Proud Infidel ranting about the ongoing war against democratic and secular values (Don't fool yourselves)! Maybe a voice of sanity in a wide ocean of madness.

20080807

Venezuelans protest Chavez's new socialist push

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Riot police used tear gas Wednesday to block hundreds of Venezuelans protesting the latest moves by President Hugo Chavez to concentrate his power. The demonstrators said a blacklist of opposition candidates and a series of socialist decrees are destroying what's left of their democracy.

Though the protest of about 1,000 people chanting "freedom!" was small compared to past marches, there is a growing public outcry over the sidelining of key government opponents ahead of state and local elections in November.

Chavez opponents also are outraged by 26 laws the president just decreed, some of them mirroring the socialist measures voters rejected in a December referendum.

"We said in the referendum that we didn't want that, and now he's put it in the decrees," said protester Josefina Bravo, a 59-year-old who wore a sticker reading "No means no" on her baseball cap. "That's the problem we have: All the powers are concentrated in the president."

(AP) Leopoldo Lopez, center, mayor of Chacao district, greets supporters during a protest in Caracas,...
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Chavez issued the decrees just before the expiration of special legislative powers that allowed him to make laws without National Assembly approval for the past 18 months.

For a time after the defeat of his constitutional referendum in December that would have imposed radical economic changes and let him run for re-election indefinitely, Chavez seemed to be taking a more pragmatic, less confrontational approach to his socialist project.

Now the leftist leader is pushing hard again to remake Venezuelan society.

One decree establishes a civilian militia that critics warn could emulate the citizen groups that control many aspects of community life in Cuba. Another gives Chavez the ability to designate regional authorities who critics say could undermine the power of locally elected officials.

Other decrees empower Chavez to expropriate goods from private businesses and increase state control over food, punishing business owners who fail to comply with price controls with fines, closure and even 10-year prison terms.

When will people learn? Socialism will allways, allways lead to less freedom, more despotism and infringements of personal rights. Not to mention poverty and sky rocketing inflation!

Read the rest.

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