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Vargas Llosa: Venezuela's democracy threatened

Vargas Llosa: Venezuela's democracy threatened

President Hugo Chavez's push to abolish presidential term limits threatens Venezuela's democracy, one of Latin America's leading novelists said Monday.
"I think it's something very dangerous, especially in countries like ours with a precarious democratic culture," Mario Vargas Llosa said at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas. "I've always opposed these constitutional reforms."
Venezuela's National Assembly, which is controlled by Chavez allies, is expected to approve Chavez's proposal for a vote on lifting presidential re-election limits. Chavez, who was first elected in 1998, is currently barred from running again in 2012.
Last year, voters rejected a package of constitutional changes that would have ended restrictions on presidential re-election.
The Peruvian novelist called Chavez's brand of socialism "autocratic" and referred to Chavez ally Cuba as a family-style dictatorship.
Vargas Llosa has frequently criticized Chavez. Once a left-leaning friend of Cuba, Vargas Llosa has gradually become a center-right advocate of free markets. He ran for Peru's presidency in 1990, but lost to Alberto Fujimori.