Chavez is asking the country to modify 69 articles of the 1999 constitution. That represents a full 20% of its articles.His ego took a bruising. That is problematic because bullies don't take well to having their precious egos bounced. Usually, they merely become far more sneaky, still determined as ever to accomplish what they'd set out to do.
But the problem for the opposition is that Chavez has already grabbed so much power that it will be very difficult to oppose him effectively. And Chavez proved he is not above using the power of the state to crack down on opponents:
Police raided Venezuela’s main Jewish social club on the eve of a national referendum.
The raid on La Hebraica late Saturday night occurred just hours before Venezuelans went to the polls to decide on constitutional changes proposed by President Hugo Chavez.
The raid was seen as a provocation against the Jewish community, which is almost unanimously opposed to Chavez, a major ally of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his leftist reforms.
The police raid took place as 900 Jews enjoyed an all-night wedding party at the nearby Union Israelita synagogue in Altamira, an upscale suburb of Caracas.
According to sources, members of the police unit that investigates drug-trafficking and terrorism broke the main gate of La Hebraica in the middle of the night, allegedly looking for weapons and explosives. Officers searched the premises but found nothing, the sources said.
Pure intimidation. It was not the first time that the authorities harrassed Jews. A similar provocation occurred in 2005 when authorities searched a Jewish school for weapons.
With the economy tanking, oil production falling, and the poor getting restless due to Chavez promising so much that he can't deliver, Chavez may be in for a rough couple of years. He still has a lot of power to dictate the economy. But regional opposition to his policies will remain thanks to the defeat of the referendum yesterday.
Daniel Duquenal has some excellent indepth articles at pajamas:
Pre-vote analysis: Venezuela Referendum: Chavez on Brink of Dictatorship?
Post-vote analysis: Chavez Loses Quest for Expanded Power - But Just Barely
However, I do have concerns given my understanding of dictators and bullies.
El Mercurio reported in an February 6th, 2007 article entitled: The rule of law is disappearing in Venezuela (translation from Spanish by FReeper St.Jacques at Free Republic)
The 14th of July, 2006, President Chavez, dressed in a military uniform, gave a speech on the delivery of Kalashnivkov AK-103 assault rifles. Taking a rifle and pointing at a television cameraman he warned: "With this rifle, which has a range of a thousand meters, you (the cameraman) stop yourself there above and I, with good aim, give it to the little red light that your camera has." Later he announced: "It is necessary to review the television broadcaster licenses."
A convincing proof of all this was the statement of January 8 of Andres Izarra, President of Telesur and ex Minister of Communication: "It is necessary to elaborate a new plan ... towards the communicational and informative hegemony of the state."
From AmericanThinker, dateline January 29, 2007:
David Paulin writes at The Big Carnival of the degeneration of the Chavez regime into a thug state. It has gotten so bad that some of Chavez's leftist supporters are now disowning him, as they see that socialism is just an excuse for power and riches being grabbed.This, in fact did happen, and played out in the "NO!" vote.
Raul Baduel, his ex-defense mister, the general largely responsible in rescuing Chavez during the 2002 coup, was a major blow to Chavez campaign. Chavez ex-wife, Marisabel Rodriguez, came out for the NO side. Finally, erstwhile ally, the political group PODEMOS became the new opposition inside Chavez National Assembly, until then a 100% pro Chavez body.
And over the past two years, I've read about super computer programs that Chavez has which details every person, how they voted, where they live, work, play. I can find nothing on this immediately. So, either it has disappeared from cyber, or it is in someone's back pocket for a purpose.
Whether this or is not fact, what remains is that those around the world forcefully pushing socialism on a country will find either newer ways to reframe their proposals, or must resort to brute force, or must resort to a million tiny news articles of mysterious beatings and worse, on pages B-23. No one should be able to connect all those dots, some propose.
Although Mr. Chavez conceded the election with grace, a comment he made still has me in pause:
Chavez is cited as saying: "From this moment on, let's be calm," he proposed, asking for no more street violence like the clashes that marred pre-vote protests. "There is no dictatorship here."
Is this not a measure mark of what the freedom-loving people of Venezuela are up against?
Translation: Chavez has seized the media, the military, the oil, education.. and nice guy he, allowed the people to have a vote.
"Ve haf vays of makink you tink" comes to my mind.
Wanna job? HA! I'm sure the Chavistas will ONLY make joining the Socialist Army an option. Education? Only certain books, and on down the line.
But countries currently allied with Chavez cannot, in my estimate, withstand the tsunami headed at them, specifically, a result of the brave NO! voters in Venezuela.
Perhaps the dictatoriates worldwide will conspire to boil the frog slowly. To fight this will require a million points of light, will, courage, and unflagging vigilence.
Addendum: Major US Newspapers and Reuters reported, prematurely, that Chavez' proposals had won the vote. Although it is in fact untrue, I've just heard from two at different colleges in the U.S., that Chavez had WON. And, that lie is continuing today, proselytizing by college teachers, and activists at the campi.
I've not yet read or seen retractions, corrections, amendments by any of the above "ESTABLISHED MEDIA". Have you?
When I gave these two the true fact of Chavez' loss, they were shocked. They were shocked that they were being so openly and brazenly, deliberately, lied to.
Vigilance in the U.S. must continue as fiercely and staunchly as must be in Venezuela.
I smell another stink afoot.