CARACAS, Thursday December 06, 2007 | Update
He disrupted a news conference the Military High Command was offering to clarify that they did not put pressure on him to accept his electoral defeat last Sunday (Photo: AP)
MARIA LILIBETH DA CORTE
"I recommend you (the opposition) to handle your victory wisely, yet you are already covering it with shit... This is a shitty victory! You may say ours is a defeat, but our defeat is full of courage, bravery, and dignity," President Hugo Chávez warned his opponents on Wednesday.
The Venezuelan ruler was referring to the defeat of his intended constitutional reform in December 2 referendum. Chávez threatened to pursue his efforts to have the reform passed.
"Get ready because we will launch a renewed offensive for the constitutional reform, either with some variations or in a simplified form. I am sure the reform will be approved. I have received letters from community leaders. The people know that if they gather signatures the reform can be put for vote again under different circumstances, at another time, here in Venezuela."
Chávez's remarks came in the middle of a news conference the Military High Command was offering in the presidential palace of Miraflores to deny reports that they put pressure on the Venezuelan ruler to accept the electoral defeat last Sunday.
"The people may take my initiative and modify it to make it easier to understand, provided that the main goal is the same, namely the transformation of the State," Chávez insisted.
Chávez's remarks contradicted the statement his Minister of Defense General in Chief Gustavo Rangel Briceño made a few minutes earlier that the Venezuelan people want the 1999 Constitution. "The groups that did not approve this Constitution in 1999, advocated and approved it last December 2. Only deserting voices may say that we have to change the Constitution now, when we just reaffirmed our Constitution. This is the Constitution the people want."
Chávez hailed Rangel Briceño's remarks as "outstanding," and branded press reports that the military put pressure on the Venezuelan ruler as "a bastard maneuver of the empire." "Whenever any general puts pressure on me, no matter our friendship or our mutual confidence, I will have no doubt to dismiss him."
Chávez repeatedly questioned the results of the reform referendum as announced by the National Electoral Council (CNE). "Projections are one thing, and the real electoral records are a different thing. I just did not want to bear a pyrrhic victory, which could have been a catastrophe. I rather face defeat."
In a mockery tone, Chávez criticized a report by Hernán Lugo Galicia, entitled "An angered Chávez refuses to accept the defeat." The report claimed that the Military High Command played a role in Chávez's accepting the opposition's victory. Referring to late journalist Oriana Fallaci's interview to Alekos Panagulis, Chávez pronounced his first "shit."
"When you get close to the coats of arms, you may see something like rust. It means that time turned things, matters into rustiness, and rustiness has two components, namely, blood and shit. Take note, Lugo Galicia, because yours is the second one. And here we have dignity." Chávez then targeted US news TV network CNN for broadcasting such "a ridicule version."
"Keep on plotting, but you will not be able to defeat us, Patricia Janiot and Daniel Viotto (of CNN). You are paid by the empire."
Chávez finished by saying, "I am a democrat. I do believe in democracy."
Translated by Maryflor Suárez R.
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.