The New York times
December 01, 2007
Wrapping up his campaign for changes to the Constitution before tens of thousands of supporters in Caracas, President Hugo Chávez delivered a speech threatening the moneyed elite, investors from Spain, foreign correspondents, the United States and “pitiyanquis,” a term loosely translated as “Yankee lovers.” He also ordered soldiers to occupy oil installations ahead of the referendum tomorrow, threatening to cut off oil exports to the United States in the event of American interference. “Who votes yes is for Chávez,” he said. “Who votes no is voting for George W. Bush.” Mr. Chávez devoted almost none of his speech to the 69 amendments in the vote, which would centralize power in the president’s hands and abolish his term limits. He said he could see himself ruling until 2050, when he would turn 96. The tensions led the United States to break its silence. “We are concerned that people would not be able to have the free and fair elections that they deserve,” said Dana Perino, the White House spokeswoman.