Mubarak should have called Fidel

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I woke up this morning wanting to write a post on how much the situation in Egypt resembles the situation in Venezuela in 2002 and 2003.

Back then, our country was also in the midst of chaos. Thousands of protesters filled the streets demanding the resignation of a leader viewed by most as authoritarian and incompetent. The economy was at a stand-still. Military leaders, one after another, called for the President to resign.

And yet Chávez held on.

I was itching to write about how we’d seen this picture before, how Mubarak would hold on despite media assurances to the contrary. After all, if we learned anything from that struggle, it’s that marching and protesting and demanding someone leave right now does not always lead to a change in power.

As any Venezuelan who lived through the 2002-03 crisis, I was profoundly pessimistic about the chances of Egypt’s opposition, particularly hearing the BBC this morning about how rifts were beginning to appear, about how people were starting to get antsy and wanting to get back to work.

And yet, before I could type anything, bam – Mubarak has just resigned.

Perhaps Mubarak should have called Fidel, and Carter, and Gaviria. Perhaps his downfall came because the opposition is not led by Carlos Ortega, holding press conferences at swanky hotels, full of allusions about how “el rrrrégimen” had its days counted, but instead by, among others, an organized political party and a Nobel Peace prize winner.

Or perhaps there are no easy parallels to be drawn. History, after all, may just be random.

At any rate, the protesters in Egypt are clearly enjoying this moment. Perhaps we can allow ourselves to enjoy it with them.

It’s the release we never really had.

1 COMMENT

  1. Here’s another critical reason for which Egypt has succeeded where Venezuela has not: the resolve of a population breadth, beyond the country’s capital city.

  2. Oh please, pueblo no tumba gobierno. Solo el Ejercito tumba Gobierno.

    A dictator only stays in power if the Army backs him up. Remember in the 2002 April Crisis, Chavez LOST the Army’s support, which is why he was ousted. By late 2002 Chavez had taken steps to purge the army and after the April debacle the remaining army leaders were NOT going to challenge Chavez again.

    Both in Tunisia and Egypt the Army felt it was time for a change. Of course, the population can help engineer this change by bringing pressure on the country’s vital economic infrastructure and social order, but if there’s one key difference it is this one: The Army completely backed Chavez during the 2002-2003 work stoppage. I mean the Oil industry was stalled completely, you cannot go much more nuclear than that. When Chavez ordered the Army to takeover PDVSA and restore function, they went and did it. No amount of marching, protesting was going to change things. Chavez was going to weather the storm and the Army leaders were firmly behind him.

    In both Egypt and Tunisia, this was NOT the case. Especially Egypt as generally speaking the soldiers refused to participate in suppression of the protesters. Nobel Prize leaders, politically organized parties, blah blah blah, baloney baloney baloney. Those elements only had as much influence as their actions and reputation allowed them to contribute to the pressure points, but they were far from instrumental.

    • The army did not completely back Chavez in 2002 and 2003. There was a little something called a military coup. There was also another little something called the Plaza Altamira trickle.

      As per Egypt, hey – you seem to be the expert here. I’m just trying to get the conversation rolling.

      • You seem to be skimming my post. I said he LOST the support of the Army in the April 2002 crisis. I did not say the Army backed him up in that crisis. The 2002-2003 crisis the Army supported him quite.

        And you are purposely ignoring a lot of nuances by talking about the Altamira officers: these people basically converted themselves into civilians and no longer had command of what matters if you’re going to oppose a government: TROOPS. In that sense the Army was completely behind him: No large of group of officers in command of troops during Nov 2002 – Feb 2003 opposed him and even supported his government.

        And NO, I am no expert in Egypt, but the trends are there and history can be applied to these situations with a great deal of confidence. We have had plenty of cases we can study from regarding uprisings and civil rebellions and military coups and dictators.

        Honestly, you can argue better than this. Don’t set up strawmen or put words in my mouth. It is beneath you.

        • You’re right, my bad. Although your statement “A dictator only stays in power if the Army backs him up” is what threw me off. I figured you were saying that Chavez remained in power because the military backed him.

          Hey, don’t be so edgy! De panas y todo…

          • You’re right, I need to be stop being edgy, that’s not me that’s the caffeine and a software bug that’s driving me up a wall.

      • Sí vale Juan, vamos a ponerte a escribirlo 100 veces en la pizarra:

        “Vacío de Poder, Vacío de Poder, Vacío de Poder…”

        Alek, Carmona y Marcel Granier ya se lo creen, just 28,997 Venezuelans left to convince!

      • Coño pana, en este blog en particular, donde debemos ser tan, pero tan, cuidadosos en el uso apropiado de adjetivos calificativos…

        We will be discussing this forever FT. I am not arguing in favour of vacio de poder. But military coup? As Emilio Lovera would say: “¿y eso no es cuando vienen los militares, matan a todo el mundo, e instalan una dictadura?”

        • But Alek, if you’re not arguing for “vacio de poder”, and you’re certainly not believing the “military coup” then … what was it? A resignation? La cual acecto?

          Let’s just agree to disagree with this one. Each one of us has made up our minds as to how to refer to the sui generis events of 2002. We should respect each other’s different takes on it.

          • Hilarious… you guys are the only people still having this debate.

            Alek: As Emilio Lovera would say: “¿y eso no es cuando vienen los militares, matan a todo el mundo, e instalan una dictadura?”

            Exactly. You just missed one detail: they also dissolved the National Assembly and tore up the constitution….

          • Let’s just agree that in the case of certain events in our recent history, there are not traditional ways to define what has occurred. You say coup, I happen to believe that “un gran cogeculo” aptly defines what took place in those days.

        • That semantics road is a long, hard one fraught with peril that never ends. Even here in Honduras we still can’t decide what happened on June 28, 2009: “Transicion constitucional”, “golpe de estado” or my favorite, “los eventos del 28 de junio”. We’ve only been at it 2 years, I can’t imagine how that argument must have gone for you guys for the better part of a decade.

      • Yeah, except that it has taken them 7,000 years to get those balls.
        And if you don’t like that figure, well I’ll settle for the 32 of the Mburak regime.

        • Pelao, I’m venezuelan… so, I’m included in the ‘pote’ 🙂
          There’s a joke in the web: we should import some Egyptian balls urgently!! (I don’t wanna wait thousands of years)

    • Liz I can show you my balls whenever you want so you could study them and compare them the average balls of Egyptians.

      You seem to forget that Chavez was thrown down exactly as Mubarak because people went to the streets to protest AND therefore the military decided to take him down, then he was put back in power because Carmona & friends blew it BIG TIME.

      So, do my a favor, go insult Carmona and Baduel and friends, but I saw thousands of people on the streets fighting like hell for weeks and we didnt need 30 years of Chavez to go to the streets like the Egyptians, we only needed 3 or 4 years of him.

      I cannot believe that readers of this blog massively support your stupid comment.

      Before any of you come out to insult me just remember how many people were killed in Plaza Altamira, in Puente Llaguno, etc. and people kept coming out for more.

      • Oh, thanks for that! I couldn’t have put it better, I walked so dammed much in those protest, had to get down in the floor when the police fired to our buildings during the guarimbas (my neighbors had been giving the National Guard a really hard time!), we were next to el valle in the lower part of Santa Monica, and things there were really hard core. Well, meaning, I saw a lot of Venezuelans show balls. But we didn’t have good leader and another big part of the population liked him as passionately as we disliked him. So I can show anyone my ovaries, I don’t have balls, but my ovaries are big too 😉

      • Jau , Moraima (and others), please, do not be offended. by my words. I surely didn’t direct my comment to any of you.

        I meant the country as a whole. Individuals are a different story.

        My immediate family and me, were doing the same thing you did during those days (maybe we were in the same streets). Even today, I still fight the regime in many ways, personal details that I cannot say in a public forum.

        We have lost our way of living thanks to the regime 3 times and we would do the same thing all over again… If you knew what I’m doing to survive right now, you would laugh. Da hasta pena. But I’m not surrendering to the reds for money.

        Yes, Carmona, the militaruchos are to blame. But also those Venezuelans that are spineless. I’m sure you know them, those who want you to fight and protest while they go to the beach, the parties, the vacations etc. And those who partake in business with the government; to me, that is a no-no.

        It’s very easy to be misunderstood when you’re not talking/writing in your mother tongue. But let me tell you, when you call me or my comment -directly- a stupid; it’s a whole different animal.

  3. The real difference is that millions of people passionately support(ed) Chávez (in 2002 as now). Mubarak had no Círculos Nasserianos…

    • The real difference is that millions of people passionately support(ed) Chávez (in 2002 as now).

      Am I reading Caracas Chronicles, or the blog from The Revolution Will Not Be Televised?

      • To be clear — agreeing w/Quico on this. Not Alek…who can’t seriously believe Chavez didn’t have/doesn’t have passionate supporters?

        • Lucia, he has supporters. Lots. It’s true.

          But 5 million of chavistas around Miraflores Palace to back him up a couple days after Ap/11?? Nope! there’s no space in those streets around the Palace for 5 million people. Hehe, that would include La Gran Caracas population.

          Anyway… lets thank Carmona y su combo and the military for handling the situation. so nicely

    • I honestly don’t think that makes much of a difference. Actually I’m pretty sure Chavez had millions supporting him, just as there were many millions that were quite against him. After all Venezuela with 20-24 million people at the time, it’s not an exaggeration to say there were millions who supported or were against Chavez in 2002.

      Of course how many actually walked in the streets demanding his return or demanding his resignation… that’s actually a different type of question.

      Mobilization is key if you’re going to put pressure on the government. To me the whole April debacle started and ended with the Army and the different civilian power brokers. The average joe of either side contributed to applying pressure but didn’t do anything by themselves (I think that only works with spineless presidents… like in Argentina for example). And in the opposition case the masses successfully applied enough pressure and created a situation where the Army no longer supported Chavez and wanted him to resign. Too bad they started fighting amongst themselves on just WHAT to do with Chavez and what kind of transition government was going to be established. Then the whole thing was hijacked by power hungry buffoons so that the Army splintered and the important officers, who commanded troops, decided it was better to put Chavez back rather than let the current hooligans dissolve all the powers and run amok.

      Popular support is a key ingredient but ultimately by itself won’t do anything 90% of the time.

    • I’m glad Quico pointed out the minor, VERY minor, difference between Egypt and Venezuela: In Venezuela Chavez has millions of passionate supporters and has won several elections by large margins.

      Minute little detail. But hey, don’t sweat the small stuff guys!

      • Change that to HAD millions of passionate supporters, and you’d be right, Alexander.

        And “…has won several elections by large margins” should add: and each time the margin is lower.

        Now he has hundreds of thousands, and many of those too scared to come out and call his bullshit in the open.

        Minute details, hope you have some Right Guard around, Alexander

        • Minute details are indeed important Roberto, which is why you receive a failing grade in that respect.

          Anyone who would try to claim that Chavez doesn’t still have millions of passionate supporters is obviously bonkers. I won’t even go there.

          And as far as winning elections by smaller margins each time you are also wrong. The last time Chavez won an election in which he was a candidate was in 2006, and it was his largest victory ever. In other words, your above statement is not only incorrect, the truth is the exact opposite of what you said. Try again brainiac.

  4. Mubarak is gone; but will the regime change? government is still in the hands of the military plague that supported Mubarak for decades…

  5. From the bbc website:

    “In an announcement on state TV, Vice-President Omar Suleiman said Mr Mubarak had handed power to the military.”

    So, Mubarak didn’t say anything himself, it was the vice-president who said it. In other words, “le pidieron la renuncia y el la aceptó”?

    I’m not saying the news is false, all I’m saying is that I wouldn’t be surprised to see “thousands of spontaneous pro-Mubarak demonstrators” magically appear all over the country to demand his return to power.

  6. 1. The United States had no leverage to push Chavez out. With the Egyptian Army substantially funded from the US, the threat of removing this benefit was convincing.

    2. The Venezuelan economy depends on oil. The Egyptian economy depends on tourism, and other small-scale commerce. Creating a rumpus in the street brought the Egyptian economy to a standstill. Doing so in Caracas did not, I believe, cut the oil pipelines and the outflow of oil to purchasers.

    • Let me see if I’m getting this straight Jeffry.

      1. The US was influential in getting rid of Mubarak (who they’ve supported for 30 years, and who they never cut funding to) but weren’t influential in overthrowing Chavez even though they heavily funded the opposition groups who orchestrated the coup and lent immediate support to it when it happened???

      2. They did cut oil pipelines in Chavez. It was called el paro petrolero… Is this backwards day or something?

      • Well your chronology is a bit off: the paro came 7 months after the coup.

        Fun question: will chavistas celebrate the overthrow of a US backed government, or rue Obama’s success in pushing him out?

        • Careful there Quico, you’re going to make Chavista heads explode. In their little world everything has to be Black & White, otherwise…

        • Both:

          (from AVN:)
          El ministro del Poder Popular para Relaciones Exteriores, Nicolás Maduro, expresó este viernes su rechazo al intervencionismo imperial del Gobierno estadounidense en Egipto por lo que instó a la comunidad internacional “a respetar el camino que el pueblo está tomando en ese país”.
          Maduro hizo esa intervención en una entrevista para el canal Venevisión, en la que recalcó que “los imperios fueron los que dividieron al pueblo árabe, que ha padecido un siglo y medio el peso de intervencionismo”.
          Tras 18 días de rebelión popular, Hosni Mubarak renunció este viernes a la presidencia de Egipto y entregó el poder a una junta militar, según anunció el vicepresidente de esa nación árabe, Omar Suleiman.

          • The first time I read Nineteen Eighty-Four, I thought the concept of double-think was hard to grasp. How could a thinking entity both accept and deny a fact?

            I’ve got my answer.

        • “Fun question: will chavistas celebrate the overthrow of a US backed government, or rue Obama’s success in pushing him out?”

          They did not comment on the situation until that empty suit (Obama) opened his mouth.

        • Yes Quico, it was Obama who pushed out Mubarak (by continuing the flow of military aid), not the protesters in Cairo. Could you possibly be more of a lackey to the empire?

      • “but weren’t influential in overthrowing Chavez even though they heavily funded the opposition groups who orchestrated the coup and lent immediate support to it when it happened???”

        Heavily funded? What was the amount?

          • It doesn’t matter how much money was given to by the US to the opposition. That’s beside the point. The point is that they were obviously supporting the opposition to Chavez. This wasn’t the case in Egypt. The money was going TO the dictatorship, not to the opposition.

  7. I thought this portion of today’s Friedman column was relevant:

    “” Future historians will write about the large historical forces that created this movement, but it is the small stories you encounter in Tahrir Square that show why it is unstoppable.

    I spent part of the morning in the square watching and photographing a group of young Egyptian students wearing plastic gloves taking garbage in both hands and neatly scooping it into black plastic bags to keep the area clean. This touched me in particular because more than once in this column I have quoted the aphorism that “in the history of the world no one has ever washed a rented car.” I used it to make the point that no one has ever washed a rented country either — and for the last century Arabs have just been renting their countries from kings, dictators and colonial powers. So, they had no desire to wash them.

    Well, Egyptians have stopped renting, at least in Tahrir Square, where a sign hung Thursday said: “Tahrir — the only free place in Egypt.” So I went up to one of these young kids on garbage duty — Karim Turki, 23, who worked in a skin-care shop — and asked him: “Why did you volunteer for this?” He couldn’t get the words out in broken English fast enough: “This is my earth. This is my country. This is my home. I will clean all Egypt when Mubarak will go out.” Ownership is a beautiful thing.””

    • How infuriatingly Friedmanesque is it to cram this genuinely touching moment into some idiotically contrived Big Think theme?

      “This is my earth. This is my country. This is my home. I will clean all Egypt when Mubarak will go out.” Truly how flat the world is.

      Ugh!

      • My bad, I didn’t take the time to edit the bloviatese out of the clipping. I swear my brain has learned to tune Friedmanisms out over the years.

      • “This is my earth. This is my country. This is my home. I will clean all Egypt when Mubarak will go out.” Truly how flat the world is.”

        I am not defending Friedman but I would not be surprised if some Egyptian uttered those words. As somebody who lived in arab countries for 10 years, can testify to the dramatics of their language. If you think Spanish is a emotional, dramatic language, Arabic is 10 times worse.

        • or better… I take spanish over english any time to be able to express a deep felt emotion, “odiame por piedad yo te lo pido, odio quiero mas que indiferencia, porque el rencor duele menos que el olvido”….

          I should learn arabic and see if they have a better “despecho” phrase, jaja

  8. I have to say, Juan, I don’t think this is one of your better thought out posts.

    Mubarak headed a government that no one in the world saw as legitimate – it ruled with 30 years of banned political parties, sham elections, a repressive state apperatus, etc. etc. It was only accepted by some (U.S., Israel, etc) out of convenience, even they saw that government for what it was. Finally the population decided it couldn’t take it any more and revolted.

    In 2002/2003 Chavez clearly headed a legitimate government, no matter how much you may have despised it or percieved where it was headed. Therefore, there was no legitimate reason to overthrow the government and not enough support could be garnered to make a coup successful.

    To compare the Chavez of 2002 to the Mubarak of the past 30 years is simply reverting to the simplistic opposition propoganda I’ve heard you criticize many times on this blog. So I’m not sure why you would now have it creeping back into your own posts.

    And the notion that Mubarack wasn’t repressive enough, or somehow not as repressive as Chavez in 2002, is simply silly – in Egypt 300+ people have been killed, virtually the entire Internet was shut down, the phone system was largely taken down, there is no “opposition” mass media, the foreign media have been attacked and arrested, etc.

    A more apt question is why Egyptians revolted while Cubans have lived under a repressive regime for 50 years and when will Cubans finally revolt? And how far can Chavez go in is creeping repression before Venezuelans revolt?

    There is simply no basis for comparing Venezuela 2002 to Egypt 2011.

    • “Therefore, there was no legitimate reason to overthrow the government and not enough support could be garnered to make a coup successful.”

      Hold it there OW, even the US constitution has language where it implores its citizens to not recognize a government that has strayed from the constitutional path and become illegitimate. In 2002 you had a very significant chunk of the Venezuelan population that believed the government, which had legitimate origins, had become illegitimate through its actions. Likewise there was also a significant chunk that felt that the other side was being treasonous and were basically the equivalent of contras.

      And the Army certainly believed there was a legitimate reason to request Chavez step down as President. There were many complexities involved in that Debacle, and many forces pushing in one direction or another. Chavez ultimately won the struggle but your post painting Chavez like some sort of victim is disingenuous. Remember that he has gone on the record as purposely provoking that crisis. He loves confrontation.

    • Well, OW, I’m sorry you mistook it for a thought-out post. It’s not. It’s simply an observation to get the conversation going on the events in Egypt. I know nothing about Egypt, as is evident in the post. And I do not claim to know anything about Egypt.

      However, this: “There is simply no basis for comparing Venezuela 2002 to Egypt 2011” is simply wrong. Both were popular movements. Both relied on mass protests trying to bring down a government viewed by people as authoritarian. Both used similar slogans. Both were civic-military movements. So a comparison is not wholly unwarranted.

      In fact, your entire comment is a comparison between Venezuela and Egypt!

  9. FoxtrotCharlie got it exactly the opposite to what it is. The military stopped supporting Mubarak once they realised he had lost all popular support and the people were not going to stop they presence on the streets. Mubarak’s cronies must have initially convinced him not to resign and pushed him confront all of those who wanted him out, but that did not last long. In the end, yes, it is the military leaders who forced Mubarak to go, but this was a response to the popular pressure, not the other way around. This is a time for cautious celebration from my part. As happy as I am that Egypt got rid of an authoritarian, corrupt and abusive figure, they are now facing extremely dangerous circumstances: the possibility of extremist Islamic groups to take over and create a state of confrontation with Israel could potentially be catastrophic for the region. The possibility of an ochlocracy is also a possibility. We have seen in our ruined country the consequences of ochlocracy: empty slogans like “the government of the people”, “street parliamentary sessions” and crap like that to excite the mob while the electrical grid crumbles because the ochlocrats place cronies in key technical positions instead of experts, or an oil industry that once was the pride of the nation being looted and left in shatters. Either way, theses are both exciting and perilous times for Egypt.

    • “In the end, yes, it is the military leaders who forced Mubarak to go,”

      And that’s exactly my point. I don’t have it backwards. The popular revolt can put pressure and during the 2002-2003 Strike, you can argue that the opposition applied the ultimate pressure. But the Army backed Chavez to the hilt. After the April Debacle Chavez learned his lesson: ensure that the troops are under the command of loyal generals before you attack.

      • And the Egyptian Army, due to a combination of elements, both internal and external, decided Mubarak had to go. I am NOT privy to their thought process but I would speculate that they were not happy with his performance and the internal strife, and the fact that he had already agreed to step down in September. He’s been on the seat for 30 odd years it’s not like he was going to add to his legacy in a few more months. Remember, Mubarak handed power NOT a civilian institution, he handed it over to the ARMY.

  10. “At any rate, the protesters in Egypt are clearly enjoying this moment.”

    Well they sure should enjoy it before they fall from the frying pan into the fire. They have no idea of what freedom is about and in addition I personally never have met people who so nasty to one another. Shouting at subordinates is the norm rather than the exception. I wish them luck.

    • “Shouting at subordinates is the norm rather than the exception. I wish them luck.”

      That is not just Egypt. It is the norm in most, if not all, arab/muslim countries.

  11. FoxtrotCharlie got it exactly the opposite to what it is. The military stopped supporting Mubarak once they realised he had lost all popular support and the people were not going to stop their presence on the streets. Mubarak’s cronies must have initially convinced him not to resign and pushed him to confront all of those who wanted him out, but that did not last long. In the end, yes, it is the military leaders who forced Mubarak to go, but this was a response to the popular pressure, not the other way around. This is a time for cautious celebration from my part. As happy as I am that Egypt got rid of an authoritarian, corrupt and abusive figure, they are now facing extremely dangerous circumstances: the possibility of extremist Islamic groups to take over and create a state of confrontation with Israel could potentially be catastrophic for the region. The possibility of an ochlocracy is also there. We have seen in our ruined country the consequences of ochlocracy: empty slogans like “the government of the people”, “street parliamentary sessions” and crap like that to excite the mob while the electrical grid crumbles because the ochlocrats place cronies in key technical positions instead of experts, or an oil industry that once was the pride of the nation being looted and left in shatters. Either way, theses are both exciting and perilous times for Egypt.

  12. Juan,

    I don’t agree with you on this one. As someone twitted yesterday, Hosni is not Hugo and Venezuela is not Egypt.

    The first difference is time. In 2002 Venezuela had 4 years of Hugo Chávez. In 2011, Egypt has 30 years of Mubarak. So Egypt is probably what Venezuela would be in 20 years, if Chávez stays in power.

    The second difference is oil. Egypt produces around 600000 barrels/day in a country of about 80 million. Venezuela produces at least 4 times that in a country with about 1/3 of the population.

    The third difference is religion. Religion plays an important role in Egypt’s society whereas is a non-standing issue in Venezuela.

    • Hmm… Bruni maybe in the big picture, religion in Venezuela is not as powerful as it is in the Arab world. Yes. But I wouldn’t say it’s non-standing. Whenever Chavez attacks the Catholic Church people frown in general. I’m not sure (don’t quote me) but I believe the Church is one of the few institutions in Venezuela that enjoys credibility and respect. I could be wrong.

      Regarding your first difference, I’m not all that convinced about the timing. It’s more the conditions on the ground and the current state of the country. I don’t think dictators have an average expiration date. While I’m not going to say you’re wrong saying that it takes decades for a people to tire of their dictator strikes me as too simplistic. If the Venezuelan military had handled April 2002 differently you wouldn’t put that argument forward. Many factors can contribute to the downfall of an autocrat.

      I’m not very convinced about Oil either, remember Chavez weathered a huge Oil strike that arguably should have made his government teeter and collapse much faster than the Egyptian one. I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. You just make an observation that Venezuela produces more oil per capita than Egypt, and this makes a difference because….?

      Also I’m not convinced about your Religion difference. It wasn’t THE factor in the Egyptian revolt. Certainly the Tunisian experience was a major influence, but many sectors in Egyptian society contributed to this revolt. Both religious AND secular. The Egyptian government had been suppressing the religious hardliners for years before this event, so why would it play such a big role now? Then again I’m trying to infer your point, you don’t explicitly say HOW religion made a big difference in this revolt. Yes I will agree that Religion in the arab world is more important than religion in Venezuela, but how is that a major difference in this revolt? Maybe religion in Venezuela wasn’t a major pressure point but there were plenty of other factors that more than compensated for this (for example: the unions and the business corporations).

      • Yes, dictators do have an expiration date, unless they decide to put in place a state of terror.

        Oil is an issue because of the “first law of petrostates”…countries with no oil have more chance to get a democratic goverment, specially after a revolution.

        Religion does play a role, because even though the revolt was not necessarily religious, extremist religious leaders had been persecuted in Egypt and there is the pressure from religious influences in the region (didn’t you see Hezbollah applauding the revolt?).

        A final note that also makes a difference: in 2002, George Bush was too busy with Iraq, the US was not paying close attention to what was happening in Vzla and we did not have a good international press. The movement against Chávez was seen as that of the “rich” against his “socialist changes”. No outpooring of sympathy for us…

    • agree on the religion aspects. It was something else to see thousands in prayer mode, in Tahrir Square, while facing mecca. That seriousness of intent, repeated for 18 days, would stop any dictator in his tracks.

      Then, how about the young boys that swept the debris from Tahrir Square with palm leaves, after it was all over. That drana of responsibility made a big impression on me.

      Not gonna happen in el valle de boliburgueses.

  13. “defection cascade”, though not a very felicitous phrase, it does reflect the feelings of many here… bwahahaha; now back to my 17th century translation… I’m sorry you guys, your favorite African tyrant is gone. You must be inconsolable

  14. Hey, Maria, why are you tying to lure me into this, lurid, jihadist discussion/debate?

    Please, refrain chica.

    Slave is in chill mode of late.

    OW, please, read a couple of books on Cuba and US imperialism. Nothing like Egypt bromeister.

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