How Chavez was Defeated by His Own
Hugo Chavez has been going around the world insulting world leaders and acting like Mr.Big handing out Venezuelas money and oil to buy favor. All the while after years in power and claiming he is a man who represents the poor, in reality has done nothing for them.
''I want nothing to do with Chávez, because the government has done
nothing to help us. There has been a mutiny of people upset with the government.'' said Nelson Morante from his hillside house in the poor neighborhood of Pedrera.
Instead Chavez's big move was to consolidate power for himself. Fidel should have explained to him that the only way to transfer Castroism to Venezuela would be by force. The fact that millions of Venezuelans voted for a Cuban Constitution is strange in itself but the biggest slap in Chavez's face is that the poorest and least educated realized what Castroism would do to their country. For now the Victory for Tyranny Parade will be delayed and the people of Venezuela have echoed the King of Spain with a strong message to Chavez "shut up."
''I've voted for him in the past, but little by little you start realizing all the government's failures,'' said Pedrera resident Felix Avila, 29, a security guard who also did not vote. ``People are tired.''
''He was promising us socialism, and there was no milk. He talked of revolution and offended his own followers. Chavista mayors and governors did not help to get out the vote,'' wrote political commentator Fausto Masó in the daily El Nacional.
Even many Chavez supporters who voted for the reforms expressed relief that the proposal had failed.
''I think the president now has to reflect, because he was bringing a Cuban constitution here, and we don't need a foreign constitution,'' said Pedrera resident Elena Barrios, 41. ``I am 100 percent Chavista, and I love my president, but there are certain things I can't ignore.''
Political analysts also point to the appearance of a nontraditional opposition as a reason for the proposal's defeat, in the form not only of former Chávez supporters like Podemos and retired Gen. Raúl Isaías Baduel but also of the student movement.
Untainted by the sins of the pre-Chávez regime, they offer what García calls a ''third pole,'' giving dissenters a home without obliging them to join the ranks of the traditional opposition parties.
''The students awakened a whole new energy and gave hope to people who had stopped believing,'' said Reyes Montilla, 42, a Pedrera resident who voted against the reform.
voters unhappy with the proposed constitutional overhaul said they were
more troubled about measures to abolish presidential term limits and
facilitate state expropriation of private property than they were
enthused by articles that could benefit the poor, such as social
security for informal workers and popular participation in government.
That begs the question: did Chavez sacrifice measures that could have
helped the poor because he insisted on a political power grab?
Arlenis Espinal is a university professor at Simon Rodriguez
University and a community leader in the lower-class Caracas
neighborhood of 23 de Enero, traditionally a bastion of Chavez support
where the president himself votes during elections. Espinal, who has
been fighting for social change since the 1970s, at times amid police
repression, says more people in her area abstained or voted against the
president than in last year's election.
"The proposal that the president makes needs to be built more
collectively," Espinal says. "Socialism can't be understood in only one
way. People have many doubts, and that is natural when there is a
transition. The Venezuelan people need more time to build a proposal."
Despite the defeat, Espinal called the vote a "strategic victory" that
could help the revolutionary process modify its approach.