Chavez Vision Roils Nation

Constitution overhaul expected to pass, would make him re-electable for life
By Kate Schwartz,  Newser User
Posted Nov 17, 2007 12:27 PM CST

(Newser) – Hugo Chavez's grasp on Venezuela is about to tighten as the country inches toward a virtual dictatorship and expanded socialism—a development that has support among the poor but is drawing dissent from economists and former army officials. An expected revision of the Constitution would drop the workday to six hours, establish a new social security system, and make Chavez re-electable for life, the New York Times reports.

"This is not a dictatorship but something more complex: the tyranny of popularity," says a Chavez biographer. But as "capitalist Venezuela is entering its grave," supporters are equaled by mourners, who decry the overhaul as a coup d'etat. Sketchy funding details lead some to believe Chavez has prepared for resistance. One of his 69 amendments gives him the power to declare states of emergency to censor the press.