As President Hugo Chavez continues his effort to create a new socialist Bolivarian society even some of his radical supporters are wondering is he concerned about the people of his nation or does this have to do with his personal needs for power. Several months ago, the Tupamaros were a leftist group supporting his efforts, but many have now turned on their former beloved leader. They refused to support the upcoming referendum which would allow Chavez to govern indefinitely. The new constitution ends term limits, allows the president to control parliament and the judiciary, to declare a state of emergency when he so desires and even extends his control over the banking system. Former Chavez ally, Raul Baduel, who served as Defense Minister, states bluntly, “Chavez is staging a coup against democracy.” The Podemos Party which supported Chavez has ended that alliance and its leader Ismael Garcia says “Chavez is gambling away the future of the nation.”
Chavez initially did attempt some important reforms such as empowering poor people to make local decisions about what is happening in their lives. He diverted money to raise people out of poverty. But, his hunger for power leads invariably towards dictatorship, in actuality, if not in name. A sad commentary on a nation that deserves better and on a man who could have done much more to aid the people of his society.