Auntie Bina, what’s a “Moderate Voice”?

Well, sweetie, I’m not sure…but I think it’s the sound the wheels of a car make when they hit a dead animal lying on the double yellow line in the middle of the road.

The only funny thing here is the name of his stupid TV show. Chavez has already granted himself the power to enact so-called "revolutionary laws" by decree (i.e., naked tyranny), and now he’s trying to smother not just the opposition but his own allies. He evidently wants no opposition and no dissent whatsoever, even from those who are inclined to support him. It’s a move to one-party rule, the rule of one man, himself.

Hello, President? Goodbye, liberty and democracy.

(Self-pimping link as in original.)

Oh, my. What logic, what civility, what moderation. (I note in passing that the insulting, gratuitously nasty tone of the piece appears to be in direct contravention of the blog’s self-stated rules of engagement.) Supposedly, that’s the sound a “moderate” makes when he searches his Underoos for gonads, finds ’em, and hangs on for dear life to denounce a foreign dictator.

Unfortunately, what he’s really found in there is a squishy load of ca-ca. Behold the magic of the great and powerful Internets in the hands of a responsible researcher!

Venting his frustration about his coalition partners’ reluctance to join a new unified socialist party, Chavez said yesterday that those who don’t join "may leave." Representatives from the three largest parties that are part of Chavez’s coalition have said, though, that they are not interested in leaving the coalition.


Last December, shortly after his reelection, Chavez had announced that he wanted all the 24 parties that support him and his government’s project to merge into a single newly created party and that this new party would be the most democratic party in the history of Venezuela. Last week Chavez named a commission with representatives from several different parties to launch the organization of the new party formation.

Chavez’s own MVR party (Movement for a fifth Republic) and several smaller parties that received less than 1% popular support in the last presidential election have already announced their dissolution so that their members can join the new party.


PCV General Secretary Oscar Figuera said, "The comrades of the PCV I know will never follow the opposition … You will never see the Communist Party in the opposition. You will always see them accompanying the leader of the process: President Hugo Chavez Frías."

Figuera also said that the PCV might support the formation of the PSUV by being involved in the discussions leading up to the formation of the new party without dissolving the PCV. That way they would be able to contribute their ideas while still waiting to see the outcome before making a final decision to dissolve the party.

PPT General Secretary José Albornoz also commented on the controversy today, saying that the PPT is not interested in getting involved in a polemic with the President. "This is not a problem of definition," said Albornoz in a press conference today, "We are revolutionaries and we have demonstrated this in our political actions."

In an interview that appeared today in the oppositional daily Tal Cual, Podemos General Secretary Ismael Garcia insisted that he had been misinterpreted with regard to his comments about the formation of the PSUV.

"We [in Podemos] are not denying the leadership of Chavez. It is blackmail to make it look like if I say something different I am not recognizing the leadership of the President," said Garcia.

Long story made short: Chavez says they are free to leave. They don’t want to leave; they just want more input in what is already an impressively participatory, democratic, deliberative process. Chances are pretty good that after this brouhaha dies down, they’ll get it; Chavez and his MVR-coalition government have been pretty accommodating to their differences for eight whole years, after all.

There’s your “tyranny”, pal. Support for one democratically elected president from 24 different parties. And most of those have voluntarily dissolved to form the PSUV. It’s just these few larger ones who are still the holdouts, and even they fundamentally agree with and support what Chavez is doing! Funny how you, a self-proclaimed “moderate”, neglected to even peek at the other side of the coin. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t live up to your stereotypically right-wing view of Chavez as a dictator (because he doesn’t march according to Washington’s not so democratic dictates)?

BTW, you’re all wet on the other thing, about rule by decree, too:

Venezuela’s opposition and critics of the Chavez government around the world finally feel vindicated (again). The Venezuelan dictatorship that they have been predicting for the past eight years has, according to them, finally come to pass — for the sixth or so time. Already when Chavez was first elected in 1998 critics predicted Chavez would bring about a dictatorship in Venezuela. They kept having to revise their estimates for when this dictatorship would set in, though, because following each prediction of impending dictatorship Chavez would do something that completely negated the announcement.

For example, following his election in 1998, the first thing he did was to call for a referendum on whether to have a new constitution and held a vote for a constitutional assembly. When the constitutional assembly took on more powers than the legislature, opponents were again screaming "dictatorship," except that the assembly proposed a constitution that was more democratic than the previous one. Similarly, the 49 law-decrees of 2001 were another marker for the onset of the Chavez dictatorship, except that these laws democratized land ownership and access to credit in Venezuela, among other things. Then again, the April 2002 coup was justified with the story that Chavez was ordering supporters to shoot at opponents, except following the coup very few of the coup organizers were arrested. This pattern repeated itself again with the 2002-2003 oil industry shutdown and with the struggle around the 2004 recall referendum. Each time the opposition and international critics were forced to revise the start date of the Venezuelan dictatorship backwards, much like a religious cult that predicts the end of the world and keeps having to revise its doomsday date.

Dictatorship by democracy, democracy and more democracy? What kind of dictator refuses to lop off the heads of his opponents, and even refuses to personally order their arrest? Hell…everytime Chavez has received a democratic mandate to invoke the enabling law, the result has been more, not less, power to the people. In fact, his rule by decree is surprisingly limited:

The eleven areas where Chavez will be allowed to pass laws for the next 18 months are:

1. Transformation of the state, where laws are to be passed that make the state more efficient, honest, participatory, rational, and transparent.

2. Popular (grassroots) participation, in the economic and social policies of the state, via planning, social comptrol, and the direct exercise of popular sovereignty.

3. Essential values for the exercise of public functions, so that corruption would be eradicated definitively, the strengthening of ethics, and the formation of public servants.

4. In the area of economic and social policy, so as to create a new sustainable economic and social model. The goal is to achieve equality and the equitable distribution of wealth through investment in health care, education, and social security.

5. Finances and taxation, to modernize the regulatory system in the monetary, banking, insurance, and tax systems.

6. Citizen and judicial security, for the improvement of citizen identification, migration control, and the fight against impunity.

7. Science and technology, so it is developed to satisfy the needs of education, health, environment, biodiversity, industrialization, quality of life, security, and defen

8. Territorial order, for a new distribution and occupation of subnational space, so as to improve the activities of the state and of endogenous development.

9. Security and defense, for the development of the structure and organization of the Armed Forces.

10. Infrastructure, transport, and services, to promote the existing human and industrial potential for the optimization of land, rail, sea, river, and air transportation, as well as of telecommunications and information technology.

11. Energy sector, so that oil production in the Orinoco Oil Belt may be nationalized and turned into joint ventures, tax rates changed, and electricity companies nationalized, among other things.

That’s NOT what a dictatorship looks like. That’s a distinct separation of presidential powers. In all other fields, the Venezuelan Congress is still the sovereign lawmaker. And everything President Chavez decrees, like everything the Congress does, is subject to a recall vote by the people if they find it untenable. That’s a piece of news the “moderate” (cough) US media and the right-wing blogosphere are both strangely reluctant to impart.

There’s lots more there to set you straight, Mr. Moderate–if you have the guts to be a true moderate and actually read it. I hope you haven’t splattered too many of your innards on that double yellow line…


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