Buckshot Provocation

Quico says: Reading back on what I wrote yesterday, it strikes me that I’m just now grasping the actual mechanics of chavista provocation. All at once, I realized that the reason the new Telecoms Law struck me as especially alarming isn’t so much that it’s worse than any of the other new laws, it’s that I’m me!

Chávez knows that different sectors will react to different outrages differently. A punitive new law on Food Security may strike me as relatively unremarkable, but it’ll freak the hell out of food distributors. A crazy new Armed Forces Law may be no skin off your back if you make a living distributing food, but it’ll set all kinds of alarms ringing if you’re an old-school military officer. The theft-cum-expropriation of Cemex may not keep military officers up at night, but it’ll scare the hell out of foreign investors big and small. And a new Telecoms Law that sets up a Sword of Damocles over all electronic telecommunications may not bother foreign investors that much, but it’ll freak the hell out of media types like me.

What Chávez is doing is buckshot provocation, scattering his fire widely enough to make sure he hits all kinds of different targets. The latest onslaught has something for everyone to hate: tour operators, real estate developers, farmers, kidnapees, oppo politicians, even bloggers. Things never go well when Chávez starts to go down this route.