CNN International

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.

4 de septiembre de 2009

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.
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