Venezuela: “The New Constitution Will Cost You Your Job and Your Home”

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I am not sure whether this is the advertisement barred by the Venezuelan elections commission — in which YES supporters claim statements to the effect that “government will take away your babies” were made — but this is an excerpt of what appears to be a print advertisement hosted on the Web site of the Carabobo State Chamber of Industry.

On the controversy, see

Quite a few similarities with the Mesa Memorandum from Costa Rica. See

I translate, hastily:

“The constitution reform: Erodes the rights Venezuelans won under the Constitution of 1999.”

  1. It does not guarantee the right to property, or usufruct or enjoyment of property under the [“what’s yours is mine”?] principle. It merely recognizes this right. You could lose your house, farm, rental property, or job, if someone decides not to recognize this right.
  2. It takes away your right to due process during a State of Exception. You could be arrested for thinking differently, for an indefinite period, and know one would know. [emphasis in the original]
  3. It takes away the likelihood of your developing work on your own initiative, setting up your own business or studying for the career you want. Could it be that you will not be allowed to think except in one way?
  4. It disrespects the creative Venezuelan, because it says that what you think, write, or compose as an artist, musician or writer is not your intellectual property.
  5. It limits the freedom and autonomy of union membership. It limits the freedom to associate in any manner you please, outside of what the government provides.
  6. You will lose your health coverage and the alternative of a private healthcare system that actually works.
  7. Democracy is weakened. Pluralism is suppressed, as are the alternation of power and universal suffrage. It dismantles decentralization, minimizing the states and municipalities. It concentrates power in the Presidency.

In Carabobo, the reform means: It weakens our industry. Takes away your dream of steady employment, starting your own business, achieving economic growth. Destroys the future possibility of massive job creation so that when we get out of college or [high school], we can find work.

More in a bit. From the Casas memo:

We must stimulate fear. This fear has four types (modes):

David “Fear and Misinformation Abound” Sasaki-style fear!

  1. Fear of losing jobs: It would seem very advisable here to make intensive use of the simplest sorts of people, who live in precarious situations, who might lose their job or have already lost as a consequence of “No on CAFTA.” This is also vital for reinforcing the idea that this is not a conflict between rich and poor. In the same way, it is possible that in specific regions, a great impact might be made by concrete cases of companies that have postponed investments, cut staff, or are considering leaving the country if the FTA is not approved.
  2. Fear of an attack on democratic institutions: It is crucial to equate the “Yes” campaign with democracy and democratic institutions (as Eduadro Ulibarri said: We have to fill the “YES” proposition with values), and to equate NO with violence and disloyalty to democracy. Here is an important point: This campaign is no longer rational, and as a consequnce, is no longer about the content of the trade agreement. Thus, the argument that the defense of democracy is the only recourse remaining to us to mobile the EMOTIONS of the people in favor of the FTA. At this moment the people who favor NO have no motivation whatsoever, except that they are intimidated by the motivation displayed by other who favor NO. One thing needs to be understood: No one is ready to “die” for the cause of free trade, but they may be willing to “die” for democracy. We have to give them an ethical motivation, not just a practical one, for voting YES.

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The Casas-Sánchez memo to Arias: “Some urgent actions to reanimate the Yes on CAFTA campaign.” First and foremost: A media blitz based on “fear, uncertainty and doubt.” Kevin Casas, who resigned from the government, is under investigation for illegal use of public funds to benefit the “Yes” campaign. Has been permanently replaced as Minister of Planning.

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