Chávez starts to pay the price for that Bolivar sword replica UPDATED

Not a Bolivar Sword photo, but I love the expression on Hugo's face...

Even longstanding Chávez ball-coddler Nikolas Kozloff is appalled by his chumminess with Ghaddafi

Update: Now long time friend-of-the-house Al Giordano piles on – taking it out, bizarrely, on Evita Golinger and Telesur.

It’s like these guys’ heads would explode if they even entertained the simple, Occam’s Razorish explanation for all this: that Chávez consistent­ly expresses his admiration­, respect, affection, solidarity and deep brotherhoo­d with autocrats because he shares their understand­ing of power, and of a leader’s role with regard to his own people.

[Hat Tips: Sully + Setty]

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  1. Gaddafi le dio a Fidel, Chavez y Ortega “Premio Internacional Al-Gaddafi de los Derechos Humanos” valorado en 250,000 USD por eso es que hoy callan y apoyan al genocida? No es eso un soborno? Nuestro Presidente se vende por dolares americanos? y ya sabemos su precio para que no hable?

  2. For someone like Chávez, a personality obsessed with the theatrics of power, Gaddafi is the perfect model to follow: a “revolutionary” rhetoric, primitive and simplistic adorned by a figure literaly dressed-up as a “liberator of peoples”. It all makes me wonder if they share the same hair dye…

  3. Hmmmm, so all of a sudden, Kozloff is appalled by the Chávez-Ghaddafi nexus? Must mean that the writer has been sleeping, or been under a severe delusion, or been scrambling to do damage control and hide his sycophancy.

  4. I have kept up with Kozloff’s writings for several years now and all I can say is that the man is the very worst kind of delusional toadie. He behaves as if every new and grossly unacceptable thing Chavez does is somehow not part of the man’s character but some mistake that can be remedied. Chavez consorts with other strongmen because he himself is a strongman. I love the comments on the Huffington Post article about how the U.S. is ten times worse. I think some of these neo-fellow travelers need to actually get outside the U.S. and realize that there is no equivalency between Bradley Manning and Judge Afiuni or that the freedoms they enjoy in their respective developed nations would hardly be respected somewhere like Venezuela. Thankfully, Chavez’s biggest weakness is his hubris, and while Gaddafi is discrediting himself across the ocean by shooting protestors, Chavez is discrediting himself on this side of the sea of happiness by supporting a discredited murderer.

  5. This is sort of silly. I watched Anderson Cooper last night on CNN and they were only talking about and showing videos of Condaleeza Rice, Tony Blair, and Hillary Clinton fawning over Gaddafi and his sons – not to mention Lionel Ritchie, Mariah Carey and Beyonce doing million dollars gigs at their parties. Anderson Cooper was really upset and going off about it but never once mentioned Chavez. So if you think this is going to be seen as some big black mark against Chavez don’t hold your breath… he has lots of company amongst much more high profile people.

    Further, what is really important for Chavez here is that oil is back well above $100 and heading north. Imagine if that keeps up through the presidential elections in 2012.

    Anyways, it is amazing to see the courage of the Libyian people and I sure hope they prevail. And if they can win, what is the excuse for Cubans sitting on their hands and simply accepting the Castro regime?

    • OW is right. Lots of the rich and powerful have fawned over Gadhafi….and despite him being completely demonized on CNN, Bloomberg and the BBC, there are plently of “bad guys” in the Middle East doing what he has been doping. And I include Israel in the same bag after the killing of innocents in Gaza using outlawed weapons. Remember Wounded Knee and the bombing of Afghamistan and Kosovo as well as Hiroshima and Ngasaki not to mention Dresden.

      The world is full of hypocricy.

    • I think this ignoring of Chavez or comparing pictures of Ghadafi with Chavez to pictures of him with whomever is ridiculously simplistic, though that’s not too surprising for typical news, and completely invalid for two reasons.

      One, none of those people are supporting him now, but Chavez is.

      Two, Libya really seemed to moving towards normalcy for several years. Ever heard of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, ILSA? Since 2006, it’s the ISA. Libya stopped its weapons programs, was no longer considered a state sponsor of terrorism, and released rather than executed those European nurses following that bizarre incident where they were accused of intentionally infecting hundreds of kids with HIV. That’s why it was no longer a crime for U.S. oil companies to operate there. That anyone had their picture taken with him during that period should not be considered a black mark.

      That anyone is supporting the tyrant in what he is doing now most certainly should be.

      • I don’t think I can agree with your position.

        It seems as what you are saying is that internal repression and denial of human rights and lack of democracy are all ok as long as it doesn’t involve 1) foreign agression through things like terrorism and 2) doesn’t involve large scale domestic blood shed.

        That is, if the domestic population is largely passive with regards to its plight it is somehow ok. It least that is what I see in what you are saying above.

        But if that is indeed what you are saying then I guess you find the Castro regime ok because it refrains at this point from foreign aggression and although it is completely repressive their isn’t large scale bloodshed. Further, as long as Chavez keeps his actions within his own borders and doesn’t gun down hundreds or thousands of people then he too would be ok even if he closed down the independent media, restricted travel, and effectively canceled all future elections?
        I personally think any regime which is not elected through free elections and which doesn’t respect fundamental human rights is illegitimate and it is indeed a black mark on any government to deal with them.
        Blair, Clinton and Chavez should all be equally ashamed of their relationships with Gadaffi. But knowing how the world works and knowing how those individuals think I am sure they are not ashamed at all.

        • OW, you never apologized for all the crap you dished out back when you claimed chavez was all about democracy and decency.

          And now on a high horse! Talking about shame on others to boot! “knowing how those individuals think” as if you’re not one of *those*.

          Que descaro.

          • Never apologized? What, did you not get my card?
            Seriously, I have acknowledged many, many times my huge mistakes and blunders regarding Venezuela. And in fact, yes, they do relate to this discussion. I really should have known that a government that lauded Cuba is a model to be followed was not going to go anywhere good. Even more, I should have known any political movement based on the whims of one person rather than a democratically run political party with a clear program is doomed to failure.
            Those are inexcusable mistakes and I take full responsibility for them, and more importantly will try to never make similar mistakes again.
            However, I do not believe my making those mistakes precludes me from calling others out when they make similar mistakes.

          • No, OW.

            Firstly, acknowledging a mistake is not the same as apologizing for it. Besides, stating that you “should have known” and that you will try not to make similar mistakes again is as light an acknowledgement as you can make, far from the level of acknowledgement of, say, stating flat out that you were wrong.

            Secondly, and most importantly, if what you think I am talking about is that you were wrong about chavez and chavismo, you still don’t get it. You constantly and consistently used your ends of supporting chavez and chavismo to justify your means of lies and manipulations. For crying out loud, you purposely *counted* wrong. So, it’s not about what you believed in, but about how far you were willing to go for those beliefs. Your statement is like the people who lied about Iraq’s WMDs stating that they acknowledge that supporting Bush was wrong.

            Though you may be convincing that you’ve improved your socio-economic-political positions, it takes much more than that to convince anyone who put up with your crap that you wouldn’t resort to your immoral, and unethical ways to support them any new position you hold.

            No, OW, you have never apologized, and even now are showing that you may not have the faintest as to the lowness you demonstrated as an individual, regardless of whether you had been right or wrong about chavez.

          • Can’t reply below so I’ll write it here:

            Sorry Torres, but if you want me to apologize about things I wasn’t wrong about don’t hold your breath because it isn’t going to happen. I won’t apologize for believing that Chavez actually won the RR, for seeing that the evidence regarding that is very clear, nor for exposing the bogus arguements and statistics that others presented and you were credulous enough to believe. Nor will I apologize for condeming the coup of 2002 and the oil strike of 2002/2003 nor for calling out much of the opposition (and you) on their absurd statements about Chavez being a “dictator” or somehow duping international observers and rigging elections. The fact that I was totally wrong about where Chavez was ultimately going and what promise he held for the country doesn’t make me wrong about those other things, nor make you right regarding them.
            Anyways, at least I’ve been clear about what I think I’ve been wrong about. Lets see how long it takes you to admit you were wrong about Chavez winning elections through fraud (don’t worry, I am not holding my breath).

          • ” I won’t apologize for believing that Chavez actually won the RR, for seeing that the evidence regarding that is very clear…”

            The evidence, you say Burnett? What evidence is that, the one Jimmy Carter collected in the totalisation room that he was never allowed to enter?

          • OW, again, as you always used to, you sidestep the main points showing you wrong. Regardless of being right and wrong, you did and said things with ill-intent. I have no problem with people making mistakes, including myself, but you aren’t apologizing for having been a bad person, and that is why I rather have a sit down with someone who still believes in chavez but is a good person, than with you, even if you start claiming Carmona was a good thing. Dude, I don’t care if Benford can be used to prove the validity of the RR, I care that you were counting digits wrong. I care that Miguel Octavio couldn’t get you to *add* a couble of numbers in a straight fashion. I care about all your other purposefully composed lies and manipulations.

            Like I was told by someone who met you in real life: Don’t make any mistake about Dan Burnett, dont be fooled by his manners and demeanor, he’s just like Lina Ron after finishing school.

            From your replies, I see that has not changed, at all.

            Isn’t it odd that with the new oil prices shooting up, we’re getting all these chavistas back on the blogs?

      • I can’t agree with my position, either – if it were what you say it is. But it’s not.

        I’m definitely not trying to say that having a photo taken with him years ago was approval of all things Ghadafi. There comes a time when one reasonable response to a certain amount of progress in the right direction is a degree of personal acceptance, where you can use that contact to encourage additional progress. You don’t sit down at the table with terrorists, but you might sit down at the table with former terrorists who have said they will lay down their weapons and renounce terrorist ways. Take Sinn Fein for an example of that.

        The second point I’m making is that, at this moment, it’s pretty lame to look at all the people who had their photo op with Ghadafi over the last several years and paint it as support for him right now. If someone had complained about that a month ago, before the protests and shooting started, no problem. But right now, it’s just nonsense, and doing so distracts from the idiots like Chavez and Ortega, who actively support the guy knowing full well that he ordered people shot.

  6. Kozloff has actually criticized Chavez for his embrace of dictators–and their human rights abuses– on several previous occasions. He has specifically included Ghaddafi in the group, calling him a tin pot dictator. One is called “Moral Lapses of the Left” and another “Enough with the Chavez Hero Worship” There are others.

    Kozloff is way too sanguine about Chavez’s domestic policies, which he STILL thinks are directed at helping people out of poverty. And I agree with Francisco that his real blindness is the refusal to integrate the foreign policy/ domestic policy images of Chavez into a single figure.

    • This is true, Kozloff has criticized Chavez before. However, as you pointed out, his articles show an odd dual mindset: On the one hand he can smell something isn’t quite right, but he refuses to make the final break with what I think he can already tell is an increasingly irrelevant and unstable strongman. I think the problem with a lot of these fellow-travelers abroad is the same problem that a lot of disenchanted voters in Venezuela have: They know that Chavez doesn’t provide solutions and they have seen it over 12 years. However, they hate the “oligarchy” that they have built up in their minds so much that they think a full denunciation of Chavez will somehow bolster that straw man they have opposed for so long.

  7. Giordano’s piece is an extraordinary testimony from a guy that still refuses to accept that Chavez is a buffoon and a ruthless dictator but that finds the actions of the regime’s propaganda machine indefensible. The infatuation of this kind of people with the idea of a socialist panacea that will displace the evil capitalism renders them completely blind and unable to acknowledge the atrocities committed by their admired leaders. They are unable to see the abuses and even the crimes of those self-proclaimed socialist revolutionaries. Gaddafi, Castro, Mubarak, Mugabe, Chavez are “babillas del mismo charco” as we say in Maracaibo. But even for a guy like Giordano, things are reaching a point of indefensibility. Diehard supporters of the Venezuelan disgraceful revolution are starting to jump ship.

    • It is important to give fence jumpers every encouragement. That’s why I always say: “It’s good to have you on our side” rather than “You supported it too long and so are morally compromised.”

      Especially in the Venezuelan electoral context, in which a majority of voters previously supported Chavez, open arms and not ciriticism, are a must.

      • For YEARS the very first thing people googling me would think they’d know about me was from that rambling hit piece Giordano wrote after I quit stringing for the NYTimes, in which he spent two thirds of it attacking my professional ethics after making a basic error of fact IN THE VERY FIRST SENTENCE!

        I guess from a purely strategic viewpoint, you’re right. For me, though, it’s personal. Screw Al Giordano and his schoolgirl’s crush on swarthy dictator types.

        • FT, could you please explain what exactly happened between you and NYT?

          For YEARS I have been thinking that that decision of yours, if it was indeed your decision and not the other way round, was your “paro”, or your “post RR fraud claims”, or your “boycotting legislative elections in 05”. Tu propio Waterloo pues.

          Please don’t take this the wrong way, I should be most grateful if you could explain.

          • Sure. I’d started this blog right around the same time I started stringing for their Caracas correspondent – Juan Forero, at that time. (Giordano describes me as the NYT Caracas Correspondent – I should be so lucky!, I was more like the guy who got the Caracas correspondent coffee…my job was basically to find the guy interviews, help him with background stuff, check his facts, etc. To sweeten the deal, in return they’d let me write a sporadic business story under my own byline. )

            Anyway, blogs were a pretty new thing then. So it didn’t occur to me to disclose it, and it didn’t occur to them to ask. After a few weeks on the job I innocently mentioned my blog, and Juan right away could see that this would be a problem from their point of view. He told me – and to this day I am impressed by how professional and level-headed he was about this – that I needed to give up either the blog or the string. So I gave up the string.

            Partly, I did it because a lot of my other work also involved writing opinion stuff under my own name – remember I was editorializing for VenEconomy back then too. I thought I was a better essayist than reporter, so it wasn’t any kind of grand gesture, really.

            I had a very, very junior level part-time job for a few weeks, then I gave it up to concentrate on the blog. It was that simple, that undramatic.

          • Gracias, for explaining this.

            Now I see that Giordano’s claims about your NYT gig, are as valid, and credible, as those of Stalinist Calvin Tucker about my dealings with Tories.

            As you say though, those with liberal tendencies will google and believe stuff published by Giordano, or indeed The Guardian, as gospel.

        • I’m with you on this one, Quico. Giordano is a narcissistic gasbag. And a vicious, repulsive human being.

          Like Chávez, AND Gaddafi, in fact.

          Believe me, jeffry house, you don’t want him on your side. Ever.

          • Giordano is a powerful polemicist, and so when he’s on the right side of an issue, he’s tremendous. Righteous fury is wonderful.

            As for Golinger, the ‘novia de Venezuela,’ guess this shows that love really is blind.

  8. Hugo said, when he handed over Bolivar’s sword to Ghaddafi that “Ghaddafi is to Lybia as Simon Bolivar is to us…”

    Now, is Hugo Chavez talking about the historic Bolivar, who was forced to step down? Yes, that Bolivar decreed a dictatorship and tried centralist government. He was forced to step down to avoid serious bloodshed, retired and died.

    No, he is talking about the propaganda Bolivar he and his followers built. He is talking about a mythical strongman that Hugo Chavez looks forward to emulate. He is talking about a man who would hold on to power by any means, however grievous, until he died, who would try to force an unnatural system on his own society no matter what it may cost.

    A man who believes he is anointed by history and thus not bound by the moral considerations that plague ordinary mortals, or by a sense of ridicule. A man that if anything, is made with the same mold of the “Mad Dog of the Middle East”.

  9. Fresh from Venezuelanalysis


    In 2009, Libya named a football stadium after Hugo Chavez, and recently, during a visit to Venezuela, Gaddafi presented Chavez with a Bedouin tent. Also in 2009, while Chavez was visiting Libya, he commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Libyan “revolution” with Gaddafi. There, Chavez expressed his support for African unity.

    To date there have been no official Venezuelan government statements put out or made to the press regarding the massacre of Libyan protestors.

  10. Oh Quico, but don’t you know that the problem with Occam’s Razor is its inherent tendency towards simplicity? I suppose not, since your arguments tend to scream simplicity.

    While Chavez certainly has supported some questionable regimes, and you are correct for criticizing that, the reason is not because “he shares their understanding of power”, as you claim, but rather because his whole foreign policy objective is about increasing multi-polarity in a very uni-polar world. (Have you been living under a rock?) That means he tends to support anti-US/anti-imperialist regimes, regardless of how undemocratic they might be.

    If your overly-simplistic explanation were true, then you’d have to explain why he has never lent his support to pro-US dictators, like those who are currently being pushed out across the Middle East.

      • Sure, you could make that comparison. He certainly supports them for pragmatic reasons of foreign policy, not ideological ones, if that’s what you mean.

        • I suppose one has to ask ‘If you have to get into bed with guys like the Castros, Gaddafi and the various dictators of Belarus, Iran, Syria, etc, then one’s gotta ask is it worth it? And is theirs the world Chavez wants?

          Chavez’s chumminess and almost unquestioning support for these guys sure makes one think that he supports their methods.

          • Making economic agreements with various leaders around the world is hardly “getting in bed” with them. If that is the case, then economic agreements with the US (as the opposition supports) would be considered “getting in bed” with the most violent regime on the face of the planet.

            However, you all are right that it would be a lot better if Chavez could do it without the stupid glorification of them.

          • Comparing them to the US in one respect suddenly means they are exactly the same on all respects? Great logic.

          • in that regard at least…

            Hugo Chavez’s government is much worse in terms of pluralism and alternation in power. Economic performance. Crime. Militarism. And in teaming with dictators.

          • Lorenzo, you must be joking.

            Pluralism? In the US there are only 2 political parties, and it is very very difficult to operate as an outside party, and almost impossible to win ANY public office.

            Alternation in Power? Alternating between the corporate sponsored Democrats and the corporate sponsored Republicans cannot be considered “alternation”. They have virtually the same stance on all the major issues. (please point out where they differ on major issues)

            Economic performance? Have you been paying attention to recent economic news?

            Crime. Okay, but that’s a dumb comparison when you are comparing first world to third world.

            Militarism??????? Don’t make me fall off my chair in laughter. You must have lost your mind.

            Teaming with dictators?? Are you fucking kidding me? Chavez might glorify dictators, but the US PROPS UP dictators around the world with millions of dollars in aid. There is an important difference there.

    • Generally speaking, the readership of this blog is not quite happy with dictators, anti-U.S. or pro-U.S.

      We have found that dictators (Huguito included as an honorary member, he coddles a lot of them and is a serious wannabe) are pro-“do whatever it takes to keep me and my cronies in power”.

      Particularly unsavory stuff: Trampling on the rights of other people. This makes dictators, no matter that they style themselves pro-U.S. or anti-U.S., little-endian or big-endian, undesirables.

    • “but rather because his whole foreign policy objective is about increasing multi-polarity in a very uni-polar world. ”

      Mientras tanto su política interna es totalmente lo opuesto…

  11. There’s also a qualitative difference here. Yes, the U.S. has supported dictatorships and continues to do so in the Middle East, the ex-Soviet Union and maybe Africa. But at home the U.S. generally respects civil liberties, as do most of its friends, in the Americas, in Western Europe, etc etc.

    In contrast, Chavez has restricted liberties at home and buddied up to many of the world’s worst dictators. That’s a pattern that can’t be ignored.

    • Chavez has restricted liberties in Venezuela?? Well, I guess that’s news to me. Last I saw you could say anything you want in Venezuela, protests in the streets, go on pathetic hunger strikes to demand the release of murders and thieves, etc. etc.

      I wonder how any of that would have played out in the Venezuela de anteayer, when DISIP was headed up by Posada Carriles, protesters regularly disappeared, and leftists regularly turned up dead.

      • You mean like that guy in Margarita who might go to jail because of a T shirt?

        Or like the countless times that protests have been disrupted by groups of armed thugs while the police does nothing?

        Or, like the Tascón list?

        • Dude, you’re comparing one guy in Margarita to the thousands of leftists that were persecuted and murdered under the IV republic?

          I didn’t say the Chavez government has been perfect in terms of political rights, (Tascon’s list is one example) but to make the claim that liberties have been “restricted” under Chavez is to imply that they were better before Chavez. That is simply bullshit.

          • Thousands have been sistematically excluded from govt. benefits and jobs. AFAIK, that did not happen in the old days.

            And, the leftists persecuted in the early times of the 4th were in armed opposition to the govt. Abuses against them were committed (and some of the abusers are now in Power, Cantaura, El Amparo, etc), but some of them dropped the guns and got TV shows, political parties and some of them skipped the govt then, but they are in power now.

            During my childhood, however, I do not remember AD thugs with stones and guns disrupting political meetings of Causa R, then a minority party. Things were bad in the past, yet they are worse now.

            And it’s not me who says it, it has also being said by international HR watchdogs. I trust them much more than your word. They’ve been right in many other places, and they criticiza also the American govt and even countries like Norway or Sweden, even if their violations are tiny compared to Abu Gharib and Guantanamo.

          • Here’s another thing that gets me: PCV and MIR took up weapons against an elected government in the 60s. THEY declared the guerrilla war. THEY started shooting…and all of a sudden the fact that they lost turns them into “thousands of leftists that were persecuted and murdered under the IV republic”!?!??

            What exactly were they expecting, a teddy-bear and hugs based military counter-offensive?! Cookies and milk? They started a war for chrissake!

          • Toro,

            They started the guerrilla because they were banned from participating in the political system.

            And those weren’t the only people being killed in those years. Is it possible that you are this ignorant of Venezuelan history, or are you simply pretending?

          • Tascon list is not just a mere accesory thing… many have had to LEAVE OUR OWN COUNTRY because we couldn’t find a job…

            An not, I did not burn or damage goverment equipment in oil refineries. I was a college student during the strike.

            And the list has gone for years now.

            Give a break.

            Try to get a contract in Intevep or PDVSA and not being rojo-rojito. They don’t need to put you in jail, they just make you starve by not being able to find a job.

        • Bla Bla Bla…I know my Venezuelan history better than anybody else…nothing’s wrong in Venezuela… (insert something about Posada Carriles here) Have I pretty much summarized Alexander’s arguments?

          • Change the parenthetical note to (tangent about the “evil” U.S., which distracts from the point of the post) and yes, you’ve nailed it. And far more briefly, I might add.

      • Nelson Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life in prison. Mandela served 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island. Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to multi-racial democracy in 1994. As president from 1994 to 1999, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation. As President from May 1994 until June 1999, Mandela presided over the transition from minority rule and apartheid, winning international respect for his advocacy of national and international reconciliation.

        Mandela served unjustly 27 years in prison, saw many of his comrades being tortured and murdered and lived through one of the most unjust societies we have seen in our lifetime, and look what he did and how he transformed South Africa. I don’t believe Mandela ever threaten to fry the heads of the white minorities that put him in jail and killed his comrades.

        All of you who defend the violent, authoritarian and abusive regime of Chavez and his cronies use a the argument of retaliation for all the people that the democratic governments killed in the sixties and seventies. Let’s assume that the government (DISIP or whomever you thing did it) actually killed all those people that you claim. Do you think that justifies Chavez’s actions? Do you really think that retaliation for something that a chief of police did in 1963 is really going to make any good to the country? What the hell are you defending?

        • Virtok,

          I have no clue what you are talking about. Chavez has not retaliated on any of the people responsible for the repression of leftists in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s, so your whole comment makes no sense.

          • I am not surprised that you haven’t a clue of what I am talking about. After all, your arguments are based on a bunch of inaccurate statements. Pre-Chavez governments killed “thousands of lefties”? Wow! So there is no restriction of liberties under the Chavez regime or is it that the restrictions of liberties are “not as bad” as those of the pre-Chavez era? There are no political prisoners, only politicians in prison, right? Can you think of any case of massive political discrimination as atrocious as the Tascon list in the pre-Chavez era? Even if you acknowledge that your arguments are in most cases exaggerated, that is still irrelevant. The relevant discussion is how we can fix what is wrong today, not what Betancourt did in 1962. We are talking about how wrong this government is, how incompetent it is and how corruption is destroying the country. By the way, you comment about how things are better in the US because “they are a developed country” is extremely laughable. Is like complaining that you got the lowest grade in your class because everybody else studied and you did not. Do you believe that we are closer now to become a developed country than what we were in 1998?

          • Virtok, I’ll answer one by one:

            “your arguments are based on a bunch of inaccurate statements.”

            Such as?

            “Pre-Chavez governments killed “thousands of lefties”?”


            “So there is no restriction of liberties under the Chavez regime or is it that the restrictions of liberties are “not as bad” as those of the pre-Chavez era?”

            Not even comparable.

            “There are no political prisoners, only politicians in prison, right?”

            No. There are criminals in prison. That is, people who broke the law and were convicted for it, or are awaiting trial for it.

            “Can you think of any case of massive political discrimination as atrocious as the Tascon list in the pre-Chavez era?”

            Political clientelism goes way back in Venezuela. But I would say shooting live rounds into peaceful protesters is worse than Tascon’s list. Wouldn’t you?

            “The relevant discussion is how we can fix what is wrong today, not what Betancourt did in 1962. We are talking about how wrong this government is, how incompetent it is and how corruption is destroying the country.”

            You are the ones who claim that things have “gotten worse” under Chavez. That obviously makes it relevant to discuss how things were before Chavez.

            “By the way, you comment about how things are better in the US because “they are a developed country” is extremely laughable. Is like complaining that you got the lowest grade in your class because everybody else studied and you did not.”

            Apparently you have no clue about the history of economic development. It has nothing to do with who “studied” more. Do you know why the industrial revolution took place in England?

            “Do you believe that we are closer now to become a developed country than what we were in 1998?”

            As far as economic independence, no, but as far as social indicators, yes. Venezuela’s HDI is much better now than 10 years ago, and poverty has been cut in half.

          • You are really using a National Assembly’s political propaganda webpage as a support for your argument? You have got to be kidding. Using that same logic I can say that under the V republic there have been 14,000+ people murdered, and I could be as absurd as to spin it and say that all of them have been for political reasons. Nonsense.
            I mention the Tascon list and you talk about political clientelism? What are you talking about? I am talking about massive violation of people’s rights, about thousands of lives ruined, about people forced to live in exile because they could not get a decent job anywhere in the country, and you evade the issue bringing up some clientelism and coming back to the same rant about shooting live rounds to peaceful protestors? On April 11 2002 there were hundreds of thousands of peaceful protestors and you know how that ended.
            You say that the people in prison are criminals, not political prisoners. I am sure some of them have committed crimes. I am also sure that many others are in prison only for political reasons and are unconstitutionally detained. More than a few of those martyrs of the IV republic are considered criminals by many. Also many ex-guerrilla fighters are now part of the government. These are confessed criminals. You would argue that they were justified because they were fighting for freedom. Think about it.

            With regards to your comments about my ignorance in economic development history, I don’t know how you arrive to that conclusion or what the industrial revolution has to do with it. I do see that you did not understand my analogy. The US is in serious economical problems, but the GDP per capita of the US is still today about 4 times larger than Venezuela’s (don’t quote me on it; I am doing a rough estimate). Perhaps one day the US will be as poor as Venezuela, I don’t know, but I am sure that Venezuela is not going to see any economical growth under the incompetent and corrupt regime we have today. Besides, our economy depends a great deal on the health of the American economy and their ability to keep buying our oil. Remember than more than half of our export income comes from the US.

          • About that link about the “thousands of lefties”:

            1.- A web page at the “roja-rojita” national asambly is not valid argument. It would be like using as proof that obama is a comunist a document put in the fox web page.

            2.- There are not thousands of names in that page.

            3.-And last but not least, you are talking about a CUP, not people in a peacefull manifestation. WTF? really? that’s your example of the brutality of the IV?

            Those are very lousy arguements for some one who claims to know a lot of “Venezuelan history”.

            Go and post in aporrea.

          • Alexander, the beauty of Chavez’s form of political violence is that it is 99% performed by el pueblo, who feels entitled to shoot all those evil escualidos that he systematically demonizes through his discourse.

            And if you are not willing to concede te very real effect that Chavez’s political discourse has on violence, don’t come to me complaining about how the gringos are systematically brainwashed by their politicians to support their imperialist adventures, because both things are essentially the same.

        • Padova,

          Your arguments are silly, and basically ad hominem. You attack the source of the info instead of checking its veracity. Here’s another source if you like:

          Now stop being an apologist for murder.


          The reason why the US’s GDP per capita is much higher than Venezuela’s has everything to do with the history of economic development, and why the industrial revolution occurred in places like England, France, US, and not in Venezuela. You’ve got a long way to go if you are really going to understand that.

          • Must be the same reason why Japan’s GDP per capita was the second highest in the world up until a few years ago, but in 1973 was the same as Venezuela’s (approx. $11,000) or the reason why South Korea, which had a GDP per capita four times smaller than Venezuela in 1973 now has one three times higher. Must be that the industrial revolution happened in 1973 and I did not know it. Who is the one that needs to study economic history? I rest my case.

          • Well Virtok, nice try, but you’ve still got a bit more studying to do.

            Japan and South Korea were both able to advance rapidly after WWII because of geopolitical reasons that simply were not present for countries like Venezuela. Given that they were at the borders of a growing communist threat to the West, measures were taken in these countries that simply were not possible in other countries, such as thorough land reform, privileged access to Western markets, virtually unlimited access to credit, and the barring of virtually all foreign investment in national industries.

            Had Venezuela had these advantages they just might have been able to advance more rapidly too. But they didn’t. In fact, land reform and restrictions on foreign investment were downright discouraged.

            Better hit the books my friend!

          • I will let anybody who wants to keep this fruitless discussion to interject. First was the industrial revolution, now it is the geopolitical situation. I am sure there are good reasons why we have a stagnant economy with a crazy inflation and our only hope is that the industrialized economies keep growing and buying our oil. I can give you a real good geo-socio-economical reason why Venezuela does not show progress, as you have admitted: we have to put up with people that defend a mediocre, autocratic lunatic that decided to do his apprenticeship for dictator with the mentorship of Castro, Gaddafi, Mugabe, Lukashenko and others. You can keep blaming the industrial revolution or the geopolitics if you want. I don’t have time for this BS. DNFTT. I fed him enough already.

          • I’ll talk that as an admission that you were wrong. But hey, you’re free to point to the amazing advances in industrialization that took place under pre-Chavez regimes as a way to prove me wrong! I mean, they certainly didn’t praise dictators like Qaddafi, so what gives?

  12. He’s closed down and intimidated media, turned the judicial system into his puppet, arrested people on very questionable grounds, taken away private property on very arbitrary grounds. I’m sure others could add to this list.

    Human Rights Watch: ‘Venezuela: Rights Suffer Under Chávez
    Political Discrimination and Weakened Institutions Define Presidency’


  13. From Bogotá’s El Tiempo paper

    Chavez comes out strong for Kadhafi – isn’t this what friends are for?

    “Viva Libia y su independencia! Kadhafi enfrenta una guerra civil!” // “Long live Libya and its independence! Kadhafi is facing a civil war!” Chavez tweeted.

    Adds foreign minister Maduro:

    “They’re creating conditions to invade Libya…to steal its oil.”

    “Se están creando las condiciones para justificar una invasión a Libia y el objetivo central de la invasión (…) es el de quitarle el petróleo a Libia”

    Yes, and Kadhafi is the heroic, innocent victim of this dastardly international conspiracy. I’m sure that the Libyans have been paid to rebel against him.

  14. It now looks just a tad embarrassing for those bending over backwards to separate Chavez ideas from his actions…. He’s come out in support of his chum, claiming Gaddaffy is the one waging a liberation struggle!
    This just amuses me, I was really interested in commenting on those ala Alexander and his statement that the armed struggle was an option that the poor little angels took because they were banned from political participation.
    The first thing to note is that 58-62 was a period plagued with attempted coups from left and right against the elected government of the day- so it might be useful to place ourselves in the picture.
    Will take the MIR out of the equation because they are a split form AD (were they waged an internal war with Betancourt – no doubt the split was heavily encouraged by the right of AD, but this was the bet the radicalised party youth took at the time ).Very soon after and under the influence of the Cuban revolution the MIR opted for the armed struggle – at which point they ruled themselves out of the democratic game.
    As to the PCV, they were excluded from the Pacto de Punto Fijo, but this did not render them illegal, on the contrary for the 58 election the PCV’s line was unity (the 23 Jan unity) and they supported Larrazabal ( with URD, inside the punto Fijo Pact). Larrazabal won in Caracas (which tells you something about the support the left had) but lost in the rest of country, were AD got a landslide. It is after this defeat that forces within the PCV start to push the armed struggle line – again influenced by the Cuban Revolution and against the Soviet line. This line is then confirmed in 1960 by the XXV pleno del CC -PCV. And again once they decided on violence, the game is up.
    One might have trouble with the brutality of the counterinsurgency strategy, the fact that Venezuela can claim to inaugurate the disappearances in LA. I agree all very disturbing to our liberal sensibilities…. But really, no excuse for all this bolivarian historical mumbojumbo!

    • Well put Lucía!
      As a side reference, I remember aunts and uncles of mine in the guerilla telling their stories afterwards, talking about their political allegiances and personal experiences. To date, most of them cannot stomach the current regime — “most” being the key word here. Their reasons are many, but the fact is that Estreban has proven to them that the rhetoric of “social justice” can and will sequester a cause y enough to make any ethics jump…

    • Thanks Lucia, is amazing how these people take one line of truth, wrap it around a bunch of generalizations and lies and then call that history. And they accuse us of being ignorant of history. And the constant excuse that things were worse before, you would think that after 12 years they could claim that something is better, but not, they only have the excuse of the supposed worse past.

    • Lucia,

      What you said above doesn’t prove wrong what I said. The PCV and others turned to armed struggle because they were prohibited from participating in the political system. In other words, they could not put forth candidates for public office. I can only imagine how all of you here would scream to the heavens if Chavez prohibited a political party from putting forth candidates. But somehow under the IV Republica it was okay right?

      • wow, usually we get trolls in here who twist everything to fill the line the godlike figure in charge of this disaster tells them is the truth, but this one is just so pathetic. Lucia proved with facts that no one prohibited them from running, they choose to get out of the democracy game that was starting to get in place when they decided to take arms to top a legitimate elect president.
        So, when the right attemps a coup they scream and denounce, but if it was the left who wanted the coup (in the 60s, 70’s and then 90’s) is all right?
        So, because the goverment in the 60’s dealt with the guerrilla in a terrible way, then they are allowed to do anything they want because nothing will be as bad?
        Really, this guy could easily be a minister of something, he is very good at throwing outrageous claims like they are truths con su cara tan lavada. Maybe that would be the realization of his dreams, serve Chavez as one of the puppets he puts in charge of nothing, because at the end they just have to go to Alo presidente and clapp at every stupid story the megalomaniac decides to tell.

        • Moraimg put it well, but just for the record: The PCV was not banned or prohibited from participation in any shape or form. They chose to support Larrazabal- and a good choice it was since he got 35% of the vote. They also got deputies in parliament, if I remember correctly Gustavo Machado, Eloy Torres,etc and were making good inroads in the trade union movement. But then they threw all this away in favour of the wretched atajo; thus did the old antidemocratic militaristic streak in Venezuelan history took hold -disguised as modern under the influence of the Cuban revolution-.
          The armed struggle of the 60s was one of our many tragedies. Lying about it in order to claim a supposedly heroic past, is just pathetic.
          As to the remote possibility that Chavez would prohibit certain political parties??? No need to scream, he has come up with the so called inhabilitaciones and the political use of the legal system to the job.

          • El 23 de mayo de 1958 la Junta Provisional de Gobierno cumpliendo con su promesa de una inmediata convocatoria a elecciones promulga el Estatuto Electoral, redactado entre otros, por el jurista Rafael Pizani. Los revolucionarios que desde hace años mantenían la férrea lucha contra la dictadura llevaban una gran ventaja, el partido que más se había destacado en esos años por participar desde la clandestinidad en todas esas acciones era el Partido Comunista de Venezuela fundado en 1931, por otra parte la figura individual de mayor relevancia para esos momentos era el propio Contralmirante Wolfang Larrazábal, Presidente de la Junta y de un gran sentido nacionalista. Extrañamente, ante este panorama comienza una grave crisis de constantes conspiraciones e intentos de golpe, los partidos de centro y de derecha a partir de ese mismo momento iniciaban una intensa lucha política, que tiene como meta aparente la búsqueda de un candidato independiente para la presidencia, el “candidato ideal” que le pusiera el freno a los comunistas.

            Como no logran conseguirlo por ninguna parte, se concibe como plan alterno contra el liderazgo natural del PCV, el llamado “Pacto de Punto Fijo” que se suscribe el 31 de octubre de 1958 en la residencia del mismo nombre perteneciente al dirigente de Copei Rafael Caldera. El pacto establece un supuesto compromiso de civi­li­zar las relaciones partidistas, la defensa de la constitucionalidad y el derecho a gobernar de acuerdo con el resultado electoral; gobierno de unidad nacional, no de hegemonía partidista y presentación de un programa mínimo común. Lo suscribieron Rómulo Betancourt, Raúl Leo­ni y Gonzalo Barrios por AD; Jóvito Villalba, Ignacio Arcaya y Manuel López por URD; y Rafael Caldera, Pedro del Corral y Lorenzo Fernández por Copei. Se reco­no­cía así la preferencia popular por el Partido Comunista, y en un pacto a espaldas del pueblo y sin precedentes en el país, se sellaban las bases de la cultura del Fraude Electoral, de la farsa democrática, y de la dominación nacional auspiciada desde los Estados Unidos.

            El 14 de noviembre de 1958 Wolfang Larrazábal renunciaba a la presidencia de la Junta para aceptar la candi­da­tura electoral que ya le había sido ofrecida por el PCV, y la cual había sido suscrita también por URD, que a pesar de ser firmante del Pacto de Punto Fijo se jugaba sus cartas a ganador. Los otros dos candidatos son Rómulo Betancourt por AD, y Rafael Caldera por Copei. En la víspera del día de las elecciones, los tres candidatos por exigencia del Pacto de Punto Fijo suscribieron un “Programa Mínimo de Go­bierno”. Todos los venezolanos daban como seguro ganador a Larrazábal, sin embargo las elecciones del 7 de diciembre dan el siguiente resultado: Betancourt 1.284.092 votos, Larrazábal 903.479, y Caldera 423.262. El pacto que pondría freno a los comunistas daba sus primeros frutos.

            Betancourt toma posesión el 13 de febrero de 1959 e integra un gabinete de coalición (según lo acordado en el Pacto de Punto Fijo), con tres ministros de URD: Ignacio Arcaya en Relaciones Exteriores, Ma­nuel López en Comunicaciones y Luis Hernández Solís en Trabajo, dos de Copei: Lo­renzo Fernández en Fomento y Víctor Giménez en Agricultura y Cría, dos de AD: Luis Augusto Dubuc en Relaciones Interiores y Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo en Minas, así como a sus cinco supuestos independientes de AD: Rafael Pizani en Educación, Santiago Her­nández Ron en Obras Públicas, José Antonio Mayobre en Hacienda, Arnoldo Gabaldón en Sanidad y Asistencia Social y Andrés Aguilar en Justicia.

            Debemos reseñar aquí el hecho de que quien es reconocido como uno de los principales redactores del Estatuto Electoral para esas elecciones, el independiente por AD: el Dr. Rafael Pizani, fue incorporado como Ministro de Educación. A principios de mayo de 1962 tras una fracasada asonada militar contra Betancourt, este aprovecha de inmediato por medio del decreto 752 para ilegalizar por una vez más al Partido Comunista de Venezuela.

        • Aún hoy, el Partido Comunista de Venezuela (PCV) recuerda que mientras la burguesía corría a Miraflores a ejercer el poder, luego del derrocamiento de Pérez Jiménez, los comunistas llamaban al pueblo al rescate de los presos políticos secuestrados por la Seguridad Nacional.

          Miembro por aquel entonces del Buró Político y del Comité Central del PCV, Guillermo García Ponce concedió hace tres años una entrevista en larevista “Memorias de Venezuela” donde reiteró que Rómulo Betancourt, ya con las instrucciones del Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos, se propuso romper la unidad consolidada entre las fuerzas revolucionarias y darle al país una orientación abiertamente anticomunista.

          Así lo dejó demostrado el mismo Betancourt en su toma de posesión: “En el transcurso de mi campaña electoral fui explícito en el sentido de que no consultaría al Partido Comunista para la integración del gobierno…”.

          Dentro de la Junta Patriótica conformada por el PCV, URD y jóvenes revolucionarios de AD y Copei para resistir y enfrentar la dictadura, fueron precisamente los comunistas quienes cumplieron especial esfuerzo en hacer propaganda y elaborar
          y distribuir boletines con su imprenta clandestina.

          “El PCV se había mantenido activo en Venezuela durante todos
          esos años”, dice Jerónimo Carrera, quien desde las bases del Partido Comunista se movía sigiloso para hacer lo suyo contra Pérez Jimenez en sus últimos días como dictador.

          Entre las paredes de la empresa para quien trabajaba repartió papeles con un llamado a huelga contra el régimen para el 21 de enero de 1958. Los obreros respondieron.

          De acciones como ésta, con la unidad, la fuerza de la izquierda y la acción de distintos sectores de la vida nacional, nació una huelga nacional que hizo quebrar los cimientos del gobierno perejimenista. No obstante, el espíritu revolucionario que sacó a la dictadura resultó opacado y relegado, en un vuelco impulsado por los dirigentes de los partidos que constituirían el Pacto de Punto Fijo, que ni siquiera estaban en el país.

          García Ponce explicó que, colmados de ingenuidad democrática, fueron a esperar a Rómulo Betancourt en el aeropuerto. “Yo fui a Maiquetía a recibirlo, y lo traje en un carro. El me dijo: “En Estados Unidos, se dice que tú controlas la Junta Patriótica. Ya venía con el veneno anticomunista” ”, dijo García Ponce en la citada entrevista.

          Sostuvo García Ponce que Betancourt, desde AD; Rafael Caldera, desde Copei; y Jóvito Villalba, en URD, “amputaron el contenido popular del 23 de Enero. De inmediato hicieron un Pacto de Punto Fijo contra el espíritu revolucionario del 23 de Enero, para desplazar el centro de dirección hacia esos tres partidos”.

          Censura de prensa, cárceles llenas de políticos, jóvenes asesinados y torturas conformaron el panorama del gobierno de Betancourt.

          Sant Roz explica que casi todos los funcionarios importantes del
          perezjimenismo pasarían a formar parte del régimen victorioso que asumiría Rómulo Betancourt en 1959.

          “Los jueces seguirían en sus cargos, las llamadas fuerzas vivas
          seguirían siendo las mismas, la gente de la prensa que guardó silencio durante la dictadura y visitaba regularmente a Pérez Jiménez en su residencia ”

          José Vicente Rangel, en “Expediente Negro”, escribe que durante la llamada “democracia representativa” hubo más violaciones de los derechos humanos que durante la dictadura de Marcos Pérez Jiménez. Agrega además que aunque es lo mismo el asesinato de un prisionero político en dictadura o
          en democracia, en esta última resulta peor, más despreciable e inmoral.

          Rangel señala que Betancourt, Leoni, Herrera, Caldera, Pérez, Lusinchi, estaban obligados, por su historial democrático, por provenir sus mandatos de una consulta popular, a respetar el ser humano. “Pero no ocurrió así: los crímenes se multiplicaron”.

          Con Betancourt cayeron, entre muchos otros, Julián Torres, dirigente sindical; Alberto Rudas Mezones, manifestante; Alirio Mendez, liceísta, Pilar Ponce, Pero José Ramos, Oswaldo González.

          Los asesinados y desaparecidos siguieron con Raúl Leoni, Rafael Caldera, Carlos Andrés Pérez, Luis Herrera, Jaime Lusinchi, y llegaron a su máxima cifra con el Caracazo, en el segundo gobierno de Pérez.

          • To this sad history Quico replies with the following:

            “What exactly were they expecting, a teddy-bear and hugs based military counter-offensive?! Cookies and milk? They started a war for chrissake!”

            Behold the deep analysis of Francisco Toro! He’s obviously never even studied the history of his own country.

          • This is rather tedious, but for the last time,
            lets repeat the sequence of events again…..
            The PCV & MIR were declared illegal ( I was amused to find that the term used was “inhabilitados”) after el Carupanazo y el Porteñazo – mid 1962, that as you yourself admit is months and years after the violent option had been taken. In fact, the III congress of the PCV approved the armed struggle as the only way forward in 61, ditto MIR and sections of URD. By mid 62 there were guerrilla fronts all over the place, the UTCs had long been active in Caracas where all manner of battles at the UCV and in the bloques of the 23 de Enero had taken place. But if that was not sufficient, planes were hijacked, towns captured and actions were executed on a weekly and monthly bases. To top it all there were these two failed military insurrections in key barracks – the action was clearly connected to the PCV – in fact there is evidence that the government was expecting those actions. So what exactly do you expect? It is all very well documented.
            That the left misread the economic crisis of the early 60s and concluded wrongly that its consequences were a ” pre-insurrectional moment”. That Los Adecos and Betancourt manipulated the moment and used the spirit of the 23 January to its advantage. That they isolated the left and pushed them towards violence. That the government propaganda machinery then exploited that and isolated the left further and further. That the spiral of violence was astonishing. Sure. Still the PCV/MIR made a conscious choice, took a path that brought some consequences. That is all…. whatever the chaveztologos want to pedal.

          • The Carupanazo WAS the beginning of the violent option, and there was no proof that the PCV or MIR officially condoned the violence as political parties. Are political parties responsible for the actions of all of their members? If so, Chavez should have outlawed all of the opposition parties involved in the coup a long time ago.

            The truth is that Betancourt was just looking for any excuse to outlaw the communist parties. Since day one he was doing everything he could to completely isolate them. As you yourself admit:

            “That they isolated the left and pushed them towards violence. That the government propaganda machinery then exploited that and isolated the left further and further. That the spiral of violence was astonishing. Sure. Still the PCV/MIR made a conscious choice, took a path that brought some consequences.”

            Yes, they made a conscious choice AFTER it was made clear that they would not be able to participate in the political system. They were completely isolated, and later made illegal.

            The important thing here is not when Betancourt officially made them illegal vs. when they officially chose the armed struggle route. Betancourt had already made them all-but-illegal by 1958 by completely excluding them from the political pacts and from any positions of power.

  15. A commenter says that Occam’s razor does not work because Chavez is trying to create multipolarity in the global system, saying that Francisco, to defend his view, would have to explain why Chavez doesn’t support pro-US dictatorships.

    There is something in this, but the writer has a contradiction in his own position, since he now has to explain why Chavez wants a multi-polar world, but a unipolar Venezuela, with himself at the apex of the pole.

    Could it be that Chavez’ support for a multipolar world of anti-US dictatorships is a for giving his own power maximum ambit? His dictatorial needs require a multipolar world offsetting the imperio which might call him on his nonsense?

    • The point for me is that when you follow a strategic relationship with a regime you find appalling, you do it in a certain, just-busines-ma’am way – the way, for instance, Chávez is dealing with Santos.

      You don’t have to love the guy, but you do have to realize that vital national interests demand that you keep good relations with him, so you do.

      You don’t quiver with ideological fervor when you meet with allies like that. You don’t go over the top with dithyrambs. You don’t lionize them and praise them and declare yourself their brother and shower ’em with espadadebolivars…

      You just deal with them in the context of your strategic concerns – possibly even making a point to tut-tut them in public now and then for the things they do that appall you – and then you go home.

      If it was just about Grand Strategy and multi-polarity, Chávez would just about get a pass on his Ghaddafi worship. But how exactly does the Schoolgirl Crush shtick help him geopolitically? What is it about the flowery rhetorical love letters constantly sent to these people that makes the world more multipolar?!

      It doesn’t add up…

      • And, if it was just about sharing “an understanding of power” Chavez would support all dictators, regardless of them being pro-US or anti-US. But he doesn’t.

        It just doesn’t add up.

        You are right that his glorification and praise of these leaders is way over the top, and at times disgusting. But it has more to do with trying to build a strong alliance with them (something he has no interest in doing with Santos, for example) in order to help construct a counter-pole to US hegemony. You just wouldn’t do that with someone like Santos because it wouldn’t make any sense.

        • Yes, sure, geopolitically speaking you do want to remain as “independent” as you can. I get that.

          But you don’t need to get chummy with Mugabe, Bashir and Qaddafi to do that. You don’t need to make “deals” with the Lukashenkos of the world to acheive that.

          Sorry Alexander, but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

          Chavez can form all the “multi-polar anti US allegiances he wants”, to do so with leaders of dubious morality only reflects upon him. Dime con quien andas……..

          • Roberto,

            It is one thing to say whether or not you think it is right for Chavez to make these alliances. That’s another discussion. I am simply trying to point out WHY Chavez makes these alliances, and that it has little to do with agreeing with these leaders ideologically (as Quico would claim) and much more to do with trying to build alliances.

            Whether or not you think he is right for doing that is another discussion. I personally think building these alliances for practical reasons (i.e. reducing economic dependence on US) is a very good idea, however I dislike the fact that Chavez glorifies these guys.

            But trying to equate Chavez to these guys just because he glorifies them is nonsense. Chavez also has glorified Lula many times, but none of you are claiming that Chavez is the same as Lula.

          • Alexander,

            Reading your comments would almost be convincing if it weren’t for the arguments you leave out, rather than the ones you make.

            For example, you talk about the good in building alliances that reduce dependence on USA, without mentioning that he does so in detriment of the very dependence on USA. In other words, one thing is to build new bridges, quite another to destroy the ones you have as you build the new ones.

            What chavez is doing is trading one dependence for another, but you try to make it sound like he’s building sound longterm business independence. BS! These alliances are to his personal interest at the expense of our public interests. chavez is a traitor.

          • Venezuela’s economy is more than ever dependent on oil exports. It is estimated that about 95% of Venezuela’s export income comes from oil. Add to that equation that the country today imports more food and other goods than at any other time in history. Now, complete the equation with the fact that more than half of the oil exported goes to…you guessed right! the USA. So, in a nutshell, the Venezuelan economy (which Chavez insists on calling a “socialist mode of production” but is nothing but selling oil to the US and using the money to tame the population and keep it under his absolute control) depends today more than ever on the wellbeing of the United States and their ability to keep buying oil from us.

          • Torres,

            You’d have to explain how Chavez is “dependent” on Qaddafi before your argument would make any sense. Good luck with that one!

          • No, Alexander, you first claimed that chavez’s new alliances reduces his economic dependence on USA. Good luck explaining how an alliance with Qaddafi helps reduce Venezuela’s economic dependence on USA.

            What I see chavez is trading political dependence on Qaddafi for economic dependence on USA, a political alliance which is crumbling as we speak, and an economic independence which is backfiring in inflation, too, therefore both a treasonous waste.

        • But why does he want there to be a counterpole to US hegemony in foreign affairs, and no counterpole to his own hegemony internally?

          It is not as if he favours multiple sources of authority WITHIN Venezuela.

          Could it be that he thinks that this foreign policy will increase his ability to do whatever he wants within Venezuela?

          • Alexander, you’re a hoot; first you make a false claim, but ask me to explain it. Then when I point out that you made the false claim, so you should explain it, you skirt the issue now by saying that you don’t need to explain anything.

            You see, those are the red flags that let us know that you’re full of it, and only saying whatever you think helps support the traitor who is chavez.

            His alliances are treasonous. Your defense of them, despicable.

          • Dude, I don’t need to explain them because its not my fault that you’re ignorant. Anyone with any consciousness whatsoever of the problems of poor countries would be familiar with South-South Cooperation. Yet you obviously aren’t. That’s why I gave you a link so you could familiarize yourself.

          • Just to be extremely clear here, since Torres apparently has a really hard time understanding simple concepts…. The alliance between Venezuela and Libya is a perfect example of South-South cooperation.

            South-South cooperation has been shown to reduce dependence on the developed countries.

            Does that spell it out clearly enough for you, o necesitas hacer, como dice Chavez, unos cursitos?

          • Alexander,

            Once again, you show your true colors, more by what you don’t argue than by what you do.

            As before, I’ll use your own arguments to demonstrate: you state that the “South-South cooperation has been shown to reduce dependence on the developed countries.” lol The wikipedia link you give (not exactly the most convincing source, especially regarding Venezuela, by the way) itself states in various ways that the south south cooperation is only *hoping* to achieve independence of the more developed nations, the link being:

            The single concrete statement at your link along the lines of the success of the ssc that you are trying to sell here is, not only nowhere to be found at the source, but makes reference to reducing dependence on *aid programs* from developed countries; it’s not talking about general economic independence, as in doing less business with USA.

            In fact, the very same source, elsewhere, states:

            “U.S. policies toward southern neighbors should encourage behavioral changes that counter traditions of impunity and weak institutions. Specifically, the U.S. should promote:

            “•Peace through democratic progress in countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, and Haiti, where dictatorship and populism have bred misery and stifled growth. ”

            Shall we discuss the quality of your source, or perhaps your lack of following the sources of your source, or perhaps the selectiveness of your reading? Maybe the idiocy behind thinking that doing less business with the most efficient economies in the world is going to somehow make outpace them in development.

            Like I said before, Alexander, you could be convincing if it weren’t for the arguments you avoid, more than the ones you actually make.

          • Haha!! Thanks for demonstrating to us all Torres that you know nothing about South-South cooperation, and have never read anything on the topic. No wonder you don’t understand Chavez’s foreign policy!

            I find it curious that you chose to leave out the rest of the sentence that you quote, which says:

            “South-South Cooperation has been successful in decreasing dependence on the aid programs of developed countries and in creating a shift in the international balance of power.”

            Wow!! Perhaps shifting the balance of international power is just a small detail to be left out???

            Far to the contrary of what you claim, lessening dependence on northern markets is exactly what the benefit of SSC is, as one of the sources (which you didn’t read) clearly says:

            “As they grow less dependent upon northern markets for their economic well-being, southern states are emerging with new power and a stronger voice at the bargaining tables of multinational organizations. Future agreement on important international and multilateral issues in areas of trade, environmental protection, and human rights will require broader outreach to achieve true international consensus.”

            Just admit it Torres. You know nothing about SSC, and have never read anything on the topic. It shows. I gave you the wikipedia link not because I think it is some kind of definitive source on the topic (you must be kidding, right?), but because your utter ignorance of it requires a basic definition of the term.

            Now that you are familiar with the term, you might do further research before making more of an ass out of yourself here.

          • Oh, here’s the link for the quote.. This might not be a bad place for you to start reading…


            I really love this quote of yours Torres:

            “Maybe the idiocy behind thinking that doing less business with the most efficient economies in the world is going to somehow make outpace them in development.”

            Haha! Perhaps we should discuss the “idiocy” behind criticizing a concept that you obviously have never studied?? Perhaps we shoudl discuss the “idiocy” of the United Nations, which has been promoting the idea of SSC since 1977?

            I think it is clear whose “idiocy” is most apparent right now.

          • Or perhaps we should discuss the “idiocy” of accusing me of not having read my source, only to find out that you hadn’t read it! What fun! I could keep going all day.

          • Once again, Alexander, you show more by what you don’t argue than by what you do, and, as before, I’ll demonstrate with your own material.

            You just stated that I left out, “and in creating a shift in the international balance of power.” Guess what? You were the one to leave it out when you said: “I personally think building these alliances for practical reasons (i.e. reducing economic dependence on US) is a very good idea”.

            Perhaps shifting the balance of international power is just a small detail to be left out???

            As to your next quote, I didn’t miss it. You’re just reading into it what isn’t there. They provide no evidence that less dependence is being achieved; they only state that as they do so, they will reap benefits, but they never claim that there are results. The very next sentence even begins talking about in the “future”. You’re the one making ssc’s success up. It’s vaporware, as the whole article I linked to demonstrates and is one of the sources of your source!

            By the way, if you’re going to be nit-picky then do it right. I didn’t accuse you of not reading your source; I accused you of not reading your source’s sources.

            Regarding the idiocy thing, you replied to my use of the word idiocy, but again show more about you by what you leave out: *the main point*, thinking that one can outpace the most efficient markets in the world by getting out of them. That just doesn’t work.

            Alexander, please don’t go all day. Please, accept your role, your failure, and give it up. We all know where you’re coming from, and where you’re headed. We have no interest in accompanying you. Take it elsewhere.

          • Dude, reducing economic dependence on the US and other northern markets is a prerequisite for shifting the international balance of power, as the article I linked to explains. So there is no disconnect there, except for people who obviously don’t understand the concept of SSC, as you repeatedly demonstrate.

            You claim that there is no evidence that less dependence has been achieved. Again, you couldn’t be more wrong. Had you simply read the paragraph DIRECTLY ABOVE the paragraph I quoted, you would have seen that. (you’re reading the sources, right??)

            “India and China, long considered net recipients of aid, are now emerging as net donors, focusing their aid efforts on southern nations. South-South trade is growing at an estimated ten percent annually. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted last December that over 40% of developing country exports are themselves headed to other developing countries. Some economists predict that economic growth rates in southern countries will outpace those of the north for the next several years – from five to eight percent a year, compared to 2-3% in the north. ”

            Or take a look at one of the source’s sources (which I know you read, right?):

            ”Trade within the South continues to increase rapidly, with more than 40 percent of developing-country exports now going to other developing countries,”

            “Trade between southern giants India and China, for example, has grown rapidly in the last decade, from 264.8 million U.S. dollars in 1991 to 10 billion dollars in 2004, according to the latest U.N. figures. ”

            “”It confirms that the South-South trade is becoming a dominant factor in the international economic relations. It shows that developing countries not only continue to be major markets for developed countries but that the trade among themselves is growing much faster then the growth in international trade,”

            “South-South trade is increasing at an annual rate of 10 per cent, more than twice the rate of expansion of world trade in 2003.”

            As for the rest of your comment, I am now dumber having read it. Your argument:

            “thinking that one can outpace the most efficient markets in the world by getting out of them. That just doesn’t work.”

            is just too stupid to even respond to. SSC isn’t about “getting out” of certain markets. It is about reducing dependence on them. And saying “that just doesn’t work” is such a complex argument that I’m not sure how to respond! The UN, as well as numerous international development agencies, have been endorsing the idea of SSC for decades now.

            I guess Chavez was right:

            “Una de las características de esta gente de la oposición es que no estudian ¡No saben realmente de lo que hablan! ¡Deberían hacer unos cursitos!”


          • Alexander,

            You can’t have it both ways, either the balance of power thing is an obvious consequence of the economic dependence thing, or it was a huge failure of you to leave it out. Either way, the failure is yours.

            If you think ssc has been successful, you should study some more. Not only are they still doing badly, even within the ssc nations, the richest ones are the ones doing to the poorest ones what they all criticize of the most efficient nations in the world. Terrific future, dude. That’s no kind of balance of power Venezuela should be proud of. I can understand, however, how the likes of you would be exalting it. All the numbers you give seem convincing, but, as with all your arguments, it’s in what you leave out that we see your true colors.

            Anyone who is still reading this exchange has already seen what you’re about, so I have nothing further to point out.

            Enjoy you clear purpose of achieving your ends regardless of the means. This seems to be a modus operandi of most chavez/Qaddafi/fillnameoffavoritedespot supporters.

          • Haha!! Torres is on a roll here with his profound and compelling arguments!

            “It just doesn’t work”
            “They are still doing badly”
            “its what you are leaving out”

            And my favorite: “I have nothing further to point out”

            Indeed you don’t. My work here is done.

      • I think you could get your point over without using over-the-top language which inherently discredits your argument. Show some wisdom and common sense for a change instead of letting your base emotional hate for Chavez run away wiht itself.

    • “are coming out here in defense of the IV Republica”
      That false logic is what proves you don’t have anything to add to the discussion. What did you smoke to make you say that we defend the IV? Which by the ways is another delirium tremens of your leader, there is no such thing as a V republic, Venezuela is less and less republican the more power is concentrated in one individual.

      We come here because we care about our country, because most of us criticized and most of the time didn’t even vote for AD or Copei, and we have all the right to criticize Chavez because HE WAS SUPPOSED TO CHANGE THINGS FOR THE BETTER. Pointing out his many faults does not make us supporters of anything but of Venezuela.

      We come here because we care about our country, because most of us critiziced and most of the time didn’t even vote for AD or Copei, and we have all the right to critisize a goverment that has squandered a trillions dollars of oil revenue and has nothing to show for it.

      Y esto te lo digo en español, AD y Copei y lo que ustedes llaman la IV fueron un cancer para este pais, ustedes son la metastasis de esa misma enfermedad. Bajate de esa nube, ustedes son exactamente lo mismo, multiplicado por el precio del barril de petroleo que ya paso los 100 esta semana.

      • Dude, have you read any of the comments on this page? Your ‘friends’ here have repeatedly defended the IV Republic. So your statement is proven wrong by simply reading the comments up above.

        • This is where the famous phrase “Never assume” can fit like a glove.

          Alexander, you are a shining example of the polarization that permeates Venezuela today.

          IF it’s not black, it’s white, si no es Adeco es Chavista, etc.

          It is one thing to criticize Chavez for being the immense fuck up that he is, it is quite another to say that because of the criticism we must therefore belong to the rotten 4th.

          It is possible, you know, to criticze the piece of shit that leads Venezuela without sympathing with the previous pieces of shit that created the conditions for Chavez to take over.

          So to hell with your polarization.

          You want to work with others who hold a different point of view than you, but still want the same result for our country, great.

          If you’d rather paint everybody with a broad brush, and condemn any who do not think as you, then please go somewhere else, the farther the better.

          The last thing Venezuela needs is more polarization. It is high time you realized that there is no Socialism in Venezuela, there is an autocracy with a patina of socialism. Enough of a patina to fool, at first, a large swath of the population. The shine is wearing off to reveal the ugly bodywork beneath “El Mamotreto de Gobierno que tenemos hoy. Tremenda Chapuceria!”

          • Roberto,

            I never once said you all belong to the 4th. But you all have come out in defense of the 4th. So talk to your friends here. Not me.

          • “there is no Socialism in Venezuela, there is an autocracy with a patina of socialism” – either there are socialist elements in Chavez’s policies or there are not. Make your mind not and stop getting lost in semantics.

          • Half Empty: It’s a ’63 ass, pero el chassis esta enterito!

            Alexander: I’m not going to put words in anyones mouth, but I am pretty sure that no one that comments here is actually salivating on returning to the 4th. You keep saying this over and over as if repeating it will make it true.

            Arturo: I’m not lost, semantically or otherwise. If you cannot wrap your head around the concepts I express then you need more oatmeal for breakfast.

      • God, that is exactly how I feel!

        Shut up already about the past! Let us fix the present. What we have now is beyond broken. How do you argue with people who refuse to see the obvious?

        It is like being on a sinking ship with a bunch of drunken sailors. As the ship begins to take on water, you explain to the captain that the meter in the bilge is reading high water. He claims a faulty meter made by the imperialist is reading the water incorrectly. The water continues to rise and floods the engine compartments. Once again, panicking you run into the first mate and explain that the engines have flooded and are no longer working. He laughs and claims the engines are down due to routine maintenance. If the engines had only been created by “el pueblo” this would not be happening. We need socialist engines. The captain makes an announcement to confiscate the imperialist engine manufacturers. Socialist engines would never fail. Later the ship begins to list dangerously. It is obvious to the whole world that the ship is sinking. The captain is called and many of the crew scream “we are sinking”. The captain gives a long speech explaining how many of us sailors have been brainwashed. We need to be re-trained as socialist sailors. Water begins to lap around our feet. Some sailors even go without food to make the captain change course. “WE ARE SINKING” the mud-caked crew explains. “Nonsense, it was listing much worse when the previous captain was on board!…”

        I remember Chavez ranting about how our ship was going to sail right through the economic difficulties. Why does no one remind him of this when we are next to the bottom economically of all countries in the world. This is with $100 oil! Could you imagine if oil had not come back with the improved economic outlook?

        I say all that to say this. No matter what Alexander says or any other minister in Chavez government claims. Numbers do NOT lie. The ship is sinking and ignoring the leaks will send us to the bottom.

  16. The number of pre-Chavez political deaths claimed by Chavez apologists are preposterous. Excluding the Caracazo deaths, however, are there any credible estimates of the number of people killed by the IV Republic because of political reasons? I have in mind people killed as a result of combat operations, demonstrations as well as outright political murders (including desaparecidos.)

  17. Alexander/Chris is a Chavez fanboy, plain and simple.

    Why? It could be Chavez’ anti-US stance/rhetoric, or the fact that Chavez considers himself a leftist (which is becoming increasingly embarassing to leftists), and it could be because he, Chris, is being paid.

    Either way, you all can ‘debate’ with him for a month of Sundays and for what? He will not see the light of day.

    The funny (sad?) thing about all this is that even though he probably knows he won’t be changing anyone’s mind about Chavez and Chavismo, he will stay the course and considering how deeply engrained his heightened sense of self-importance is would probably would do it for free.

    Geez, he’s just an anti-US American Chavez fanboy using CC as his bully pulpit. What’s to be gained by engagement with him? For what purpose and to what end?

    /my 2 cents

    • Mike “three brain cells” Nelson is a pathetic cry baby who is obviously frustrated by my arguments, and because of his intellectual deficiency is incapable of taking them on in a mature way and having an open debate of ideas, so he instead decides to turn to childish personal insults and unfounded accusations that the other side is being “paid” (as lame or lamer than the pro-Chavez claims that the CIA is behind everything) in order to take the focus off the topic at hand and try to discredit the messenger. It is the oldest trick in the book, but I’m not sure Nelson has ever read a book, so he’s not very good at it.

  18. I feel respect for Alexander, to be sticking up for his man in such a hostile environment. Most of us stick to conversations where everybody else already agrees with us, which is sad and pointless.

    I also feel a sort of strange respect for Chavez and Co. for sticking up for Gaddafi when all the rest of the world is condemning him and when Chavez can’t possibly hope to gain any benefit out of it, since Gaddafi’s clearly going to fall soon, or at most stick it out as the dictator of Tripoli.

    • Mike,

      The funny thing about all this is that I’m not even sticking up for Chavez on this one. I think Chavez is stupid when he glorifies people like Qaddafi. But the people here are so close-minded and incapable of considering anything other than what Globovision tells them, that gets one immediately attacked (including personal attacks) for simply offering an alternate explanation for why Chavez pursues these kinds of alliances.

      • Alexander – you know why this happens to you? If you do not partake of the antichavista fanaticism, then you are supporting Chavez. It’s like Bush said – “you are either with us, or you are with the terrorists”. Think about it.

        • Exactly. For these nuts there is only one possible explanation to everything: “Chavez is a monster.”

          If you vary even slightly from that explanation to provide an alternative people attack you like wild dogs.

      • I think both explanations hold water. Chavez certainly supports the idea of a multilateral world (which is happening in any case).

        But the way that Chavez glorifies these guys, and defends Kaddhafi to absurd lengths, tells me that he also feels an ideological kinship.

        • I agree to an extent Mike. I think he definitely feels an ideological kinship with regards to building an multi-polar world, and with regards to standing up to imperial powers, etc. But you can’t make this broad generalization (as Quico does) that somehow Chavez has the same views as Qaddafi on everything, especially internal matters. The policies that Chavez has pursued INSIDE Venezuela are very different than the policies Qaddafi has pursued inside Libya.

        • Mike,

          You are ascribing noble or idealistic motives to Chavez that are not apt. Chavez SAYS he wants a multi-polar world ONLY because he dislikes being a minor player in the global power game. Since he opposes ANYONE having more power than he does, he seeks to diminish the power of major power brokers of the world by “supporting” multi-lateralism. IF (and this is only hypothetical) he were to ascend to a position of superior power, he would discard the concept in a heartbeat.

          • Yeah Mike, don’t you know that the only explanation for all of this is that “Chavez is a monster.”

            Why would you even consider other explanations?

    • a sort of strange respect

      I can groove on that man, it’s like that tingle on get when watching ole MuryMar call down Sukhois on the crowd. I mean, he stone cold believes his shit, you know? You gotta give the old boy a shout out.

  19. Alternative opinions are always valuable, especially when we don’t agree with them.

    It strikes me as particularly interesting that most of Libya’s people have evidently revolted against Kaddhafi, his diplomats and ministers are flipping against him and he’s depending on mercenaries to attack his own people – and yet Chavez and Co. seem to believe that they know better what the Libyans want.

    • Mike,

      For the record, Alexander, as he’s calling himself lately, has a history around these parts that you may not be aware of.

      I’m just pointing it out to put some context to this thread. I’m not saying that you’re one, but a casual observer may think what’s going on here is a refusal to debate with some guy with “alternative opinions”. It’s more complicated than that.

      • I don’t think Chris is mostly motivated by money – which is not the same thing as saying he’s not getting paid. I think he’s just a garden variety obsessive without a very clear grasp of things.

        The plain old falsification of Venezuelan history is pretty irksome, though, as is the high and mighty tone. Ultimately, his guy refuses to condemn people who machine gun those who disagree with them.

        Chávez is even more reactionary than Ahmadinejad on this point. Chúpate that tangerine, dude…

        EVERYONE – down to Mahmoud friggin’ Ahmadinejad – can see how psycopathically far removed from any semblance of acceptable behavior Ghaddafi now is…except for Chávez, Fidel, and Danielito Ortega. Good going, guys. You’re doing your own international relevance a world of good here…

        • Fidel is working on extraction, he has that strange sort of respect mentioned above. He’s trying to distance himself from MuryMar but maintain PdVsa oil flow, it’s tricky.

          So shout out to the Beard for being ALL THAT!

        • I suspect that Chavez just became infatuated with Kaddafi’s trappings of socialism, revolution and anti-Americanism and he can’t see beyond that.

          He’s on a sinking ship – or oil platform – and is too blinded to jump off.

          • I think its more the case that Chavez lusts after Ghaddafi’s arm, softly draped in a silky-cotton gauze the colour of a desert twilight, a braid of golden threads running across it. Simply intoxicating!

            Perhaps that is the nature, too, of “Alexander’s” admiration for Chávez.

        • “The plain old falsification of Venezuelan history is pretty irksome, though, as is the high and mighty tone. Ultimately, his guy refuses to condemn people who machine gun those who disagree with them. ”

          That’s pretty funny coming from you Quico!! Did you check out the video I posted here that shows the IV Republic machine-gunning protesters?? Yet you refuse to condemn them! How ironic.

      • How many of us would be the only dissenter on a chavista forum?

        For that matter, how much value is there in participating in a forum in which the participants mostly all agree already?

        • Exactly Mike! I’ve proposed that question a million times to Quico. He’s simply not interested in debating his ideas with anyone who disagrees. He prefers having everyone tell him how “right” he is, and doesn’t like (he used to censor them) anyone who challenges him.

          • Mike makes a general comment about open-mindedly discussing with people who think differently, and Alexander goes and turns into a Quico-hunt. Perhaps Mike isn’t quite referring to those who come troll, but those who whith intellectual honesty come discuss.

          • Actually Torres, Mike was referring to me. He said so up above when he said:

            “I feel respect for Alexander, to be sticking up for his man in such a hostile environment. Most of us stick to conversations where everybody else already agrees with us, which is sad and pointless.”

            Are you trying to be wrong all the time, or is it just a general trait of yours?

          • Alexander, that was in a different thread, not this one. But even if we include it as part of this one, you, again, show more about what you avoid than by what you say: You turned whatever Mike said into a Quico-hunt, and sidestep my point that Mike was not referring to the troll that you are, but to the different minded but open minded person he thought you were.

  20. Mike, I respect tenacious opponents that are intellectually honest and principled-even if I’m convinced they are dead wrong. Alexander, however, I don’t respect. He’s a ranting ideologue with all the narrow-mindednesss of a fanatic.

    In addition, there is nothing worthy of respect in Chavez’s defense of Gaddafi. First, it is naive to think he’s not being self-serving in praising Gaddafi. Second, there is nothing inherently worthy of respect in being the only person praising someone if that someone does not deserve it. Would we respect a leader who praised Hitler at a time every one already condemned him?

  21. Hm. I’m interested in what the Venezuelans themselves think of the widespread Libyan protests. I would have thought that the same conditions that triggered the uprisings in the Middle East would apply in Venezuela… but it’s still relatively quiet over there, as far as I know. Why don’t Venezuelans take advantage of the situation, and protest peacefully against their own tyrannical ruler Chavez? I’m sure international media wouldn’t let that just pass by them.

    I’m perplexed as to why there hasn’t been a bigger reaction.

    • A question I’d like several answers for too. It being Ve I gotta figure at least 12 rational answers to the question.


      Seriously tho, that’s a question worthy of a post.

    • Hanna is a little more complicated than that. If you don’t know the background, the fact is: we already protested, went camping in the streets, a million people took the streets of Caracas and we walked to the presidential palace to ask for his resignation because it was plenty obvious then that he would not be a leader for all Venezuelans.
      His thugs went out and killed people and in shock we witnessed his minister of defense say in television that they had asked him to resign and he had done so. The problem? What came next: a crazy right wing person took over thanks to the stupidity of everyone involved and decided to eliminate congress, get rid of the Supreme Court and all governors and mayors democratically elected! What began as a popular protest, putting pressure to find an exit to what we knew was a bad government, ended up as a coup. Lots of people still supported him fervently and those who didn’t couldn’t support what the crazy Carmona was doing. Result? Chavez was back in 2 days and all the opposition was branded as coupsters (Disclaimer: this a very summarized version of what happened and one that not everyone will agree on).

      Every time the opposition does something remotely forceful the accusation of coupsters comes back. That’s why the strategy of the oppositions has been to work towards a scenario where we defeat him 1 to 1 in a presidential election and then we will see his real colors.

      A lot of people think this is naïve or simply lazy, I don’t think so, I believe only by defeating him in an election will we be able to finish off that myth of a democratically elected leader that has been fighting against anti-democratic forces.

      • That’s why the strategy of the oppositions has been to work towards a scenario where we defeat him 1 to 1 in a presidential election and then we will see his real colors.

        assuming the elections are not rigged…

        Moraimag, I realize your summary is brief, but I can’t help but think of a few other critical factors. There’s the *stupendous* work of the New York based Venezuelan Information Office, early on. This group astutely channeled political propaganda to the foreign media. Between the early Hugo Chavez dog-and-pony shows, abroad, and government-paid sponsorships of foreign journos, film-makers and the like, it was invitable that pixie dust entered the eyes of the gullible on the streets of the developed world. It took many years to turn that tide, to contain the oxygen that fueled the irrational ambitions of a dictator in the wrappings of democracy.

        But let’s not put all the blame on government forces. The opposition was also weak in its ability to create a sound, long-term strategy, and to carry out its phases. Too many egos chomped at the bit. Too many tempers got in the way.

        Then there was “the street”. When so many of those “millions” protested, in unison, most dramatically in Caracas, they paraded as though it were just that: an Eater parade. As a result, their attitudes diminished the seriousness of their efforts, and the sustainability of same.

        • The point wasn’t to bring up the 2002 coup and start a discussion on what went wrong. New protests don’t even have to go down that road and try to take over the Chavista government – it can be a way to just express dissatisfaction and get the message across to the international community, /right/ at the time when the spotlight is on people rising up against dictators. Defeat isn’t necessary yet – drawing attention to the issue, however, always is. Chavez needs to feel the heat.

          Besides, he wouldn’t be able to blame the US and the CIA for the protests with a straight face anymore. Have you seen the footage from the mass protests in Libya and Egypt? If a similar thing happened in Venezuela, how could Chavez possibly say it’s an imperialist conspiracy? Venezuelans shouldn’t care what the heck kind of new insults Chavez might come up with, if the evidence is being broadcasted in every TV News station.

          • Well, I assume that Chavez shouldn’t be able to make crazy/unfounded accusations, but Gaddafi did say his people were taking hallucinogenic pills…. Though that only reinforces public opinion that these are some dangerous, desperate autocrats.

          • Hanna, I am sorry I though you were asking “Why don’t Venezuelans take advantage of the situation, and protest peacefully against their own tyrannical ruler Chavez?” My answer is, we already did and got him out but it backfired. And my point is that because of that our strategy right now is focusing on the elections, assuming that he will try to rig them, abuse his power and everything else you can think of, but we have to have the votes first. That’s why we are not taking the example of Egypt and Tunisia, FOR NOW.

            As Quico pointed in another post one thing we will need is a “defection cascade” in the Chavista camp. A trigger point could be anything, but a landslide that not even the worst rigging tactics can disguise seems like a pretty good starting point to me
            And yes, Chavez would come up with something even crazier that hallucinogenic pills! hahaha

  22. I’ve been thinking, maybe Chávez is supporting him because he decided he wants us afraid here more than having the international community thinking he is not as much of an Authoritarian.

    This might be a message to us in very little words

    • I would hesitate to imply such subtle tactics to Hugo, but this gringo has ever been surprised by his fox like cleverness when cornered. Matter of fact, I think Hugo is an adrenaline junky of the first order, he likes being cornered.

  23. You people are pathetic. The nice thing though is that you’re also irrelevant. Chavez will still be the leader of Venezuela five years from now, and one of the intellectual disciples of Chavez will still be the leader of Venezuela fifty years from now. And all you will be able to do about it is whine, moan, and complain like the bunch of effete crybabies you are.

    Chavez or Death!

  24. In my opinion it is so not worth it arguing with Chavistas.

    Save discussion with people who fight the good fight and have some semblance of a brain.

    • Oh, I so agree with you on this one. People who include death in a slogan should die by their own hand if they so love the idea of dying and leave us alone trying to make things work in Venezuela so people DON’T die.

      • I have not even bothered to see what the 170+ comments have been all about, I assume typical PSFs have invaded the blog. At this point in time you should all know that it’s worthless to discuss anything with these people, with them it’s all “Gana, Gana Nunca Pierde”. It’s like talking to a wall. So why give in to this morbid fascination of dissecting their poorly thought out arguments? I mean really, have you all nothing better to do than shoot fish in a barrel? My time is precious, I reserve it for those deserving of it.


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