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Venezuelan Sheep and the Magic Word

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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?

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Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.