VENEZUELA: PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ ENCOUNTERS PROBLEMS.After six weeks in office, President Hugo Chavez is being hailed as a savior by some and as an authoritarian demagogue dem·a·gogue also dem·a·gog
1. A leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.
2. A leader of the common people in ancient times.
tr.v. by others. Chavez has worried opponents by putting military personnel to work on civic projects. He has also angered labor leaders and clashed with the Corte Suprema de Justicia (CSJ) regarding the referendum on whether to hold a Constituent Assembly. For many opposition leaders, Chavez has made decisions without listening to the affected sectors, demonstrating a tendency "toward authoritarianism and populism." The opposition AD said in February it is asking the Internacional Socialista (IS) to send observers to Venezuela because of what it sees as a risk that Chavez will dismantle the party system, close Congress, and install an authoritarian government. "One can see violations of labor rights on the horizon because Chavez decided unilaterally on the salary increase for 1999, without taking the unions into consideration, and now he is trying to end the party system," said AD leader Timoteo Zambrano.
Chavez clashes with labor Chavez incurred the wrath of the powerful Confederacion de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV CTV Canadian Television (Network Limited) ) when he announced a 20% raise for workers (see NotiSur, 1990-02-12). The CTV, the most important labor organization in the country, has been controlled by the traditional parties Accion Democratica (AD) and COPEI COPEI Corporacion Organizada Para Estafar Inocentes . Chavez has criticized the CTV, calling it corrupt and inoperative Void; not active; ineffectual.
The term inoperative is commonly used to indicate that some force, such as a statute or contract, is no longer in effect and legally binding upon the persons who were to be, or had been, affected by it. . In turn, the CTV says Chavez is trying to destroy unions with the help of business. "The CTV irritates the government, and it cannot hide its desire to discredit it and eliminate it," said CTV secretary general Carlos Navarro. On March 9, the CTV and the political opposition demanded that the president bar further layoffs, which they say have cost 50,000 jobs in two months. That figure does not include recently announced layoffs of between 7,000 and 10,000 workers by state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA PDVSA Petroleos De Venezuela, SA ). "We cannot continue throwing people out in the street and raising the levels of poverty and delinquency in the country," said Causa R leader Alfredo Ramos. "It has become a social time bomb."
Chavez calls for civic-military union Chavez caused more concern when he announced he would send the military to work in some of Venezuela's poorest and most isolated regions to boost the role of the army in everyday life. The president said Venezuela's large and well- equipped military must be used in rebuilding the country, adding that the army can carry out the tasks more cheaply and efficiently than the government. "Today we start the first wave, the first advance of a civic-military project to respond to the social emergency," Chavez said at the kickoff of Plan Bolivar 2000 Feb. 12. The plan will incorporate 70,000 soldiers and 80,000 civilians. The day after Chavez unveiled the plan, more than 2,000 people lined up at a government office to enroll. Some hoped for remuneration, if only in food, others wanted to volunteer, while still others hoped their participation would lead to a paying job or plot of land to cultivate. Troops will work in six rural states to repair roads and public buildings. They have been sent to 1,500 worksites. The second and third stages will involve a jobs program and a plan to reduce school dropout (1) On magnetic media, a bit that has lost its strength due to a surface defect or recording malfunction. If the bit is in an audio or video file, it might be detected by the error correction circuitry and either corrected or not, but if not, it is often not noticed by the human rates. The first day, about 1,800 operations were performed in hospitals and public-health centers, clearing a backlog of patients who had been waiting a long time, said Health Minister Gilberto Rodriguez. The participation of the military in civic-action tasks is unprecedented in Venezuela, where until now, the military has only responded to national emergencies. Critics contend that Chavez wants to militarize mil·i·ta·rize
tr.v. mil·i·ta·rized, mil·i·ta·riz·ing, mil·i·ta·riz·es
1. To equip or train for war.
2. To imbue with militarism.
3. To adopt for use by or in the military. the country. "We will not militarize the country," said Chavez. "Civil society must be the engine of development in Venezuela. But this is the beginning of the social revolution." Many Venezuelans fed up with increasing crime, rampant corruption, and deteriorating public services support the growing role for the military, which they see as one of the few institutions that still works. "We see it as something positive," said Raul Cubas, director of PROVEA PROVEA Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos (Venezuelan Program of Education Action in Human Rights) , a Venezuelan human rights group, but he added that the group would oppose any repression by the armed forces. He says Venezuela's military is better trained than most in Latin America, with many officers holding university degrees. He pointed out that in other countries military units such as the US Army Corps of Engineers carry out useful public projects.
Chavez cites daunting daunt
tr.v. daunt·ed, daunt·ing, daunts
To abate the courage of; discourage. See Synonyms at dismay.
[Middle English daunten, from Old French danter, from Latin statistics In explaining Plan Bolivar, Chavez cited "statistics of social anguish" affecting the country's 23 million people. Venezuela's poverty rate is 86%. Of that group, 39% live in misery and 14% are beggars, said Chavez. Unemployment is about 15% and underemployment un·der·em·ployed
1. Employed only part-time when one needs and desires full-time employment.
2. Inadequately employed, especially employed at a low-paying job that requires less skill or training than one possesses. is 50%, while 37% of children are malnourished mal·nour·ished
Affected by improper nutrition or an insufficient diet. and a third of the school-age population does not receive an education. Chavez said infant mortality (hardware) infant mortality - It is common lore among hackers (and in the electronics industry at large) that the chances of sudden hardware failure drop off exponentially with a machine's time since first use (that is, until the relatively distant time at which enough mechanical is 21 per 1,000 live births, double that of Costa Rica or Uruguay. He said the country has a housing shortage of more than 1.5 million units, and diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and dengue dengue
or breakbone fever or dandy fever
Infectious, disabling mosquito-borne fever. Other symptoms include extreme joint pain and stiffness, intense pain behind the eyes, a return of fever after brief pause, and a characteristic rash. are increasing. Supporting Chavez's figures, a private firm reported in February that food consumption has fallen by 12% during the first two months of 1999 because of creeping inflation and workers' reduced buying power Buying Power
The money an investor has available to buy securities. In a margin account, the buying power is the total cash held in the brokerage account plus maximum margin available.
Also referred to as "Excess Equity. . This is the steepest drop in recent years, said Luis Vicente Leon, director of Datanalisis. He said family income in 1998 fell 8% among those in the lowest socioeconomic level, compared with an overall decline of 3.15%. This brought a drastic reduction in the consumption of milk, meat, chicken, eggs, and fish. And, with 30% annual inflation, prices of those items are increasingly beyond people's reach. The cost of the basic basket of consumer goods consumer goods
Any tangible commodity purchased by households to satisfy their wants and needs. Consumer goods may be durable or nondurable. Durable goods (e.g., autos, furniture, and appliances) have a significant life span, often defined as three years or more, and is US$470 a month, while the minimum monthly wage is US$173.
Chavez asks for special powers On Feb. 17, Chavez asked Congress for special powers to respond to the crisis. The Ley Habilitante would allow him to quickly put in place fiscal measures that include reducing the number of ministries and combining state offices, refinancing part of the foreign debt, reducing budget expenditures and increasing income, and reforming social security. The measures include a one-year 0.5% tax on banking transactions, and eliminating the sales tax, and instead implementing a 15.5% value-added tax (Impuesto al Valor Agregado, IVA). Chavez says the depth of the crisis requires "extraordinary measures," but said his economic package will protect foreign and domestic investments and boost Venezuela's credibility in financial markets. Meanwhile, the Constituent Assembly-referendum decree Chavez signed the day he took office has come under fire because it would allow the president to set the rules for choosing delegates. Opposition forces have filed several lawsuits before the CSJ questioning its legality. After what many critics took as a veiled threat by Chavez to pressure the CSJ, the president promised to obey the court's ruling. "I am here to ratify that I am not an enemy of the court," said Chavez. "We will honor with respect the court's decisions." On Feb. 18, the Consejo Nacional Electoral Consejo Nacional Electoral or National Electoral Council can refer to:
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