Saturday, December 08, 2007

Chavez Ignores Defeat by Voters Hit by 21% Inflation, Shortages

Chavez Ignores Defeat by Voters Hit by 21% Inflation, Shortages
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Helen Murphy, Bloomberg, December 8, 2007

During the campaign, Chavez, 53, said he needed the 69 proposed changes to the constitution to further his socialist revolution, transfer some national and state powers to citizens and redistribute more oil wealth through a planned nationalization of the natural-gas industry. He also sought to abolish presidential term limits.

While victory in the referendum would have given Chavez power to carry out his plans in one swoop, his supporters, led by the president of the national assembly, Cilia Flores, are urging him to move ahead in steps, using his executive authority.

Labor Minister Jose Ramon Rivero asked Chavez to create a pension fund for workers who lack social security coverage, El Universal newspaper reported Dec. 4. Pro-Chavez industry group Empresarios por Venezuela urged a reduction in working hours, president Alejandro Uzcategui said Dec. 4. The referendum called for a cut to six hours from eight.

`Any Tool'

``If history is a guide, Chavez will use any tool at hand to speed up his revolution,'' Benitez said.

The national assembly gave Chavez decree powers once before, in 2001, when he used the authority to impose 49 laws, including a land-reform measure that allowed the government to seize farms and residences a government panel deemed underutilized.

End of article really says it all:

Chavez hammered home in his Dec. 5 news conference at the presidential palace.

``For those who are boasting that our revolution stumbled across, let me tell them that today, the revolution is stronger than ever,'' Chavez said. ``The revolution is here to stay and we will continue to fight.''

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