Chavez, Chavez, Chavez. Once so full of promise, now a textbook example of the all-corrupting influence of power. You might recall ol' Chavy shutting down and threatening opposition broadcasters a few months back (here, here, and here). Now, he's trying to remove presidential term limits, ensuring he can achieve Castro-like tenure over the Venezuelan people. He justified his move thusly:
“I propose to the sovereign people the seven-year presidential term, the president can be re-elected immediately for a new term. If someone says this is a project to entrench oneself in power. No, it's only a possibility, a possibility that depends on many variables.”
Come again? That quote makes no sense- grammatically or otherwise. But that's how he was quoted at CBC.ca and in The Guardian, so I have to think it's pretty verbatim. And what 'variables'? His manic desire to stay in power? Even if Chavez has the purest intentions, I think we can all agree that a president-for-life system is pretty problematic within the context of a democracy.
No doubt Chavez has some impressive plans for Venezuela, and because his 'base' is composed of the working classes and poor, there's a respectable progressive edge to his social agenda. But whatever good he does will be obliterated if he undermines the democratic growth of his country. Dictators don't build free societies. Democracy does, even if the process is painfully slow. If the people of Venezuela choose to sidestep their own democratic development in favour of an aggresive agenda by a charismatic frontman...well, we all know where that leads.