Monday, January 22, 2007

So what do you call a democracy when it doesn't want to be a democracy anymore?

Answer: Venezuela

"Venezuela's National Assembly has given its initial approval to a measure that would grant President Hugo Chavez the power to rule by decree for 18 months. Legislators voted unanimously for the bill Thursday in Caracas. A second session of the legislature, which is controlled by allies of Mr. Chavez, is expected to give the bill final approval next week."

And before everyone jumps off the handle about how Ven is becoming a totalitarian state, I'd ask you to tell me the differance between ruling by decree and signing statements. Either way Chavez wouldn't be getting all this power if America wasn't putting the full court press on him. Think it over.

Hat Tip: Cros


Gib said...

Sure, Chavez is using the U.S. as an excuse to remove all obstacles to his power. (And anyone wanting to claim Bush has totalitarian instincts as well should note that the opposition party was just handed control of both houses of Congress without firing a shot, and unlike Venezuela's legislature, Congress retains real power to affect the national agenda, should they choose to use it.)

That being said about Chavez, he sees himself as the vanguard of the next great socialist revolution, and if he didn't have this excuse to consolidate his power, he would find one somewhere else. And in reading about Venezuela, I find it interesting that many commentators who were outraged because they believed Bush exaggerated a threat posed by another country have been remarkably blase at Chavez doing what appears to be the same thing.

Teethwriter said...

To me it seems that the differences between the situation in Venezuela vs. US is that in the former the people and the legislature seem to want to empower their leader while in the latter everything and everyone seems against (either fully or partially) Bush. Now whether or not Venezuela's legislature, in the future, will have the power to take power back from Chavez remains to be seen. Guess it will be at that point we'll find out how much Chavez emulates Jesus Christ.

The whole thing though is that the parallels between the two leaders, as you lay out, is so very ironic. When you say that Chavez sees himself as "the vanguard of the next great socialist revolution" many would say that Bush seems himself as the vanguard of Christian/ ideological democracy as made popular by the neo-conservative movement. Both are men who, at least outwardly, come off as naive idealists, but who have definite pragmatic agendas. It will be interesting to see how their legacies match against each other.

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