November 21, 2007

Lies and Consequences

Lucia says: Two quotes in recent wire stories neatly encapsulate the Chávez strategy for December 2nd.

The first comes from a 32-year old mother of four, interviewed by the Associated Press after she'd waited in line for four hours for milk:

Bastida said she still believes in Chavez and plans to vote in favor of his reforms "so that things will get better." Plus, she said, if "everyone votes 'NO' they're going to take the Megamercal away from us."

The second is a quote from Chávez himself, from a Reuters article about recent polls:

"My message to everyone (on my team) is that we try to translate the very high level of support for the president...into support for the constitutional reform," he said.

"Anyone voting 'No' is voting against Chavez, anyone voting 'Yes' is voting for Chavez," he added.

In other words, Chávez knows that trying to run a campaign on the merits of the reforms is a lost cause.

His pollsters have told him that many of the individual reforms simply do not have majority support.

But that troubles him not in the least. He's willing to change his nation's constitution based on lies ("they're going to take Mercal away") and his current personal popularity -- in other words, to re-write the major political and economic rules of his nation without creating anything resembling a real consensus.

The consequences of a Chávez victory on December 2nd would be felt for many years to come in Venezuela. But let me posit that Chávez himself will lose, if Chávez wins. He's building a revolution on lies and misunderstanding and fear. It's not a healthy foundation.