Venezuela's Vote Sends Message
By Bill McCollum, Attorney General of Florida
The vote in Venezuela is a substantial victory for the rule of law in our hemisphere and a message to oppressive regimes around the world that their causes will not be tolerated at the expense of freedom.
The 69 amendments that Hugo Chavez sought for Venezuela's constitution included provisions to nationalize private property and give Chavez control of the central bank, foreign currency reserves and the military and the ability to suspend civil rights in emergencies. If passed, these amendments would have hastened Venezuela's regressive march to socialism.
Although the defeat of these amendments is momentous, we cannot forget that Chavez is still in power exerting tight control over the country's major institutions. Flush with oil revenues, this ally of Cuba and Iran is exporting anti-Americanism throughout South America and the Middle East, threatening his neighbors, harboring known terrorist groups, and spending billions to bolster his offensive and defensive military capabilities. Venezuelan voters must remain ever vigilant to avoid alternate measures to achieve Chavez's socialist design.
The vote at least is a victory for the people of Venezuela and for freedom.
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