"The referendum will be held and the amendment will be approved. Nobody will be able to avoid it. Whatever the people decide will be implemented. It is the will of the nation that will prevail for sure and forever"
Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez said that referendums are "the core" of the revolutionary process and therefore nothing will prevent his government from holding a referendum next February on his proposed constitutional amendment to establish endless presidential reelection.
"The referendum will be held and the amendment will be approved. Nobody will be able to avoid it. Whatever the people decide will be implemented. It is the will of the nation that will prevail for sure and forever," said the ruler during the year-end greeting ceremony of the military garrisons that took place at the Basic School of the National Armed Forces in Maracay, Aragua State, 50 miles west of Caracas.
Chávez, dressed in military attire and wearing the symbols of Commander in Chief of the Venezuelan Armed Forces, spoke to the troops for two and a half hours.
The Venezuelan leader criticized again Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, who described the proposed amendment as unconstitutional.
"He should measure his words because he knows he is lying. If he says he does not agree with the amendment, "we welcome dissent!" But he is trying to manipulate (public opinion ahead of the vote) and this is a serious sin," Chávez said.
At the same time, the Venezuelan ruler blamed the opposition for refusing to ask once again Venezuelans whether they accept or not that the incumbent president runs for reelection as often as he or she likes.
Translated by Gerardo Cárdenas
That political protest in Venezuela has lost momentum seems pretty obvious: people are no longer building barricades to block off streets near Plaza Francia in Altamira (eastern Caracas), an anti-government stronghold; no new images have been shown of brave and dashing protesters with bandanna-covered faces clashing with the National Guard in San Cristóbal, in the western state of Táchira; and those who dreamed of a horde of "Gochos" (Tachirans) descending in an avalanche to stir up revolt in Caracas have been left with no option but to wake up to reality.