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LATIN BEAT: Much Work Awaits OAS In Venezuela - Chavez trashes rule of law
yahoo.com ^ | Charles Roth, A DOW JONES NEWSWIRES COLUMN

Posted on 04/15/2002 2:04:02 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- On Saturday, the Organization of American States approved a resolution condemning the "alteration of constitutional order in Venezuela ."

It also invoked a new "Democratic Charter" that could have led to sanctions against the fleeting interim- administration of Pedro Carmona, who resigned Saturday night, just 24-hours after being sworn in, after a series of patently undemocratic moves to close the National Assembly, unseat other elected and appointed public officials, including the Supreme Court, and suspend the constitution.

Latin leaders from Mexico , Argentina and elsewhere said they wouldn't recognize the interim government, but rather wait for elections, which Carmona had promised to hold within a year.

It's understandable that these civilian leaders would be uncomfortable with Venezuela 's military brass removing Chavez Thursday night, given the region's long, painful history of military dictatorships.

But it would be a mistake for the OAS, which is undertaking a fact-finding mission this week in Caracas , to conclude that democracy has been restored simply because Chavez, elected in late 1998, is back in charge.

Chavez and his government have slowly constricted the very constitution they had drafted and garnered approval for in a 1999 referendum. This has been evident not just in many dubious appointments to public office but also in a slew of Chavez decrees late last year. One of the most controversial decrees infringed upon private property rights, which is protected in the constitution.

Attorney General Isaias Rodriguez, who was Chavez' vice-president before being named to his current post, never dismissed legal complaints of corruption against the Chavez administration, nor did he move them on to the Supreme Court for further consideration. In his office, they effectively died in limbo.

Last week, though, an autocratic Chavez and his allies blatantly trashed the constitution and the rule of law.

After a six-week standoff with executives and many workers at state-oil company Petroleos de Venezuela , which has traditionally enjoyed operational autonomy, the country's largest labor organization and business federation, which was headed by Carmona, actually joined hands to launch a nationwide general strike Tuesday.

Chavez and his ministers tried to preempt local media coverage of it by mandating transmission of their messages and speeches throughout the day, violating the media's right to free speech.

Yet the strike was effective, and grew in force Wednesday and Thursday, when more than 150,000 demonstrators marched to the presidential palace to demand Chavez's resignation. They were met by militant, armed supporters of the president and snipers on rooftops, who, according to Metropolitan policeman and an official from the National Guard, were ordered to fire on the demonstrators.

At least 16 were killed and hundreds injured.

The constitutional rights of association, assembly, and, obviously, the right to life, were clearly violated.

Chavez allies have organized, financed and, allegedly, helped arm the militant civilian groups, many of which went on a rampage Saturday, turning Caracas into what seemed like a shooting gallery, according to reports on the ground. At least two dozen more deaths were reported, in addition to looting and other assorted violence.

As the day progressed, Chavez allies complained that local media didn't cover the convergence of thousands of his supporters with the same rigor that they did the peaceful marches earlier in the week, with many not covering the activity at all. Fair enough.

But Chavez's violent rhetoric against the media has frequently resulted in physical assaults on journalists and occasional pipe bombs exploding at media outlets. Shots fired last Thursday resulted in the death of one photographer and injuries to three other journalists.

Saturday, broadcast stations were besieged by violent Chavez supporters. Given the lack of security and clear threats against them, most local newspaper outlets were unable to work either: only two of Caracas ' six newspapers published Sunday editions.

Reporters Without Borders wants Venezuelan authorities to conduct a "thorough investigation" into last Thursday's death of Jorge Tortoza, who was shot in the head, and the injuries of the other three reporters.

So far, though, Venezuela 's reinstalled authorities have said only that they're going to investigate the local broadcasters for their lack of pro-Chavez developments on Saturday. They will also investigate those involved in the " conspiracy" to oust Chavez.

The OAS should have something to say about this, and should also hold Chavez to his word that purges and assorted witch hunts of his opponents won't transpire.

Chavez has antagonized not just the local media, but also the Catholic church, labor unions, the private sector and the middle and upper classes. Upon his return, he also promised reconciliation and openness for opponents.

The OAS, in addition to investigating various violations of constitutional guarantees committed by Chavez and his allies last week, should also press upon him the obligation to respect the constitution.

When the generals told Chavez he was no longer in charge, they made it clear to the nation that they didn't want to take power, and then, on Saturday told Carmona he couldn't wipe away all other public offices.

They had acted in the face of a massive social upheaval against Chavez, and the attempts, successful it appears, to repress it.

Neither the OAS or the Latin American leaders who opposed Chavez's ouster should try to obfuscate Venezuelans' push for democracy and constitutional guarantees last Thursday, or last Saturday.

-By Charles Roth, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-2226; charles.roth@dowjones.com


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: communism; freespeech; latinamericalist; oil; propertyrights; terrorism
Hugo Chavez - Venezuela
1 posted on 04/15/2002 2:04:02 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
>Chavez and his government have slowly constricted the very constitution they had drafted...

"Papa" Monzano, he's so very bad
But without bad "Papa" I would be so sad;
Because without "Papa's" badness,
Tell me, if you would,
How could wicked old Bokonon
Ever, ever look good?

[The Calypsos, #47]

Mark W.

2 posted on 04/15/2002 2:27:08 PM PDT by MarkWar
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To: MarkWar
Cute.
3 posted on 04/15/2002 2:43:27 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: *Latin_America_list

4 posted on 04/15/2002 2:47:41 PM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
How low can their bonds go....
5 posted on 04/15/2002 2:58:57 PM PDT by El Sordo
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
the coup plotters made some very serious mistakes, which belied their ideology. one was putting a business leader in charge of a coup run by both unions and businesses. second was suspending a very legitemate constitution. thirdly was the other suspensions -- congress, the courts etc.. and fourthly, was believing their own propaganda of the lack of support for chavez and the anti-chavez stance of the oligarchacly owned media.
6 posted on 04/15/2002 3:25:11 PM PDT by gfactor
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To: gfactor
Since you seem so enamored by this communist and couldn't relate to this article, I'll let the Left-wing publication the Washington Post fill you in.

Chavez's Gloomy Legacy for The Left*** Now Colombia's government-sanctioned guerrilla haven is gone. So is Chavez after three tumultuous years of leftist agitating, class warfare and a spasm of violence on the streets of this capital, suggesting that leftist revolutions waged even by elected leaders are not the choice of a region still highly susceptible to populist appeals. Or at least not the way Chavez carries out revolutions.

"The lesson here is that charismatic demagogues can still win elections in poor countries," said Anibal Romero, a political science professor at Simon Bolivar University here. "The economic and social instability is still with us. The field is still open for the successful appearance of these figures that, by distorting reality and securing the hearts and minds of the uneducated,win elections."

…………..Part of the problem is the way people such as Chavez, who had been on the outside of a corrupt two-party lock on power for years, play the game once they take office. After his failed 1992 coup, Chavez served a two-year prison sentence and then began a journey of discovery on horseback across Venezuela's countryside. He was accompanied by an Argentine neo-fascist, Norberto Ceresole, who believed that a leader should rule with the army at his side.

After his election, Chavez set out to weaken Venezuela's institutions, first by engineering a new constitution that bolstered his power and then by appointing loyal military officers to run its independent agencies. Chavez set out to run a country with a sophisticated economy, based primarily on its vast oil reserves, as a one-man show. He employed the military to carry out social projects, and passed by fiat such important legislation as a land reform measure that would confiscate private property. ****

7 posted on 04/15/2002 3:42:11 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: El Sordo
I don't know but I've heard Chavez's stands around 23% in the polls.

Venezuela's Chavez resumes power - two-thirds of Venezuelans oppose him****''The 35 percent who support Chavez are much more organized than the rest, they have a single leader, and they are very, very passionate,'' he said. Chavez returned from detention in the early hours yesterday, and at about 4:30 a.m. he began one of his characteristically rambling speeches to the nation and the national assembly. He told anecdotes about his detention, appealed to God and fatherland, and called for peace and brotherhood among Venezuelans.

Chavez, who during the week preceding his deposition had railed against the independent media and repeatedly interrupted TV and radio with obligatory government transmissions, endorsed free speech and civil rights. However, he also pointedly called upon media owners to ''reflect'' and appeared to outline limits for the actions of political opponents. ''We need an opposition in Venezuela, but one loyal to the nation, loyal to the people,'' he said.

June 2001 ***Chavez addressed the issue during his homecoming speech, insisting that his popularity ``would never fall because Chavez is no longer Chavez. Chavez is the people.'' Increasingly, such rhetoric is frustrating key Chavez supporters - and has created unprecedented friction within his political coalition.***Fervor Fading Over Venezuela's Chavez--trucking in "supporters" giving marathon speeches

8 posted on 04/15/2002 3:52:34 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Since you seem so enamored by this communist and couldn't relate to this article, I'll let the Left-wing publication the Washington Post fill you in.

the post being for-profit, i don't know how left-wing they are. thanks for letting me know more about chavez -- not that that matters to how idiotically the coup plotters acted. do you have any info on the partisanship of the 11-15( i keep hearing diff numbers) that died on the day of the coup? I've read e-mails that say a disproportionate number were chavez supporters, but no-one, not even the pro-chavez media, will identify them.

9 posted on 04/15/2002 4:09:33 PM PDT by gfactor
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
sorry. i meant not-even the anti-chavez media would identify them.
10 posted on 04/15/2002 4:10:48 PM PDT by gfactor
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To: gfactor
he coup plotters made some very serious mistakes,

Yeah, like not shooting the SOB when they had the chance!

11 posted on 04/15/2002 5:40:57 PM PDT by watcher1
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
While admittedly no one does an operetta as well as the South Americans, Carmona seemed to be the worst of possible picks as interim president. With the CGT playing the lead role in organizing the general strike and turning out people for the street protests, how could Carmona fail to include any CGT representation in his cabinet? Without CGT support and a less-than-unified military, the anti-Chavez coalition quickly dissolved.

Carmona clearly blew it. Hopefully it won't cost him his life.
12 posted on 04/15/2002 8:14:17 PM PDT by al-andalus
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
>Chavez is no longer Chavez. Chavez is the people.

Does Chavez have any idea what he is quoting? George Orwell 1984- Big Brother is the State, the State is Big Brother.

13 posted on 04/15/2002 8:38:58 PM PDT by Dialup Llama
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To: gfactor
....do you have any info on the partisanship of the 11-15( i keep hearing diff numbers) that died on the day of the coup? I've read e-mails that say a disproportionate number were chavez supporters, but no-one, not even the pro-chavez media, will identify them.

Probably because they're lying. Interesting Chavez didn't even mention the dead in his rambling "I'm baaaaaaaaack" speech where he talked about washing his socks and not having enough time to write a decent poem.

The dead, now being reported around 40, rumors from hospitals put it higher, came mainly from the anti-Castro march reported to be close to 500,000. Chavez's armed civilain supporters, Chavistas, targeted the crowd from rooftops, picking off many reporters, one is confirmed dead. These Chavistas, violent Chavez supporters, coming from his Bolivarian Circles (suggested by Castro and patterned after his communist block watches) looted and burned stores on Sunday. I don't think they met any resistance.

14 posted on 04/16/2002 2:28:12 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: al-andalus
Carmona seemed to be the worst of possible picks as interim president.

I don't think there was time to give this much thought. The events happened so quickly after Chavez's civilian snipers, positioned on rooftops, started murdering marchers. There isn't someone who stands out as a strong alternative to Chavez, someone who could rally the people and all the political groups. Carmona, I believe, was visible and out there and got stuck with the job. He wasn't up to ruthlessly holding the reigns against the violent operation Chavez has set up. Carmona is a concilator and that isn't the game plan you go with when your opponent is Chavez.

15 posted on 04/16/2002 2:35:06 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Dialup Llama
Does Chavez have any idea what he is quoting? George Orwell 1984- Big Brother is the State, the State is Big Brother.

He's not smart enough to make it up.

16 posted on 04/16/2002 2:36:21 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
No, Chavez doesn't sound at all intelligent to me, really your typical egoistic, ideology-bound wannabe dictator, with totally transparent motives. If it is true that his support is around a mere 35%, and confined largely to the lower classes, I would say this thing is not over by a long shot. There are bound to be more mass demonstrations recurring, as the economy continues to tailspin. Perhaps a genuine popular uprising, as I wouldn't think the Venezuelan people have been sufficiently disarmed at this point. Wish I had more detailed information on Venezuelan polotical dynamics, but I can only watch and wait...
17 posted on 04/16/2002 2:51:22 AM PDT by pariah
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To: pariah
Wish I had more detailed information on Venezuelan polotical dynamics, but I can only watch and wait...

Chavez needs watching. His active courting and associations with anti-American countries and his pointed attempts
to control the Venezuelan oil supply, makes him a big threat to the U.S. and the free world.

18 posted on 04/16/2002 2:57:10 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
The OAS should have something to say about this, and should also hold Chavez to his word

And they have, pray tell, how many troops to enforce this?

Seriously, I haven't heard a peep from the OAS in years- kind of thought they had died off like SEATO did....

19 posted on 04/16/2002 3:25:59 AM PDT by backhoe
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To: backhoe
Well they're still around....

Here's the latest Hugo raving.

Captive Chavez prayed under stars for Venezuela ***"Let's hold each other's hand, let's pray here by the sea. Let's look at the stars and let's pray to God," Chavez said as he made his way to the helicopter that would fly him back to Caracas. "Let's ask for God's help so we are able to accept our differences and still come together in dialogue."*** LINKS to what he really thinks about religion and his communist association.

20 posted on 04/16/2002 3:29:47 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Humm.... heretofore I thought Chavez was merely a malicious Castro wannabe- he seems a bit crazy to me now after looking at your links!
21 posted on 04/16/2002 4:11:57 AM PDT by backhoe
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
In searching for "recent history of Latin America" I ran across this weird little paper:

Untitled
... The recent history of Latin America shows us a region that has grown very little
during the last ten years. Some countries are fledgling democracies after long ...

and it's kind of interesting. One of the "big themes" I keep coming back to is how we on the right/Libertarian side ( dare I steal a word & call us "progressives?" ) are in an Information War with the Left ( dare I call them "regressives?" )-- and how the free flow of information, facts, stories, and data is critical to winning this war.
Which I think we ultimately will win.

A common denominator of oppressive regimes everywhere is how they rely on fear, ignorance, propaganda, and spin to keep their populace in check. The Muslim countries are a case in point, the old USSR was another- where a Xerox machine was a state secret, protected by armed guards to stop "unauthorized copying" of documents.

22 posted on 04/16/2002 4:25:24 AM PDT by backhoe
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To: backhoe
Castro, commie, crazy, Chavez..... Looking back at Hitler, one wonders how he did what he did.
Crazy, charismatic, cut-throat and calculating seems to be the MO for dictators.
They deceive while laying the goundwork for oppression.
Next, they demonize their opposition and then get rid of any remaining opposition through force.
23 posted on 04/16/2002 4:32:47 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: backhoe
A common denominator of oppressive regimes everywhere is how they rely on fear, ignorance, propaganda, and spin to keep their populace in check. The Muslim countries are a case in point, the old USSR was another- where a Xerox machine was a state secret, protected by armed guards to stop "unauthorized copying" of documents.

We seem to be on the same wavelength today.

24 posted on 04/16/2002 4:34:29 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
The dead, now being reported around 40, rumors from hospitals put it higher, came mainly from the anti-Castro march reported to be close to 500,000. Chavez's armed civilain supporters, Chavistas, targeted the crowd from rooftops, picking off many reporters, one is confirmed dead.

we wouldn't want to rely only anti-chavez media sources would we? i've read personal accounts by people who where there that say the opposite.

25 posted on 04/16/2002 12:00:11 PM PDT by gfactor
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