Never one to mince his words, President Hugo Chavez is warning of instability or even outright civil war in oil-rich Venezuela if he is not re-elected next month.
The dire warning from the populist treated for cancer over the past year is largely seen as a gambit to woo undecided voters ahead of the Oct. 7 vote. Chavez has been in power for nearly 14 years and is seeking another six.
He has warned repeatedly that if the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles wins, the new government would wipe away subsidized food, health care and housing programs that are the pillars of what Chavez calls his socialist revolution.
Capriles has a hidden neo-liberal agenda that “aims to take us back to a Venezuela that would not withstand this and would again enter a terrible scenario, a deep destabilization ... that would perhaps even take us close to civil war,” Chavez said on Monday in a radio interview.
Luis Vicente Leon, head of the polling firm Datanalisis, said Chavez’s remarks were more a political maneuver than a true reflection of the prospect for civil war.
“If Chavez is not in power, there will be chaos. If Chavez is not in power, there will be a civil war. If Chavez is not in power, there will be a coup,” Leon said. “The president is putting a price on voting for Capriles: a turbulent country that is at war.”
Most polls give Chavez a comlead of 10 to 20 percentage points over Capriles, although this cushion is thinner than it used to be.
However, these surveys also indicate that many Venezuelans are either undecided, plan to abstain or have decided who to vote for but say they might ultimately change their mind. Collectively these people are known as the ni-nis, meaning “neither this nor that.”
“Chavez’s intention is to keep people from voting for Capriles,” a former governor of the populous northern state of Miranda who is supported by a coalition of opposition parties, said political analyst Mariana Bacalao, a professor at Central University.
Leon said ni-nis could amount to as much as 30 percent of the 19-million-strong electorate and that Chavez is trying to spook people who prefer peace over change.
Capriles is countering Chavez’s doomsday warning by giving assurances that he would maintain Venezuela’s social welfare safety net.
Analyst Carmen Beatriz Fernandez of consulting firm DataStrategia said Chavez is playing the fear card to hold on to his own supporters, a tactic he used in 2010 legislative elections.
“Now, he is doing it with greater vehemence because he knows his lead [in the polls] is not as big as it used to be,” Fernandez said.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
‘CHAPITOS’: An ex-DEA agent said the sons of the former cartel head are engaged in a battle for control, with the health of the man temporarily in charge a factor The fight for control of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s legacy spilled into the open on Thursday after a gun battle between rival Mexican gangs left 16 dead, authorities said. The 16 men, heavily armed and wearing bulletproof vests, died in a six-hour running shootout near the rural town of Tepuche in northwestern Sinaloa province. “A van with seven bodies was located” after an initial clash, while nine bodies were discovered following a second exchange, Sinaloa Minister of Security Cristobal Castaneda told reporters. Castaneda said that Wednesday’s clash near Tepuche, 25km from the capital of Sinaloa, Culiacan, was “part of a struggle