to ... maintain control.
But the Granda case is likely to be one the most significant tough spots in Chavez Presidency for the simple reason that September 11th changed the outlook for countries that harbor terrorists, as the Chavez Government has clearly done in the last six years. There have always been suspicions Chavez was somehow subsidizing or meeting with terror groups, but evidence was always hard to prove. With the Granda case, the evidence is mounting so fast that Chavez ... will have to choose sides. At this time I suspect he might not choose the good side as many people expect. In fact, when official Government Web sites have articles entitled "And who says the FARC are terrorists?", you have to worry about the direction Chavez is thinking...
Things have really become complicated for our tropical autocrat. Even if the Government tries to scream international conspiracy ... it sounds too hollow. And if Chavez becomes more and more the pariah President ... many of the Chavistas, like Maduro, may be forced to choose sides...
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.salon.com ...
Read the whole thing, it is the best thing you are going to read all day.
When are we gonna shoot the sumbitch already ? Sheesh.
For later reading.
It's really good - you won't want to miss it.
I'm with you - that head has a .50 cal hole written all over it.
Chavez won't blink.
He has control of over much of the state govt...including the military.
He can fix elections, suppress those who criticize him, reward those who stay on his side, etc.
He thinks he's bullet-proof...figuratively.
Right now, he is.
Yes, he's manipulated the govenment to his use and now the people of Venezuela are sitting in a heating pot.
Bloody clashes feared in Venezuela over land redistribution
***....Chávez and his allies claim that many large landowners have expanded their holdings over the years through corruption.
But land reform is dangerous territory, and history has not been kind to Latin leaders who have walked Chávez's path: Both Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, and Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973 were ousted by U.S.-backed coups after confiscating idle lands.
And the Bush administration has not concealed its disapproval of the Chávez government lately. During her Senate confirmation hearings last week, Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice said Chávez was "a negative force in the region."
In El Charcote "the puddle" a sprawling farm about one-third larger than the city of Miami, the struggle between land owners and squatters is not new.
Since 1999, nearly 1,000 peasants from the region have squeezed their way onto the property owned by Agropecuaria Flora, a subsidiary of a firm owned by British tycoon Lord Vestey. His many properties in Venezuela form the country's biggest meat producer.
The squatters have built small mud or wooden huts and rudimentary wooden fences to keep the cattle away from their meager crops.
Most say they came with the encouragement of a neighbor, a friend or a fellow peasant. All say they were inspired by Chávez, who signed an agrarian-reform law in 2001 that initially sparked few official government seizures but filled many landless peasants with hope.
"I don't have any politics," said Victor Quinones, a 54-year-old peasant living in a mud shelter along the side of the road that slashes through El Charcote. "But Chávez helps us with the land. ... This is the best it's been for me in 54 years."
Quinones has 37 acres and says the peasant committee that organized the squatters also gave equal plots to the rest of the arrivals as well as copies of the section of the constitution outlining the agrarian laws.
Most of the plots appeared to be producing very little. Quinones, for instance, planted some squash, yucca and black beans. Only the beans made it to market for sale.
"This isn't easy," he explained. "You're hungry. There are hardly any tools."
But Quinones isn't the only one struggling. The invasion has left Agropecuaria Flora barely solvent. El Charcote, which before the arrival of the first peasants had some 11,000 head of cattle, is now managing only 6,500 because of the reduction in grazing area. The cattle sold to market in that period have simply not been replaced.
"We're 100 percent invaded," said Anthony Richards, El Charcote's English-born administrator, who arrived in Venezuela in 1987 and has spent the last 18 months on this cattle ranch. "Soon we'll have a ranch without any cattle."
The British Embassy has contacted the Venezuelan government over the situation, but the Venezuelans have done little besides pass paper between the ministries to share their "concerns."
Invaders remain. And fiery words from the presidential palace continue unabated, stirring concern that more land invasions will follow on other private farms.
The government has already declared 500 private plots of land idle. But it has yet to inspect any of the 30,900 square miles of government-owned lands a bit less than half the size of Florida....***
Shades of Zimbabwe and Mugabe.
Interesting times are ahead. Yes, it's a good question, will Chavez blink. So is...will this region come under the bright light of US Congressional and media focus? I look forward to seeing where Rice's leadership and current events in the region lead. We know there are members of the US Senate whose vigorous hand wringing seems to have broken their compass (giving them the benefit of doubt regarding the compass in the first place). I'm guessing, at least at the moment, that Bush and Rice are a step ahead and fireworks will ensue.
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