Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dies At 58

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dies At 58Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has died aged 58, after 14 years in power. Mr Chavez had been seriously ill with cancer for more than a year, undergoing several operations in Cuba, and had not been seen in public for several months. Foreign Minister Elias Jose Jaua Milano declared seven days of mourning and said Mr Chavez’s body would lie in state until his funeral on Friday.

‘Interim president’

Vice-President Nicolas Maduro would assume the presidency until an election was called within 30 days, he added. It was not immediately clear when the election would take place.

Mr Chavez’s illness prevented him from taking the oath of office after he was re-elected for a third term in October and the President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, had been expected by some to take over as interim president in the event of his death. However, he was not among the political and military leaders who flanked the vice-president when he announced Mr Chavez’s death.

‘Vocal and controversial’

Analysts say Mr Chavez’s death could alter the political balance in Latin America – dealing a blow to leftist states while favouring more centrist countries. There could also be an economic impact given that Venezuela sells oil at below market prices to some neighbouring countries, especially in the Caribbean.

One of the most visible, vocal and controversial leaders in Latin America, Hugo Chavez won the presidency in 1998 and had most recently won another six-year presidential term in October 2012. His government has implemented a number of “missions” or social programmes, including education and health services for all. But poverty and unemployment are still widespread, despite the country’s oil wealth.

Who do you think will take the place of Hugo Chavez as Venezuela’s new President? And what major changes could take place as a result of this sad happening?

Source: BBC News

Image: The Washington Times

American Conservatives Now In ‘Apocalyptic Despair’

American Conservatives Now In 'Apocalyptic Despair'The mood among American conservatives is now one of apocalyptic despair. Having convinced themselves that this election arrayed freedom against tyranny, they now must wonder: Did their country just democratically vote in favor of tyranny?

Makers vs. Takers?

On Fox News election night, Bill O’Reilly explained the meaning of the election: The “white establishment” was now outnumbered by minorities. “The demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America anymore.” And these untraditional Americans “want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it, and he ran on it.”

You’ll hear O’Reilly’s view echoed wherever conservatives express themselves. Happily, the view is wrong, and in every respect. America is not a society divided between “makers” and “takers.” Instead, almost all of us proceed through a life cycle where we sometimes make and sometimes take as we pass from schooling to employment to retirement. The line between “making” and “taking” is not a racial line. The biggest government program we have, Medicare, benefits a population that is 85% white.


‘Ugly prejudice’

President Barack Obama was not re-elected by people who want to “take.” The president was re-elected by people who want to work -- and who were convinced, rightly or wrongly, that the president’s policies were more likely to create work than were the policies advocated by my party.

Obama has changes in mind that conservatives and Republicans will oppose. He’ll win some; he’ll lose some. To the extent that his wins prove injurious, future Republican Congresses and administrations will struggle to undo them. That’s politics: a contest that never ends and in which the only certainty is the certainty of constant change.

To assume from the start that only certain ethnicities will contribute, and that others aspire only to grab, is not only ugly prejudice; it is also self-destructive delusion. We need more sensible conservatives. As for the feeble conservatives, they should take a couple of aspirin and then stay quietly indoors until the temper has subsided and they are ready to say and do something useful again.

Did you vote for Obama? What changes do you expect from his second term as the U.S. President?

Source: CNN

Image: The Telegraph