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January 14, 2005

Venezuela's 'Revolution' - Washington Post Editorial

LAST SUNDAY hundreds of heavily armed Venezuelan troops invaded one of the country's largest and most productive cattle ranches, launching what President Hugo Chavez describes as his "war against the estates." The next day Mr. Chavez signed a decree under which authorities are expected to seize scores of other farms in the coming weeks. This assault on private property is merely the latest step in what has been a rapidly escalating "revolution" by Venezuela's president that is undermining the foundations of democracy and free enterprise in that oil-producing country. The response of Venezuela's democratic neighbors, and the United States, ranges from passivity to tacit encouragement.


The same day Mr. Chavez signed the decree, three U.S. senators -- two Democrats and Republican Lincoln D. Chafee (R.I.) -- said that they favored improving relations with his government. "Every indication is there will be better times ahead," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) dismissed the land confiscations as an internal matter. It is "critically important," he said, "to have that continuing flow of oil." Venezuelan democracy, it seems, is not so critical. [Emphasis added]

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Mr. Jimmy Carter says the election was fair and square and Mr. Bush, the oilman, is happy with the oil flow. So what else is new?

Denny Schlesinger
Caracas - Venezuela

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