Chavez vents anger after people reject totalitarian constitution

Dilshan Wirasekara, Chief Executive Officer of First Capital Treasuries PLC

CARACAS, Dec 5, 2007 (AFP) – President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday his push to have Venezuela accept sweeping constitutional reforms has “not finished” despite being rejected in a weekend referendum. “The discussion on the transformation of the state is not finished,” he told state VTV television.

“While the opposition continues to celebrate a Pyrrhic victory, this is the moment to start a real period of reflection, of self-criticism,” he said.

Chavez on Sunday lost his bid to have 69 constitutional changes passed by referendum.

The measures were defeated 51 percent to 49 percent, with even many traditional Chavez supporters balking at his drive to be able to be re-elected indefinitely and turn the country into a “socialist economy.”

The result was a deep blow to the president, who up to now had always emerged from the polls with easy victories.

On Wednesday, his fury at losing was evident.

“Their victory was a piece of shit,” he said.

“Ours, they can call it a defeat, but it was full of courage.”

Under the current constitution, Chavez, 53, will have to step down in January 2013 at the end of his mandate.

“The people have the ability to take my initiati