Hugo Chavez, president for life – now a possibility

Over 54% of Venezuelan voters opted for Hugo Chavez to be able to stay in power for an indefinite period on Sunday. Our Observers on both sides weigh in...


Anti double-voting ink. Image: Franca Alejandra on Flickr

Over 54% of Venezuelan voters opted for Chavez to be able to stay in power for an indefinite period on Sunday.

The government campaigned hard to get their message across with a hefty TV, radio and canvassing operation listing reasons why the president should be allowed to re-apply for his post. Reason number one? "Chavez loves us and love is repaid with love". After he was re-elected in 2006, Chavez already made it clear that he planned to run for president again in 2012, and has talked of ruling way beyond that date. But this constitutional victory doesn't necessarily mean that he will. Venezuela is yet to feel the real effects of the financial crisis, but the price of petrol has already shot up and inflation is soaring. Whether President Chavez will be able to weather the storm with such fierce opposition, is another question.

Photos posted by webusers

Images posted on Flickr by Karem Pirela.


"Bolivar's not dead" painted onto a wall, with Chavez giving a speech in the background. Posted on Flickr by  Hilda Cecilia.


Posted on Flickr by Franca Alejandra with this comment:

"Today we voted ‘once again'... and once again I said NO...

Bad News!!! The YES won. We are about to become a lost country under the dictatorship of Mr. Chavez... "

"Those irresponsible enough to abstain certainly made a huge difference"

Freddy Armas is an anti-Chavez blogger from Valencia, Venezuela.

This constitutional amendment comes at a very opportunistic time, after the same proposal failed in 2007 - a proposal which was answered to clearly and loudly by the people, yet which has now become nullified; completely ignored by Chavez.

For this new campaign money from the state was used to illegally exploit the people's choice. Another reason behind the government's triumph is that the difference between the "Yes" and the "No" camps is about a million votes, which means that those irresponsible enough to abstain certainly made a huge difference in the matter. Even half of those people too lazy to get up and take part in such a significant and simple event for the future of the country could have made a difference.

I sincerely congratulate the Chavista community who voted with faith for their leader. I really hope that the day after tomorrow he doesn't want to change tact, that they don't regret putting so much power in the hands of one man, a decision which ‘of course' won't affect the rights of the people."

"The people can decide not to re-elect Chavez too"

Juliana Boersner is a social psychologist from Caracas. She supports Hugo Chavez.


I'm happy that Chavez won because this reform will deepen democracy in Venezuela. It proves that Bolivar lives on! I know that the opposition think it's anti-democratic, but that doesn't make any sense. It's the people themselves who have approved this amendment. And it's the people who can decide not to re-elect Chavez too. In Venezuela, elections are open and the opposition can campaign as it wishes, including on TV. Personally I don't want Chavez to stay in power. I hope that another politician from the government will take over. But for the time being there's no-one from the ruling party and neither from the opposition. I realise that Chavez can come across as not very diplomatic. But he comes to agree in the end, like with [Colombian president] Uribe over the Ingrid Betancourt affair and after his dispute with the King of Spain [at a regional leaders summit in 2007], when the moment comes, he backs down."