*Well, almost daily
What: In 1998, when he was 44 years old, Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela. He was reelected in 2000 and then again in 2006.
Why: Beginning in 2007, Chavez advocated for an end to presidential term limits. The measure failed that year, but in 2009 Venezuelan voters passed a referendum eliminating term limits. The door is now open for Chavez to run again in 2012, which he plans to do. Yesterday, on the 11th anniversary of his 1998 inauguration, he indicated he’s up for 11 more years in office, saying “in 11 years I’ll be 66 and that would make 22 (years) as president, and if you want it and God wants it, then it shall be.”
One thing that Chavez may continue if he’s elected to more terms is his weekly talk show, “Aló Presidente” (AKA “Hello, President”). The show airs every Sunday on Venezuelan state TV and radio stations, and Chavez has hosted it throughout his tenure in office. It features him discussing a broad range of issues. And just like his presidency — there is no time limit! Yup, “Aló Presidente” has no official end time. The show has lasted as long as eight hours!
Get this: Chavez’ detractors have attempted to remove him from the presidency just as many times as he’s been elected to the office: a coup attempt in 2002, an oil strike in 2002-2003, and a recall referendum in 2004.
Commentator David Frum recently visited Venezuela. He offers his thoughts on its curious economic state in this Marketplace commentary.
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