September 6, 2007

Poll chart anyone?

Quico says: Datanalisis' latest poll, carried out between July 28th and August 7th (so, just before the official announcement) asked...

"If there was a referendum next Sunday to change the current constitution, how would you vote?"

In favor - 30%
Against - 40%
Don't know/no answer - 24%
Depends on the specifics - 5%

"...and if President Chávez publicly backed the reform of the current constitution, and one of the changes was the indefinite reelection of the president, how would you vote?"

In favor - 28%
Against - 50%
Don't know/no answer - 20%
Depends - 1%

Which brings us to the inevitable Chart.

So far, I've only gotten three polls, and all three were carried out before the reform's details were announced. If you happen to beg, borrow or steal some fresher ones, you know where to send them.

(Documented results only, please, so include a URL or a PowerPoint. I'm not going to post "my aunt heard that my cousin's uncle's boss said that Gallup has No on 89%" type stuff...)

Not Even the Dead are Safe in Caracas

Quico says: This article by Chris Kraul for the LA Times is instant fodder for the Reader's Guide.
Skulking in the dead of night in the remote and overgrown Las Pavas section of the Southern Municipal Cemetery, robbers armed with crowbars and sledgehammers first shattered the tomb's concrete vault and the granite marker that read, "To our dear wife and mother in heaven, Maria de la Cruz Aguero."

Then they lifted the coffin lid and stole leg bones and the skull of the woman, who had died Sept. 9, 1993. They sold the bones for $20 each, the skull for as much as $300, said Father Atilio Gonzalez, the cemetery's resident Roman Catholic priest.
It only gets weirder from there, including this jaw dropping tidbit,
On a recent day, the cemetery (del sur) was the scene of a macabre ritual that has become a regular occurrence whenever a young gang member is buried, Gonzalez said. It provided another example of the lawlessness here.

During the funeral procession for a 25-year-old gunshot victim, friends suddenly halted the cortege and removed the corpse from the coffin to give it one last joy ride around the cemetery on the back of a buddy's motorcycle.

As a final homage before burial, the dead man was given a 30-gun salute -- from pistols fired by his pals. One of the bullets punctured the umbrella of Father Gonzalez, who officiated at the burial.
Read the whole thing. No, really, read the whole thing.

September 2, 2007

Chávez vs. Chávez

Chávez says: “It's not true that I have a plan to perpetuate myself in power, and the proposal [for indefinite re-election] made by [then] Assembly member Luis Velásquez Alvaray, though surely it was made in good faith, I must say I don't share it, nor do I back it, and I'm sure that you, most of those who follow me, agree with me on this."

This was Chávez back in September 2004, according to his own Miraflores press flunkies. They note that he said that two terms of six-year is enough, and that cycling through leaders is important, particularly because he didn't seek to be an indispensable caudillo. "I am neither a caudillo, nor indispensable," he said.

Of course, like anyone else, Chávez is entitled to change his mind. There's no reason why he shouldn't be able to say, "hey, I used to be against indefinite re-election, for such and such a reason. Having thought more carefully about it, and in light of new circumstances, I've changed my mind. From now on, I have decided that I am a caudillo and/or indispensible, for this and this reason." I mean, if you're going to flip flop, do it honestly.

But, as Rory Carroll found out, that's not the way he's playing it. Having erased (in some cases, literally) his previous stance from the historical record, now he flies into a narcissist hissy fit when someone makes the exact same points he used to make. He hints darkly about their allegiance to foreign powers, blusters at length against them without addressing the substance of their points, and all without ever betraying the slightest whiff of understanding, the most oblique hint of self-awareness about the scale of the rhetorical U Turn involved.

I hate to be repetitive, but it's important to recognize it clearly: the problem here is only tangentially about politics. The guy is mental.

That's not a right-wing thing to say or a left-wing thing to say. Faced with this kind of behavior, it's as close to a plain statement of fact as it's possible to elaborate.

[Hat tip to feathers for an excellent catch.]