Thursday 27, May 2004
This Bolivarian Revolution has some strange moments indeed. Yesterday the Washington Post published a letter from Chavez, with his usual tearful complaints as to how everyone is ganging up on him, and face it with an editorial where the reader detects clearly that the Post is having none of it.
An astounding press event if you ask me!
Reading the Chavez letter requires one to suspend rational thought, in particular when one reads:
and millions of Venezuelans took to the streets
To be frank, I hope that my opponents have gathered enough signatures to trigger a referendum, because I relish the opportunity to once again win the people's mandate.
At most a few tens of thousands hit the streets in the Western part of Caracas, not bad admittedly. And Chavez has done his outmost to block, via the enslaved Electoral Board, CNE, the Recall Election process. Nothing that the readers of this blog do not know already.
The editorial of the Post is quite clear sighted. In particular when it reads:
Sadly, the odds are that Mr. Chavez will carry out this coup-by-technicality and thwart a democratic resolution to Venezuela's long-running political crisis. The president points out that some of his opponents previously supported a coup against him (Mr. Chavez doesn't mention that he also once led a military rebellion against a democratic government); but now that the opposition has committed itself to an electoral solution, Mr. Chavez refuses to allow it. About the only hope for a fair outcome is the presence of observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Carter Center who could call attention to acts of overt fraud and intimidation; Mr. Chavez tried to exclude them from the verification process but was obliged to give in late last week.
Indeed, Venezuelan authorities have been doing their outmost to discredit the OAS and Carter Center observers for the last two weeks, reaching today for a direct attack on the US (though Noriega's declarations this week might not have been the smartest move). But OAS head, Cesar Gaviria, is not taking the bait.
Indeed the whole show seems to point out to an administration nervous enough to consider diplomatic isolation if that is what it takes to remain in office. The answer comes early next week, if not earlier.
PS: on this subject Francisco has written an interesting "translation" as to the real words of Chavez, Hugo Chavez in Translation. Saves me all sorts of additional comments I could have added, while giving the reader a forced smile, "un rire jaune" as the French say.