Los Angeles Times
December 03, 2007
CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez remains determined to transform Venezuela into a socialist state despite losing a vote Sunday on sweeping constitutional revisions. Here is a look at some of the key ways Chavez is able to exercise his authority to bring about changes.
* Through presidential decrees. The National Assembly granted Chavez special powers earlier this year to enact laws by decree in 11 areas, from the economy to defense, until July 2008. The powers were granted under a so-called "enabling law" aimed at giving the presidential special authority to move ahead with creating a "new, sustainable economic and social model."
* Through laws approved by the National Assembly. The congress has been dominated by Chavez supporters since the opposition boycotted 2005 elections expressing concerns about a lack of guarantees for a fair and transparent vote. Seven of the 167 lawmakers have since broken ties with Chavez.
Glance at Quotes After Venezuela Vote
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Here are some notable comments reacting to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's defeat in Sunday's vote on constitutional changes:
"We call on all those in power to understand that they must govern for all Venezuelans." -- Ricardo Sanchez, a student leader who helped organize anti-Chavez protests
"It's difficult to accept this, but Chavez has not abandoned us, he'll still be there for us." -- Chavez supporter Nelly Hernandez, a Caracas street vendor
"In a country that wants to be a democracy, the people spoke, and the people spoke for democracy and against unlimited power." -- U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns
"Venezuelan democracy is maturing ... There is no dictatorship here." -- President Hugo Chavez
"The very close result is indicative of the deep divisions in Venezuelan society. ... The outcome of the referendum should encourage the government and civil society to dialogue peacefully and calmly about the future of the media and civil liberties." -- Reporters Without Borders
"Clearly this is a message from the Venezuelan people that they do not want any further erosion of their democracy and their democratic institutions." -- U.S. State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack.
"Those who have organized plots to destabilize Venezuela, to abolish its democratically elected government and even attempt a coup against President Chavez are active and we hope that they quit and let the Venezuelan people build their future in peace." -- Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque