I opened the newspaper this morning and found Move over, Che: Chávez Is New Icon of Radical Chic. The article (by subscription) starts by saying “Venezuelan Populist Inspires Groups of U. S. Supporters; To Do: ‘Boogie for Bolívar'”
To a slice of the American left, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has become a revolutionary hero, nearly on a par with Che Guevara and Fidel Castro.
To me, he is that, too, but for different reasons: while the Left sees Hugo and Fidel as charismatic-leader-helping-the-poor-offering-free-health-care-education-adult-literacy-and-job-training-initiatives-that-help-millions-of-Venezuelans/CubansTM, I see Hugo as a wanna-be of murderous criminals.
Last year I predicted that Hugo would become the next t-shirt icon. What the WSJ didn’t mention today that I mentioned last year is that The Miami Herald had found that
the Fort-Lauderdale based Venezuelan Information Office keeps track of what’s mentioned against the Chavez administration in the American media and in Congress. According the the Department of Justice, the VIO keeps track of reporters writing on Venezuela for The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and The Miami Herald. In addition, the VIO has contacted some thirty senators and canvassed at least four Democrat representatives, among them Raúl Grijalva (Arizona), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Barbara Lee (California) y Jan Schakowsky (Illinois), for support against the referendum against Chavez, plus it counts on the support of Jack Kemp and former Attorney General Ramsey Clarke.
According to the article, the VIO has reached out to other areas, including Utah, Chicago (where the Armada Libertad – Armed Freedom – group’s slogan is “Defendiendo a Venezuela desde las entrañas del monstruo”, “Defending Venezuela from within the entrails of the monster”), and Canada.
While the American Left worships its new icon, Chavez Threatens to Shut Down Venezuelan TV Stations for criticizing the government. Hear him say it in his own words (in Spanish, via VCrisis).
Publius Pundit points out,
Amid all the Chavista propaganda reported here in the States, suggesting that Venezuela is not a dictatorship because of an existing free press, the fact today is that the media has been threatened with total destruction.
It’s not just TV stations: it’s also the NGOs
The latest pet project by the autocratic and dictatorial Government is a law to control NGO’s. Whether they are political, defenders of human rights, against AIDS or the environment, this new law would impose absolute government control over NGO’s, which would make them subject to Government inspection and supervision.
Sigmund, Carl and Alfred posts that
Even as they left celebrates Hugo Chavez, they do not extend any effort into helping impoverished Venezuelans. They, like the victims in Darfur, are only an impediment to achieving their agenda, a ‘people’s paradise.’ That kind of irony is not lost on any of the psychosphere bloggers.
For good reason: the WSJ article quotes Jake Irwin, a Chavez supporter, saying, “My political belief is that the U.S. is a horrendous empire that needs to end”. A shrink can have a field day analyzing the kind of self-loathing one finds among what Carlos Alberto Montaner’s named the Chávez-‘banana left’ alliance.
Send Jake and London mayor Ken Livingstone a Hugo t-shirt.
While Jake and Ken and their friends indulge in their form of idolatry, others in South America aren’t exactly doing the same. Hispalibertas reports today that Bachelet invita a García a Chile para fortalecer la democracia en la región [Chilean President Michelle] Bachelet invites [Peruvian President-elect Alan] García to Chile to strenghten the region’s democracy. García’s victory was a defeat to Chávez; Bachelet clearly has no interest in becoming a part of Chavez’ unified socialist Latin American state.
The plain fact is that Hugo wouldn’t amount to much without the oil money. Today Forbes has a report on how Venezuela’s Oil Policy Has Risk Premium
A number of factors contribute to the high degree of uncertainty about the Venezuelan oil industry:
1. Oil production.
4. Contract and fiscal terms.
Despite the attractiveness of Venezuela’s resource base, its oil industry faces a range of uncertainties. These include the obvious reluctance of international oil companies to invest further until the rules of the game are clearer and being followed, as well as the fact that available data may be insufficient to manage risk effectively. Uncertainty creates a risk premium, and Venezuela may eventually have to pay this cost.
For the time being, Hugo continues his shopping spree, and the rifles just arrived. Hugo’s $3bn deal to buy more Russian weapons and 24 Su-30 jets is seen as ‘waste of money’ from either the military or financial points of view. The article says,
The official added that while the acquisition would raise concerns in neighbouring Colombia, a close US ally, the deal makes little military or financial sense. “Advanced fighters are more of a prestige item than a military necessity,” the official said. “This system can give them an edge in air superiority, but against whom?”
Or will the money and the oil run out?