Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Has Chavez finally gone too far?

Caracas Journal A New Decree From Chávez: Less Elbow-Bending

CARACAS, Venezuela, April 3 — Many Venezuelans shrug off President Hugo Chávez’s increasingly frequent calls to create a New Man through a Socialist revolution. But a decree severely limiting alcohol sales for much of Holy Week has certainly gotten their attention.
“Don’t Mess With My Hooch!” read the main headline in Sunday’s El Nuevo País, an opposition newspaper.
That was one of the more restrained comments heard on this city’s streets after the surprise decree, which Mr. Chávez’s government says is needed to diminish fatalities from drunken driving, went into effect on Friday.
There were protests over the weekend on Margarita Island, where revelers and liquor store owners painted car windshields with the words No to the Dry Law. Consecomercio, a national group of business owners, complained that the measure could lower liquor sales by 60 percent during the important vacation period.