File this under dog bites man

Hugo Chávez took a surprisingly moderate tone in Saturday’s State of the Union address. He even went out of his way to shake the hand of opposition deputies.

Some are claiming this shows he is no dictator. To which I say: bollocks. Dictators shake the hands of democrats all the time. One handshake does not a democracy make. This is non-news, a veritable caliche.

Do you want to make a serious attempt to shore up your democratic credentials? Return the Enabling Law right now. Or better yet, free Maria Lourdes Afiuni, recently profiled in this story in The Guardian.

Anything else is just phony rhetoric.