news and currunt affairs
Posted 03 December 2007 - 09:29 AM
CARACAS (Reuters) - President Hugo Chavez crashed to an unprecedented vote defeat on Monday as Venezuelans narrowly rejected his bid to run for re-election indefinitely and accelerate his socialist revolution in the OPEC nation.
In a fiercely contested referendum on Sunday, voters said "No" to a raft of reforms that would have scrapped term limits on Chavez's rule, boosted his powers to expropriate private property and allowed him to censor the media in emergencies.
The "No" camp won with about 51 percent of the vote, beating the anti-U.S. president who scored around 49 percent support, election officials said early on Monday.
Used to winning national votes easily, Chavez conceded defeat but said he would "continue in the battle to build socialism."
Chavez, a self-styled revolutionary and close ally of Cuba who wants to rule for life, also said the reform proposals remained "alive," suggesting he might try to push them through later.
Caravans of opposition activists cheered, honked horns and waved flags out of car windows. Many said Venezuela had escaped the imposition of authoritarian rule.
"The reform would have made some frightening changes in our country," said an ecstatic Astrid Badell, 18, pulling a plastic green whistle from her mouth to talk. "It would have practically been a copy of the Cuban constitution and that would have been a big step backward."
Chavez remains in control of most Venezuelan institutions even after suffering his first ballot box loss since he swept into office in 1998 in the No. 4 oil supplier to the United States.
"This is not a defeat. This is another 'for now,"' Chavez said, repeating a famous quote when, as a red-bereted paratrooper in 1992, he acknowledged on TV he had failed to seize power in a coup attempt.
The folksy leftist leader was unusually conciliatory at his presidential palace. He told supporters not to be sad and wished all Venezuelans a merry Christmas.
"I have listened to the voice of the people and I will always be listening to it," he said.
U.S.: 'POSITIVE NEWS'
Nicholas Burns, U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, said Chavez' defeat showed Venezuelans wanted democracy.
"This was positive news to see this victory by the citizens of Venezuela because we felt that this referendum was a referendum to make Chavez president for life and that's not ever a welcome development in a country that wants to be a democracy," Burns told reporters in Singapore, where he was attending a seminar.
Students, rights and business groups, opposition parties, the Roman Catholic Church, former political allies and even his usually loyal ex-wife all lined up against Chavez ahead of the referendum vote.
They accused him of pushing the constitutional reforms to set up a dictatorship.
"Venezuela said 'No' to socialism, Venezuela said 'Yes' to democracy," said Leopoldo Lopez, the popular mayor of a Caracas district.
A leading Venezuelan newspaper covered most of its front page with a huge red "NO."
The United States says Chavez is a dangerous influence in Latin America, using Venezuela's oil wealth to win allies and undermine democracy.
A fiery speaker, Chavez has called President George W. Bush "the devil," capitalism "evil" and says his Venezuelan critics are traitors. But his tone was unusually conciliatory in conceding defeat on Monday.
He may have burnished his democratic credentials by accepting the result.
"This defeat has two sides to it for Chavez," said Luis Vicente Leon of leading local pollster Datanalisis. "He came out the loser after a tough plebiscite campaign but he also gets rid of the accusation that he is a dictator."
Admired as a champion of the poor in city slums and rural villages, the 53-year-old Chavez has said he wants to rule until he dies. But, without a constitutional reform, he will have to step down in 2013.
The loss was a shock to the government. Three ministers had said early on that Chavez was ahead by at least six percentage points, although his lead evaporated as more returns came in.
It was a major victory for Venezuela's fragmented opposition, which had failed to beat Chavez in almost yearly votes or oust him in a brief coup in 2002, a national oil strike and a recall referendum.
(For more on Venezuela's referendum, click on http://www.reuters.c...rage/venezuela)
(Additional reporting by Hugh Bronstein, Brian Ellsworth, Patricia Rondon, Ana Isabel Martinez and Enrique Andres Pretel; Writing by Saul Hudson; Editing by Kieran Murray and Bill Trott)
for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle
Posted 05 December 2007 - 07:14 AM
Posted 27 December 2007 - 08:49 AM
for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle
Posted 28 December 2007 - 12:37 AM
Posted 28 December 2007 - 06:30 PM
Posted 28 December 2007 - 06:41 PM
Posted 04 February 2008 - 11:08 AM
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What ever happened to that archaic word "pr*bl*ms"? I haven't seen it used in many a day. That's why I typed it as if it is forbidden. Is the dismissal of the word another sign of the wussification of America? What does EOD say?
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