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| 9/4/2009 12:00:00 AM

Anti-Chavez marches set for Friday

Sept 04--Opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday will hold marches around the country and in cities around the world in protest against his hard-line tactics.

he demonstrations, which comes as the leader has become his most outspoken against critics, are reminiscent of mass marches against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in February 2008. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in cities around the world against the guerrilla group.

Like the marches against the FARC, the anti-Chavez marches has spread through social networking Web site like Facebook.

Chavez, who came to power in 1998, has become a polarizing figure at home and abroad for his unapologetic policies aimed at creating a socialist state.

His use of Venezuela's oil wealth to fund social programs has won him the admiration and support of the poor and working classes who make up a majority of the country's population.

But to critics, the policies are not sustainable. To them, Chavez is an overbearing populist whose hard-line stances against political opponents and private media has created an atmosphere were dissent is not tolerated. There have been some instances where Chavez supporters have attacked protesters and journalists, creating uncertainty about freedom of expression in the country.

Indeed, the idea for Friday's marches didn't come from Venezuela.
 
The idea came from a group of youths in Colombia who say they are tired of the strong adjectives that Chavez has lobbed against Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
 
Read more here.
 
Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.
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Gran encuesta presidencial

Vargas Lleras arranca fuerte, Petro está estancado, Fajardo tiene cómo crecer y los partidos tradicionales andan rezagados. Entre los uribistas, Ramos se ve fuerte. Y Santos tiene 35 por ciento de aceptación. Gran encuesta de Invamer para Caracol Televisión, Blu Radio y SEMANA.