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Palast: They also say you're a dictator, so Hugo Chávez - are you a dictator, are you using, for example, your Bolivarian Circles to intimidate your opponents? And we did see bullet holes in the front of a TV station that opposes you.
Chávez: Look, a dictator is what was installed here in the presidential palace, in an illegitimate way, for a day and a half. That was a dictatorship, what happened after that coup. When a fake president swore himself in - that, yes, is a dictator. I was elected by these people. I was elected once, I was elected a second time, and now I've been elected for a third time. April 13th for me was like a third election, the people brought me back again.
Am I a dictator? In addition to winning the elections on December 6th 1998, the first thing I did when I arrived at this presidential palace was sign a decree - not a dictatorship, it wasn't a decree to eliminate the National Assembly like the one that was signed here on April 12th, a dark day in the history of Venezuelan. On the first day of my presidency, on February 2nd 1999, I didn't try to eliminate all judicial power and concentrate it in myself, nor did I tear up the Constitution, stamping on the people. Mine was a decree, the first such decree in two hundred years of our history, that proposed a national referendum to ask the Venezuelan people what they wanted, what kind of constitution they wanted.
What dictator does that? I have governed for three years so far, and there hasn't been a single political prisoner, not one person persecuted for their political beliefs. No reporter can say I have persecuted them. The media has not been censored. Myself, I was subject to a referendum after one year. All the governers have been elected, all the mayors have been elected, all the representatives to the National Assemby were elected. All the Supreme Court justices were elected. All the provincial government officials were elected, even the trade unions leaders were elected by the rank and file. This is the first time that has happened in Venezuelan history.
So, really, a dictator? Whoever says that must be either crazy, ignorant, or have bad intentions.