To Thwart Washington, Chavez Suggests 'Indefinite Extension' of His Term

By R. Baptista and A. Pozzolungo

Translated By Paula van de Werken

February 20, 2006

Original Article (Spanish)    


President Hugo Chavez Warns Secretary Rice, 'Don't
Mess With Me, Girl, Leave It Alone Condolezza,' During
His Weekly TV and Radio Show 'Hello President!,' On Sunday.

RealVideo[LATEST NEWS PHOTOS: Hugo Chavez].

Facing the prospect of going before the voters in December without a rival from the opposition to test his popularity, the Head of State announced that he is thinking of calling for a popular vote to modify the Constitution and allow himself to remain in power for a third term … or longer. The Secretary General of the Social Christian Party of Venezuela believes that the national leader is "desperate," and says that "he [Chavez] is coming clean and taking off his mask."

CARACAS: "It's a deal, Tarek …Wait! Let me finish!," Chief of State Hugo Chavez exclaimed, upon hearing the anticipated applause from the Governor of Anzoategui, who has lobbied in favor of the controversial proposal that was now to be subject to public opinion.

Minutes earlier, the nation's leader had begun to reveal the direction that his words were leading. Before the National Assembly meeting in Bolivia, where he delivered his customary Sunday speech, President Chavez mentioned that a few months ago, he had displayed his disgust at a legislative proposal that would have opened the door to a Constitutional amendment which would allow indefinite Presidential reelections.

"To tell the truth, to me as a human being, I don't like that idea," said the leader. Notwithstanding, he noted that when taking into account today's political events - such as the recent declarations of United States spokesmen, and the question as to whether the opposition would participate in December's elections - that perhaps no other option remained but to seriously consider an extension of his period of leadership.

"If they want to put me in a 'black leather jacket' in December [paint him as the bad guy], if the North American Empire wants to play this game; if there is no opposition candidate to challange me, and in this way to indirectly unseat me; if the United States tries to find some 'criminal offense' and to delegitimize this government, then if there is no other candidate, I would consider standing in other elections as well. I would consider signing a decree calling for a popular referendum," he said.




Hugo and Fidel Share an Afternoon Out
at the Havana International Book Fair,
Feb. 3 (above and below).


 








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Looking ahead, the text of the proposition could read the following way: 'Do you agree that (Hugo) Chavez can run for a third term in 2013?  Yes or no.'  At this moment in time, if there were no presidential objection, all of the existing government supporters and officials would applaud in unison."

UNTIL 2025, OR LONGER

President Chavez indicated that the objective of the proposition - which has not yet been decided - will be to change the Constitution by popular vote.

"At best, I will not only go to the Presidency in 2013,  but also 6 years later, in 2019, and afterward, for 6 more years in 2025, and after that, 6 more … until 2031. … I don't know if I will be able to stand it … This is an idea that I am considering for December. In case the opposition here wants again to play the dirty trick, where all (of the opposition candidates) pull out (of the race), then doing so will probably strengthen this idea," he said.

He added that the object of this exercise will be to give his adversaries a lesson in true politics, so that they won't be such "frauds."

"If they don't have candidates for 2006, they sure won't have them for 2012 either, damned not for 2018, and damned not for 2024."

The Chief of State dedicated a good portion of the program [his Sunday Broadcast of Hello President] to the Secretary of State of the United States, Condoleezza Rice, over the development of an international alliance against the Chavez government. He warned that such an alliance was condemned to failure.

"Don't mess with me, girl, leave it alone Condoleezza" said the leader, who jokingly sent a kiss to the American official.

He mentioned that he was bored with the lack of electoral opponents, adding "What a boring electoral or pre-electoral campaign or pre-campaign this is."

He reiterated that he intends to get 10 million votes in the December polls. He pointed out that in the event that "the media campaign" against him slows down, the number of 50% or 66% of support that it currently shows; the polls show support for his government that the numbers would rise to more than 90%.

DESPERATE

The Secretary General of the Social Christian Party of Venezuela, Cesar Perez Vivas, said that the President of the Republic is desperate.

"It bothers us that Chavez doesn't now accept even the possibility that the opposition democratic parties are seeking a unified position on 10 demands, so that we could take part in the elections, displaying all of his fury and threatening us in front of all Venezuelans with a decree, based on we don't know what rule, in order to legitimize his permanent reelection."

According to Perez Vivas, with these declarations, the Executive "is coming clean and taking off his mask."

SCIENCE MISSION AND THE CENTRAL SUGAR REFINERY

Chavez dedicated his TV/Radio program to explain aspects of his "Science Mission," plan, which is dedicated to encouraging innovation in various fields of knowledge.

The total of resources which will be invested in the government's new aid program during 2006 will reach to upwards of 941,000 bolivanos [$117,625]. This will be financed with dividends from Citgo, a subsidiary of [State Oil Company] Pdvsa, through its headquarters in the United States.

He explained that the resources were to promote the "massive expansion of science and technology." He pointed out that initially, 127 municipalities in the country will be supported by Science Mission.

He added that up to now, there exist 116 innovative, production networks (coops and small- to medium-sized businesses). He guaranteed that the corruption cases uncovered within the Ezequiel Zamora Sugar Refinery Complex in Barinas will not stop its inauguration in 2006.

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