Blogging everyday is sometimes a drudgery, no matter how motivated one gets by living in a crumbling society. So it is with great pleasure that tonight I was greeted in my mail box by an article of Anne Applebaum published in the Washington Post or the Slate, as you wish. The title right there brought a smile on my face: The New Fellow Travellers. A smile that got wider when I saw the article commented first in Reason Mag under the title "The Return of the Sandalista", a term I learn first from a long time reader, AM&L.
It seems that this article has raised quite a little debate in Internet, ranging from Liberal to Conservative, each one with interesting takes.
What does the article says? Well, it looks at all the leftist celebrities that are visiting Chavez these days, something that has been commented by this blogger extensively for the visit of Sean Penn (1). Then, well, for Kevin Spacey and Naomi Campbell, I have other things to cover such as street rioting in Venezuela whose news I wonder if they will ever reach these celebrities.
The gist of the article is that these US celebrities are looking elsewhere for help toward what they cannot do at home, willing to trample the natives rights as long as they can get exposure for their fighting cause, currently George Bush of Washington, DC. Ms. Applebaum reminds us that Lenin already called these people "useful idiots", a term still used freely in Venezuela popular jargon "tonto util". she also reminds us that their interest is always fleeting as soon they look for new revolutionary sensations. Correa of Ecuador is probably salivating as he chooses carefully his embroidered shirts to welcome these folks as they are bound to do. curiously they are not visiting much Evo Morales who is much more of the real thing, the oppressed native that made it good, than Chavez or Correa. But Hollywood and Ms. Campbell political acumen and social touch have never been quite on target...
The reactions through the web were quite interesting. One thing we can find is also the parallelism between Pakistan and Venezuela as people sense that Chavez might be pulling a Musharraf anytime. I disagree because I for one remember that the last far election in Venezuela, 1998, was won by Chavez with a 55%. Musharraf has yet to be on the ballot himself. Still, there is something that both of them share, a certain popular support but the inability to make the country reach a basic consensus to allow for government to be more effective. Such consensus are required even when allegedly you have 60% like Chavez claims he does (he conveniently forget to factor abstention).
However the tack of Matthew Yglesias was rather disappointing, limiting himself to question on what did Ms. Applebaum write about other tyrants on the right side of the political spectrum. As such he is hardly any better than the PSF that haunt on occasion these comment pages or those of Harry's Place to cite a Liberal Left site more creative than Matthew Yglesias, even with their use of Pakistan. I suggest Yglesias to visit this blog, for a starter, so he can get a better idea where Chavez is taking the country.
But there the associated fun posts such as Babalu giving us the pic of the fabulous designer gown that Naomi Campbell wore at Miraflores with Chavez. Did they talk about the problems on hired help that they both seem to have? Probably Instapundit would have loved to be the fly on the wall.
But Reason Magazine, in addition to give me a link, also linked to the New York times article of Romero on yesterday announcement of Baduel. Now that the NYT is squarely questioning Chavez I wonder if these paragons of liberalism catwalk/stage, "tontos utiles" are also going to ditch the NYT... Probably, they seem to be short on substance. I wonder what they would think of the latest article on Venezuela by Moises Naim who paints a grim picture of corruption and traffic abuses and mafia take over. Then Hollywood and catwalks do like coke, don't they?
1) that visit was also covered by the NYT quite well, probably contributing to the Venezuelan secret service busting Romero's home and stealing his PCU. Pajamas Media also did its take on the adventure.