Venezuela - the most democratic nation on Earth

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture
Venezuela - the most democratic nation on Earth

In the 10+ years since he was elected President of Venezuela in 1998, Hugo Chavez has won 13 of 14 elections and referendums. A 15th opportunity for the people of Venezuela to express their approval or disapproval of his policies comes up in three days' time.

Venezuela is clearly the most democratic nation on this planet.

Quote:
Next Sunday, 15 February, Venezuelans vote in a referendum on a proposed Constitutional Amendment that will allow for any candidate to stand for the Presidency, or indeed for any elective office, without restriction on the number of terms they may serve. Only the people's vote will decide whether they are elected and how many terms they serve.

In other words, if President Hugo Chávez, who is already serving his second term under the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, wishes to stand for a third term, he may do so. Equally, the opposition mayor of Greater Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, may stand three or four times if he wants (and if the people vote for him).

This is no different from the practice here in the UK, where Margaret Thatcher won four elections for the Conservatives (although we did not have the privilege of voting for her personally as Prime Minister), and Tony Blair won three times for Labour. It is of course different from the situation in the US, where some sixty years ago a limit of two consecutive terms was introduced for the presidency.

But why is there such a fuss about this proposal in Venezuela? Once again, as so many times before in the last ten years, the media are full of stories about Chávez' dictatorial tendencies or being President for life, and the opposition goes on about "the principle of alternation [alternabilidad]". But they know perfectly well that Chávez will only be re-elected in 2012 if the people vote for him in elections which have been certified time and again as impeccably free and honest, and that the possibility of mid-term recall still exists and will be maintained. And alternation, as the experience here in the UK and in so many "advanced democracies" shows, is all too often a neat device to prevent any real change while giving the appearance of choice with a superficial change of personnel.

The real problem is - and everyone knows this, they just don't want to discuss it - that Chávez represents the continuation of the Bolivarian project, a popular revolution which has transformed Venezuela and inspired similar transformations in several other Latin American countries. And that against Chávez, the opposition will again lose, and lose badly as they have done before.

Hugo Chávez is the people's candidate, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be. No, he is not a dictator, and of course he is not infallible. He himself has often recognised his failings. But he has demonstrated time and again his commitment to serving the people - the poor, the workers, the excluded - of Venezuela, and they have reaffirmed their confidence in him. If he were to go - and thank God, this is not the case - it is to be hoped that the people would find, indeed create (as they did with Chávez) another leader or leaders. But why substitute a leader of proven ability, indeed one who has grown in stature and maturity with every new stage of the revolutionary process?

In these circumstances, those who talk about "Chavismo without Chávez" are either naïve or ill-intentioned. What is at stake in Venezuela is a fundamental clash of class interests, although one which is being played out as far as possible in peaceful and democratic fashion. The campaign for the Constitutional Amendment to abolish term limits is simply the latest battleground in this contest, and as such, a victory for the "Yes" camp on Sunday 15 February is crucial - and let's hope the victory is a decisive one!

[url=Source[/url]">http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4196][=mediumblue][u]Sourc...

Sven Sven's picture

Not only is Venezuela indisputably the "most democratic" country on Earth (and, most likely, in the entire universe), but it is also the nicest, smartest, freeest, and safest, and the most beautiful, healthful, eco-friendly, forward-thinking, and beneficient, country that could possibly exist...ever.

Now, our Fidel may take issue with that and, instead, designate Cuba for such honors, but that's a debate I'll leave to others.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

M. Spector M. Spector's picture
Unionist

Aerosol? Un-green.

Fidel

Sven wrote:
Now, our Fidel may take issue with that and, instead, designate Cuba for such honors, but that's a debate I'll leave to others.

No, no, I think the most democratic country in Latin America could be any one of several good candidate nations. US-sponsored Haiti, for instance, was invaded by the CIA and US military over 25 times from last century to this decade in maintaining liberal democracy and god-given rights of the richest few over the poor majority. The Duvalier's carried the torch of democracy for so many glorious years. Catechism texts taught the children to pray:

[url="Our">http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti/history/duvaliers/lordsprayer.htm... Doc[/url], who art in the National Palace for life, hallowed by Thy name by present and future generations. They will be done in Port-au-Prince as it is in the provinces. Give us this day our new Haiti and forgive not the trespasses of those anti-patriots who daily spit upon our country..." Those were the glory years, Sven.

Electoral Systems and Democracy: Substance and Structure (James Petras)

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A democratic political system involves at a minimum:  Free and equal competition for political office and (2) access to the means of communication and (3) competing ideas and freedom to act without physical or psychological coercion. Procedures and conditions leading up to elections, which violate these norms, are incompatible with the notion of democracy. The most obvious case is Colombia whose state terror against opposition groups is practiced in every recent election. Electoral processes are necessary but not sufficient conditions to define a democratic system. In other words there are numerous examples where electoral processes are embedded in institutional structures (oligarchy-controlled mass media) and preceded by political conditions (threats, patronage and corruption), which violate the basic norms of democracy. In other words, we can have non-democratic (authoritarian) as well as democratic electoral systems.

The most common authoritarian features of electoral systems, which deny its democratic character include:

  1.  
    1. Restricted access to the mass media because of monopoly ownership denying freedom of expression and undermining equality of competition.
    2. Unlimited spending on electoral campaigns favoring the moneyed classes capacity to monopolize electoral campaign spending and biasing the competition to favor candidates who amass the greatest funds.
    3. State violence and repression of opposition parties, candidates and electoral constituencies during the electoral campaign. This nullifies any claims to a legitimate outcome based on ‘an honest vote count’ on election day.
    4. Large scale financing by external foreign powers of the internal electoral process, drastically undermining internal competition and distorting free and equal competition. Important organizational and financial links between foreign multinational corporations, intelligence agencies and foundations to domestic parties, personalities and NGOs introduce non-democratic, non-elected actors.

There were paramilitaries present in voting stations to ensure Colombian peasants voted the right way, Sven, just as occurred in Salvadoran elections with the US-sponsored candidate backed with money and military aid.

jacki-mo

Does anyone ever run against Chavez anymore?

Fidel

He's too popular in Venezuela, and that's a problem for the CIA with rigging elections. Their only recourse is another attempt at a CIA-backed military coup.

Kindrid

Quote:
White Paper on Human Rights Violations in Venezuela
“Violence and impunity are gaining ground over democracy in Venezuela.” 1

Introduction
The human rights situation in Venezuela is worsening each day. In order to find a peaceful solution to the polarized political environment, impunity needs to be eradicated by rebuilding democratic institutions, in particular the judicial branch. The major abuser of human rights in Venezuela is the government, and because of the breakdown of the judicial branch, no trials or punishments are imposed on violators. Peace is not possible where impunity prevails, and without peace, democracy is not feasible.
Because of the continued erosion of democratic institutions under the Chavez regime, the Venezuelan government is in effect sponsoring impunity and violence in Venezuela today.
This report provides an overview of how the Chavez government perpetuates this breakdown in democratic institutions by promoting and supporting human rights violations. Summary information is provided in five key areas: systems of impunity, respect for civil liberties, respect of the integrity of the person, freedom of religion, Government attitude regarding International NGO investigations of human rights violations, and workers rights.

http://www.canvasopedia.org/files/venezuela/Human_Rights_Violations.pdf

 

Kindrid

A true democracy understands toleration of diversity of opinion, guards against tyranny of the majority, has a system of checks and balances, and respects property rights.

None of these things are occurring in Venezuela.  

Kindrid

Quote:
Uphill battle for Chavez in Venezuela vote: polls

But a survey by pollsters Consultores 21 conducted in December and seen by Reuters on Tuesday found 56.8 percent of people planning to vote oppose the referendum, while 41.8 percent support the change.

In another December poll, received by Reuters from Datanalysis on Monday, 52 percent said they would vote against the amendment with just 37.7 percent supporting it.

 http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE50D0HJ20090114

Ze

jacki-mo wrote:
Does anyone ever run against Chavez anymore?

Sure. The 2006 election saw Chavez fall well short of his campaign to win 10 million  votes. He was re-elected with 63% of the vote, against 37% for Governor Manuel Rosales, in an election freely monitored by the OAS, Carter Center and others. A solid and completely democratic mandate, against a strong opposition challenge. 

Fidel

And right next door to oil-rich Venezuela ...

Murder and Impunity in US client state Colombia

Quote:

  • More trade unionists have been murdered in Colombia in the last five years than in the rest of the world combined
  • In 2007, 39 trade unionists were murdered, down from the 72 murdered in 2006 but increasing the total murdered since 1991 to over 2200 workers
  • Virtually no one is prosecuted for these murders, with less than 2% of murderers prosecuted and convicted
  • Colombia is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid outside of the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan, with about 65% of aid going to the Colombian military
  • Colombia and the U.S. have signed a Free Trade Agreement that is now awaiting a Congressional vote
  •  

    Murder and Impunity in Colombia Bob Gold's journey 

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    In Colombia, I have been told, only three out of every one hundred murders lead to governmental prosecution. It is a country where one can obviously get away with murder, and many, many do. This is what impunity is all about. The president of Colombia arranged for members of paramilitary death squads to be demobilized last year, if only they would confess to their crimes and get a light sentence. Many of these paramilitaries have gotten off and have regrouped in new death squads and continue their murderous activities.

    Colombia's vast oil deposits are to be a preserve for future US needs. Phony war on drugs another cover for the war on democracy

    Kindrid

    How many have been killed in Costa Rica and Chile this year? You claim that Venezuela is the greatest democracy in the world. Sorry, but it is not. Of course, the violence in Colombia will cease once FARC is eliminated for good. Wars bring violence. What’s Venezuela’s excuse? There is no terrorist insurgency in Venezuela.

    Kindrid

    Quote:

    In the 10+ years since he was elected President of Venezuela in 1998, Hugo Chavez has won 13 of 14 elections and referendums. A 15th opportunity for the people of Venezuela to express their approval or disapproval of his policies comes up in three days' time.

     

    And if Hitler won the war he would have won 30 straight elections in a row. That would not make Nazi germany the most democratic nation on earth.

    N.R.KISSED

    Another half-witted defender of the oligarchy.

    Fidel

    Kindrid wrote:

    How many have been killed in Costa Rica and Chile this year?

    Apparently not nearly as many trade unionists and rights activists murdered with impunity in the uncle sam's oil-rich client state of Colombia, the USSA's frontline state in the war on democracy in South America. It's a lawless country receving US military aid next to only Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan. And that doesnt include Colombian peasants murdered by Uribe's rightwing death squads.

    Kindrid

    The issue is Venezuela. The claim that Venezuela is one of the most democratic nations on earth is clearly wrong, just bringing up Colombia or Haiti does not change the fact that Venezuela is abandoning democratic principles.

    Kindrid

    Quote:

    Alvaro Uribe Velez is a tough right-winger whose political life has been dominated by the desire to rid the country of the rebels who killed his father 20 years ago.

    President Alvaro Uribe in a file photo from 17 May 2008 Mr Uribe is the US's staunchest ally in Latin America

    He won office in 2002, following it in 2006 with a landslide victory that gave him the four more years he said he needed to tackle Colombia's armed groups and drug-traffickers.

    The question now is whether momentum will build for Colombia's constitution to be changed to allow him to run for a third term in 2010.

    Mr Uribe's hardline stance against the guerrillas who have waged a four decades-long war on the state has won him plaudits.

    He has forced the rebels out of Colombia's towns and cities and back into the countryside, thereby bringing peace to the everyday lives of many Colombians.

    His implacable stance against the rebels has kept his approval ratings above 70% for much of the time.

     http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3214685.stm

    It seems that FARC not the United States is waging war against democracy. The people in Colombia hate FARC. They support their presidents with a 70 percent approval rating because Uribe’s hard stance against drug supported terrorists.

    BTW, Colombia is coffee rich not oil rich.

    Fidel

    Venezuela has MMP. Chavez is more legit than Dalton's gang in Toronto.

    Kindrid

    If the American South won the Civil War they would have maintained a solid majority that supported the continuation of slavery. You seem to have a hard time grasping the concept of a democracy’s obligation in protecting minority rights and avoiding tyranny by the majority.

    Fidel

    US-backed rightwing death squads of Colombia: Uribe's boys 

    Quote:

    Almost immediately upon taking office, Uribe began making extensive use of mass round-ups and other police and judicial tactics against his critics in civil society. Those critics, not coincidentally, are also strong opponents of the paramilitaries. Uribe's repressive actions-including his varied attempts to formalize them in "State of Emergency" and "Anti-Terrorist" laws allowing detentions without charges, surveillance without judicial permission, restrictions on civilian travel, and the like-trigger reliable, loud condemnation from the United Nations and Amnesty International, but their immediate effects appear well worth the diplomatic hassle of such complaints.

    Quote:
    Mapiripán is the site of one of the worst paramilitary massacres to date, yet many of the town’s residents voted for the “paramilitary” candidate, Uribe. Father Javier Giraldo of the Colombian human rights group Justicia y Paz was in Mapiripán on election day: “There was a great deal of fraud. There were paramilitaries in the voting booths. They destroyed a lot of ballots. This was denounced to the Ombudsman, but nothing happened.” Electoral fraud, widespread paramilitary threats—denounced by virtually all the other candidates during the election campaign—and the almost total decimation of the electoral left in the preceding decade all contributed to Uribe’s election victory.

    [url=[/url]">http://www.colombiajournal.org/colombia185.htm][IMG]http://img.photobuck...

    N.R.KISSED

    Kindrid wrote:

    If the American South won the Civil War they would have maintained a solid majority that supported the continuation of slavery. You seem to have a hard time grasping the concept of a democracy’s obligation in protecting minority rights and avoiding tyranny by the majority.

    you seem incapable of understanding the difference between a marginalized minority and a privileged one. You would clearly support the rights of slave owners over the slaves as you support the privileged oligarchy over the vast majority of venezuelans. Reports from the U.S. state department and Venezuelan corporate media  are only more voices of the privileged.  You are clearly a troll and welcome to take your bullshit elsewhere.

    Kindrid

    Quote:
    You would clearly support the rights of slave owners over the slaves

    No, I think the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was a rather good idea.

     

    Fidel

    Kindrid, what do you think about Jesuit priest Javier Giraldo's description of the election rigging in Co-lo-mmmmbiaaaah? That doesnt sound too good, you know? 

    Ken Burch

    Kindrid wrote:

    Quote:
    You would clearly support the rights of slave owners over the slaves

    No, I think the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was a rather good idea.

     

    Although you probably wouldn't have been in any hurry to get the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments into force. Jim Crow would have been acceptable to a right winger like your self who put the rights of the insane U.S. Southern white minority first.

    And you probably didn't say a word against the government the U.S. put in to power in Chile.   

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Our Demands Most Moderate are/ We Only Want The World! -James Connolly

    Kindrid

    Quote:
    And you probably didn't say a word against the government the U.S. put in to power in Chile.   

    The US put into power Michelle Bachelet?

    Kindrid

    Quote:
    Although you probably wouldn't have been in any hurry to get the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments into force. Jim Crow would have been acceptable to a right winger like your self who put the rights of the insane U.S. Southern white minority first.

    Title:Musical pull string toy Document Type and Number:United States Patent 5162012

    Abstract:A musical pull string toy having a pull string extending from the head through the body that is displaceable under tension between a first predetermined position and a second predetermined position. The music box emits sound when the string is recoiled from a second position to the first position. The toy body is defined by at least two accordion pleats forming a bellows region. The accordion pleats have a substantially symmetric shape and each pleat is substantially concentric around the pull string when the pull string is extended to the second position. Accordingly, the appearance of the pleats is not distorted at all positions of the pull string. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5162012.html

    Fidel

    Imagine that there were several plots to overthrow US government by military coups, or to assassinate US leaders over 600 times. The USSA would be a repressive national security state operating by plutocratic rule by now. Oh wait, the USSA is a national security state and interfering in sovereign political affairs around the world.

    a lonely worker

    Fidel, its still happening. This is the latest about how the leaders of the opposition and their puppets in the coporate controlled media where flown on private jets to a meeting with the US State Department. Rumour has it they came back to Venezuela with millions in US dollars. 

     Here's the exchange that occurred when these colonials were confronted upon their return:

    "Carvajalino later met the opposition leaders in the airport upon their return to Venezuela, where he confronted Ravell, inquiring, “How was the meeting in Puerto Rico with the [U.S.] State Department?”

    “Better than the meetings they do in Iran with some tractor pieces,” Ravell responded, referring to agreements signed between Venezuela and Iran to manufacture tractors for use in the Venezuelan countryside.

    The interview then became heated after Carvajalino accused Ravell of being funded and supported by the United States.

    Ravell responded by threatening to punch the journalist, as well as hurling obscene homophobic and sexist insults against the Carvajalino, as seen in a video that has been shown frequently on state-run channels in Venezuela. Most of the other opposition leaders mentioned in the email are seen arriving to the airport with Ravell in the video."

     

    http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/4101

     

    RosaL

    M. Spector wrote:

    Chavez has won the referendum.

    Another victory for democracy in Venezuela. 

     

    Yes! Smile (I have been trying to get Telesur but it's not there tonight.)

    M. Spector M. Spector's picture

    RosaL wrote:

    (I have been trying to get Telesur but it's not there tonight.)

     I've been watching Venezolano de Televisión. 

    M. Spector M. Spector's picture

    Chavez has won the referendum with 54% of the vote.

    Another victory for democracy in Venezuela. 

    Unionist

    Bravo! Well done.

    Quote:

    Crowds of the president's supporters filled in the streets, letting off fireworks, waving red flags and honking car horns.

    More than 16 million Venezuelans were eligible to take part in the vote, which international observers said was free and fair.

    [url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7891856.stm]BBC News.[/url]

     

     

    Madwow

    Fidel wrote:

    Kindrid, what do you think about Jesuit priest Javier Giraldo's description of the election rigging in Co-lo-mmmmbiaaaah? That doesnt sound too good, you know? 

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/venezuela/4631939/Venezuelans-vote-as-Hugo-Chavez-looks-to-rule-indefinitely.html

    Holy shit, Now you want to quote priests

    NorthReport

    Well, some priests are cool, and work to fight poverty.

    Unionist

    That would be terrible, if the people of the U.S. were allowed to elect any president they wanted every four years. Why, G.W. Bush would have swept to victory again! Imagine.

     

    Madwow

    M. Spector wrote:

    Chavez has won the referendum with 54% of the vote.

    Another victory for democracy in Venezuela. 

    Good for Chavez democracy, bad for anyone whom may view the sociliast policies as a hinderance to advancement of the country.

    By the way, how would you feel if G.W. did the same thing?

    Madwow

    "President Hugo Chavez to stand indefinitely for re-election"

    So are you fucking retarded or are you not aware that you are allowed to serve 2 terms as president of the usa.

    Unionist

    Madwow wrote:

    So are you fucking retarded or are you not aware that you are allowed to serve 2 terms as president of the usa.

    I'm not allowed to serve any terms as president of the USA. I wasn't born there. But thanks for your vote of confidence!

     

    Madwow

    Unionist wrote:
    Madwow wrote:

    So are you fucking retarded or are you not aware that you are allowed to serve 2 terms as president of the usa.

    I'm not allowed to serve any terms as president of the USA. I wasn't born there. But thanks for your vote of confidence!

    Wow. Good come back. Fuck I am sorry that I did not explain that better. how about you pretend that question was worded in a way that his highness could understand.

     

    Jingles

    If GW had been allowed to run again, he would have won. No doubt about it.

    Unionist

    Madwow wrote:

    how about you pretend that question was worded in a way that his highness could understand.

     

    Sorry, I'm not intelligent enough. Anyway, the U.S. abolished the monarchy in 1776.

     

    Unionist

    Jingles wrote:
    If GW had been allowed to run again, he would have won. No doubt about it.

    Yeah, that's what I figger. Especially if he used the same campaign manager again, Chad Dimple.

    NorthReport

      

    If GW had been allowed to run again, he would have won. No doubt about it. Laughing

    NorthReport

    The nerve of that Chavez. Imagine trying to help his people democratically!

    Madwow

    Jingles wrote:
    If GW had been allowed to run again, he would have won. No doubt about it.

    So are you in agreement with what Chavez is trying to do?

    God job unionist of being an elitist fucking asshole

    Unionist

    Madwow wrote:

    God job unionist

    Thanks, Madwow, but your constant compliments are getting a little embarrassing. 

    Madwow

    NorthReport wrote:
    The nerve of that Chavez. Imagine trying to help his people democratically!

    This is the second time that President Chavez has proposed reforms to the Venezuelan Constitution.

    Yeah imagine. Someone trying to change things to their advantage and benefit. Crazy isn't it. Fuck just look around before you make crazy statements.

    Madwow

    Unionist wrote:

    Madwow wrote:

    God job unionist

    Thanks, Madwow, but your constant compliments are getting a little embarrassing.  

    had to edit my post to avoid banning, see unionist is kind of a favorite in these parts. 

    NorthReport

    Madwow wrote:

    [Crazy isn't it.

    If you are refering to your comment I couldn't agree more. 

    Unionist

    Madwow wrote:

     unionist is kind of a favorite in these parts. 

    You're not the only one who appreciates quality.

     

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