Sunday, February 25, 2007

Chavez, the autocrat, at a press conference

In Venezuela we have a saying “cada ladrón juzga por su condición”, which translates freely as “each thief judges according to his values”. In other words, a thief will think that all think as a thief does.

This saying is interesting because in the next two videos we can see and hear how Chavez minds operate, how he thinks that everyone thinks as the thug he is thinks (apologies for the word repetition).

The scene is a press conference. There the O’Globo journalist asks a very simple question as to how come the fine levied on Tal Cual seems rather excessive.
Instead of replying to the simple question you can observe many things in the speech of Chavez (the reply, to give it a name, lasts 12 minutes!) that betrays what an autocrat he has become, and even betrays that he knows he is not doing the right thing. We have another saying in French “Qui se sent morveux, se mouche” (he who feels his nose dripping blows it). What Chavez does is a pseudo preventive measure because, well, his subconscious betrays him in that Chavez knows he has a lot to answer for. And of course his “sobredimensionada” reply betrays his general nervousness and resentment and weakness of character. You may remind the famous scene of a few weeks ago when Chavez attacked Uribe of Colombia with the same “sobredimensionada”. But Uribe is not some defenseless journalist that can be forcibly escorted to the next fly for Sao Paulo. Chavez backed down quickly in front of Uribe, showing the coward that Chavez really is, only looking strong when the people in front of him cannot defend themselves. The classical bully

There are two videos and in an unusual step I will try to point to some of the important moments. Sorry, they are in Spanish and I really cannot translate them but if anything the face of Chavez lying outrageously is just great to watch!

Video 1

Chavez starts with what he thinks is an ironic repetition of “O’Globo”. It falls flat but it announces what will come next. Then he asks for coffee. The journalist, not speaking very good Spanish, narrates how he was invited to the protest rally in support of Tal Cual and Laureano Marquez. Then he goes on RCTV (read previous post). Chavez interrupts the journalists saying that he is welcome but not O’Globo. And Chavez adds, unbelievably, “finish your question, we are not going to dialogue” (1:13) Truer words were never spoken!!!

Then Chavez makes time to think about a reply by talking soccer. But then he goes on for the kill by saying that the owners of O’Globo are from the most antique extreme right. Classic shoot the messenger, except that he has had to recur to such strategy so often that he has to increase the level of insulting to make it more “acceptable” (2:20). Insults to O’Globo continue and he takes on the journalist expressing his hope that he is not anti Latin American. How crass can you fall? But he does go further. He starts accusing O’Globo of attacks on Lula (3:20) which are of course totally irrelevant on Chavez attacks on freedom of expression in Venezuela. At 4:40 we are discussing Joao Goulart where even Chavez admits that the journalist was not born then…. At 5:45 he tells the journalist that this one surely knows the mentality of his O’Globo boss, daring him to write something that will displease his boss. The video 1 ends, at 6:29 and Chavez has not started addressing the question of the journalist. Amazing!

Video 2


Finally! Chavez says that he has nothing to do with the Tal Cual fine (0:23). Well, true, if we look at the direct logic. Untrue since it is about Chavez daughter name on a front page and since it is the only of such cases that has been brought to court even though chavismo has been using children abundantly for political purposes. But of course Chavez can try to get away with it because he is not “dialoguing” and neither the O’Globo journalist, nor another will be allowed to ask a follow up question (the press conference ends after this second video with Chavez all but escaping). I could also get into the detail of Chavez having named all the judges but that would be tedious for the readers of this blog well aware of the situation.

At 1:12 Chavez decides that the journalist question is in fact an opinion, that he journalist does not know about Venezuela and that he has decided to be judge of what goes on in Venezuela. Oh dear! Where should I start? That Chavez spent most of the previous 7 minutes giving his opinions on Brazil internal matters, being a most severe JUDGE on what goes on in Brazil? On the fact that in addition to the condescending familiar “Tu” he uses against the journalist he is now moving close to character assassination?

At 1:28 Chavez finishes that part saying that it is an internal Venezuelan matter about the powers and that he has nothing to say on that! Priceless!!!!

But Chavez goes on! And it turns this into a personal thing! At 3:04 he is rambling on all the insults he has received (note, not criticisms, insults, a priceless lapsus from his part as nothing is a criticism on him, all is an insult). At 3:24 the Tal Cual fine is nothing more than a driving ticket… The facials of Chavez become more and more interesting as he is making all personal now! And then back to attacking O’Globo (total rambling, betraying the rambler!) 3:46 O’Globo enemies of LatAm Integration; 3:52 Puppy dogs of US imperialism; 4:20 “the truth is known by the large majority” after daring O’Globo to publish that Chavez himself fined Tal Cual (Uhh?)

4:37. Now we go onto RCTV, as a right for a government to give a concession to whomever it wishes. Note that in the words of Chavez it is the government who has the right of that, not the public opinion or civil society (in that if truth be told Chavez is not alone among world governments, even from democratic countries…). 4:39 “no hay que explicarlo”, Chavez says that he does not need to give an explanation!!!! He is above accountability!!! He confesses it!!!.

But the best was for the end. At 5:00 Chavez says that the right to give broadcast concession for a country is the same as the right to name whatever ambassador it wishes, and to refuse any ambassador named by the other countries. I mean, how twisted and how far from reality and proportion is the mind of Chavez? I have rarely seen such a preposterous counter example. Is Chavez on crack? Or is he challenging us about even more outrageous actions in the future? Is he going to close El Universal because he has the right to name the minister of communication he wants? Has the usage of absolute power already corrupted him so absolutely? And at 5:38 Chavez says that it is all like the little signs that pop out in some establishments as to who is welcome or not… The implication of course is that Chavez announces that he will admit whomever he pleases in the future.

But Chavez manages to outdo himself at the end. He accuses the journalist of total lack of objectivity, of being sent to fulfill a mission and he dare shim to go and ask about Puente Llaguno as to the reality of Venezuela. And then he runs away before anyone can ask a follow up question such as “Have the 2002 events of Puente Llaguno ever being investigated by an impartial and objective commission?”. I wonder what Chavez would have replied to that… No matter he chose to run away as he seems to be doing more and more often…

Meanwhile I am sure that O’Globo could not dream of better material to criticize even more Lula…

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