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Chavez faces strong opposition in referendum

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Chavez faces strong opposition in referendum


Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Caracas, to demonstrate their opposition to President Hugo Chavez and his plans for constitutional changes in Venezuela. It is the first time for years that the President has gone into a vote without a commanding lead in the polls. Among other things, he wants to change the laws preventing him from standing for unlimited re-election.

But the thousands of demonstrators made it clear this vote will be tight. By contrast, a march in support of the President seemed much less popular. Chavez appears to be feeling rattled, and has tried to turn the referendum into a simple “with me or against me” issue, denouncing enemies everywhere.

He said: “Can’t you see a former Mexican President, and Peru’s current leader saying that Chavez is the greatest danger? And a former Bolivian leader saying the same? They are all looking for an excuse to kill me.”

The President’s sabre-rattling may fire up his supporters, but many fear his increasingly bizarre behaviour indicates his Socialist revolution may have reached the end of the road.

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