Friday, August 08, 2003

remember Venezuela

Venezuela had dropped off my radar for the past few months ... thanks to Robin for bringing it up.

Here's what's happened this week.

According to the Venezuelan constitution, a referendum can be held at the midpoint of a president's term of office. President Chavez hits the midpoint mark on August 19.

The National Assembly (legislature) has to appoint five people, an electorial council, to supervise the referendum. Unfortunately, they haven't been able to agree on the last person. On August 5, the Supreme Court gave the lawmakers 10 days to find that fifth person or the court would itself appoint him/her. Legislators are not happy about this.

Chavez supporters are also questioning the validity of the millions of signatures collected back in February which petitioned for the referendum.

So the dates to look to seem to be August 15 (Supreme Court's 10 day deadline) and August 19, Chavez's midpoint mark.

Robin suggests the following story for more background on the issues and a profile of Chavez's support base.

One last thing ... according to this Boston Globe article "... 69 percent of Venezuelans would vote against Chavez. Pollster Luis Vicente Leon said Chavez's popularity has dropped to 30 percent in the past month, and that a scant 53 percent of Venezuelans believe the vote will take place at all."

If anybody reads the Spanish press and could provide either supporting or dissenting information on the level of support for Chavez ... it would be much appreciated!