Whatever else might be said about Venezuela’s president Hugh Chavez, no one can deny that he is an astute politician. For example, at election time he hands out federal grants to the voters, knowing that this will purchase their votes, just as President Bush and other American politicians do with American voters here in the United States.
And he also loves to conjure up the constant threat of an imminent foreign attack as a way to get the people to patriotically rally ’round the flag and support their government and its troops, just as President Bush and other American politicians do here in the United States.
But Chavez may have made a major political mistake in his latest grab for more power. Thousands of Venezuelan citizens, including some of his own supporters, are protesting Chavez’s proposed constitutional amendments that would centralize even more power in the presidency.
For example, Ivonne Torrealba, a 29-year-old hairdresser exclaimed, “Chavez is delirious if he thinks we’re going to follow him like sheep.”
So, what was Chavez’s mistake? While he has labeled opposition to his constitutional amendments as “treason,” he failed to use the magic word as part of his sales pitch for more power. If he had just mentioned the magic word — “terrorism” — who can doubt that the Venezuelan masses would indeed have followed him like sheep?