Hugo Chavez’s bid to amend the Venezuelan constitution so that he could become president for life and assume related dictatorial powers was narrowly defeated yesterday. The somewhat surreal AP story quotes Chavez. “From this moment on, let’s be calm. There is no dictatorship here.” To those who voted “no” he said: “You won it. I wouldn’t have wanted that Pyrrhic victory.” Surely something has been lost in translation. Daniel comments lucidly on the vote at Venezuela News and Views:
[The] constitution needs some changes, probably needs to be rewritten in full because its Spanish is lousy, but it is the only thing that all Venezuelans have in common. Had the SI won tonight it would have become a red book that woudl have been used by one part of the country to control the other part. Thus it would have stopped being a constitution. In spite of all the obscene governmental advantage, all the threats and blackmails, the Venezuelan people found the strength to say NO.
Daniel concludes in Spanish that I understand better than Chavez translated into English: “