MIAMI — Proposals for the unlimited reelection of President Hugo Chavez, the possibility of establishing a Cuba-like political system and the "violent" clash with Washington are rejected by most Venezuelans, according to a new poll unveiled last week.
The poll by Hinterlaces, a Caracas think tank that carries out surveys and analysis for private clients, also showed that Chavez's popularity has dropped 13 points since November, from 52 percent to 39 percent.
Hinterlaces' figures indicated that the average Venezuelan is increasingly rejecting an ideological agenda in key areas such as the rights of private property and the country's shift toward Cuban-style socialism.
"More than a revolution, what Venezuela is living is a process of democratic maturation and the remodeling of its political culture," said Oscar Schemel, president of Hinterlaces, which correctly predicted Chavez's landslide reelection in December.
The political interests of today's Venezuelans are "the opposite of extremist speeches" not only by Chavez, but also by his radical opposition, Schemel added.
He said Chavez's radical stances "seem to run counter to the key ideas and meanings of the sociopolitical culture of Venezuela" and are generating resistance among Venezuelans.
The latest Hinterlaces poll, which consulted 990 people in five major Venezuelan cities in May and June, showed the following results:
_63 percent rejected unlimited presidential reelection.
_47 percent opposed the establishment of socialism.
_85 percent opposed Cuban-style socialism.
_86 percent rejected the idea that "to be rich is bad."
_87 percent supported private property.
_75 percent rejected the "violent and rude" confrontation with Washington.
_81 percent said the country needs new leaders.
Since his December reelection, the leftist Chavez has stepped up his efforts to move Venezuela toward "21st century socialism" and pushed for a constitutional change to allow unlimited presidential reelection.
Hinterlaces first asked respondents whether they supported unlimited reelection in February, obtaining a 61 percent negative response. Other polling companies have obtained similar results.
The rejection of Chavez's ideological agenda shown in the polls "has been consistent in the nine years of Chavez government," said Carlos Escalante, director of the Miami-based Inter-American Center for Political Management.
Escalante added, however, that he found it paradoxical that "people don't want to look like Cuba, and prefer private property and keeping their freedom, yet each day the positive evaluation of Chavez remains high."
The poll's release came one day after the pro-Chavez president of the national legislature, Cilia Florez, attacked what she called an attempt to "manipulate the proposal for presidential reelection," saying it was not for indefinite reelection but rather "continuous" reelection.
"If a president has been running a country correctly and the people are satisfied with that rule, we cannot take away their opportunity to reelect that president," Florez said at a news conference.