Monday, February 12, 2007

Fleeing the dictator in Venezuela

Hugo Chavez was elected President of Venezuela and reelected. But he has been dismantling his country's system of democracy and rule of law. So those who can leave are leaving now. The middle-class rush is on. The Telegraph (UK) reports:
Middle-class Venezuelans are queuing to leave the country amid fears that its president, Hugo Chavez, is laying the ground for a dictatorship. Opponents of his "20th century socialism" are so desperate to escape that they have resorted to learning new languages and tracking down long lost European relatives in the hope of securing a visa. At the US Embassy, visa enquiries have almost doubled in recent weeks, from 400 to about 800 a day. "There are normal spikes toward Christmas or another major holiday, but this increase doesn't fall into that category," said embassy spokesman Brian Penn. The British embassy has seen a similar rise in numbers. "It has been increasing for some time, but what's different now is the tone of desperation," said a British spokesman. [Chavez announced] last month that he would nationalise the telecommunications and electricity industries, ... "You're getting more families, who are worried about their children's futures," said Esther Bermudez, who runs the site.
The final straw:
Ernestina Hidalgo, 40, whose husband is a Spanish citizen, said that she was hoping that their two teenage children would also be granted Spanish citizenship. She said an "enabling law", passed by the National Assembly 10 days ago, granting Mr Chavez 18 months of rule by decree, was the final straw.
Chavez's actions are ruining his country. But who does he blame? He is destroying Venezuela's civic systems and the economy. Losing thousands of middle-class people will hurt every city. But he blames the United States for the damage he is causing.

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