There are rumblings near the Equator. It seems Hugo Chavez may have finally reached the end of his people’s tether in his quest to turn Venezuela into a modern socialist utopia. News out of Venezuela this morning—which has been percolating over the last month—reports that a key general, and Chavez’s own ex-wife, are opposed to the reforms ensconced in the constitutional vote set for December 2. Also, just this afternoon, students and protesters have taken to the streets of Caracas and other cities to oppose the changes and urge voters to reject the amendments. From The New York Times:

“Chávez is delirious if he thinks we’re going to follow him like sheep,” said Ivonne Torrealba, 29, a hairdresser in Coche who supported Mr. Chávez in every election beginning with his first campaign for president in 1998. “If this government cannot get me milk or asphalt for our roads, how is it going to give my mother a pension?”

Despite an oil-fueled economy that has lifted purchases of goods like cellphones and cars, economic concerns related to shortages of basic foods and rising inflation are weighing on voters. So are fears over measures that would greatly enhance Mr. Chávez’s power, like abolishing his term limits and easing expropriations of private property.

Protesters argue the proposed amendments would do away with key freedoms in the country, such as freedom of speech. Chavez counters that he needs these tools to steer the country toward socialism (see utopia above). To read up on the issue follow these links to stories from Bloomberg and the Associated Press.

Venezuelan students, police clash

Venezuelans March Across Caracas to Protest Chavez Constitution