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Our #AmanZuela hash tag debate on Venezuela via Twitter

February 27th, 2010
04:00 PM ET

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Amanpour. is hosting hash tag debate on Venezuela via Twitter #AmanZuela"]

Last week we did an entire edition on the economic and political crises in Venezuela.

Our program created a tidal wave of feedback from Venezuelans in Venezuela and all over the world. So we asked our guests – Venezuelan Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and Venezuela's Ambassador to the U.S. Bernardo Alvarez Herrera – to come back and engage in a discussion taking via Twitter from our followers there. The gentlemen agreed to take part and here is the hash tag debate we've hosted using #AmanZuela:

Question from @playdiego: Who's the enemy? poverty, crime facts, energy breakdown or Washington? RT @AmanpourCNN #AmanZuela

Answer from @leopoldolopez: The real enemy venezuelans have to defeat is poverty, inequality, crime and authoritarianism. Our compromise for our future: All rights for all people.

From Ambassador Alvarez: Poverty is a problem we are successfully addressing, but we’re also focused on crime and the drought. We have political differences with Washington.

...Poverty is a problem we are definitely concerned about. And while we still have a ways to go, we have made appreciable gains in the fight against poverty and inequality. Over the last 10 years, Venezuela’s rank on the UN Human Development Index has gone up 10 spots due to the government’s innovative social programs and increased social spending. From 1998 to 2008, poverty fell from 49 to 21 percent. At the same time, access to health, education and food has increased. Of course, we are also concerned about crime, which we have been addressing with long-term and short-term measures, and we will continue adjusting our crime-fighting strategies as necessary. We are also focused on the electricity shortages caused by the historic drought in Venezuela. With regards to Washington, we have our political differences but we still believe that dialogue is possible. We will continue opposing any U.S. policies that are unilateral or interventionist, though.

Question from @fernancaffroni: Would the Venezuelan government accept US help to tackle the electrical crisis in Venezuela #AmanZuela

Answer from @leopoldolopez: To overcome the electrical crisis the govt needs to invest in long run solutions and in short run: accept help whether it comes from Brazil, Colombia or the US.

From Ambassador Alvarez: No need to, but we do want to talk about climate change.

...Venezuela is taking necessary steps to tackle the electricity crisis, and is making investments that will add 4,000 megawatts to the grid by the end of this year and 15,000 megawatts by 2015. Where we could have discussions with the U.S. is over the necessary steps the world needs to take to manage and reverse climate change. Our current electricity crisis is caused by a lack of rain, giving us a distinct insight into how a country can be directly affected by changes in the climate. This drought may only be temporary, but if we do nothing about climate change now, we may see droughts like this more often. It will take much more aggressive steps by the developed world to act decisively against climate change.

Question from: TwitteoPorVE #AmanZuela Are they thinking about the huge contamination with the new diesel power plants they are installing all around?

From Ambassador Alvarez: We’re committed to clean energy; 70% comes from hydro sources. Due to the historic drought we have taken emergency measures.

....Over 70 percent of Venezuela’s electricity comes from hydro-electric sources, and much of the investments we’ve made over the years have been in expanding hydro-electric generation, which is extremely environmentally friendly. Of course, due to the historic drought Venezuela is suffering, our hydro-electric sources have been severely affected. As a consequence, Venezuela has taken emergency measures to compensate for the loss of power being generated by our hydro-electric sources. These measures include thermoelectric plants that are unfortunately not as clean as hydro-electric sources. It’s important to note that these plants will not replace cleaner alternatives, but rather serve to produce necessary electricity in the short term during emergencies. We are still committed to a clean and diversified electricity grid. The Minister of Electricity has said that he is exploring the development of eolic – or wind – sources of electricity. We are also focusing our energies on decreasing national consumption of electricity through things like energy efficient light bulbs, etc.

Question from @fernancaffroni to @leopoldolopez: Are you willing to talk with Henri Falcón – the new dissident within Chávez's movement?

Answer from @leopoldolopez: We are talking and working w/ many dissidents, and we are open to enter a constructive political dialogue with Falcon and any other leader.

Question from @cesarvo to Alvarez: Different polls are showing a bad trend for Chavez. Despite this, will his government guarantee the next elections?

Answers from Ambassador Alvarez: Last poll says Pres Chavez’s popularity is at 58%. After 11 yrs, very impressive. Elections this year will be free and fair, like the last 14.

...The last poll from the Venezuelan Institute of Data Analysis (IVAD in Spanish) points out that President Chávez enjoys a popularity rating of 58 percent. You have to consider also that even those polls that claim that he has a lower level of popularity at the moment have admitted that President Chávez continues with a strong level of popularity and that changes in his popularity do not translate automatically into electoral gains for the opposition.  Additionally, after 11 years in office, that his popularity has remained strong is impressive. Consider that some politicians in the U.S. lose significantly more popular support in just their first year in office.  As for the coming legislative elections, the National Electoral Council has committed itself to making them free, fair and transparent, as has been the case with the 14 national elections held in Venezuela to date. We do hope that members of the opposition choose to participate this year, unlike the 2005 elections that they boycotted because they did not want to legitimize an electoral system trusted by the majority of the Venezuelan people.

Question from TwitteoPorVE to @leopoldolopez: are you really having an open mind in candidates choice? People aren't feeling that way, seems like candidates will b the same

Answer from @leopoldolopez: We are actively promoting the idea that candidates to the National Assambly should be elected in primaries open to new leadership.

Question from @Rolando28: Could you please ask Mr. Alvarez to explain 140.000 Venezuelans killed by firearms on the streets in 10 years ?

Answer from Ambassador Alvarez: We are taking all measures – short and long term – to address this important problem.

Even one violent death at the hands of criminals is tragic, so that Venezuelans have been affected by crime, violence and insecurity over the years is a challenge we take seriously. Crime and violence has long roots and many causes, all of which we are trying to address. In the short-term, we’ve undertaken a reform of the country’s police forces and are working to make the justice system more responsive. In the long-term, we’ve pushed initiatives and programs to attack poverty, inequality and social exclusion, three causes of crime and violence.

Question from @orientemiedo:  Why has Venezuela become more dangerous than Iraq/Afganistan? #amanzuela

Answer from @leopoldolopez: Vzl has become one of the most violent countries in the world mainly due to the lack of political will. For the gov crime is a non issue, never even mentioned. For 80% of the people is the main problem.

Filed under:  1 • Venezuela
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Your interview with Ehud Barak

    You did a good job interviewing Ehud Barak, who never gave a straight answer regarding the Mossad assassination operation in Dubai. However, nothing was mentioned about the outcomes of the home-made rockets over the past five years, especially the last war. Maybe you should have said that these rockets are ineffective by the military definition as they don't have destructive power. Israeli security services themselves issued a report after the war saying that 4 Israelis killed since 2005 by thousands of these home-made rockets.

    Sadly, from 2001 through to this moment, Qassam rockets have claimed the lives of 13 Israelis while in the past war in Gaza thousands of these so-called Qassam rockets, injured few people in Israel. While in Gaza, more than 1445 mostly civilian Palestinians were killed and 5000 injured by the deadly military attacks launched by Israel.

    Therefore, it should be mentioned that out of the 15 Israelis who were killed, only 3 Israeli civilian were killed by those so-called rockets.

    It's wrong to place the blame on the Palestinians who have nothing especially those in Gaza who are suffering under an inhumane blockade, and letting the Israelis get away with murder!

    March 1, 2010 at 1:17 am | Reply
  2. Pedro Rojas

    Hello Christiane! I just wanted to thank you for having such an interest in Venezuela. As you could see, the country is very divided in two groups: the ones who support Chávez and the ones who don´t (including me).

    As a journalist as well, I enjoyed your balance in this matter, giving the same opportunities to both representatives to express their opinions or ideas.

    With the following comment, I do not intend to emphasize why I disagree with the current "government". However, I do want to express you my concern as a Venezuelan citizen about the critical situation the country is being through.

    We´re suffering a crude violence in the country because of the lack of effective measures. In these 11 years, there have been more than a 100,000 casualties due to the lack of Security.

    The levels of poverty are concerning, and even though this problem was not made by Chávez, he has deepen it.

    Regarding a common element for both of us, freedom of speech, the government is attacking whoever says something against it. Several journalists have been put in jail and without trial because they denounced crimes made by Chávez´s regime.

    Several tv and radio stations which were opposed to the government were closed without any legal framework. Other stations were forced to soften the position against the regime in order not be closed.

    The critical electrical situation is a result of the absence of investment this government had to make. However, all the money we pay in taxes and other aspects is used to support other countries such as Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and others.

    Christiane, what we are suffering right now is the total inefficiency and brutality of a government who has no respect for Human Rights. They spent a lot of money (ours by the way) to say lies about our "democracy" and our freedom to express our points of view.

    I hope this comment, and the info you could obtain from this work about
    Venezuela can show the world the disaster and abuses caused by Hugo Chávez to our once beautiful developing country.

    My best regards to you and to the CNN team.

    March 1, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  3. SeaxBeagora

    I do think this is a most incredible website for proclaiming great wonders of Our God!

    March 1, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  4. Fernando

    Ambassador says that ' Venezuela’s rank on the UN Human Development Index has gone up 10 spots due to the government’s innovative social programs and increased social spending.' And then that he's aware of the increased crime levels. It just doesnt make any sense, if poverty's decreased how can posibly crime increase?

    Why all my University partners are willing to leave the country as soon as they finish up if Ambassador Alvares claims that we are much better now? ... Just doesnt seem to make any sense whatsoever

    March 18, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  5. esraa ahmed

    What is happening now in Egypt is not a military coup, but is to protect the revolutionary legitimacy and protect the national security of Egypt to restore Egypt to its leading role in Africa, the Middle East and the world
    Obama ........Stop supporting terrorism and terrorist regimes ........................... see the tens of millions who took to the streets starting on June 30 to bring down the Muslim Brotherhood fascist system and and may be only then you will see that it is a revolution of the people protected by our National Army and not a military coup ...This is if you have a shred of conscience or mind

    July 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Reply
  6. esraa ahmed

    Stop lying

    July 5, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  7. Damion Dsaachs

    March 6, 2021 at 2:12 pm | Reply

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