Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

May 9, 2006

Update on Hugo Chavez’s “25 year term”

Filed under: Latin America — louisproyect @ 3:52 pm

Monday, May 08, 2006

Associated Press falsely portrays Chavez as seeking 25-year term
By Justin Delacour
Latin America News Review

A little scrutiny of a recent Associated Press report about Venezuela provides a lesson in how the English-language press often gets the story wrong. Take the first sentence: "President Hugo Chavez said Saturday that Venezuelan voters should have the chance to decide whether he should govern the country for the next 25 years."

No, such a referendum would not be about "whether he should govern the country for the next 25 years." A referendum would be about whether Chavez would be permitted to run every six years and –in the event that he were to continue winning elections– serve multiple presidential terms. The AP report's opening sentence makes it sound as if such a referendum would do away with elections in Venezuela, as if its intent would be to grant Chavez a new 25-year term in office! The website of The Calgary Sun even titles the wire report "Chavez seeking 25-year term"!!

full: http://lanr.blogspot.com/2006/05/associated-press-falsely-portrays.html

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Eli Stephen's Left I on the News:

The corporate press has been all over a speech given by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday. Headlines include such claims as "Chavez says he will govern until 2031," "Chavez seeking 25-year term," "'Indefinite' Chávez reign?," "Chavez Proposes Referendum to Stay President Until 2031," and so on. Lost in the headlines was the fact that the writer of the widely circulated AP story didn't even know what the speech said: "It wasn't clear if Chavez, 51, was talking about holding a legally binding vote to eliminate limits on re-election or proposing a plebiscite." Also missing from the headlines was the conditional aspect of Chavez's "proposal" (more of a rhetorical point in a speech than an actual proposal, of course)–the proposed referendum would only take place "if the opposition pulls out of the presidential vote, as it did last year's congressional election."

And why would the opposition pull out of the elections? Because all polls suggest they are going to be trounced in that election, and by pulling out, they will delegitimize the election. Not in the eyes of Venezuelans, of course, but in the eyes of the U.S. (more specifically, the U.S. ruling class), thus providing "justification" for further interference on the part of the U.S. (coups, blockades, invasions). In other words, such an act on the part of the opposition would be borderline treason.

full: http://lefti.blogspot.com/2006_05_01_lefti_archive.html#114710749275543053

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Posted to Marxmail by Michael Hoover:

hamilton proposed a 'president for life' at 1787 constitutional convention and while there was not a single comment/question/ response pro or con, delegates imposed no term limits on the office, in effect, leaving open the possibility a lengthy george washington presidency (hamilton's very proposal was partially motivated by such a wish) even as the short term of 4 years indicated a concern with entrenched power…

terms limits place direct curbs on the power of the electorate *and* on the power of the president, when it was possible, even if unlikely that a u.s. president might seek a 3rd term, that individual had more influence than president who made known their decisions not to run again, congressional members, governors, and other politicians are much less inclined to oppose the former in party primaries… mh

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