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Chavez Celebrates 11 Years in Power

Wednesday, 03 Feb 2010 09:21 AM


CARACAS - President Hugo Chavez celebrated 11 years in office Tuesday and vowed to rule 11 more, saying his leftist revolution in 900 years would cleanse Venezuela of a century of domination by oligarchs and the United States.

"I'm 55 years old, with 11 years as president now. I promise I'll take care of myself a little better and, if you like, in 11 years I'll be 66 - God willing - with 22 years as president," Chavez told a cheering crowd of supporters at a Caracas theater.

On the idea of following up with 11 more years at Venezuela's helm, until he turns 77, he said, "it would be, like, too long a time, don't you think?," eliciting a booming "No" from the audience.

Chavez has promised to run in the 2012 presidential election for a third mandate, after a constitutional reform in February eliminated term limits for elected officials.

The firebrand, leftist president since gaining power has been pushing a socialist agenda with growing nationalizations of public utilities, key industries and media outlets and increasing pressure on opposition groups and dissidents.

His so-called Bolivarian Revolution, Chavez said, "is here to rule for 900 years" to make up for 90 years of domination by the country's wealthy class and the United States.

"We've got 900 years to go... never again will the oligarchy rule Venezuela, never again will the Yankees (US) rule Venezuela," Chavez said. "Our revolution is still in its infancy."

The next step in consolidating the revolution, Chavez said, was for his ruling party to secure a "crushing majority" in the September 26 legislative elections.

The National Assembly is currently controlled by Chavez' United Socialist Party (PSU) after opposition lawmakers boycotted the 2005 legislative vote. He aims to have a 66-per cent majority in the 167-seat unicameral body after the next election.

"We're going to beat the putschists, the fascists on the streets," Chavez said referring to the opposition trying to defeat him politically.

Chavez boasted of making Venezuela "a free republic... 100 per cent sovereign" in his 11 years in power.

Without the Bolivarian government, he added, "everything would be privatized, we'd all be speaking English here."

"We'd be pumping six million barrels of oil (per day) and the price of oil would be 15 or 20 dollars a barrel.

"Venezuela, more than ever, would be the slave of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the Yankee (US) Empire," said Chavez, whose closest regional ally is communist Cuba.

"Venezuela's socialist endeavor has come back to life, Christ the Liberator's endeavor," Chavez went on.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved

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2010-21-03
Wednesday, 03 Feb 2010 09:21 AM
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