[Marxism] Jimmy Carter weighs in on Venezuela
elishastephens at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 28 17:05:40 MST 2007
This letter released by the Carter Center today
(http://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/venezuela_112707.html), signed by Jimmy
Carter, Joe Clark, Sergio Ramirez, and a variety of others:
The Venezuelan's Dilemma
(Spanish and English)
27 November 2007
This open letter to Venezuelan citizens was written and signed by recognized
hemisphere democrats and leaders.
The Venezuelan society faces a serious dilemma. The National Electoral Council
(CNE) has convened a referendum for December 2, 2007 for Venezuelan citizens to
cast their votes and convey their opinion about the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela Government´s proposal to reform the current Constitution.
Numerous sectors, both supporting and opposing the current administration, have
questioned the process that led to calling the referendum. Among other aspects,
it has been argued that no clear rules were issued; inequitable access to the
mass media has prevailed; and not enough time or opportunity was allowed to hold
a mature and responsible debate about the proposed reforms. Various sectors
underscored that, given the extensive nature of the proposed reforms; a
Constituent Assembly was called for rather than a referendum. Likewise,
distinguished constitutional experts of the continent agree that some articles
of the proposed reforms affect basic inalienable human rights which, once
acknowledged as in the current Constitution, cannot be legitimately limited by
means of a referendum nor a Constituent Assembly.
Actors along the political spectrum have reacted dividedly before this process.
Many different political parties and forces, including opposition
representatives, have called for massive participation, despite the flaws of the
process. Other sectors are calling for abstention. This disjunction has left
large sectors of the electorate confused and undecided.
The importance of the Constitution of the Republic goes beyond any government or
administration. The Constitution of the Republic defines the fundamental rules
of the political game, the relations of power, the nature of the regime, and it
also establishes the design and character of the State, as well as the limits in
the exercise of power to serve the highest ideals, objectives and aims of the
citizens in general. Its reform has as a consequence the potential to radically
alter the life and future of all citizens subject to its norms and principles.
Given these circumstances, many ask whether citizens who do not agree with the
proposal should abstain from participating in this process? Or, on the
contrary, they should participate actively and demonstrate their convictions by
way of voting (while not forgoing their criticisms of the process).
Based on our longstanding and deep commitment to the Venezuelan people, and as
democrats committed to strengthening democracy and the freedoms and fundamental
rights of all people, we are convinced that despite the flaws of this process
and given the imminence of the referendum, the citizens of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela should exercise their right to vote in a responsible way
and state their opinion by voting and actively participating in the design of
their country, either approving or rejecting the proposed Constitutional reform.
The upcoming referendum should not be viewed as an evaluation of the current
government or as a measurement of its performance, nor as an opinion poll on the
popularity of the present authority. The referendum convened for December 2nd
has to be assumed, first and foremost, as an opportunity to express the
aspirations of the Venezuelan citizenry with regard to the future of the nation.
The dilemma will be resolved only through the active participation of all
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