Monday, December 03, 2007

Chavez Not President for Life

This is an interesting turn up for the books. Venezuela's referendum on a raft of consitutional reforms, including indefinitely extending the ability of Hugo Chavez to run for president, has been won by the "No" vote.

I believe this is the right result and hope that it will be the end of the matter. I think Chavez is a bit of a clown, with the annoying habit of trying to meddle in other Latin American countries' democratic processes. I also haven't seen any convincing arguments that he's done much to sustainably improve the wellbeing of people in Venezuela.

In that respect, he's no different from anybody else who has run Venezuela. And at least his largesse with oil money has given some short-term benefits to the poor masses.

It's also highly irritating to see Chavez hyped as a major threat to freedom and democracy by the US government and elements of the media, a depiction which is lamely lapped up by the mainstream American public. The average news piece cannot mention Chavez or Venezuela without throwing in one 'dictatorial' per paragraph. Can we please remember that the leaders of the free world continue to be best buddies with Saudi Arabia? And, I mean, would you buy a used policy from this guy?

However, regardless of how good or bad a president Chavez has been, constitutional term limits are a good thing, and so are bureaucratic checks and balances. No one person is the saviour of a nation, and all power should be limited.

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