The concluding paragraphs of the AP article on the Venezuelan referendum to abolish term limits offered a telling insight into how leftist parties in Latin American countries handle political victory. Â Instead of seeing their respective elections as a means to run the government for the particular term of office, they use them as beachheads to perpetual power (for themselves and their parties):
Chavez took office in 1999 and won support for a new constitution the same year that allowed the president to serve two six-year terms, barring him from the 2012 elections. Sunday’s vote was his second attempt to change that; voters rejected a broader referendum in December 2007.
Venezuela’s leftist allies in Latin America have followed the model. Ecuador pushed through a new constitution in September and Bolivia did so in January. Both loosened rules on presidential re-election. Nicaragua’s rulingÂ SandinistasÂ also plan to propose an amendment that would letÂ Daniel OrtegaÂ run for another consecutive term.
So, now Chavez can run for president for as long as he likes. Ortega, who has never won a majority of the popular vote in Nicaragua, seeks to facilitate his own hold on power.
It seems these demagogues are more interested in maintaining power than in maintaining constitutional democracies where leaders serve for a short period of time, then retire to live as citizens in the nation hopefully improved by the laws they enacted and policies effected.
UDPATE: Â In the comments, Kevin Bliss notes something that the authors of the AP article left out, “Venezuela is in dire economic shape.” Â Seems that’s something that happens pretty readily when leftists consolidate their power in Latin American nations.