A few years ago I posted about Chávez’s attempt to take over a small golf course in Caracas as part of his war against private property. Simon Romero reports that the story’s back in the news:
“Let’s leave this clear,” Mr. Chávez said during a live broadcast of his Sunday television program. “Golf is a bourgeois sport,” he said, repeating the word “bourgeois” as if he were swallowing castor oil. Then he went on, mocking the use of golf carts as a practice illustrating the sport’s laziness.
The government’s broad nationalizations and asset seizures have gone far beyond the oil industry to include coffee roasters, cattle ranches and tomato-processing plants.
If the golf course closings go forward, the number of courses shut down in the last three years will be about nine, said Julio L. Torres, director of the Venezuelan Golf Federation. A project on Margarita Island, designed by the American architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. and intended to be South America’s top course, was halted because of financial problems.
Since golf is not about Chávez, it has to cease existing, even when Cuba’s getting into the game:
In Maracay, officials are considering building low-income homes on the golf course or turning it into a campus of Mr. Chávez’s Bolivarian University. In Caraballeda, plans are advancing to turn the course into a park for children.
Mr. Chávez, for his part, said he had no plans to outlaw golf. “I respect all sports,” he said. “But there are sports and there are sports. Do you mean to tell me this is a people’s sport?”
He then answered the question: “It is not.”
Like everything else in the country: It’s not a sport unless Hugo Chávez says so.