A Spanish member of the European parliament has been expelled from Venezuela after he called President Hugo Chavez a dictator.
Luis Herrero had been invited by an opposition party to observe a referendum to remove limits on how many times an elected official – including the president – can stand for power. He also criticised a decision to keep polling booths open two hours later than usual for tomorrow’s ballot. Chavez celebrated 10 years in power earlier this month. He wants to stand again for president in 2012, reportedly saying he needs another decade in power to fully implement his programme of nationalistion and land redistribution. Pollsters say the vote is extremely close. While the President’s policies have improved poverty, health and education, corruption, rising inflation, worsening crime have undermined his support, even in some former strongholds.