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After a very nice, break. I avoided talking Venezuela and even – gasp – read a novel (R.K. Narayan’s The Vendor of Sweets – heartily recommended to fellow Hinduphiles.)


I did have one interesting Venezuela-centered conversation, though. Went something like:


Him: Think about it, Quico, under normal circumstances we would NEVER have agreed to something as outlandish as a recall referendum in the constitution. It’s absurd Bracketing the craziness of the Chavez era, NO ONE could have convinced us that a provision like that, which violates the secrecy of one’s political stance – a cornerstone of democratic systems – made any sense.


Me: But we need a recall so bad now…


Him: a-we don’t need it, b-we can’t force the government to hold it, c-the government won’t hold it. Anything else is wishful thinking. The opposition simply has no mechanism that allows it to force the government to do something it doesn’t want to on a topic as sensitive as this. So, we just have to get used to the idea of Chavez until 2007. People who say the country can’t bear it any longer really should’ve learned their lesson by now. Of course the country can bear it that long…and longer if that’s what it takes…ask any Cuban…


Me: But just think, it’s the poor who’ll suffer the most from the collapsing living standards…


Him: Sure it’s the poor who’ll suffer the most, but then it’s the poor who voted for the guy. And they’re also the ones who voted for the 6 year presidential term. It’s very much the bed they made, and now they have to lie in it. By 2006 the same people who voted for Chavez will be begging for new leadership. Chavez will be lucky to get a million votes by then.


Me: Hmmm…

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