Monday, August 16, 2004

Either way, Venezuela loses

Babble on.

It looks as though the dictator in populist clothing, Hugo Chavez, has survived the recall vote he tried so desperately to prevent. Given his overwhelming and ill-informed popularity with Venezuela's poverty-stricken masses, I suspect the opposition's cries of electoral fraud are simply sour grapes.

Chavez is a thug. He led a coup attempt in 1992, and only gained public office after being pardoned by a previous regime. His first major act as president was to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution to his own benefit. His first foreign visits were with dictators in Iraq, Libya, and Iran. He has intimidated the judiciary, the press, and the labour unions. He has mismanaged the Venezuelan economy, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, to the point where GDP is shrinking year over year, and inflation is in the double digits. If you want to know more about Venezuela's political and economic woes, this article offers a good primer.

Now, Chavez says: “Those who voted for the ‘yes' should not feel defeated. I want us to send them our respect.” Interesting, but not credible coming from the same man whose government fired workers for signing the petition to recall him.

The real problem for Venezuela is that the opposition is fractured, disorganized, and sometimes verifiably nutty. As this opposition leader states, there doesn't seem to be much of an alternative to Chavez.

The problem of the referendum for the opposition is that it does not present alternatives; it is only an anti-Chávez referendum and, considering that there is a good part of the 40% that, although it does not like the Chávez government, will not vote against it until it knows what is going to happen afterwards...At least, we know at this moment that there is a certain leadership capacity in Chávez, which keeps society in order. Right now, and at times it seems silly, we have in Venezuela very strong anarchical tendencies and the fundamental factor that keeps them under control is the Chávez government...the opposition hasn’t presented any credible proposals, nor does it have a language that resonates with the popular [poor] sectors, nor does it have a clear leadership, it is evidently in a position of great weakness, even if it wins the referendum.

In all of this, only two things are certain: things are going to get worse in Venezuela before they get better, and the Left is going to continue to use any corrupt regime available to vilify GWB and the United States.

Babble off.


At 10:07 a.m., Blogger Greg said...

I don't really speak for the "Left" (that's like herding cats), but I want to ask you three questions. First, was not Hugo Chavez democratically elected? Second, did he not just survive another democratic recall? Third, why does the Bush Administration feel it has the right to overthrow elected governments it disagrees with (Haiti anyone?)?

At 3:16 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

If you read the piece, I think Chavez has been democratically elected and affirmed by this vote, which will Venezuelans more than it will hurt us. The U.S. doesn't like Chavez because Chavez is an anti-American Castro wannabe. But they're not advocating any abrogation of democracy here. Don't go all conspirizoid on me, Greg.

At 4:20 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

But B., you know how I love conspiracies. I guess it is because I am reading the Da Vinci Code right now.


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