Chavez has declared himself King of Venezuela.

Venezuelan lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill granting President Hugo Chavez the power to rule by decree for 18 months so that he can impose sweeping economic, social and political change.

Emboldened by his landslide re-election last month, the leftist leader has called for “revolutionary laws” to accelerate the country’s transformation into a full socialist state.

. . .

The vote was unanimous as the National Assembly has been entirely filled with Chavez’s allies since opposition parties boycotted 2005 elections.

Chavez began his third term last week by announcing his intent to nationalize key sectors of the economy, rewrite the country’s constitution to eliminate presidential term limits, and strip the Central Bank of its autonomy.

. . .

Chavez has been emboldened to make more radical changes at home after winning re-election with 63 percent of the vote, his widest margin ever.

Friedrich Hayek is right as usual:

“Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one’s government is not necessarily to secure freedom.”

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