Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Uh! Ah! La Enmienda Va!

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Uh! Ah! La Enmienda Va!

Click to enlarge

Celebratory fireworks light up the Caracas sky

Or for the non-Spanish-speakers, Uh! Ah! The Amendment is coming! Article 230 of the Venezuelan Constitution, which limits the presidency to two six-year terms, is proposed to be amended to remove the words "...for two terms only," allowing presidential candidates to remain in office for as long as the electorate continues to vote for them – just like the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia, and most of the Heads of State of Europe and Asia.

Click to enlarge

Chavista Territory - very very red!

In a massive show of support, almost five million signatures (4,760,845 in all),were collected in the last week, well-exceeding the 30% required to call a referendum to begin the amendment's passage through parliament. The February referendum will be the fourteenth time Venezuelans have been to the polls in 11 years in yet another example of participatory democracy, the open and consultative style of government favoured by Chávez.

Click to enlarge

Dancing in the street

Despite schools and most workplaces having closed last week for the Christmas break, the streets of central Caracas have been full of supporters collecting, signing, singing, dancing, haranguing, arguing, graffiti-ing, and generally making their feelings known and opinions clear. Forget the lies in the mainstream press about repression of freedom of speech and opinion – this is a country where everyone has something to say or write, and no qualms about doing so, as the new Mayor's office testifies!

"Look at us," said one man as I was taking photos, "Do we look like we are scared? Where else do the people get to choose like we do? Everything is open now, our elections, our systems, everyone knows what is going on, not like before. We are getting rid of corruption, and all those thieving dogs. They are the only ones who are scared, because they know they can't get away with it any more."

Click to enlarge

Opposition Mayor's office graffitied in Caracas

Last night's announcement showed the air of confidence in the streets was justified – the gates to the National Assembly were opened and hundreds of supporters poured in to hear the results and watch the Special Session of the National Assembly on huge screens in the grounds, as fireworks exploded above them.

Click to enlarge

Signing for the Referendum

All that remains now is the referendum itself, proposed for the end of February. If the support shown for the amendment equals that for the referendum, it will be another shoo-in for Chávez – the most votes the opposition has managed to garner in any election or referendum since 1998 is less than 4.5 million. But you can guarantee they won't give up without a fight – expect another outpouring of effluent from the right-wing press both national and international, accusing the Venezuelan President of everything from being power-crazy, ignorant, out of touch, dictatorial and demented to being gay!

Click to enlarge

Supporters jumping for joy in the National Assembly courtyard

Compare the media coverage, and style of governance, with that of a neighbouring country that recently made a similar amendment to its Constitution - Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who like John Key wields his power by just pushing laws through parliament without any consultation with the people, has never been subjected to the daily doses of diatribe dished out to the Venezuelan President. Compare also the number of political prisoners, civilian deaths, and refugees fleeing each country for an even more telling comparison....

Click to enlarge

Uh! Ah! La Enmienda Va!

The challenge for the PSUV will be not only to mobilise the electorate and get their two million abstainers into the booths in February to ensure the amendment passes, but also to neutralise the inevitable US-funded anti-Chávez propaganda campaign. The Government will also have its hands full, trying to keep Colombian paramilitary terrorists, with their murderous and intimidatory practices, out.

Click to enlarge

Watching the results in the National Assembly courtyard


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Philip Temple: Hang On A Minute, Mate
Peter Dunne quietly omits some salient facts when arguing for retention of MMP’s coat-tailing provision that allows a party to add list seats if it wins one electorate and achieves more than 1% or so of the party vote... More>>

Cheap Grace And Climate Change: Australia And COP26

It was not for everybody, but the shock advertising tactics of the Australian comedian Dan Ilic made an appropriate point. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a famed coal hugger, has vacillated about whether to even go to the climate conference in Glasgow. Having himself turned the country’s prime ministerial office into an extended advertising agency, Ilic was speaking his language... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Funeral Rites For COVID Zero
It was such a noble public health dream, even if rather hazy to begin with. Run down SARS-CoV-2. Suppress it. Crush it. Or just “flatten the curve”, which could have meant versions of all the above. This created a climate of numerical sensitivity: a few case infections here, a few cases there, would warrant immediate, sharp lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, the closure of all non-vital service outlets... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>

Our Man In Washington: Morrison’s Tour Of Deception

It was startling and even shocking. Away from the thrust and cut of domestic politics, not to mention noisy discord within his government’s ranks, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could breathe a sign of relief. Perhaps no one would notice in Washington that Australia remains prehistoric in approaching climate change relative to its counterparts... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Melbourne Quake: Shaken, Not Stirred

It began just after a news interview. Time: a quarter past nine. Morning of September 22, and yet to take a sip from the brewed Turkish coffee, its light thin surface foam inviting. The Australian city of Melbourne in its sixth lockdown, its residents fatigued and ravaged by regulations. Rising COVID-19 numbers, seemingly inexorable... More>>