Friday, November 02, 2007

Tear gas and tyranny

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Not a big fan of Hugo Chavez? Not so enthusiastic about his tyrannical rule? Well, take that:

Venezuelan troops have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse thousands of students in the capital, Caracas.

The students are demonstrating against constitutional reforms proposed by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez.

One of the reforms would abolish term limits for the presidency, thus allowing President Chavez to stand for re-election indefinitely.

The students want a December referendum on the reforms to be postponed, to give voters more time to study the plans.

That's right, all the protesters want is a postponement, hardly a radical proposal. But any opposition to Chavez is anathema to his national socialist revolution, which does not allow for opposition, and, it seems, any opposition will be put down. Brutally, if necessary -- and even if not. Brutality comes with the revolution, a revolution to install Chavez himself as permanent dictator of a brutalized Venezuela, just as it comes with Chavez's rule generally.

And the use of tear gas is probably on the soft end of the brutality. The troops were no doubt going easy on the protesters -- easy this time, but what else is going on in Venezuela? What else is Chavez inflicting on the people of his country? Enough to turn even Giuliani's stomach, one imagines.

It must be very, very bad in today's Venezuela. And it is only going to get worse.


I have already, in many other posts, addressed Chavez's tyranny, as well as these reforms. For my recent post on what I called Chavez's "salami tactics," tyranny slice-by-slice, see here. For more on this "coup," see here. For previous posts on Chavez's "abolition of democracy," see here.

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  • There are ex-pat Venezuelans here in Florida who are friends of mine. They confirm that Chavez is a thug and a shameless anti-Semite.

    Tonight on the BBC, there was a news bit about the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, a program for poor and disadvantaged kids started 30 years ago by a Venezualan music educator. Overall, it was an uplifting story and a refreshing change from depressing fair. It occurred to me that American mainstream media (Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc) would not cover such a story. Why?

    Is this story less worthy than the bimbo eruptions of Britney Spears or Paris Hilton? Is American media prejudiced by animosity towards anything associated with Chavez? In my opinion, the story was unique and precious and worthy of being told. It seems we are still a petty little "Lolita" culture in every respect.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:54 AM  

  • "Lolita culture" I love that and it's true. our pop culture revolves around T&A titillation and I'll bet that youth orchestra is bimbo-free, isn't hipping and hopping and their wardrobe is functioning quite well.

    Of course we hate to mention that tyrants like Castro or Chavez often do things that benefit their people or benefit culture and that those things are well received in their countries even if those countries are poor and repressive.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 10:36 AM  

  • Thank you, Captain. One of the things that bothers me about our political culture is that it is subject to that old Freudian defense mechanism known as "all or nothing" thinking. Anything associated with the "Dictator" is automatically bad and unworthy of coverage. There are worse examples than this.

    I enjoy Cuban culture and specifically looked forward to an appearance of the Buena Vista musicians made possible by a cultural exchange agreement some years ago. The Cuban community in Miami was determined to shut down this concert. There were anonymous telephone threats, and the authorities cancelled the concerts.

    Dictators are not the only ones to act like thugs. We have them too. This group of aging musicians, the last of their kind, did not have the opportunity to perform before an admiring audience. What a shame!

    And what are the prospects for a full return to democracy in Cuba after Castro if militant elements in Miami use intimidation and threats? These attitudes do not presage a peaceful transition for Cuba. I foresee vendettas and blood feuds ahead.

    "You are either with us or the terrorists." You are either with us or with Castro. Meanwhile the impoverished and the innocent are victimized between these extremist attitudes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:45 PM  

  • Well said. Not too long ago I heard a Cuban amateur station calling CQ on 20 meters and an American ham responded with "We don't talk to Communists." Naturally, I responded to the call and talked to a fellow him just like me, about the weather, his wife and kids and about the challenge of trying to assemble a radio station in a poor country that none the less allows it's citizens to communicate - unlike our puppet government in Iraq. Somehow, Communism wasn't what he was about any more than the furtherance of corporate oligarchy and oil field imperialism is what I'm about.

    Years ago in China, I was taken by the same thoughts riding through the streets on a bicycle or riding the bus and subway - these aren't "Reds" but people coming home from work with Chinese take out food or taking the kid to violin lessons or picking up grandma to babysit for the evening. They may hate their government or not, but they love their country and proud of being Chinese.

    We've been taught to dehumanize and even demonize huge populations and not for any reason but to further our own government's desire to control our minds.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 10:37 AM  

  • Chavez does have some dictatorial tendencies, but is a pussycat compared to Castro or Che Chavez. (Or to their right wing counterparts such as Pinochet, for that matter) He is in reality a left wing version of Pat Robertson.

    They are both essentially con artists who preach a dogmatic, hateful and self-serving agenda. Its only suiting that Mr. Robertson called on the assassination of Chavez. Familiarity breeds contempt, after all...

    Note to Sean Penn and company: The enemy of your enemy isn’t automatically your friend.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:41 PM  

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