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Freeper Reports from Ground Zero Venezuela...
Personal Eye Witness
| Shane Connor
Posted on 12/07/2002 4:14:51 PM PST by shanec
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I pray for the freedom fighters of Venezuela.
How exactly Chavez came to power? Did he stage a coup?
posted on 12/08/2002 5:26:30 AM PST
by A. Pole
What a shame and what a disappointment. I'm glad your true beliefs are showing through though, no more illusions...
Oh shut up, Willis. Democracy is the accepted term for a form of government where voters get to choose their leaders. If you want to be a horse's ass and make the point that democracies are actually republics, do it without the insults.
posted on 12/08/2002 7:25:25 AM PST
by Dog Gone
To: Dog Gone
Oh shut up, Willis.
No, I'm not going to shut up! You're wrong and I'm going to tell you you're wrong, no matter who you are!
Democracy is the accepted term for a form of government where voters get to choose their leaders.
Abortion is the accepted term used for the justification in killing millions of unborn children. Some might even call it murder. Words mean things and an "accepted term" isn't always right or accurate. Your "accepted term" argument doesn't hold water!
If you want to be a horse's ass (bite me!) and make the point that democracies are actually republics, do it without the insults.
I'm not making the point that democracies are actually republics. You're the one saying that a democracy is a republic when it isn't, not me. They're two different things.
Where have I insulted you?
Okay, if you feel that you make a judgment about my entire belief system based on my use of a common word which is commonly understood to mean what I intended to convey, I can't stop you.
However, you might be interested to learn that the meaning of words do change over time as they are commonly used. I hope that doesn't cause your head to explode.
posted on 12/08/2002 8:49:44 AM PST
by Dog Gone
To: Dog Gone
"However, you might be interested to learn that the meaning of words do change over time as they are commonly used. I hope that doesn't cause your head to explode."
As far as democracy and republic are concerned that is pure bull crap!
The public "education" system might like it to be so but it isn't.
posted on 12/08/2002 10:01:23 AM PST
To: A. Pole
Chavez attempted a coup in 1992. The motive for the coup was that the government was "selling out the country". This charge was explicitly based on (1) a NAFTA type free trade agreement the government was trying to put in place, (2) the offer of off-shore gas concessions for bid to foreign companies, and (3) the sale of a 33% interest in the countries dysfunctional phone system to GTE.
So Chavez struck, and failed. Got a lot of young boys killed. The common people were thrilled, though, and he became an immediate hero. There has always been a lot of anger and frustration in Venezuela. Although, at one level, it was a marvelous place, still they couldn't understand why, if they are such a rich country, they could be so poor.
I would occasionally try to explain to people that one govenment-owned industry cannot produce a wealthy country, anymore than can a single large extended family prosper with only one wage-earner. I don't think anyone ever got it. Venezuela is, or was, a democracy, but a socialist one, with government ownership of key industries. And, consequently, a tendency toward bankruptcy. And poverty for anyone not directly involved in the oil industry.
So the people have bought into two ideas, that the country would be better off under military rule, looking back to the "good old days" when the generals ruled and everyone prospered. (There is some truth there, as under the generals, the economy was relatively free). And, secondly, a profound resentment of the money'd class, the belief that if someone invests in the country, and builds up a business, and is successful, he has robbed the people.
Chavez offered both, military rule and populist economics in one package.
He was jailed after the coup, but a subsequent president tried to tap into the populist fervor and among other disastrous decisions such as seizing ever more direct control of the economy and driving it further into the ground, he released Chavez from jail with a full pardon.
Chavez spent several years traveling, meeting with the FARC guerrillas, with Castro, with Khaddafi, and then ran for president. The presidents since the coup had tried to emulate Chavez's ideas in years since the coup, and had almost destroyed the country. So when Chavez himself ran, he seemed to the people a savior.
He promised to throw out the constitution, and write his own, to throw out the congress, and the supreme court. He did exactly that, having been elected with maybe 85% or 90% of the vote, he announced that the constitution and the courts and the congress were suspended, from the inauguration podium. It was that quick.
He had his cronies write another one to his specification, packed the supreme court with his pals, elected a congress which was 90% his followers. The other parties simply collapsed and disappeared.
When even a packed congress and a made to order constitution was too cumbersome, he had them pass a law allowing him to rule by decree, so that he wouldn't have to bother with his rubber-stamp congress.
He brought Cuban military observers in and put them in every camp, to give himself a second chain of command, and a second source of information, and cut off all contact with the US military. He created and armed his own vigilante organization, to have another armed force loyal only to himself.
He offered contracts to foreign oil companies, to try and jump start the economy. But in general his erratic policies took a ravaged economy and drove it further into the ground. Huge numbers of Venezuelans began to abandon the country. Florida is filling up with Venezuelans who have lost hope.
He has been feeding weapons to the FARC guerrillas, he has begun the Cubanization of the Armed Forces, and the people are worse off than ever. He has begun arming his private goon squads, and now the most dangerous job in the country is journalist, as they are targeted by the goons for beatings and murder. Several reporters have been shot and killed. Newspapers that don't toe the mark are surrounded for days by mobs organized by Chavez.
And, finally, a couple of months ago, he had his goons open fire on a demonstration and some 30 people were gunned down. This is when he was overthrown for a couple of days, and returned to power. But since then the opposition has become more determined, and Chavez' people have become more violent, as you see from the Altamira massacre of Friday night, another 35 people gunned down.
Since the Venezuelans were so eager to have this guy, and to throw out the constitution at his word, and to throw out all of their elected leaders at his word, it is fitting and necessary that they themselves bring this guy down. The US must not do it, and really, the Vz military must not do it. The people themselves have to do it, and this is apparently what is happening. This is the best lesson in liberty they will ever have.
posted on 12/08/2002 12:05:29 PM PST
Chavez attempted a coup in 1992. The motive for the coup was that the government was "selling out the country". [...] So Chavez struck, and failed.
OK, so it is not the way he got to the power, yes? He got elected. When is his term going to expire?
posted on 12/08/2002 12:20:06 PM PST
by A. Pole
To: A. Pole
Chavez has been elected, not once, but twice, both times by a landslide. He was elected the first time under the old constitution. He threw that one out, re-wrote it, and then ran again, and was elected again, under the new one. Both times with about 90% margins.
As I say, these people really wanted this guy.
It is a 6 year term, with allowance for him to run again.
At the beginning, he had tremendous support among all classes of people, and huge support among younger officers. He still has a lot of support among young officers.
It is unfortunate that Venezuelans are pre-disposed toward coups as a means of solving their problems. In the years before Chavez I was told many times by many people that the solution to Venezuela's problems was a return to military rule. And, as I say, the people are naturally populist in their orientation, believing in state control of the economy "for the good of the people".
Chavez fulfilled both orders, an autocratic officer, and a populist who promised to seize even more control of an already controlled economy.
Of course, the results of that solution have been disastrous. As things went from bad to worse, at the beginning people continued to support him, believing that his program would work, if only the US and the rich people would allow it.
Things were bad when he took power, but have gotten dramatically worse since.
The older military officers are panicked, as they see his contacts with Castro, and the FARC. He is feeding weapons to the guerrillas, and facilitating their drug shipments to pay for it. He has been putting Cuban military people in every Vz army post almost since the first day of office. And shipping free oil to Cuba to pay for it.
So the military are seeing that he is going down a road they don't want.
The guerrilla ties, and the Cubanization, has not really been a secret, but people haven't wanted to believe it. But it is becoming more open.
Journalists have been the target of attacks since the beginning, which is odd, since young journalists tend to be leftists, and were among his strongest supporters. But he has systematically targeted them and their companies for violent intimidation. Several have been killed.
Chavez has about 4 more years in this term of office, but has been openly saying that he doesn't plan to leave office. Ever. So, people are beginning to panic. His policies are driving a ravaged economy to destruction, and there is a growing wave of refugees leaving the country, mostly for the US. Mostly the educated ones, who before would never have left. But now they can't make a living, their businesses are going bust, and they saw no hope, not when 90% of the people support this guy.
But his support has fallen away to maybe 20%, but it is a very hard core 20%. These folks are armed, and loyal, and angry. Chavez has taken many steps to try and make himself coup-proof. Among other things, he has pre-positioned weapons in the countryside near the Colombian border, in case he has to go to the hills. He has scattered Cubans among his troops, to give him a heads up if anything is going down, he has given the military the cherry jobs in the civilian administration, and he has created a parallel armed force, his "Bolivarian Circles", which are violent and take orders only from him.
It was these Bolivarian brigades that saved him the last time.
They were also the cause of his problem. He had surrounded the palace with military, for security during an opposition demonstration, but they had said that under no circumstance would they fire on the people if they remained peaceful.
But Chavez was afraid they might breach the fences and come on into the palace. So he had his Bolivarians open fire, and they shot 30 or 40 people. Some people have said that they specifically targeted reporters, but who knows. A lot of people were gunned down.
So the generals went into his office and arrested him.
Two things happened; the Bolivarian brigades came down out of the slums and started shooting up the city, and did, in fact, target reporters.
The Bolivarians seized the palace, and then the young officers who were guarding Chavez in his cell released him and choppered him back to his palace.
The general who had arrested him, if I remember correctly, is the one who started the Altamira movement. He went to one of the principal plazas of the city, and announced that he could no longer work for Chavez, and wasn't going home until Chavez was gone.
I may be confusing events here, maybe someone else will clarify, but my memory is that this is the guy that Chavez put on trial before the Supreme Court, who were Chavez's cronies, but they refused to convict him. He ordered a retrial, and threatened to arrest the Supreme Court if they didn't go along, but again they refused, and the general walked.
Thats how I knew Chavez was finished. If his own packed Court, threatened with arrest, is defying him, its over.
There is a movement to impeach him, which has been made difficult by the fact that judges throughout the system were Chavists, but it is moving forward.
His goons have become more violent as his day of reckoning looms, but people are losing their fear of them.
Chavez is a textbook example of the difference between Democracy and Liberty. They are quite different. Democracy can be used to destroy liberty.
Venezuelans went into this with their eyes open, sadly. He has only done what he promised to do. He promised to throw out the constitution, and he did. He promised to fire their democratically elected leaders, if elected, and to replace them with his loyalists, and he did.
He promised to attack the banking system, and the business class, and the foreign investors, and he has. Populism, like leftism in general, promises prosperity if only the rich can be driven out. It brings misery which can be easily blamed on the rich, who flee the country.
But at some point, you have to deliver. People have seen that things can not get better the way they are going. And they see that he is consolidating power to make himself permanent, and he has announced that he is permanent.
So, having given up their legal rights at the ballot box, they are taking to the streets to take them back, and to give the judges handling the impeachment the courage to do their jobs in the face of threats and intimidation from Chavez and his goons.
There is a lesson in all of this, even for ourselves. It is quite possible to vote away your freedom. And then everything your oppressor does is legal. And anything you do to resist your oppressor is illegal. That is the end of the road for populist politics, and that is how a modern despot works.
posted on 12/08/2002 1:21:13 PM PST
posted on 12/08/2002 1:45:25 PM PST
It is unfortunate that Venezuelans are pre-disposed toward coups as a means of solving their problems
Too bad everybody couldn't be in a former British colony. Things are so much better in the USA, Canada, Australia but few other places.
posted on 12/08/2002 2:00:03 PM PST
He has only done what he promised to do.
Nobody signed up for this mess he's made. His mentor, Luis Miquelena , who taught him politics when he wasn't thinking past just a coup attempt, and was also his first Vice President, and Minister of Interior & Justice, and Head of the Commission that wrote the new Constitution of 1999, is an elderly gentleman who lives around the corner from me here, and has now come out vigoursly against him this past spring. In fact, Saturday, he was on TV again denouncing him. That tells me Hugo Chavez either changed along the way or fooled everyone all along, either way he's not today what most folks who voted for him thought he was going to be. -Shane
posted on 12/08/2002 2:21:03 PM PST
Comment #74 Removed by Moderator
Update Caracas, Sunday 12/8, 11:15PM Local Time
Roughly half of the gas stations are closed for lack of re-supply with fuel tank truck drivers also striking, long lines at ones still open. Military is trying to drive some of the big rigs with limited success because strikers are blocking access to trucks and fuel tank farms. Most all gas stations, open or closed, have 3-4 armed soldiers in-place. Stopped earlier in the day and walked up to a pair of them and they got 'real focused fast'. Asked them to pose for a photo with a gringo touristico and they were pretty edgy saying 'no way', probably didn't want to risk getting into trouble.
Memorial to one of the victims of the massacre Friday night, where fallen, at Altamira Plaza...
Plaza Altamira photo I took this afternoon...
General Enrique Medina Gomez, highest ranking officer here, at TV conference held in our hotel adjacent to the Plaza. That's me on the right with my back to you. BTW, the most dangerous profession here for the last few years has been to be a journalist or TV reporter/crew. Dozen shot at, several killed, all wear body armor on the street.
Banks here, for the next two days at least, have announced tonight that they are joining the strike.
Marisabel de Chavez, First Lady of Venezuela, was on TV here tonight in a interview Q&A setting...
While she is still married to Hugo Chavez, they live separately now. She has filed for divorce on grounds of physical abuse. She refused to discuss politics and when pressed, told anyone thinking all his normal here in Venezuela need only "...open the window and listen to the clamor of the people." She is referring here to the trademark of this movement to bring out and bang pots & pans in support of opposition to Chavez. She also said tonight... " - The country can not drown just because of one person, but one person can also not save the country alone." ...and... " - Presidente, please, in the name of your daughter, in the name of your family, in the name of the country, listen to the people." Surprizing stuff, never heard anything close to this from her before.
posted on 12/08/2002 7:50:59 PM PST
If you asked Americans if they live in a democracy, what percentage do you think would answer yes?
posted on 12/08/2002 7:53:58 PM PST
by Dog Gone
bttt for later read. Outstanding work!
Citizen reporters help protect freedom. Thanks for the great report.
Thanks so much for your reports.
[Bump for others to read]
posted on 12/08/2002 10:01:20 PM PST
The People, united, shall never be defeated! ;^)
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