Doubts About Chavez

Rose Marie Berger'

Rose Marie Berger’s article "Presidential Option for the Poor?" (May 2004) may be right to praise Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez for his commitment to improving the lives of poor people in that country. But she failed to mention his obstruction of a constitutional presidential recall process, his politicizing of the armed forces, and his mounting human rights abuses. This month, Human Rights Watch upbraided Chávez’s government for torturing protesters whom he had had arrested. These are among the reasons why he is now supported by no more than 36 percent of Venezuelans, according to a respected independent polling firm. Doubt about the sincerity of Chávez’s commitment to democracy is as pervasive inside Venezuela as it is in the United States and elsewhere in the Americas.

Jack DuVall
Washington, D.C.

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