Skip to comments.Venezuela Court Halts Vote on Chavez - Venezuelan President's Approval Below 30 Percent
Posted on 11/29/2002 2:02:12 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's Supreme Court put the brakes on opposition efforts to force a non-binding referendum on President Hugo Chavez's presidency, quashing a decision hours earlier by the electoral council to conduct the vote.
The back-to-back decisions on Thursday threw Venezuela into political turmoil. Foes and supporters of Chavez held rival demonstrations, with police keeping them apart. Opposition leaders threatened a general strike on Monday to press for the non-binding vote on whether the president should resign.
The opposition began its push for a referendum on Nov. 4, delivering a petition with 2 million signatures to the electoral council demanding the plebiscite. Electoral officials have said they verified about 1.2 million signatures - the number needed to schedule the vote.
The council early Thursday approved holding a Feb. 2 referendum in a 3-1 vote with one member absent, citing a new law allowing approval by a simple majority. But the high court said the council is still bound by an old electoral law requiring approval by four council members.
"The referendum still hasn't been called," said electoral council member Romulo Lares, who abstained. "That decision is null according to the Supreme Court's ruling."
Dissenting council member Romulo Rangel also said a more thorough check of the signatures on the petition referendum is needed.
Council members who backed the referendum stood by their action.
"The decision is transparent and in keeping with the law," electoral council vice president Jose Manuel Zerpa said.
Chavez, a former army paratrooper who is wildly popular with the poor, has maintained that the earliest a referendum can be held is halfway through his six-year term - in August.
"I'm not afraid of the referendum," Chavez said Thursday in the southwestern state of Apure. "If they want a referendum, I'll wait for them in August of 2003."
More than 200 Chavez supporters beat drums outside the electoral council, decrying its decision for a referendum.
"We love our president!" said Antonio Jose Rodriguez, an unemployed 39-year-old. "There is a war between the rich and poor."
Elsewhere, police linked arms to separate a shouting throng of anti-government protesters from a smaller group of Chavez's backers.
"We want the referendum because we want a country of democracy," said Zoraida Sanchez, a nurse holding aloft a Venezuelan flag. "It's the only way to get rid of this dictator!"
Opposition leaders, meanwhile, pledged to stick with plans for a general strike on Monday.
A general strike and the slayings of 19 people in an opposition march produced a brief overthrow of Chavez on April 12. Loyalist troops restored him April 14 after an interim government abolished the constitution.
Chavez's opponents bristle at his leftist policies and accuse him of drifting toward dictatorship during his nearly four years in power. His supporters say he is the only leader who has taken real steps to help the poor in Venezuela, the world's fifth largest oil exporter.
But widespread poverty remains, and recent polls suggest the populist leader's approval rating has dipped to about 30 percent.
Petitioners argue Chavez is resisting the same tool he used to push through a new constitution in 1999 - paving the way for elections that stacked congress and state governments with his allies. In 2000, Chavez convoked a referendum to oust the opposition-aligned leadership of the Venezuelan Workers Confederation. Labor leaders condemned the vote, but resigned out of embarrassment when they lost. ***
Not true, he's fallen under 50% even with the poorest quintile, I think. There was a thread on it a few days back.
Guayasamin, who died at the age of 79 in 1999, supported Castro's revolution and government and he once painted the Cuban leader. His paintings and sculpture are known for their political themes and addressing social injustice. The first phase of the museum will display paintings and objects depicting life in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans. Later stages will devote space to Guayasamin's work and the paintings of other outstanding Latin American artists.***
as the NAME he has been given by the US socialist press, a game i can play too. how about
Castro's goons already are conducting Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.
Nope, this is a war between the privileging and those seeking privileges. The rich privilege more than they have privileges, but that is not on the radar screen of those fools.