Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chavez vows to turn a defeat into victory

I knew there was going to be more to this from Chavez...

From The Washington Times:
Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez vowed yesterday to keep fighting for a package of radical constitutional amendments despite a stunning referendum defeat that sent his opponents into the streets in celebration.

"I don't withdraw a single comma from this proposal," Mr. Chavez said of his amendments, which would curtail private-property rights and remove limits on the number of terms he could serve as president.

"I keep making this proposal to the Venezuelan people. This proposal is alive, not dead. It couldn't be done for now, but I maintain it," Mr. Chavez told officials, military officers and reporters who gathered at the presidential Miraflores Palace as the outcome of the voting became clear. [snip...]

Gen. Raul Baduel, a former defense minister who resigned from Mr. Chavez's government to lead a campaign against the constitutional changes, warned that the president could still seek to alter the country's legal system by "other means."

Gen. Baduel said Mr. Chavez could use "enabling" clauses in the current constitution to legislate by decree. He suggested that a new constitutional assembly should be elected to put checks on the presidency, which Mr. Chavez has progressively strengthened since he came to office in 1999.[snip...]

Some election monitors, without offering any proof, said Mr. Chavez lost by a much wider margin, of almost 10 percentage points.

"It's obvious that they tried something, but couldn't do it because the difference between the 'no' and 'yes' vote was too great." said Rodolfo Monsalvo, a Caracas taxi driver cruising through opposition street parties, where printed copies of Mr. Chavez's proposed amendments were burned.

"We've been marching in protest for nine years and finally we've won" said Corina Perez, a 25-year-old schoolteacher. "Every time they managed to cheat us, but couldn't do it this time."

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