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Hugo Chavez - Venezuela
various LINKS to articles | April 14, 2002

Posted on 04/14/2002 4:01:40 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

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Poll: Venezuelans Would Vote Out Chavez [Full Text] CARACAS, Venezuela - A poll has found that a majority of respondents would vote President Hugo Chavez out office, giving hope to those calling for a referendum on his rule. The survey asked voters how they would vote in a referendum on Chavez rule, and 65 percent said they would vote for him to quit while 32 percent said he should stay in office, according to results released Tuesday by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies.

The door-to-door poll, which was conducted by the two U.S. firms on behalf of Radio Caracas Television, questioned 1,000 adults nationwide between July 14-20. It had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. The results come less than two weeks after a local poll found more than two-thirds of those surveyed would oust the embattled president. Both polls raised the hopes of opposition leaders trying to organize a recall referendum.

Venezuela's Constitution allows citizens to petition for a referendum halfway into a president's six-year-term. In the case of Chavez, that would be Aug. 19. Opposition groups agreed Tuesday to unite their efforts to request the referendum on Chavez's rule and establish a mechanism to choose a single candidate for a future election. The president's opponents want to hold the referendum later this year.

Opponents of the president say his policies have harmed the economy and they accuse him of trying to eliminate checks on his power. Chavez counters that he is trying to free the country from a corrupt political system that ignored the needs of the country's impoverished majority. [End]

901 posted on 08/07/2003 1:37:28 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Cuban Educators Spark Political Storm in Venezuela *** "The teachings of the spelling book, which had 15 lessons, ended with a letter which read, 'Now you can read and write. Thank you, Fidel.' People would read it and weep. It was all a show."

…….. "Our Republican values are all about the birth of Latin America. ... We are reinforcing the elements of cooperation, solidarity and participation," said Ortayza, who was once head of the state security police under the Chavez administration.

But as in Cuba, the Venezuelan students will read at the end of the course a letter of thanks to Chavez.

Government officials say the most promising students in the program will be rewarded with land titles, scholarships, trips to Cuba and even a library with 25 classic books, including works by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, Cuban Nicolas Guillen, Cuban liberation hero Jose Marti and American authors Ernest Hemingway and Jack London.

But the program has riled Venezuelan educators who see politics and not literacy behind the government initiative.

"Cuban has nothing to teach us about literacy programs," said teacher Leonardo Carvajal. "They are selling us worthless trinkets in exchange for 53,000 barrels of oil a day." ***

902 posted on 08/07/2003 1:57:32 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Socialist candidate enters race to be Houston mayor*** *** "We'll tell the truth, the unvarnished truth," Dutrow said. "We're running a campaign which is a working-class alternative to the twin parties of racism, war, unemployment."

……….. Dutrow also would push national socialist issues as mayor, including bringing home all troops stationed abroad and ending American "occupation" of Iraq, creating jobs for everybody, allowing illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses, defending women's access to abortion and re-establishing U.S. relations with Cuba.***

903 posted on 08/08/2003 11:46:03 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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CSFB aids Venezuela with 2-part debt deal******According to interviews with the CSFB bankers and the privately circulated prospectus, a copy of which was obtained independently, CSFB owned $390 million in Venezuelan Brady Bonds before the restructuring. Those bonds had a market value of $125 million. CSFB bankers acknowledge they sold about $40 million of the bonds back to the Venezuelan government for cash raised by the new debt.

Some Wall Street competitors who asked not to be identified criticized CSFB for what they described as a conflict of interest. But CSFB bankers denied a conflict, noting they disclosed the holding in the prospectus.

Michael Schoen, CSFB's managing director of Latin American debt capital, said Thursday, "The reality is Venezuela has borrowed 7-year money at 53/8% with cash flow savings of $1.4 billion over four years. It doesn't get much better than that." Venezuela's total foreign and domestic debt is about $30 billion.

Frank Lopez, CSFB's managing director of Latin American investment banking, said, "Venezuela has faced a difficult debt-payment schedule since 1998-1999. We've been working closely with the administration whoever's been the minister of finance to come up with creative solutions to their external debt."

Lopez said the time for such a deal was right due to a recent improvement in Venezuela's cash-flow resulting from increased domestic oil production and prices, and relative political calm.

But the deal was attractive to Chavez's opponents because the bonds were priced in U.S. dollars at the official exchange rate of 1,600 Venezuelan bolivars at a time when the country's black-market rate is closer to 3,000 bolivars.

Even if Venezuela's currency were to be devalued, the bondholders would be protected.

That doesn't provide Chavez's predominantly poor supporters with much succor. But it does give Chavez time to consolidate his political position before the referendum and continue his populist reforms.

Fred Jaspersen, director of the Institute of International Finance's Latin American Department in Washington, says, "The fact the deal was done strengthens his position.***

904 posted on 08/09/2003 1:16:23 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Peru's Poor Peasants Raring to Hunt Shining Path***Able to muster just five useless, rust-caked rifles between them, the poor coffee farmer and his fellow villagers in these lush foothills looked on helplessly this time as the 70-strong, well-armed group of rebels vowed they meant no harm.

"'We are no longer terrorists, we are now guerrillas,' they told us. 'We are not going to kill you like before,"' Salazar said. Two days later he was mourning his brother Uldarico, blown up by the notorious Maoist rebels a few miles away.

The Shining Path, or Sendero Luminoso in Spanish, is slowly regrouping after lying dormant for much of the past decade since the capture of its leader. The government relaxed its guard after its success against the group and became preoccupied with other problems, giving rebels an opening.

As the rebels regather, Peru's poor farmers are trying to make a comeback with their own call to arms.***

905 posted on 08/09/2003 11:25:02 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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The Guardian Special Report - Venezuela (A view from the Left - contiuous updates.)
906 posted on 08/13/2003 1:47:17 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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U.S. dollar finds life in Venezuela*** Because the business sector helped organize the strike against him, Chávez was quick to note that those who joined the work stoppage wouldn't get a single buck. But bills are due and supplies must be purchased, so business owners are turning to the street, where they pay about 75 percent more.

The government initially said anyone caught changing money illegally would be fined 10 times the amount, but the increasing demand for dollars made the government back off and accept the black market trade.

''It's a real nasty situation,'' said Antonio Herrera, vice president of the Venezuelan American Chamber of Commerce here. ``It's thoroughly a mess.''

Herrera said that the Venezuelan government has so far distributed some $1 billion under exchange controls but that it takes $1.2 billion a month to bankroll the nation's import-dependent economy. The central bank, however, acknowledges there are some $19 billion in reserves, up from $13.9 billion in late January.

The upshot, Herrera said, is that businesses can't afford to pay so much more for goods, so they cut back on production and staff. ''The people who get socked are the ones who are laid off,'' he said.

Consumer prices here have increased about 15 percent but do not reflect retailers' increased costs, analyst José Antonio Gil said. Prices can only go so high in a nation where real salaries dropped 24 percent last year.

The finance ministry has said it is considering levying a tax on foreign-currency trading, in exchange for a relaxation of the controls, but will not lift the controls completely.

''Every day, the flow of dollars is more efficient and at a higher amount,'' Latin American Bank Association President Ignacio Salvatierra was quoted as saying in a government statement last week.

Carlos, the money changer, said that although he has heard of black-market deals in the millions, most of his clients are not business owners in a crunch but rather ordinary Venezuelans desperate to protect their savings.***

907 posted on 08/13/2003 2:39:11 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Venezuela Criticizes U.S. on Remarks***CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela's vice president criticized the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wednesday for appearing to suggest that Venezuela did not have a firm anti-terrorist stance.

Gen. Richard Myers, when asked Tuesday about allegations that Venezuela is permissive with Colombian rebels crossing into its territory, said, "It's not helpful when countries don't fully support the anti-terrorism fight. "And I think there's more to learn with respect to Venezuela, and we're going to have to continue to explore that." Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel called Myers' remarks "irresponsible" and said Myers "believed false information" regarding allegations that President Hugo Chavez has allowed Colombian guerrillas to use Venezuelan territory as a safe haven. ***

908 posted on 08/14/2003 12:39:16 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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U.S. Says Closely Watching Venezuela Referendum Steps***CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - The United States, which has clashed with leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez over policies, on Friday strongly backed plans for a national referendum on whether he should stay in office. The United States, like other nations in the hemisphere, backs a constitutional solution to the crisis (in Venezuela)," Stephen McFarland, charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, told a news conference. "We are all following very closely the referendum process," he added. ***
909 posted on 08/15/2003 12:25:15 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Venezuela faces new turmoil*** Opposition plans legal challenge to oust president Will Chavez be `trapped in his own constitution'?***
910 posted on 08/18/2003 1:04:29 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Chavez Takes Talk Show to Argentina - "Populist" with 30% Approvial Rating***BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Venezuela's Hugo Chavez took his weekly TV talk show to Argentina on Sunday, extolling his leftist revolution as he sang tango lyrics and sidestepped mention of opposition moves for a recall referendum at home. The populist president, who typically speaks six hours at a stretch when broadcasting at home, squeezed his political patter into a two-hour transmission seen live here and in Venezuela. The Venezuelan leader, who was festive as he watched tango dancers and talked of Argentina's mouthwatering beef, had no comment on rivals at home mounting a petition drive against him.***
911 posted on 08/18/2003 1:09:06 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Venezuela: Episodes of the "Bolivarian revolution"…***Another event, which seems like a page out of Alice in Wonderland, is the one about the naming of the new Electoral College ... which is indispensable to go ahead with the Presidential referendum. The government has said several times that it will not help to make the referendum come true. It will not help because they suspect it will be ejected from power. But what it cannot do is to oppose it with all kinds of legal, pseudo legal and illegal maneuvers.

Since the naming of the members of this college by the National Assembly requires a qualified majority of 75% of the deputies, the government has not been able to impose their unconditional supporters as members and have been obliged to try to compromise with the opposition. As they were not successful and, as they were in favor of postponing the decision indefinitely for the reasons explained above, three months went by without the naming of the college.

This forced the Supreme Tribunal of Justice to intervene and declare their intention to name the college, a move that is contemplated in the Constitution. At this moment the government cried foul and has threatened the Supreme Tribunal with over-ruling them if they go ahead and do that. In short, a coup…

As the days for the naming of the college by the Supreme Tribunal grow near, the political atmosphere becomes tenser. More Venezuelans now believe that Chavez will not surrender power peacefully, although he kept claiming all the time that the referendum was the proper way to go.

One has to ask: Why does Chavez want to keep the Presidency when he is not able to solve any of the growing national problems?

Why should he keep the pretense of a revolution when it has become apparent that the overwhelming majority of the population does not want to follow that path?***

912 posted on 08/19/2003 12:11:28 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Venezuelan opposition plans march in Caracas to deliver recall petition [Full text]CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuelan opposition leaders have called on supporters to converge on downtown Caracas as they deliver some three million signatures calling for a recall vote on President Hugo Chavez. Government officials sought in vain Tuesday to get the protest postponed, saying they could not guarantee the marchers' security and rejecting the validity of the petitions collected by opposition groups. "We have not seen anything but disorganization and irresponsibility on the part of the organizers," said Carlos Bettiol, vice minister of public security.

Tuesday was the midpoint of Chavez's six-year term, the first day under which Venezuela's Constitution allows a recall vote. The recall is the third try by Chavez opponents to oust him, after a failed coup and a general strike, which hurt the country's crucial oil exports but did not topple the president. Venezuela is the third-largest oil exporter to the United States.

Opposition politicians, labor unions and business groups hoped to put an end to more than a year of turmoil with the recall vote after agreeing in May to use only legal means of trying to oust the president. Under the Constitution, opponents must collect valid signatures from 20 percent of voters to authorize a recall. "Obtaining those votes is not utopia, it is a reality," said Enrique Mendoza, a provincial governor and an opposition leader who aspires to replace Chavez. [End]

913 posted on 08/19/2003 11:59:03 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Petition time-line LINKS in post above.
914 posted on 08/20/2003 1:14:38 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Chavez Foes Launch Venezuela Poll Bid, He Rejects*** CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez launched on Wednesday a bid to vote the leftist leader out of office, holding a huge march in Caracas and presenting more than 3 million signatures calling for a referendum on his rule. But Chavez, speaking in Argentina where he was visiting, immediately challenged the opposition initiative, saying the signatures were "not valid." He said his opponents were "crazy" and "irresponsible," accusing them of using "tricks and fraud" to collect the signatures.

"This shows the opposition is still thinking about a coup and destabilization," Chavez told a news conference in Buenos Aires. He believed it would be "very difficult" for a referendum to be held this year. Chavez's sharp criticism of the referendum initiative heralded renewed political feuding in Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, which has been shaken for more than a year by conflict between Chavez and his foes.

Waving national flags and blowing horns and whistles, several hundred thousand foes of the populist president packed central Caracas Wednesday in the biggest anti-government demonstration since a general strike in December and January. ***

915 posted on 08/21/2003 3:36:53 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Crises in Venezuela***The influx of so many poor with great aspirations of acquiring wealth resulted in the creation of massive slums that consumed the hillsides like a cancer. Mix into these conditions the long reign of two major political parties worm-eaten with corruption and seemingly unsympathetic with the poor, and the almost inevitable resentment created when huge economic discrepancies exist, and the poor face tremendous obstacles preventing them from advancing into the "opportunity-based" middle class. Venezuela was a social powder keg waiting for a spark.

Then along came Mr. Chavez, a former army colonel and leader of an unsuccessful 1992 coup that converted him into an imprisoned criminal and heroic "champion of the poor." A foolish President Rafael Caldera granted Mr. Chavez a presidential pardon, and Mr. Chavez ran for president on a moderate platform promising sweeping reforms and a healthy house-cleaning of government corruption. This won him wide support from the poor and disarmed the fears of the more wealthy, who hoped Mr. Chavez would deliver on his promises. Mr. Chavez won the presidency with the support of just 35 percent of the electorate.

Soon afterward, the trouble began. Mr. Chavez established friendships with the most radical leaders in the world, beginning with Cuba's Fidel Castro, but also including Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, Iraq's Saddam Hussein (whom he called "My brother"), North Korea's Kim Yong-Il and the Palestinian Yasser Arafat, among others. Mr. Chavez celebrated the September 11 attacks in the United States, and reportedly gave money to the Taliban and al Qaeda. He has supported terrorist Carlos the Jackal, and established close ties with Colombia's narco-terrorists (ELA and the FARC), permitting them to operate, train and rest in Venezuelan territory.

Recently, Venezuela's permissiveness — if not outright support — for terror groups inspired U.S. Army Gen. Richard Boyer to compare Venezuela with Syria. The next day, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said "the government of the United States and the people of Venezuela have a differing view of democracy than does President Chavez." Taken together, these comments are a clear shot across the bow of Mr. Chavez. Mr. Chavez's anti-democratic behavior and support of terror groups is earning him an associate membership in the "axis of evil." ***

916 posted on 08/21/2003 3:50:45 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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U.S. wary of a 'nightmare' in Central America ***Here goes a ''nightmare scenario'' that some senior Bush administration officials are worrying about: the possibility that rightist and leftist candidates with dubious democratic credentials will win upcoming elections in Central America, and unleash a new cycle of violence in the region. It's entirely possible, they say. Consider: ……………….


Are U.S. officials right to fear a return of political hard-liners in Central America?

Probably not. A regional ''nightmare scenario'' is unlikely, even if it is a fact that the pro-free market governments that have ruled Central America for the past decade have mostly failed to improve living standards, and a majority of voters seem to be longing for change.

First, while their parties are leading in the polls or are the best organized in their respective countries, neither Guatemala's Ríos Montt, nor El Salvador's Handal, nor Nicaragua's Ortega is an attractive candidate. ***

917 posted on 08/22/2003 4:33:32 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Fears of Cuban 'infiltration' in Venezuela *** When Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez announced the launching of an urban gardens programme, he said it would produce jobs and reduce the country's dependence on imported food.

It has. But Mr Chavez may not have bargained that the rows of lettuce, cucumber and mint now thriving amidst the traffic and high-rises of downtown Caracas would also produce a harvest of controversy.

The controversy has arisen because many of the advisers assisting with the gardening programme are Cubans. And Mr Chavez's opponents, who accuse him of desiring to convert Venezuela into a communist dictatorship similar to that led by his friend, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, suspect that the Cubans are here to do more than teach farming. ***

918 posted on 08/22/2003 5:17:50 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Venezuela slams ruling barring Cuban doctors ***CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela's left-wing government Friday condemned as politically motivated a court decision to bar Cuban doctors from working in Caracas' slums and said they would remain in their jobs.

The ruling Thursday by the First Administrative Court rekindled a fierce debate in Venezuela about growing cooperation between President Hugo Chavez's government and communist Cuba.

Accepting an appeal by the Venezuelan Medical Federation, the court decided that 417 Cuban doctors working in Caracas' Libertador district under a bilateral cooperation program were practicing illegally and should be replaced by local doctors.

Calling the decision "grotesque," Health Minister Maria Urbaneja said the government would appeal. She told a news conference the Cuban doctors would stay in Venezuela and their numbers would be increased. ***

919 posted on 08/23/2003 3:43:25 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Defiant, Venezuela's Chavez Dismisses Vote Campaign [Full Text] Salsa music, whistles and drums echoed over a sea of red banners as Chavez sympathizers jammed a Caracas avenue to celebrate the halfway mark of his six-year mandate and reject an opposition bid to unseat him at the ballot box. "The opposition talks about a referendum, but they don't really want one. It's a trick, because they know if there is one we'll crush them," Chavez roared from a stage. Officials said one person died and 21 others were injured when surging crowds collapsed a security fence at the rally.

More than a year of bitter political conflict has sharply divided Venezuela over Chavez's populist rule and left the economy of the world's No. 5 oil exporter in tatters. After failing to topple Chavez with a recent two-month oil strike, Venezuela's opposition alliance on Wednesday handed in more than 3 million signatures demanding a vote on the president's ouster. The government has challenged their validity.

Venezuela's constitution allows for such a referendum halfway through a president's term. Chavez, who was first elected in 1998, re-elected in 2000 and survived a coup last year, reached that point on Aug. 19. But the possible vote faces a host of legal hurdles and the opposition fears Chavez will block it. Venezuela's Supreme Court is set to name a new National Electoral Council next week which will decide whether the opposition signatures are valid.

A former paratrooper who led a failed coup six years before his election victory, Chavez has promised to reverse years of corruption and neglect with land reform, housing and cheap credits for the poor. Recent polls show his popularity has slipped to around 30 percent as the country's crisis has deepened. But for Jose Reyes, taking part in Saturday's government rally, Chavez still represents a chance for change. "This government works for the benefit of the people. No one had done that before," said Reyes, who received government financial aid for his small shower manufacturing business.

Still, Venezuela is mired in its worst recession in years, unemployment and inflation are in double digits and a fourth of the country's 23 million people live in extreme poverty. Chavez says he is battling opposition leaders and business elites plotting to overthrow him and scuttle his social reforms. But his foes blame him for the economic decay and brand him a dictator bent on shaping Venezuela into a Cuban-style communist state. [End]

920 posted on 08/24/2003 4:11:34 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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