I have gone through an interesting experience: only describing some of the proposals of Chavez for his new constitution has a surprising effect on chavistas. I have tried it on three of my chavista co workers. In one case I only got a blank stare, that stare from somebody who could not care less who is president of Venezuela but who votes Chavez because he likes him. Period. The other two, well, it was another story. I could see clearly in their eyes a new doubt (if Isaias Rodriguez can see the truth in the eyes of the main Anderson murder case non-witness so can Daniel Duquenal see in other folks eyes). I have come thus to the empirical conclusion that the best way to defeat the infamous Chavez proposal is to go to the chavista people and tell them. After all, if the NO wins, they still get to keep Chavez for 5 more years, an almost win-win situation for them. Note: some polls seem to be confirming my empirical observation ;)
Unfortunately inasmuch as this blogger has decided to start discussing here every single proposal of Chavez and to demonstrate how wrong they are, there is something called the lack of time, and also the need to cover other topics. Thus I am opening the blog to any reader that would be willing to help. I am aware that writing it in English is not such a direct vote getter, but providing solid arguments to readers can either allow them to write better letter to the editors in their local community, and for those who live in Venezuela, well, the translation will be easy for the articles you want to use to discuss the reform with co-workers or at the grocery store line. The modus operandi will be as follow:
- Chose which article you wish to discuss. You can find the complete proposal where you have old and new article side by side in a PDF document offered by El Universal. If you do not like PDF there are other sites which are carrying discussion on the proposals, such as Venezuela Analitica. El Universal also carries an English news special section on the "reform" where you can find some help. Google has also a fairly good translation tool and I am willing to help if you need the meaning of some specific words.
- As soon as you have chosen an article BE SURE TO LET ME KNOW ASAP to reserve your spot. Just to make sure your article has already been selected, that you will not work for nothing. NOTE: you can chose more than one article, which will be greatly appreciated by this overworked blogger. If you chose more than one to combine them in some general point, fine, but try to avoid putting more than two-three articles together.
- I do not know whether a complete English translation already exists, but if you cannot find it you will need to translate AT LEAST the new article to include it in your post.
- Your post should be as brief and to the point as possible. It should start with the translation of the article you chose or at least a coherent summary for the long articles (such as the one renaming Caracas). After the translation, it is hoped that within no more than 4 paragraphs you will be able to make your point.
- It is also important, for the sake of objectivity that you try very hard to find something, anything, positive about the proposal you have chosen to discuss. A positive detail against ten negative details always reinforce your critical arguments.
- You must provide an e-mail address where other readers can write to you directly to ask further questions if they like to, or at the very least be willing to reply to any comment that is addressed in the comment section of your article (I will relax some the rules of moderation if necessary as I believe that rebuttal of any pro Chavez supporter can only add more information and strength to your criticism).
- Each post will have for title: "Chavez new constitution: article # XYZ " (unless somebody can come up with a better proposal but the article number should always appear).
- This blog of course reserves the right to accept or reject any article, as well as suggesting fair criticism. However if English is not your main language I am willing to help you write the proposal, you still need to do the research.
It is my hope that by October first we will have published a critic of every "reformed" article and thus created a data base that anyone will be able to consult. I will use a special tag word for these articles.
So, you always wanted to do something, here is your chance for armchair activism. And remember, the sooner you commit to an article, the sooner you get to chose the one you want to write about, leaving for me all the tough and boring ones :)
ADDED LATER: those who want to ALSO post their articles in Spanish, I'll do that. I think it is a good idea, but the article must be first in English. I really have no time to do the translation into Spanish (though if some people do not want to write but are willing to translate into Spanish, let me know and I will forward you the posts: that help would be equally important as writing actual posts).