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Ray
07 Sep 06,, 11:59
Chávez Begins Re-election Bid

Karen Juanita Carrillo | Bio | 17 Aug 2006
World Politics Watch Exclusive

Thousands of Venezuelans gathered in front of the offices of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (National Electoral Counsel/CNE) in downtown Caracas on Saturday, Aug. 12, to demonstrate their support for Pres. Hugo Chávez Frías.

Chávez had come to CNE's offices to formally register his re-election bid and he came accompanied by members of his Movimiento Quinta República (Fifth Republic Movement/MVR) and members of Bloque del Cambio (Bloc for Change) an alliance of twenty-three left-wing political and social justice groups that support his administration.

Supporters applauded the popular incumbent as he announced the opening of his re-election campaign in the Plaza Caracas. Chávez said that his campaign will wage a nationwide get-out-the-vote effort and set up some 31,000 campaign offices to promote his message and to garner 10 million votes.

Chávez's new campaign is for a re-election in the Dec. 3 general elections, which would place him in the presidency from 2007 through 2013.

With a scant five months to go before the elections take place, Chávez is sitting high in local polling: some 55 to 70 percent of 16.3 milllion Venezuelan voters have said they will vote to re-elect him.

Declaring himself "the candidate of the people and of the revolution," Chávez said that because he has so much popular support, "I'm certain that on Dec. 3 we will be victorious and we'll be able to continue working at our Bolivarian project." The president claimed that his opponents represent the wishes of the elite, a minority of Venezuelans, and that his re-election would be a moral victory over those who would once again try to enslave Venezuelans, by making the nation subservient to foreign, neoliberal interests.

There are but few other contenders for the Venezuelan presidency. The governor of the oil-rich state of Zulia, Manuel Rosales Guerrero, has been named the candidate of a now unified Venezuelan opposition -- eight other potential candidates withdrew and are now supporting Rosales' effort to unseat Chávez. As such, Rosales is promising to unify a nation that the opposition claims Chávez has divided with politically charged rhetoric. Rosales has won two terms as governor of Zulia and he is the founder and head of Un Nuevo Tiempo (A New Time) party. Thus far, his campaign platform has promised a "true" social program that would institute a minimum wage, build more housing for the poor and work to decrease crime.

(The only other candidate is the local comedian, Benjamin Rausseo, who is known as "Count Oilbird," or "Count Guácharo." Rausseo swears his candidacy is for real and has declared himself an independent. He announced the formation of a new political group, the "Piedra" or Stone party. The Piedra Party uses the slogan "Vota Piedra," or "Vote Stones," the first word of which, in Spanish, sounds similar to the verb "botar," or "throw" stones.)

Venezuela's Chávez has battled a fierce right-wing opposition from the moment he was elected to the presidency in December 1998. He'd initially tried to seize power as the leader of a military coup on Feb. 4, 1992, but when the coup failed, he gave himself up and served two years in prison before being granted a pardon. Chávez and his political party, the MVR, came to power with 56 percent of the vote, while the traditional parties -- Accin Democrtica (Democratic Action) and the Comit de Organizacin Poltica Electoral Independente (COPEI) -- only received nine percent of the vote.

The Chávez-led "Bolivarian Revolution," which he terms a form of democratic socialism, has instituted various anti-poverty, health care, educational and employment programs, which are officially termed Misiónes, or Missions. There are currently some eleven Misiónes in operation: all funded by proceeds from the sale of nationalized crude oil at high prices.

The social welfare programs -- alongside Chávez's close alliances with Cuba's Fidel Castro and Bolivia's Evo Morales, and his insistence on maintaining open dialogue with Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- have enraged opposition forces. Traditionally, Venezuela has had strong ties to the United States and many in the opposition are afraid that Chávez is straining relations between the two nations.

The opposition has used various tactics to try to remove Chávez from power. In 2002, with what many believe was American financing and support, the opposition tried to take over the government during an April 12-14 coup d'état. In early 2003, they attempted to cripple the nation's economy by backing a strike by workers at the state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), and by having business owners lock out their employees and refuse to allow production: The strike lasted for almost two months. In 2004, the opposition group Súmate, forced an Aug. 15 nationwide referendum on Chávez's presidency, which asked voters if Chávez should be recalled from office, but over 59 percent of Venezuelans voted against the recall. And in 2005, the right wing boycotted parliamentary elections for the National Assembly, which led to more Chávez administration supporters taking office.

This year, the U.S. Congress has allocated $9 million to support opposition groups in Venezuela. The U.S. Agency for International Development and the National Endowment for Democracy will distribute the monies to groups it says are working for democracy.

During a press conference following his re-election bid announcement, Chávez was asked by a reporter from Telesur about chances that the upcoming elections could be interfered with by outside forces -- like the United States. "They've intervened here before, and you've all witnessed the battles we've had here; with their influencing public opinion and the battles we've had for Venezuelan institutions. Even to the extent that we had to end our cooperation with the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] because we proved that they were using it to spy on us," he said.

The Venezuelan president said he had faith in the legitimacy of the electoral process in his country, but "this question is valid for all countries in the world: how to keep imperialists out of a nation's elections," he added
http://worldpoliticswatch.com/article.aspx?id=123

What are his chances?

He has been a thorn in the US' side. Therefore, will the US undertake any action to see that he is not elected?

If not him, then who?

Will the US interfere?

He has of late gone international wooing all enemies of the US.

BenRoethig
07 Sep 06,, 14:42
I think Chavez just likes to see his own name in the paper. We won't do anything unless they start to get aggressive or start supporting terrorists directly.

gunnut
07 Sep 06,, 18:34
What are his chances?

I'd say his chances of being re-elected as excellent.


He has been a thorn in the US' side. Therefore, will the US undertake any action to see that he is not elected?

I think it's all an act, on both sides. Venezuela is the 3rd or 4th largest foreign oil supplier of the US. They make a handsome profit from us. We don't want to disrupt the oil trade pattern. Both sides may jump and scream and point fingers, but we both know each other is just acting.


Will the US interfere?

He has of late gone international wooing all enemies of the US.

We won't do anything. He's of very little concern to us. He has oil, just like the middle east, but he doesn't have the religious fanaticism working for him like the nuts in the middle east.

Ray
07 Sep 06,, 21:46
That's an interesting commentary.

Quite pragmatic I must say and without the usual load of emotions!

The only thing that sort of makes me uneasy is that he is a Communist or at least a sympathiser of coimmunist ideology.

gunnut
07 Sep 06,, 21:58
That's an interesting commentary.

Quite pragmatic I must say and without the usual load of emotions!

The only thing that sort of makes me uneasy is that he is a Communist or at least a sympathiser of coimmunist ideology.

The only emotion I usually show is sarcasm, if it qualifies as an emotion. :biggrin:

You are right, sir, he is a commie or wannabe commie. But compared to the old Soviets, he's just a minor nuisance. We have bigger headaches to worry about, like the pan-islamic movement.

Another thing is Venezuela is a state. We can deal with states. Pan-islamic terrorism is tougher to deal with as it lurks in the shadows and blends in with our multi-cultural societies.

Ray
08 Sep 06,, 13:29
You are facing the Islamic hordes as of 9/11.

We have faced it through centuries.

Spare a tear for us!

BIKEMAN
08 Sep 06,, 22:39
You are facing the Islamic hordes as of 9/11.

We have faced it through centuries.

Spare a tear for us!

Then you remember Mahmud of Ghazni also!!!! 17 years of annual raids into the Indus valley and beyond.

Bluesman
21 Sep 06,, 03:10
:mad: Y'all hear Hugo's speech today? Whacko-land, baby. And he got applause.

WHY do we host and pay for the goddam' UN again?:mad:

astralis
21 Sep 06,, 21:18
as far as i'm concerned, hugo chavez is a one big blow-hard. his actions are on the nuisance level, but his antics i have to admit are quite amusing :biggrin: it's like having a hippie for the leader of a country, as long as he's not seriously hurting our interests, it is worth a good laugh. as long as you don't take him too seriously.

besides, hey, if he's willing to give reduced rates of heating oil to the poor here, that's already worth putting up with his words. would that all blowhards in the world did the same. :biggrin:

----
http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/21/chavez.ny/index.html

Democrats warn Chavez: Don't bash Bush
POSTED: 3:29 p.m. EDT, September 21, 2006
Adjust font size:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two of President Bush's staunchest domestic critics leapt to his defense Thursday, a day after one of his fiercest foreign foes called him "the devil" in a scorching speech before the United Nations.

"You don't come into my country; you don't come into my congressional district and you don't condemn my president," Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, scolded Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, was blunt in her criticism of the Venezuelan leader. "He is an everyday thug," she said. (Watch Rangel rip Chavez -- 1:28 )

During his speech before the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, Chavez launched into a caustic verbal attack of Bush that shocked diplomats and observers accustomed to the staid verbiage of international diplomacy. (Full story)

"The devil came here yesterday," Chavez said, referring to Bush, who addressed the world body during its annual meeting Tuesday. "And it smells of sulfur still today."

Chavez accused Bush of having spoken "as if he owned the world" when the U.S. president addressed the world body on Tuesday. (Watch how Chavez's belligerence may backfire -- 3:11)

"As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world. An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: 'The Devil's Recipe.' "

Bush's domestic foes fumed Thursday.

"If there's any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans, whether they voted for him or not," Rangel said at a Washington news conference.

"I just want to make it abundantly clear to Hugo Chavez or any other president: Don't come to the United States and think, because we have problems with our president, that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that Americans do not feel offended when you offend our chief of state," Rangel said.

"Hugo Chavez abused the privilege that he had speaking at the United Nations," Pelosi said. "In doing so, in the manner which he characterized the president, he demeaned himself and demeaned Venezuela."

Bush administration officials dismissed the Chavez tirade.

"We're not going to address that sort of comic-strip approach to international affairs," John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said shortly after Chavez spoke Wednesday.

Chavez's tirades against Bush have become common. In May, he accused Bush of committing genocide and said the U.S. president should be imprisoned by an international criminal court.

Chavez also alleged during the U.N. speech that the United States is planning, financing and setting in motion a coup to overthrow him. The U.S. has denied such accusations in the past.

As he was exiting the U.N. building in New York, Chavez told reporters that Bush is not a legitimate president because he "stole the elections."

"He is, therefore, a dictator," Chavez said.(Watch Chavez's bellicose comments -- :57)

During a stop in Harlem on Thursday, Chavez said he has no quarrel with the American people.

"We are friends of yours, and you are our friends," he said.

Underscoring his point, he announced he is expanding his heating-oil program to help impoverished Americans from 40 million gallons last year to 100 million gallons this year, and from 180,000 families to 459,000 families.

But in the heart of Rangel's congressional district, he blasted away at Bush for a second day.

"He walks like this cowboy John Wayne," said Chavez. "He doesn't have the slightest idea of politics. He got where he is because he is the son of his father. He was an alcoholic, an ex-alcoholic. He's a sick man, full of complexes, but very dangerous now because he has a lot of power."

Chavez, clad in a fire-engine-red shirt, called Bush a "menace" and a "threat against life on the planet."

In the United States, rich people are getting richer, and poor people are getting poorer, he said. "That's not a democracy; that's a tyranny."

Democrats have also been strident in their criticism of Bush, especially on the Iraq war.

"The war in Iraq has made our effort to defeat terrorism and terrorists more difficult," Pelosi said in a written statement released a day after Bush addressed the nation on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. "Last night's speech demonstrated that the president will go to any lengths to distract attention from his failures in Iraq, which have diverted focus from the war on terrorism."

gunnut
21 Sep 06,, 21:25
http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/21/chavez.ny/index.html

Democrats warn Chavez: Don't bash Bush
POSTED: 3:29 p.m. EDT, September 21, 2006
Adjust font size:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two of President Bush's staunchest domestic critics leapt to his defense Thursday, a day after one of his fiercest foreign foes called him "the devil" in a scorching speech before the United Nations.

They aren't defending Bush. They are mad that someone else has stolen the spotlight of Bush-bashing.

astralis
21 Sep 06,, 23:25
my my, what a cynic you are, gunnut. :biggrin:

no, i think closer to what they are thinking is the words of another democrat.

"Sure he’s a son of a *****, but he’s our son of a *****.” :biggrin:

BenRoethig
21 Sep 06,, 23:28
You know someone's completely off the reservation when they get responses like that out of Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel.

astralis
21 Sep 06,, 23:31
Chavez, clad in a fire-engine-red shirt, called Bush a "menace" and a "threat against life on the planet."

that made me laugh. i'm surprised he didn't burst out in righteous song and dance, "workers of the world, unite!" :biggrin: