August 27, 2005

Chaos in the land of "democratically-elected" Chavez

Chavez supporters, foes clash in Caracas:

Foes of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez clashed with his supporters on Saturday during an opposition march to demand electoral reform before parliamentary elections later this year.

Six people were injured after hundreds of opponents of the populist leader marched from western Caracas to the center of the capital, where they skirmished with Chavez sympathizers in a volley of smoke bombs, rocks, bottles and fireworks.

The street clashes were the most serious violence in months between supporters of Chavez and his opponents, who believe Venezuela's electoral board is biased and must be overhauled before National Assembly elections in December.

Emergency crews whisked wounded away on motorbikes as the two groups whipped rocks and bottles at each other in a chaotic battle in downtown Caracas streets normally packed with vendors.

Venezuela has been relatively calm since August 2004 when Chavez won a referendum on his rule after two years of political violence. But foes of the populist president claim the referendum vote was tainted by fraud and that the electoral council is stacked with Chavez supporters. [Gee, ya think? --ed.]

Opponents say Chavez has become increasingly authoritarian in his rule of the world's No. 5 oil exporter. They say he has packed institutions like the Supreme Court and the electoral council with loyalist appointees and is driving the country toward Cuban-style communism.

"We are protesting, marching to the National Assembly to protest the fraud perpetrated by the CNE (National Electoral Council)," 54-year-old Guiseppe Santini said before the clashes halted the march blocks away from the national assembly.

Wow. The MSM (al-Reuters, no less) actually reported on the discontent in the utopian model of democracy that is Chavez's Venezuela?

Obviously somebody didn't get the memo from fellow media-machine AFP:

Chavez, a twice-elected leftist and close ally of Cuban President Fidel Castro [...]
Oh well.

In a world where countries and leaders can call themselves whatever they want (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Islamic Republic of Iran, etc.) anybody can be a president or a democracy.

Posted by Kyer at August 27, 2005 06:40 PM | TrackBack