Chavez Dictatorship on the Rise

When a wannabe dictator says he is “working for the people”, democratic policies and freedom are in jeopardy and time on the clock to stop a dictatorship is winding down. The intentions of Chavez are clearly being signaled by his rhetoric and his actions while opposition is being harshly stifled. Dictatorship is on the rise in Venezuela.

Using widespread flooding as an excuse, Chavez has obtained fast-track powers allowing him to rule by decree, bypassing parliament for the next 18 months. Having an overwhelming majority in the outgoing assembly, he has been working hard to make the incoming legislature, which is somewhat less accommodating to his wishes, powerless to stop his grab for total control.

Recent “reforms” of the legislature’s internal rules set the stage for a Chavez takeover. These “reforms” severely limit the legislature’s meeting sessions and allowable time for speeches to the assembly. Coverage of debates in the assembly will only be carried by government-controlled stations, allowing “authorities” to decide what is heard.

These “reforms” extend to the internet and mobile phones, making providers responsible for content. Any messages deemed to be disrespectful to government institutions or deemed to raise “alarm” among the population will be cause for punishment. Control of the media has been accomplished. (Think of that when the FCC begins to “regulate” the internet.)

Chavez intends to seek another term as president in the next election, two years away. He and his senior general have made it known that the armed forces will not tolerate an opposition victory. Protestors have been attacked and beaten, indicating that the next presidential election will be as big a sham as the outward appearance of democracy has been.

Many in the world continue to believe in the benevolence of Chavez, particularly those in countries already under a government’s thumb. They have been conditioned to put words above actions; making rhetoric the only “truth” they know. Some ideologues in this country buy into that manufactured “truth” and help legitimize Chavez. Consequently, it may already be too late to stop another anti-America dictatorship from spreading like a nasty fungus on the world.

David J. Hentosh

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