Venezuela Votes on Whether to Give Chávez More Power

Por Venezuela Real - 2 de Diciembre, 2007, 19:13, Categoría: Imagen gobierno / Chávez

The New York Times
December 02, 2007

CARACAS, Venezuela, Dec. 2 — Voters went to polling stations throughout Venezuela on today to cast ballots on a referendum over constitutional changes that would significantly enhance the power of President Hugo Chávez.

The vote unfolded amid heightened tension between Mr. Chávez’s supporters and antigovernment groups.

Official results are expected later this evening; the polls closed late this afternoon.

The proposed constitutional changes would abolish presidential term limits, extend Mr. Chávez’s term to seven years from six and raise the threshold for recalling him. They would also speed his efforts to formally establish a socialist state here, following moves by Mr. Chávez this year to nationalize large companies and forge a single Socialist party for his followers.

The referendum, which follows several weeks of street protests and frenetic campaigning around the 69 proposed amendments, appeared to unfold largely without irregularities and violence. Still, turnout in some areas was unexpectedly low, particularly in poor districts that are traditional bastions of loyalty for Mr. Chávez.

At midmorning, there was no line in front of the voting center at the Cecilio Acosta school in Petare, an area of sprawling hillside slums on this city’s eastern fringes, as a few dozen people who had already voted milled about the street.

Some volunteers working the voting machines sat idle, waiting for more voters to arrive. Other voting centers in Petare had lines outside, but they were less than half a block long.

“I’m impressed by the lack of voters; this was full last year,” said Ninoska González, 37, who sells cigarettes on the street. She described herself as a “Chavista” who voted for the president in last year’s presidential elections, but said she voted against his proposed changes today.

“I don’t agree with some articles,” Ms. González said. She said she was most worried about the state taking control of private property. Asked about a measure to pay social security benefits to workers in the informal economy like her, she said, “That’s a lie.”

Verbal clashes between Mr. Chávez’s government and the political opposition over the validity of private opinion polls have made the outcome of today’s vote hard to predict. Both sides said pre-referendum polls were running in their favor.

The opposition, normally splintered among several small political parties, found common cause in calling on its members to avoid abstention and vote against the amendments. An increasingly defiant student movement also protested here and in other large interior cities against the proposed changes.

But Mr. Chávez, whose followers control the federal bureaucracy, the National Assembly, the national oil company and all but a handful of state governments, relied on an unrivaled political machine to gather support for the measures.

“The whole proposal is marvelous,” said Francis Veracierta, 52, a treasurer at a communal council, one of the thousands of local governing bodies that Mr. Chávez has created. After awaking to predawn fireworks, she said she got in line at 6 a.m. to vote “yes” at a school in Petare.

“The power is for us in the community,” said Ms. Veracierta, wearing a red shirt, red cap and belt with Che Guevara’s face on it. She said she credited Mr. Chávez’s government for giving her a $3,800 loan to start a small sowing business.

Unlike past elections here, the government did not invite observers from the Organization of American States or the European Union, opening itself to potential claims of fraud. But dozens of other international observers arrived over the weekend, many of whom were are clearly allied with one side or the other.

In a move that alarmed opponents to the constitutional overhaul, electoral officials revoked the observer credentials of Jorge Quiroga, a former president of Bolivia and an outspoken critic of Mr. Chávez. Mr. Quiroga accused security forces here of following him while he is in Caracas.
“They’ve taken my credential but not my tongue,” said Mr. Quiroga.

In recent days, Mr. Chávez has lashed out at his critics here and abroad, describing them as “little Yankees.” He ordered troops to occupy oil installations over the weekend, threatening to cut off oil exports to the United States in the event of American interference in the referendum.

Jens Erik Gould contributed reporting.

de la dirección del
Nuevo Portal Principal

Más información ...


<<   Diciembre 2007  >>
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30



Escribe tu email:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Alojado en