[Marxism] Thousands take to the streets to support Chavez

Chris Brady cdbrady at sbcglobal.net
Sun Feb 29 21:10:45 MST 2004

Thousands take to the streets to show support for Venezuelan president

ALEXANDRA OLSON, Associated Press Writer Sunday, February 29, 2004

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Chanting “Chavez! Chavez!” more than 100,000
Venezuelans marched Sunday to support President Hugo Chavez as opponents
demanding his recall staged demonstrations in several cities.

     Venezuela’s National Elections Council said it would decide late
Sunday on the validity of more than 3.4 million signatures opponents say
they submitted to demand the recall vote.

     Last week, the council announced it would ask hundreds of thousands
of citizens to confirm they signed petitions that have technical
problems.  The decision infuriated opposition leaders, who have urged
followers to wage a campaign of civil disobedience.  [Note this well,

     Oil-rich Venezuela is torn between those who accuse Chavez of
trying to impose Cuba-style communism and those who say he has given the
poor an unprecedented say in politics.

     Chavez, who accuses Washington of being behind a failed 2002 coup
and of funding groups seeking a recall referendum on his rule, vowed to
stay in power longer than President Bush.

     Chavez said Bush “was not even the legitimate president of the
United States,” referring to the problematic Florida balloting in the
2000 U.S. elections.

     “This is to say no to the government of Mr. Bush, an
interventionist, invading, colonialist government,” Chavez said. “I’m
challenging Mr. Bush to a bet. Who will last longer: him in the White
House or me?”

     Washington denies backing attempts to oust Chavez, including the
2002 coup. [despite evidence.]

     In Caracas, security forces fired tear gas during a funeral
procession for a man killed in an opposition march Friday.  They also
fired tear gas at anti-Chavez protesters near an eastern Caracas plaza.
Some protesters set tires and small piles of trash on fire.

     A police officer was wounded when a group of pro-Chavez
motorcyclists charged into the protest, apparently shooting into the
air, according the Chacao district police.  Hours later, gunfire from an
unknown source wounded a cameraman for Univision television, police

     Opposition demonstrations demanding a recall also erupted in the
western cities of Maracaibo and Barquisimeto.

     Government leaders called the pro-Chavez march a response to
clashes between opposition marchers and National Guard troops that
killed one person and injured 41 on Friday.

     “This is the democratic and civil response to the violence of the
opposition,” Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said.

     Chavez, who survived a 2002 coup attempt and devastating strikes
last year, has vowed to crush any attempts to destabilize his
government. [O! My! He sounds so very violent!]

     Venezuela’s elections council plans to reject up to 400,000
signatures outright and force more than 700,000 citizens to confirm they
signed, sources involved in the verification process said on condition
of anonymity.

     If the citizens don’t come forward, the petition would fall short
of the 2.4 million signatures needed to force the referendum.

     Officials are asking citizens to verify they signed because they
allowed petition organizers to fill in their registration information on
forms.  Chavez claims this procedure opened the door to massive fraud.
Opposition leaders say election officials are trying to reject the
petition for technicalities.

[Good way to conclude, eh?  We may wonder if a bank would pass off a
forged check?  In such case would a bogus signature be considered a mere
"technicality"?  So what about a signature considered a critical element
of democratic process, a process professed as sacred by the United
States of America?  Only until, of course, the wrong President gets the
most votes.]

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