A breaking news email from Fox.com carries the sad news that "Venezuela's Congress Grants Chavez Special Powers to Remake Country"
CARACAS, Venezuela — A congress wholly loyal to President Hugo Chavez approved a law Wednesday granting the Venezuelan leader authority to enact sweeping measures by presidential decree.Like the Iranian mullahs with whom he is allied, Chavex backs up his version of "democracy" with the country's vast oil wealth and indulges in foreign adventures, so far mostly sabre-rattling but now with a militarization program to be paid-for with the oil.
Meeting at a downtown plaza in a session that resembled a political rally, lawmakers unanimously approved all four articles of the law by a show of hands.
"Long live the sovereign people! Long live President Hugo Chavez! Long live socialism!" said National Assembly President Cilia Flores as she proclaimed the law approved. "Fatherland, socialism or death! We will prevail!"
Chavez, who is beginning a fresh six-year term, says the legislation will be the start of a new era of "maximum revolution" during which he will consolidate Venezuela's transformation into a socialist society. His critics, however, are calling it a radical lurch toward authoritarianism by a leader with unchecked power.
Hundreds of Chavez supporters wearing red — the color of Venezuela's ruling party — gathered in the plaza, waving signs reading "Socialism is democracy" as lawmakers read out passages of the law giving Chavez special powers for 18 months to transform 11 broadly defined areas, including the economy, energy and defense.