Wednesday, February 04, 2009

T.I.V. Tuesday

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Chavez's election as president of Venezuela. Accordingly, late Sunday afternoon, he declared Monday, Hugo Chavez Day, a national holiday closing all schools, government offices and many businesses. To commemorate the day, he took over the television and radio stations as well to address his devoted and not so devoted followers. While he spoke, the streets filled with pro and anti Chavistas banging pots and pans, setting off firecrackers and generally wreaking havoc in demonstration of their respective allegiances.

February 15 is a referendum in Venezuela to determine if the current law regarding term limits will stand. If the measure fails, Chavez will be out of office with no chance for re-election in 2012, but if it passes, he will likely die in office. At this point it is unclear what direction the vote will take, but the opposition is worried. In anticipation of this truly momentous event, there are daily protests in and around Caracas, usually violent, with tear gas used rampantly. The country is on the verge of economic and political collapse and the conventional wisdom is that regardless of the referendum's outcome things in Venezuela will go from bad to worse.

I have often wondered how a people allowed some of the world's most infamous leaders/dictators to become so powerful. Of course their rise didn't happen overnight and their ultimate objectives usually only became clear after it was too late. But, they all had to start somewhere and often with a peaceful and quiet ascension to power. The referendum on the 15th will not be a military coup or a violent government overthrow, it will be a simple vote for or against Chavez. Though the outcome remains uncertain, I fear we are on the verge of literally seeing history repeat itself here in Venezuela. Happy Hugo Chavez Day indeed.

PS I know the blog has been pretty political of late. Come back tomorrow and I promise to post much lighter fare and not mention Chavez or Obama or tear gas for a whole week at least.

21 comments:

Hazen5 said...

Where will you be on Feb. 15th? Be careful and be safe!

Kimberly said...

Rachel is right- be safe! Is there any indication that you wouldn't be able to stay there?
I really enjoy your posts about Venezuela and think they are fascinating.

Lisa-Marie said...

So so interesting. We don't mind at all your "political" blogs. This is your life right now. (Though we do love seeing your cute boys too!) You aren't in any danger are you? Please be safe.

Lauren in GA said...

I get scared for you...I am a worrier, by nature...but, I still worry...

I agree with the others...be safe.

Of course, I was on the phone with my sister the other day and I told her to, "Drive Safely"...and she said, "No, Lauren...I'm gonna be wreckless." So, I guess the same stands for you...I know you do all you can to be safe.

*worry"
*fret*
*wrinkling my brow" ;)

stephanie said...

Wow! Some exciting events! Be careful and say your prayers.

Sandi said...

Once again, I am reminded how amazing it is to watch the change of power in America, be safe

diane said...

Are you guys house bound right now because of the violence and tear gas?

You are brave.

calibosmom said...

What an arrogant ponce! To claim a day in your honor is beyond egotistical! Be careful out there and I love the political updates!

Suman Family said...

I served my mission in the Maracaibo, Venezuela mission from 1999-2001, right after Chavez was elected. I really like your Venezuela posts. I feel so bad for the country. Where I was, most of the people were only mildly educated and quickly rallied behind the populous comments of Chavez.

It's such a shame because Venezuela is beautiful and has tons of natural resources. It used to be a rich nation and could be once again if Chavez and other leaders like him got out of the way.

Eric

Jenibelle said...

I personally am fascinated by the politics!! Is there any chance that the election will be fair? If Chavez has that much power will he intimidate?

Now that Pres. Obama is in office, are you noticing a difference towards Americans?

Starrymedgirl said...

So interesting to hear what's going on down there. I remember that when Chris was in Caracas, it was very similar. The streets were full of voices shouting, "ooh, ahh, Chavez no se va!" I still get that stuck in my head on ocassion. Be safe.

IWA said...

We have extra fire crackers from new years... let me know if you'd like to join in and I'll set them off in honor of you exactly at midnight! No one in Laie will know the difference!
We have random fire works shows weekly!

So are they xxling church and advising to stay in doors?

Be safe and always looking forward to TIV Tuesdays!

MamaLove said...

i love that you talk about this ...it is very important to know that Chavez is trying to place himself there forever...ugh really upsets me to think that he has such a hold the poor class and oh soo many things i'll write you more soon, Cupe is crying!!

jesse said...

I cam back tomorrow, the next day, and the next day for less political blog postings, as instructed; I suppose that no posting at all qualifies as less political. Dad

Bridget said...

Wow. I can only imagine it. I enjoy that your blog is political. Its refreshing after all the mommy posts I read and write.

Ilene said...

I like the politics. I like incorporate your ideas and points into my everyday conversation thus giving the impression that I am up on current events. People think I am smart. Little do they know it is all you.

Loving that Chavez gets to declare a holiday in his own name. What a joke.

CStubits said...

Hahaha - I like your dad's comment. :)

Isaac and Daniel Cook said...

Hello from China, we got our bid list and Caracas econ looks like a "good fit". I would love to email you, I have many questions. Are you guys on facebook?

Jenibelle said...

Are you okay? Be safe on Sunday!!!

Sebastian said...

More politics! Though I do love seeing new pics of the boys...just throw in a picture or two of them in each blog. But seriously, are the Venezuelan people that blind? I'm all for democracy but this is ridiculous.

Loren said...

Happy Birthday.

 

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