Chavez granted rule by decree
Venezuela's congress has granted Hugo Chavez, the president, powers to rule by decree - enabling him to push through plans to nationalise key industries as part of his "socialist revolution".
The special powers, which last for 18 months, will enable him to transform 11 broadly-defined areas, including the economy, energy and defence.
Roberto Hernandez, the congressional vice-president, said: "We in the national assembly will not waver in granting president Chavez an enabling law so he can quickly and urgently set up the framework for resolving the grave problems we have."
The president has already said that he will use the law to decree nationalisations of Venezuela's largest telecommunications company and the electricity sector, impose new taxes on the rich and greater state control over the oil and natural gas industries.
Chavez's supporters deny the law constitutes an abuse of power and say radical steps are necessary to accelerate the creation of a more egalitarian society.
The opposition accuses Chavez of being a tyrant in the making, taking a slow approach in following Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader.
WHAT IF... Chavez were to die, or be “eliminated” by u-know-who? (assassinations by all governments are routine, as everyone is surely aware). I’ve not yet observed evidence of any serious ‘Plan B’ by Venezuela, or of any up-and-coming charismatic deputy to fill Chavez’s shoes. It’s a formula for disunity in the next 18 months – the ideal climate for infiltration (at the least) or pre-emptive invasion (at the worst). Venezuela is, after all, the world’s 4th largest oil supplier, and reduction of supply could instantly drive oil to $100+ per barrel and strike panic into stock markets.
Factor into this scenario the already strong Opposition to Chavez within Venezuela, hungry for under-the-table funding from u-know-who.
Chavez theatrically rants to the UN that "the devil has been right here... I can still smell the sulphur" - in reference to Bush's speech the previous day.
Amazingly, the ‘Reverend’ Pat Robertson, Bush’s mouth-piece mate from the Religious Right-wing, has actually made a public call for Chavez to be assassinated. Now there's a violent christian extremist/terrorist if ever you needed evidence.
Watch this space. Nostradamus and his famous FunkyPix2 Freedom Fighters are hot on the case.
Chavez says that Bush is "...more dangerous than a monkey with a razor blade".
Yep. I can hardly disagree.
...and Castro Lives!
There will be more Castros.