Sunday, August 15, 2004

Chavez Vs. Democracy

Okay, the referendum on Chavez's leadership is going on today in Venezuela, and there are a couple things of note in regards to this:

1. First off, the media has drawn no correlation between this vote and the $15 'instability' premium on oil. Yes, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Yukos are all factors, but this is variable one that can affect the prices. Remember when the oil strikes were on? That was 2m BPD gone. That's a massive loss of supply. If there is an angry strike or a corrupt vote, the whole oil supply could be in for a supply shock. And the recent runup in oil? 10 record oil prices in 11 days leading up to this strike? Where's the analysis?

Why has the media missed this angle?

2. Chavez is a raging Communist, and Jimmy Carter's presence at the vote today do nothing to kill this problem. In fact, Carter, one of history's least impressive leaders, has said that the vote is going 'smoothly'. It would not be a stretch to say Carter hopes Chavez is in there for the long haul. Considering the murderous dictatorships that took hold or prospered under Carter, you might say he's just a bit of an appeaser and an ineffective proponent of democracy.

Carter sucked up to Cuba and Castro a couple of years ago, helping to put a 'democratic' face on the dictatorship. Castro, of course has been busy imprisoning dissidents, and Carter was named a nobel peace prize winner. Of course, Castro is good friends with Chavez and they talk regularly. A couple of years ago, a florida radio station fooled Chavez into thinking that Castro was calling him. The radio dj's went on for a while trading niceties with Chavez until Chavez started calling 'castro' 'comrade', and asking when the 'revolution' would start. The dj's then went on to insult chavez until he *finally* figured out it was not castro on the line.

---okay, the above is definitely just a rant-----

3. I hope Chavez loses. That's it.

Here's the report:

Venezuelans rush to vote on Chavez
Sun 15 August, 2004 18:42

By Pascal Fletcher

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelans are crowding polling stations to vote on whether to recall left-wing President Hugo Chavez or back his mandate to govern the world's No. 5 oil exporter for the next two years.

Huge lines of eager voters besieged ballot centers guarded by troops in what local officials said was the biggest turnout they could remember.

As they waited on Sunday, the droves of voters used umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun, sipped drinks from thermos flasks, read newspapers and books or played chess.

#4. The turnout is massive and the amount of "yes" voters for removing Chavez has to be higher than his voters in the last election (3.75 million)...of course the cbc was reporting that chavez is not a bad guy and that his opponents are rich etc, and that the situation in venezuala is just fine, because there is freedom of the press.

The cbc is hiring maude balowe for commentary, so you know their PR IQ is about zero. Also, they don't have a frickin' brain.

Reporters Without Borders sets the "freedom of speech" issue in Venezuela straight:

New law a threat to journalists' rights

Reporters Without Borders has protested against a new law passed by Venezuela's supreme court which it says contains measures that pose a threat to press freedom.

The new law, regulating the work of a journalist, ratified on 27 July 2004, provides for compulsory registration with the national journalism association, punishing illegal journalistic activity with prison sentences.

Article 2 says that "to work as a journalist it is necessary to have a degree in journalism, or social communication or equivalent from a Venezuelan university (…), to be registered at the Venezuelan National Association of Journalists (CNP) and the Journalists Welfare Institute (IPSP)".

Paragraph 2 of Article 3 distinguishes between written press and broadcast journalism. "Photographers can work even if they are not members of the national association of journalists." Article 7 says "managers and foreign correspondents of international press agencies, foreign publications and foreign radio and TV can be members of the National Association of Journalists".

Article 39 lays down a prison term of three to six months to anyone working illegally as a journalist.

The law regulating a journalists' worked was promulgated on 22 December 1994. Venezuela's Supreme Court on 27 July 2004 rejected an appeal against several articles from the Venezuelan press proprietors' organisation (BPV).

The Supreme Court ruled that the law on the exercise of journalistic work was compatible with Article 82 of the 1961 Constitution and with Article 105 of the 1999 Constitution, that clarifies the fact that the law determines working conditions and the organisation of certain professions.

The BPV, by contrast, contends that a journalists' work is not limited to applying basic technical competence, but is linked primarily to freedom of expression and cannot be dependent on compulsory registration in an official association.

The BPV said in particular that "the law infringes Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights (San José pact) signed by Venezuela in 1977. The proprietors' organisation also pointed out that the "inter-American Human Rights Court put out consultative opinion number 5 on 13 November 1985 that compulsory registration with an official body as a requirement of access to free expression is incompatible with Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights."

In a text adopted in January 2000, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression clearly established that, imprisonment as punishment for the peaceful expression of an opinion constitutes a serious violation of human rights."

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