Venezuela: opposition wants Chávez sent to mental hospital

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Sun Feb 3 18:32:49 MST 2002

[It is hard to come up with something to post from Venezuela because there
is such a plethora of basically stupid and lying propaganda. Suffice it to
say that in the wake of President Chavez's promulgation of the agrarian
reform law, the petroleum royalties law, and other economic measures in
November, the bourgeois opposition has whipped itself into such a frenzy
that they appear to have lost touch with reality.

[The article below is a pretty good illustration of this. It rather neatly
describes how the main bourgeois opposition party, lashed together from the
flotsam and jetsam of the shipwreck of the old two-party system that have
not yet washed up on Miami's shores, is working overtime to prove themselves
irresponsible jackasses.

[This week, this lawsuit has been accompanied by a letter purportedly signed
by 3400 armed-forces active-duty officers asking for Chávez --their
commander in chief-- to be impeached. It was --needless to say-- bogus, as
was a the claim of some ex-colonel that Chávez had been running guns to the
Colombian FARC, which he claimed to have extensive proof of, although, when
challenged, he somehow was unable to provide any. Ho hum. So it goes...

[It seems pretty clear that the bourgeois opposition is now trying to
provoke the government into taking measures against those publishing lies,
slanders and defamatory articles by pushing the most absurd, outlandish and
extreme claims. The bourgeois press is doing its best to cooperate: no claim
is too outlandish, no rumor sufficiently libelous and unfounded, as to not
merit space in the pages of El Universal and especially Teodoro Petkoff's
miserable rag.

[In the meantime, President Chávez has been going about the people's

[At the recent summit of the Andean countries he delivered a brilliant 10
minute talk televised by the national TV in Venezuela and continent-wide by
CNN's Spanish language service, where he denounced "neo liberal capitalism,"
said that the Latin American integration projects that had been undertaken w
ere in that framework, and that what the Andean countries and Latin America
in general needed a different KIND of economic integration, but most of all
POLITICAL integration in order to be able to stand up to the major
imperialist powers. He explained this in a calm, patient, way, without using
wounding or offensive phrases against any country or its leaders, towards
whom he displayed once again his customary civility and effusiveness.

[I've been looking for a place that carried a report of the President's
speech; unfortunately, I haven't found one. It was important enough for CNN
to carry live on its Spanish language service, but not, I guess, for Reuters
to write three lines about it.

[The following is from Reuters. BTW, if you want more along this vein, go to and do a country search for Venezuela. You'll have to wade
through all the reports on Venezuela's oil basket weekly price and the
fluctuations in its sovereign debt and all the news from the floor of the
Caracas stock exchange, a sleepy backwater even in the good old days before
everyone took their money and deposited it in Miami. Reuters sells itself in
large part as an "intelligence" service for bookies and punters in the big
bourgeois money-house casinos, so I'm afraid that kind of financial
cretinism is what you get when you access their unfiltered material. --

 *  *  *
Venezuelan party seeks to remove Chavez for madness
     By Daniel Flynn
     CARACAS, Venezuela, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Waving a banner
reading 'Out With The Madman,' Venezuela's largest opposition
party asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to have President
Hugo Chavez dismissed as mentally unfit, calling the former
paratrooper a lying, authoritarian megalomaniac.
     As clowns and a Chavez impersonator wearing a straitjacket
posed for cameras, the secretary-general of the Democratic
Action party, Rafael Marin, presented the appeal, based on
reports from two teams of psychiatrists.
     'The study includes comparative analysis of the president's
personality and other historical figures with similar conduct,
such as Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Fidel
Castro,' Marin told reporters outside the court.
     Marin acknowledged that the psychologists who wrote the
report did not interview Chavez for it.
     'Unfortunately, it is very difficult to make the president
put on a straitjacket and intern him in a clinic for analysis,
although that would have been ideal,' Marin said to laughter
from dozens of supporters.
     The report, which called Chavez 'authoritarian,'
'megalomaniac,' 'extremely aggressive' and 'a liar,' said:
'This analysis allows us to confirm abundant and serious signs
of the president's mental incapacity to perform his duties.'
     Since taking office three years ago in the world's No. 4
oil exporter with a mandate to fight poverty and graft, the
outspoken Chavez has become one of the region's most colorful
     He has sung duets on live radio with his friend Cuban
President Fidel Castro, unveiled plans to turn the presidential
palace into a university for the poor, threatened to launch
political opponents into space in a rocket and warned he would
deport foreigners who insult him or his government.
     Venezuela's 1999 constitution allows presidents to be
removed for mental incapacity, and such actions are not without
precedent in Latin America. In 1997, populist Ecuadorean
President Abdala Bucaram -- who recorded a rock-and-roll record
shortly after taking office -- was ousted for mental
     Marin's motion is unlikely to succeed, however, because it
would require approval from Venezuela's government-controlled
Supreme Court and the National Assembly, where populist Chavez
holds the majority.
     For Edmundo Chirinos, a psychologist who has acted as an
advisor to Chavez since his imprisonment for leading a failed
1992 military coup, the appeal has no chance of success.
     'There is no possibility that any court or group of experts
will dismiss Hugo Chavez as mentally sick,' Chirinos told
Reuters from his leather consulting chair. 'This is a political
maneuver to try to discredit the president.'
     Chavez's aggressive rhetoric has split his oil-rich
democracy along class lines with scathing tirades against
'squalid oligarchs' and threats to defend his leftist
revolution with tanks if necessary. His popularity has fallen
from 80 percent to 40 percent.
     Chavez has clashed with the powerful Catholic Church, the
media, business chiefs, and union leaders. His frequent and
lengthy state addresses on all television and radio channels --
sometimes exceeding five hours -- have also angered many
inhabitants of a nation addicted to soap operas.

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