The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


March 11, 2013

Other views: Another dictator in place

— Hugo Chavez’s lieutenants and loyalists, the “Chavistas,” have picked up seamlessly where the deceased dictator left off — in ignoring Venezuela’s Constitution.

The ailing Chavez, who died Tuesday of a heart attack following a long battle with cancer, had handpicked Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his successor. But the constitution, largely rewritten by Chavez himself shortly after he assumed power in 1999, says the speaker of the National Assembly should be the interim president.

However, Maduro, 50, was quickly named as acting president and as the socialist party’s candidate in the special election to replace Chavez. The constitution says the election must be called within 30 days of the post’s vacancy, but the Chavistas show no sign of honoring that deadline.

Also in violation of the constitution, which says the military must stay out of politics, the defense minister — Adm. Diego Molero — pledged that the military would support Maduro in an election.

Maduro will likely face Henrique Capriles, the popular 40-year-old governor of Venezuela’s most populous state, Miranda. Capriles lost to Chavez in October’s presidential election by 11 points, not a bad showing considering that Chavez controlled the broadcast media and a vast patronage network. His power base was Venezuela’s numerous urban poor. He showered them with social programs and food subsidies that were often not well or honestly run, but convinced them that he genuinely cared about their welfare.

Maduro quickly picked up on one of his patron’s favorites devices: When in doubt, blame the United States. Chavez regularly predicted an imminent invasion by the U.S. Maduro hinted that in some way the U.S. was responsible for Chavez’s death, a charge amplified by the Cuban government, which Chavez subsidized with cut-rate oil. When it was clear that Chavez was near death, Maduro expelled two U.S. military attaches, blatantly grandstanding for Chavez’s supporters.

Whoever wins the election will inherit a country with severe economic problems, in spite of its vast oil reserves. Inflation is close to 33 percent. Because of Chavez-imposed price controls and nationalization of stores, there are shortages of many basic necessities and a thriving black market where the dollar trades at four times the official rate. Crime is rampant.

Maduro has taken to telling crowds, “I am Chavez.” For the sake of the Venezuelan people, let’s hope he’s not.

Scripps Howard News Service

Text Only
  • Our View.jpg Our View: Lone holdout

    Missouri continues to be the only state in the United States that won’t allow a prescription drug database to be established.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anson Burlingame, guest columnist: Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years

    Does anyone recall the major economic argument during the 2000 presidential campaign between George Bush and Al Gore?

    July 22, 2014

  • Our View: Vote no on Amendment 1

    Proponents of Amendment 1 — the Right to Farm Act — have not made their case. We’ve met with advocates of this amendment to the Missouri constitution and listened to their arguments, but we don’t believe they have adequately answered the central question: Who is it protecting, and from what?

    July 13, 2014

  • Your View: Amendment 5 is deception of the highest order

    Amendment 5, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, “relating to the right of Missouri citizens to keep and bear arms” provides that “any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: No time to turn away

    With the shooting down of a commercial airliner over Ukraine and fighting that has now escalated to a ground war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it would be easy for most U.S. citizens to throw up their hands and turn their backs.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Power to defend

    The Globe’s editorial ‘More guns not the answer’ (July 15) was saturated with classic progressive blather.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: Thanks for the generosity

    Generally, all we hear about is the bad news, and obviously, there is plenty available. Our church felt this event worthy of public knowledge.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: How to upgrade your business

    Let’s see now. When some folks wish to improve the exterior of their properties and have other taxpayers pay for the improvements, they create a community improvement district.

    July 21, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our view: Street smarts

    If your daily commute has been shortened because you no longer have to wait at 26th Street and Connecticut Avenue for a train to pass, thank your own tax dollars.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Decision fails test

    With the announcement that the State Board of Education has decided not to release individual school test results because of cyberattacks and other problems this spring, educators are scratching their heads, as are taxpayers who footed the bill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

Do you think Missouri should pass legislation that would allow a prescription drug database to be kept?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
NDN Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success