Sunday, August 20, 2006


... yes, and more complaining about the BBC, who seem to have the hots for any Latin American neo-con going at the moment. Round Venezuela way another politician/dolt is squaring up to Chavez:

The main opposition candidate in Venezuela, Manuel Rosales, has registered his candidacy for December's presidential election.

He led thousands of his supporters on a march through Caracas to the headquarters of the electoral council to formalise his candidacy.

Mr Rosales is the governor of the oil-rich Zulia state in west Venezuela.

The Venezuelan opposition has proclaimed him its sole candidate to stand against President Hugo Chavez.

How many thousands? A thousand, perchance? We don't know.

For many in Venezuela, Mr Rosales represents their only realistic hope of seeing President Hugo Chavez removed from office anytime soon.

Many? Many thousands perhaps? Let's find out.

What's the geezer's take on politics?

He said he represented neither US imperialism nor support for "the bearded one", a reference to President Chavez's close ally, Fidel Castro of Cuba.

That is something significant. No-one expecting to become the second Bolivarian president wants George Bush's backing. (Incidentally, what is Chavez's plan for after he leaves office? It kind of begs the question about what he really means by socialism for the twentieth century).

The opposition in Venezuela, so often fractured and discordant, is making a concerted effort to unite.

Earlier this month, the other main opposition candidates stepped aside to allow Mr Rosales to be crowned their "sole candidate".

Also true, the opposition has been fundamentally hetrogenous. While the power behind Chavez, the slum poor and their Bolivarian Circles, liberal members of the armed forces, the new UNT workers federation etc... took time to form. The force he has mustered behind him is the classic alliance of workers, peasants and the city poor, which has been strengthened through Chavez's policy of redistribution of oil wealth. Chavez's increasingly deliberate simulation of democracy from below makes him different from a mere "reformist".

The opposition remained a rag-bag of anyone but Chavez, including some, supposedly left-wing groups, like the old Venezuelan MAS. The only live force behind it is the tradtional Venezuelan capitalist class.

It is also unclear whether Mr Rosales can transfer his local popularity in the state of Zulia, where he has been governor for over 10 years, to the national stage.

And many say his policies - which include using the country's oil-wealth to set up a debit card system of state benefits for the poor - are reminiscent of the populist style of President Chavez, precisely the kind of politics that many are trying to get away from.

Yes, I know, it must be awful. But then, this is the newscaster that has crowned Filipe Calderon president of Mexico. The struggle goes on.

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