In today’s WSJ (subscription only) Alvaro Vargas Llosa again beats Hugo with a big stick.
- “Dante’s first circle is for those who lack faith. In Chavez’s inferno, the first circle is made up of those who lack food.
- “Dante’s second circle is for those unable to contol lust. Chavez’s second circle is for those unable to control homicidal instincs.
- “Dante’s third circle is for gluttons who leave us with no food. Chavez’s third is reserved for corrupt authorities who leave Venezuelans with no wealth.
- “Dante’s fourth circle is for misers. In Chavez’s Inferno, the fourth circle is made up of bureaucrats who claim to provide social services but use funds to pay people to attend rallies or bust up opposition gatherings.
- “Dante’s fifth circle is for those who succumb to wrath. Chavez’s fifth is for political persecution.
- “Dante’s sixth circle is for heretics. Chavez’s sixth circle is for heretics. Chavez’s sixth circle is for heretic journalists who try to tell the truth.
- “Dante’s seventh circle is for the violent. Chavez’s seventh circle is another name for imperialism.
. . . Chavez buys influence through oil. It is a form of blackmail. At OPEC , Chavez fights for increasing prices, making life hard for poor countries that import oil, and then offers those very nations oil subsidies they have no choice but to accept.
- “Dante’s eight circle is for those who commit fraud. Chavez’s eigth circle is fraudulent anti-Americanism.
- “Dante’s final circle is for traitors. Chavez’s ninth is for traitors, too – and the place is getting crowded. Army officers betray Chavez every day.
- “At the end of Dante’s inferno is the center of the earth, where Satan is held captive in the frozen lake of Cocytus. In Venezuela’s Inferno, Satan is frozen in oil-rich Lake Maracaibo, a metaphor for astronomical wealth squandered by tyrannical populism. The journey through hell is now complete”.
The blackmail is sometimes subtle, but often wide open: After Chile asked Venezuela to withdraw its ambassador, the headline at the official Venezuelan
news agency propaganda organ reads Chile owes Venezuela one for security council seat. I haven’t checked the handbook, but I’m willing to bet that “Owes Venezuela one” is not in the phrasebook of UN-approved diplomatese.
Sigmund, Carl and Alfred (who’s also been known to beat on Chavez with a big stick) noticed that
More than one pundit has made clear that in regimes led by tyrants and tin pot dictators, citizens have overwhelming feelings of humiliation and failure. Through no fault of their own, economies fail, education levels are sub par and the awareness that they cannot even control their own destinies. In desperation, they look for someone- anyone- to blame. Of course, they cannot blame their leaders- to do so is to risk loss of liberty and property, so they willingly look to blame others, anyone, anywhere. As is often the case, they look to their ‘rich and free’ cousins- America and the free world. As in all families, the meanest and most vicious ‘conspiracies’ are all in the family.
Conspiracies, indeed. No sooner Hugo got back to his Sunday TV marathon broadcast that he was saying that president George Bush may be seeking to kill him for calling him “the devil” at the United Nations. SC&A continues
In addition, blaming the ‘enemies of the state’ serves yet another purpose. In what is a kind of perverse ‘win-win’ situation, frustrated and oppressed people get to vent at America and the free nations and venting at the ‘right’ target kind of also allows people to be perceived in a favorable light by the regime security services, bureaucrats and leaders, as long as they vent at the ‘right’ target.
And the venting continues. After causing a scene at the airport, the Venezuelan foreign minister, named Maduro (which means mature, which he isn’t) was held for ninety minutes. Of course the Beeb played right along and shows an equally immature headline Venezuela rejects US apologies
To which I ask, so what if they don’t accept the apology? Is Hugo about to cut off oil deliveries to the USA? The fact is, he cannot afford to.
As The Devil’s Excrement‘s cartoon points out,
Hugo needs American dollars in order to stay in power.
Today we read that Oil prices fell to a six-month low under $60 a barrel.
This worshipful article in Der Speigel bought the entire charismatic-leader-helping-the-poor-offering-free-health-care-education-adult-literacy-and-job-training-initiatives-that-help-millions-of-Venezuelanstm propaganda, but managed to notice that,
In the lates 1960s Venezuela was still the world’s biggest oil exporter and was one of the founding members of OPEC. President Carlos Andres Perez nationalized the oil industry in 1976, and for a moment it looked as though the standard of living of all Venezuelans was about to improved drastically. . . .The rude oil awakening came in the mid-1980s, when the oil price plunged by two-thirds and Venezuela slid into state bankruptcy. The political parties were discredited and price hikes for basic food drove Venezuelans into the streets, where bloody battles threatened to tear the nation apart.
Hugo’s monetary position has become more precarious, folks.
If one is to believe Al-Jazeera, Iran and Venezuela have officially joined forces to undermine the U.S. dollar (related post here).
It’ll be interesting to watch what Ahmadinejad and Chavez will be doing as the oil prices continue to go down. At least now, for the moment, the blinders are off.