That’s what happened yesterday. Hugo Chávez presided over the ceremony – and yes, if "swearing-in" of volunteers sounds a bit, I dunno, Stalinist, then you’re right.
The speech itself was unremarkable to someone used to Chávez’s rants and abuses of power. But those who believe Venezuela is a Jeffersonian democracy will find themselves with a lot of explaining to do.
Mi Comandante spoke of his latest campaign strategy for the upcoming parliamentary elections: whoever isn’t with him, is against the fatherland. "People have to choose… between the empire and the fatherland," he said.
The speech, broadcast to the entire nation, lasted a modest 65 minutes. In it, he asked his "volunteers" to really, really focus on delivering Miranda, Carabobo, Vargas, Aragua, Yaracuy, and Caracas to him, tied up in a pretty red bow if possible.
And in case you’re wondering, Mr. Stone – no, the opposition continued struggling to get their message on the air. They did not get the same amount of time.