Friday, May 26, 2006

More on Hugo Chávez

Well, it seems that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is not nearly the power-hungry would-be dictator who has been portrayed in much of the world press this month, including right here on The Third Path. The wires were abuzz with reports that Chávez was seeking election to a single 25-year term as President. The problem — the inconvenient truth, to borrow a current buzzphrase — is that it ain't true.

Read more...In fact, he is seeking only to end the two-term limit, allowing him to run again if he is re-elected this year, and the referendum proposal is conditioned on a continued boycott of national elections by the opposition party. In other words, he's trying to compel the opposition to run a real campaign instead of smears and innuendoes and empty claims of electoral fraud.

Having said that, it raises my eyebrows more than a little to think that any President would need more than two 6-year terms, not to mention five consecutive terms. As the U.S. Republicans and the British Labour Party are amply demonstrating, any party in power for too many years — even with regular election cycles intervening — inevitably becomes complacent, inefficient, and ineffective.

I remain concerned about the proposed referendum and the possibility that Venezuela might drift towards dictatorship, but the facts are not nearly as bad as early reports suggested.

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