Quico says: I sometimes think you could write a history of the Chávez era just by tracking the buzzwords Chávez has used over the years to deride his opponents. Every year or two, the guy seems to change up, fine-tuning his messaging by picking a new slur and running it into the ground like a bad SNL catchphrase.
The table of contents of that book would look something like:
Chapter 1: Puntofijistas (1998-2000)
Chapter 2: Escuálidos (2001-2002)
Chapter 3: Golpistas (2003-2004)
Chapter 4: Apátridas (2005-2007)
Chapter 5: Pitiyanquis (2008)
Chapter 6: Fascistas (2008 and beyond)
It’s a progression that, in its own way, tells the story of chavismo’s ideological psychopathology, an ever morphing catalogue of demons whose names change to suit the political demands of the moment.
Way back in the day, the fight was against the old Punto Fijo elite – so that was a pretty obvious one. As the opposition made its first, tentative steps towards getting organized, the target morphed, and the guy started making fun of our, at the time, paltry support. After the April Crisis in 2002, we got the most ironic slam of them all, kettle-and-pot-wise, as we became coupsters and, all of a sudden, being a coupster became the worst possible thing a human being could be. Later, as Chávez got more into the anti-imperialism shtick, the big charge became our lack of loyalty to the fatherland. By the start of this year, he figured out an even more direct way to paint us as CIA lackeys in a single word.
Each time, the enemy changes without anyone quite explicitly acknowledging it has changed, and the fight goes pretty much as before. After all, Eurasia has always been at war with the pitiyanquis.
Now, he’s changing up again. Call it the Obama Effect. The guy can see that, come January 20th, linking us to the US is going to be a lot less potent than it has been, so he’s throwing caution to the wind. All of a sudden, we’ve become Fascists.
I think we all know there’s only one place he can go from here…within a year or two, the guy’s bound to break the one universally recognized law he’s actually sort of respected so far: Godwin’s Law.
At that point, in accordance with recognized custom, the Supreme Tribunal will have no choice but to step in, declare that he’s automatically lost the argument, and boot him from power for good.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.