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Venezuela: Chávez or No Chávez?

What are the front lines in the protests in Venezuela against Hugo Chávez?

December 11, 2002

What are the front lines in the protests in Venezuela against Hugo Chávez?

“Chávez will always exist for us — no matter what.”

(Venezuelan nurse, November 2002)

"The people are demonstrating in the streets their unshakable determination to end this nightmare called Chávez."

(Carlos Ortega, leader of the Venezuelan Workers Federation, December 2002)

"We will defeat them. They continue to play the coup card. They continue to play the fascist card. They continue to play the destabilization card."

(Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, December 2002)

"We have neglected our society's institutions — and let them go bankrupt."

(Wife of a Venezuelan businessman, on the country's problems, June 2002)

"There is another country inside the one we live in — one of privilege for the military and for the oil workers."

(Former Venezuelan nurse, on the country's society, November 2002)

"This heavy burden of debt hampers development far more than circumstantial prices of oil at any given moment."

(Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, September 2000)

"In my 30 years in Latin America, this is the first time I've seen a country go from boom to bust without some warning."

(Donald McBride, President of Modosa, a Venezuelan manufacturing company, on his country's economy, in 1998)

"Chávez has changed our self-image. Now poor Venezuelans look in the mirror — and see a future president."

(Venezuelan store clerk, June 2002)

"Defending democracy by undemocratic means destroys democracy."

(U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, condemning the coup in Venezuela, April 2002)

"I remember telling President Chávez: 'I would advise you to be more political. A president cannot fight with everybody at the same time. You have to split your adversaries so that you can divide and rule and govern with them'."

(Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, on his Venezuelan counterpart)

"We respect their right to protest — but they don't respect our right to choose our president."

(Venezuelan journalist, on anti-Chávez protests, November 2002)

"Chávez was an experiment for a society looking for a way out of the old, corrupt order of things."

(Venezuelan psychiatrist, June 2002)

"To the world, we are not Venezuela. We are just oil."

(Retired Venezuelan, on her suspicions of international involvement in the anti-Chávez plot)

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