Venezuela will hold presidential elections on December 3, and the tyrannical Hugo Chavez is preparing to take action should his popularity continue to slip. Upon returning from his most recent overseas effort to build an anti-American alliance, he claimed that his opponents were preparing a coup d'etat.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he had uncovered a plot to topple his government, blaming his political opponents and calling them "lackeys" of the United States.
Chavez's mention Friday of a coup plot prompted whistles and shouts from thousands of supporters who filled the streets to welcome him home after a foreign tour in which China, Malaysia and Syria offered to support Venezuela's bid for a U.N. Security Council seat.
He called opposition presidential candidates "lackeys of U.S. imperialism."
His viciousness and his simpleminded attacks may betray his fear. As the article notes, his popularity has been polled at about 50%. This is ridiculously low for a man who has spent the better part of a decade destroying civil institutions and who has built an army of dependents reliant on his government's generosity.
His popularity may be even lower than 50%. From Publius Pundit:
But since the arrival of Zulia-state opposition presidential candidate Manuel Rosales, an authentic democratic alternative from an independent part of the country not affiliated with the old guard Chavez unseated seven years ago, something has shifted the wind.
Suddenly, Chavez has lost those padded middle-region areas of support he had earlier and now seems to be down to the left-leaning hardcore ahead of December's presidential election. He's got only about 27% support now, and he may even lose that. So explains pollster Alfredo Keller, whom Daniel Duquenal at Venezuela News & Views assures us from experience is reliable. He's got all the details and some analysis of his own in this post here.
Chavez perhaps senses he might go the way Ferdinand Marcos should the election proceed, so he has begun to contrive a way to stop the election completely. That it may involve the unjust imprisonment of the opposition, or even their deaths, would not concern a man such as he.