That’s the whiny refrain we hear from Chavistas whenever their hero, St. Hugo, is criticized. The thing is, Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma was also elected, but the Chavez regime seems to be having trouble accepting that:
…Ledezma, 53, was mistaken if he thought winning office would mean controlling a far-flung city apparatus. Armed supporters of the president, wearing the government’s trademark red T-shirts, took over city hall and three other vital government buildings. Incoming municipal officials found offices ransacked, computer equipment pilfered and vehicles missing.
The officials also said they discovered that former mayor Juan Barreto had hired thousands of hard-line Chávez supporters — not to work in city agencies but to proselytize for the president’s so-called Bolivarian revolution, serve as bodyguards to pro-government lawmakers and function as shock troops to intimidate Chávez’s foes.
Until last week, the three-story neoclassic building in Caracas known as the Municipal Palace was covered in graffiti. Windows were shattered, and the front door was padlocked. Messages spray-painted on the outer walls read “Ledezma fascist” and “This is Chavista territory.”
One slogan in particular summed up the power struggle here: “We are bad losers.”
In one of the buildings occupied by Chávez supporters, Nelsiy Rojas was among those left jobless. She charged that Ledezma wanted workers who supported his anti-government line. But she also readily admitted that her work had entailed campaigning for the president’s programs in the barrios.
“Ledezma dismissed 7,200 workers from city hall simply because he is not in agreement with our work in the communities, which is to encourage the revolutionary process, among other things,” Rojas said. [As opposed to, you know, fixing potholes and stuff – DP]
City workers who remain on the job described the work atmosphere under the previous government as highly politicized and said they were pressured to attend pro-government marches. They also said that while many employees tried to do their jobs, agencies across the city government became top-heavy with contract workers who held what in essence were no-show jobs.
But remember, Stephen Harper is the fascist.
Update: the Venezuelan government keeps a dangerous extremist out of the country:
An official says former Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa has canceled a planned visit to Venezuela after its government vowed to monitor him closely while there.
Walesa was to travel to Venezuela on Friday on an invitation from opponents of President Hugo Chavez.
But this week Chavez first warned Walesa would be barred from entering. His government then said the former Czech leader could visit but would be closely monitored.
Walesa’s aide Piotr Gulczynski said Thursday that Walesa would not alter his plans to suit Chavez’s whims and instead canceled the trip altogether.