Chavez: Only Traitors Against New Constitution
This came out a couple of days ago.
Comrade Hugo Chavez has now stated that anyone who supports him but votes against his new constitution for Venezuela is a traitor. If this is decided on a secret ballot, I don't know how he plans on determining which "No" votes are by supporters and which are cast by opposition (who he also considers traitors).
The proposed revisions would do away with presidential term limits, extend terms from six to seven years, let Chavez appoint regional vice presidents and eliminate Central Bank authority, among other changes.
Critics warn he would also have the power to shut down Venezuelan newspapers, television and radio stations by declaring a state of emergency, and the government could detain citizens without charges during such a period.
The power to appoint "regional vice presidents" is troubling enough and harkens back to the colonial days when the colonies were over seen by appointed Royal Governors. Eliminating the Central Bank authority is also troubling, especially for the Venezuelan banking industry. The power to declare a "state of emergency" where Chavez will be empowered to shutdown newspapers and broadcasters is also a significant concern, but pales next to the power to detain citizens (i.e. political opponents) without charge.
I'm not a betting man, but I wonder how long it will take once this new constitution is in place (I'll be surprised if it fails) for Chavez to declare his first state of emergency and use those new powers?