Re: Cancer-stricken leader of Venezuela should resign, Jan 9, 2013

By Mike Palecek,
On behalf of the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign

It is amusing to see the opposition complaining about violations of the Venezuelan constitution, considering that this is the same constitution that they publicly ripped to pieces during their briefly-lived coup in 2002. The Globe and Mail is eager to jump in on the action declaring “The Jan. 10 ceremony is not just a technicality, but a political obligation spelled out in the constitution.” Such a statement makes it clear that nobody at the Globe and Mail has actually read the constitution which actually clearly states what is to be done in exactly this situation. Article 231 of the constitution reads, “If for any supervening reason, the person elected President of the Republic cannot be sworn in before the National Assembly, he shall take the oath of office before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice.”

The Globe and Mail continues to insinuate that Hugo Chavez is a dictator, despite the simple fact that he has won election after election that international observers declare “free and fair”. They ignore the fact that he brought in a constitution which is arguably the most democratic in the world and even includes the ability to recall the President between elections. They never mention the fact that former US President Jimmy Carter recently said, “of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

In reality the reason for the opposition to Chavez from big business and the world’s media has nothing to do with his democratic ideals. Hugo Chavez’s crime is that he has taken the enormous wealth of his country and invested it into his people, rather than allowing foreign corporations to continue plundering the country. Since Chavez’s first election, extreme poverty has been reduced from 40% of the population down to 7.3%. Illiteracy has been wiped-out. Free healthcare and education have been established. The infant mortality rate has been cut in half. The number of doctors has gone from 18 for every 10,000 citizens to 58 for every 10,000 citizens. Every social indicator has seen a dramatic improvement during Chavez’s time in office.

This is why the majority of Venezuelans vote for Chavez again and again. I can only hope that such a “dictator” is elected in Canada one day.