Venezuela is becoming yet another example of how popular voting alone, without the restraints of a republic structure, can bring a autocrat to power who then destroys the democratic system. Hugo Chavez is a few weeks away from a constitutional rewrite that will allow him to rule for life. The Washington Post uses the coup word.
Mr. Chavez's Coup: In fact, Mr. Chavez's rewrite would complete his transformation into an autocrat. It would lengthen his presidential term from six to seven years and remove the current limit of two terms, allowing him to serve indefinitely. He would have broad powers to seize property, to dispose of Venezuela's foreign exchange reserves, to impose central government rule on local jurisdictions and to declare indefinite states of emergency under which due process and freedom of information would be suspended.
Momentum Builds in Support of Venezuela’s Constitutional Reform: Addressing the crowd, Chavez said that the key objective of the reform, "is to give more power to the people." He pointed to a proposed change to Article 64, which would lower the voting age from 18 to 16, saying "This proposal will open participation to more than two million people; two million youths of 16 years of age will have the ability to vote."
Chavez also reiterated his call to all Venezuelans to participate in the referendum in order to defeat abstention. "We must work very hard in the socialist battalions, the commands of the campaign, the militants in the revolutionary parties, the students, the campesinos, the workers, the women, the indigenous all of us must work to reduce abstention," he said.