Monday, April 17, 2006

Criticize Chávez at your own risk

Taken from San Jose Mercury news:

Elections reflect will of Venezuela

Jackson Diehl states that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ``has never enjoyed overwhelming support in Venezuela; his ratings have mostly fluctuated a few points above and below 50 percent'' (Op-Ed, April 11).

In 1998, Chavez was elected president of Venezuela with 56.2 percent of the vote; in 2000, in another presidential election, he received 59.8 percent of the vote. In the 2004 referendum to recall Chavez, 59.1 percent voted ``No.''

If Diehl wants to look for unpopular presidents, he doesn't need to leave Washington, D.C. As hard as it is for Diehl to believe, Venezuela is a country where the will of the people is actually reflected in the office of the president.

Steven Patt

Criticize Chávez at your own risk

Steven Patt points to the election victories of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, by majorities of 56.2 percent (2000) and 59.8 percent (2004), as evidence that Chávez serves at the will of the people (Letters, April 13). Remember the ever-popular president of his people Saddam Hussein, who won by majorities in the high 90 percents?

Because free speech is one of our fundamental freedoms, Pratt can feel free to take cheap shots at our president in a public forum. Were Patt to publicly make derogatory comments about his hero Hugo Chávez while visiting Venezuela, he would be experiencing different kinds of shots coming his way.

Jack Azevedo
Santa Clara


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