[Marxism] Jimmy Carter weighs in on Venezuela

Eli Stephens 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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