Chávez Accused of Power Grab
10 Apr 09 | FT
Venezuela’s opposition leaders have accused the government of President Hugo Chávez of launching a campaign of persecution aimed at stripping them of power since they won key posts in regional elections last year.
Many of the leftwing leader’s most high-profile opponents are either being investigated for corruption or subjected to new laws that restrict the exercise of their powers.
Antonio Ledezma, an anti-Chávez leader who was elected as mayor of Caracas last year, called his subordination to a new official to be handpicked by the president a “coup” against the constitution. Legislators loyal to the government passed a law last week creating a new official with administrative and budgetary control over Venezuela’s capital.
Analysts say Mr Chávez is using his control over state institutions to centralise power and emasculate his political opponents at a time when plunging oil revenues are pressing the government to cut spending as Venezuela slides into recession. >>>