Feature

Trouble brews in Venezuela

A diplomatic flap in Venezuela is raising tensions ahead of a referendum on sweeping new powers for President Hugo Chavez, said Guillermo Martinez in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, and this is something Americans shouldn't ignore. If Chavez gets these

What happened
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Thursday threatened to reconsider his country’s ties to Spain after King Juan Carlos told him to “shut up” at this week's Ibero-American Summit in Chile. The diplomatic flap raised tensions ahead of a Dec. 2 referendum on whether to grant Chavez sweeping new powers.

What the commentators said
Chavez is using his typical, boorish "dramatics" to "deflect attention" from a serious matter, said The Washington Times in an editorial. "This would-be clone" of Fidel Castro is "gutting" his country's constitution to give himself dictatorial powers.

Chavez is certainly loving the attention, said Guillermo I. Martinez in the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sun-Sentinel. Most Americans seem content to ignore his foolish antics “as long as he keeps exporting the oil this country needs,” but beware. This is one “dangerous fool.”

Dec. 2 will be a wake-up call, said Michael Rowan and Douglas Schoen in The Hartford Courant. If Venezuelan voters give Chavez the constitutional amendments he wants, he’ll have “dictatorial powers" of "an elected strongman reminiscent of Spain's Franco, Italy's Mussolini and Orwell's Big Brother.” That will let him shut off the oil with the flip of a switch, something that could “tip the world into a recession.”

Chavez’ “coup” will also set back his country’s democracy by decades, said The Washington Post in an editorial (free registration). Students, “by the thousands,” have protested Chavez’ “socialist” reform measures even though they have to brave attacks by pro-Chavez goons. “It's encouraging that so many of its people aren't prepared to give up their freedom without a fight.”

Yes, but 60 percent of Venezuelans—according to one newspaper survey—are behind Chavez' proposals, said Sebastian Kennedy and Martin Markovits in the New Statesman. "Only a nationwide outburst of mass opposition could interrupt Venezuela's inexorable socialist metamorphosis."

Recommended

North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan
A Japanese news network shows footage of Kim Jong Un.
escalations

North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan

Hurricane Orlene makes landfall on Mexico's coastline
Workers preparing for Hurricane Orlene
crash into you

Hurricane Orlene makes landfall on Mexico's coastline

King Charles III participates in 1st public event since death of queen
King Charles III and Camilla, queen consort arrive in Dunfermline, Scotland
A Visit from His Majesty

King Charles III participates in 1st public event since death of queen

Iranian Supreme Leader blames U.S., Israel for protests across country
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2017
Who's to blame?

Iranian Supreme Leader blames U.S., Israel for protests across country

Most Popular

5 toons about Trump's spiraling legal woes
Political Cartoon.
Feature

5 toons about Trump's spiraling legal woes

National Archives says some Trump administration records are still missing
A view of the National Archives and Records Administration building in Washington, D.C.
More Trouble for Trump?

National Archives says some Trump administration records are still missing

Ukraine takes full control of Lyman while Russian media points fingers
Ukrainian flag in Donetsk
do svidaniya

Ukraine takes full control of Lyman while Russian media points fingers