Master of the debate

Juan Cristobal says: – Chavez’s latest antics include setting up government luxury restaurants and expropriating areperas and doing away with the Bodies Exhibit. Bizarre policies, to be sure, and they are not above commenting on this blog and other places.

But while we’re busy chuckling away, the important stuff falls through the cracks. Such as this: last weekend, in the city of Caracas alone, there was one murder per hour. That’s right, 65 murders in one weekend alone.

Bailame ese trompo en la uña.

Of course, that’s how Chavez would want it. Instead of having people debate the country’s escalating violence – a direct consequence of his policies, or lack thereof – we argue about the Bodies exhibit. Instead of focusing on the coming economic crisis, we are forced to debate the wisdom of the government taking over fast-food joints.

Chavez not only uses the bully pulpit – he forces it down our throat until we can’t think about anything other than what he wants us to think about. His stuff is so outrageous, it pushes the real stuff into minor headlines – witness today’s edition of El Universal, where the crime wave gets secondary billing.

And in spite of knowing better, we fall for it every time.