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Chavez Vows To Continue After Term Ends

From his fans at the Washington Post:

Chavez Would Abolish Presidential Term Limit

‘We Are Going to Deepen This Revolution,’ Venezuelans Told at Swearing-In Ceremony

By Juan Forero
Thursday, January 11, 2007; A21

BOGOTA, Colombia, Jan. 10 — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, sworn in to another six-year term on Wednesday, said he would seek a constitutional amendment that could extend his tenure as he hastens his country’s transformation into what he calls "21st-century socialism."

In a three-hour discourse in the National Assembly that received widespread news coverage across Latin America, Chavez promised that "we are going to radicalize this process of ours, we are going to deepen this revolution."

Invoking the mantra once issued by his mentor and ally, Fidel Castro of Cuba, Chavez said the choice for Venezuela was clear: "Fatherland, socialism or death." The ceremony was full of symbolism. Chavez wore the tricolored presidential sash on his left side, switching it from his right, a nod to his leftist leanings. And he frequently alluded to Simon Bolovar, the 19th-century independence hero he reveres, God and Jesus Christ, whom Chavez called "the greatest socialist of the people."

"I will not rest," Chavez said, his right hand raised. "I would give my life for the construction of Venezuelan socialism, for the construction of a new political, social and economic system."

The swearing-in came during an enthralling day for leftists in Latin America, where Chavez has been among several populist leaders to win election in recent years. In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, the former guerrilla who formed an alliance with Cuba during the 1980s, returned to the presidency in a ceremony just hours after Chavez was sworn in.

All week in Caracas, Chavez has shaken markets and angered the Bush administration by promising to nationalize utilities, seek broader constitutional powers and increase the state’s control of the economy. He has also frequently referred to the new, more radical phase in what he calls his revolution — drawing comparisons with Castro’s famous declaration on Dec. 2, 1961: "I am a Marxist-Leninist and will be one until the day I die." …

In Wednesday’s speech, Chavez said the constitution should be changed to allow the government to take control of the natural gas industry from foreign companies, which now have wide rights in the sector. Earlier this week, he said he would increase state control over four key oil production projects. Those projects, in the Orinoco Belt of northeast Venezuela, are operated by U.S. firms such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron as well as foreign multinationals Total of France and BP…

"I’ve proposed, and we’re writing the proposal for the indefinite reelection of the president of the republic," Chavez said to applause. With all 167 members of the National Assembly in his camp, thanks to an opposition boycott of congressional elections in 2005, the measure and others proposed by Chavez are expected to pass easily…

After winning office in December 1998, in an election that obliterated Venezuela’s two long-ruling parties, Chavez set about purging elites from office and holding referendums that led to a redrafting of the constitution and a shift in control in the National Assembly. The new constitution lengthened presidential terms and permitted reelection, and in 2000 Chavez won his first six-year term.

He has installed military officers in all levels of government and packed the Supreme Court, and now says he will end the autonomy of the Central Bank…

On Wednesday, he reiterated his criticism of the Roman Catholic Church, which has questioned his plan not to renew a television station license.

Chavez said that one archbishop, Roberto Luckert, is "going to hell," and he told Cardinal Jorge Urosa that the church had gone too far by meddling in state affairs. "Mr. Cardinal," Chavez said, "the state respects the church. The church should respect the state."

Of course this should come as no surprise to anyone — except our one party media.

The swearing-in came during an enthralling day for leftists in Latin America, where Chavez has been among several populist leaders to win election in recent years. In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, the former guerrilla who formed an alliance with Cuba during the 1980s, returned to the presidency in a ceremony just hours after Chavez was sworn in.

And yet during his campaign our "watchdog" media constantly assured us that Daniel Ortega was now a "conservative." I guess they were lying about that.

What another surprise.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, January 11th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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