Sunday, February 11, 2007

Venezuelans voting with their feet

If you can't stand the dictator, get out of the country

On the heels of Venezuela's so-called "enabling law" which effectively turned president Hugo Chavez into Absolute Supreme Dictator For Life, Venezuelan citizens are bailing in droves.
Middle-class Venezuelans are queuing to leave the country amid fears that its president, Hugo Chavez, is laying the ground for a dictatorship.

Opponents of his "20th century socialism" are so desperate to escape that they have resorted to learning new languages and tracking down long lost European relatives in the hope of securing a visa.

At the US Embassy, visa enquiries have almost doubled in recent weeks, from 400 to about 800 a day. "There are normal spikes toward Christmas or another major holiday, but this increase doesn't fall into that category," said embassy spokesman Brian Penn.

The British embassy has seen a similar rise in numbers. "It has been increasing for some time, but what's different now is the tone of desperation," said a British spokesman.
Watch for Chavez to establish restrictions on emigration in the coming weeks.

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