Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Of Democracy's evils

The elections might have been over on the 23 at night but ever since Chavez has been doing almost daily cadenas. In fact, after a couple of days of wavering, the electoral campaign has restarted in full for his reelection amendment. And even more virulent than pre-23 halcyon days, with threats that are actually acted upon.

Among all the wondrous things we are seeing, and past the fact that we wonder when, if ever, we will reach the blasé happy state, there is the revelation as to how deeply undemocratic the chavismo core is.

It has been a premise of pro Chavez propaganda overseas (PSF thrive on it and diverse VIO repeat to us incessantly as a last bullet) that Chavez has won 66.6 elections and only lost 1.3 ones. Or some number like that, they keep better score than what we bother with here. That Chavez never faced a real election since December 1998 is a point never taken into account. In fact, they love to gargle on how "graciously" he recognized his 2007 defeat, if only for about 24 hours.

But all of these quaintness is over as of this week (and coming ones). Chavez has been such a bad loser this time that he has ordered all of his people to sabotage the administration of the incoming opposition governors and mayors. Rosales is about to be jailed on unestablished charges. Salas Feo and Capriles Radonski are told over and over that they are surrounded, that they are watched closely and that soon the governor office will be taken back from them. Ledezma sees the little bit that Barreto had not yet given away taken out the days around the election and now Ledezma will have very little to do in his office while he is equally threatened. Perez Vivas has been told that the local chavistas will do all what they can to sabotage his rule, local National Assembly representatives leading the pack of a possible insurrection.

All the orders come from above, from a bitterly hysteric Chavez who goes from one inauguration to another, telling the crowds to fight the new governors for abuses that they have not had time to commit yet since they are currently being sworn in (in Tachira they are even trying to sabotage the swearing in ceremony). These cadenas are reaching a level of ridicule that is astounding. Besides the abuse of daily cadenas that last 2 or more hours at rush hours so people are forced to listen to them on their car radio if they have no musical escape, these cadenas are all repetitive, including such things as a listing of all the cities won by Chavez (he even makes mistakes, probably on purpose, when he includes cities like Ciudad Bolviar or San Carlos). Chavez is dead set in proving that he won the election while promoting the amendment to have him reelected by February 2009. Well, it is an amendment but he is running it again as a plebiscite on his tenure so for all practical purpose a February vote can be looked upon as a reelection vote.

But what makes this disturbing panorama even worse (should I say fascistic?), is the slander that accompanies his speeches. The new governors are accused of all sorts of sins by the president, without proof shown, without leaving them a chance to reply of course. Thus the good hoi poloi will believe the president who obviously would not say such things if they were not true. Or that is at least Chavez's hope. And thus tonight we reached a particularly sad spectacle. The cadena started with the speech of a certain Alirio Mendoza just elected mayor of Los Teques, the seat of Miranda state government. The guy was catapulted on national simultaneous broadcast TV from his role as local leader of sorts. What was astounding in his speech is that he seemed kind of divided, not in the good way as in part democrat part chavista. No, his inner division was rather between a sycophant and a local leader actually caring somewhat for the people he is about to start ruling.

On his sycophantic side we heard him qualify Capriles Radonski as a fascist terrorist. Has anyone told him that he was his governor and that no matter how hard he will try to avoid it he would have to sit across a table from him at some point? Did he consider that such a criminal should have been jailed long ago? Was that not a weird contradiction? Did he realize that he got only 50,01% of the votes in his district? That the people from Capriles party represent 22,59% of his district? Is he allowed to disrespect their choice? Will he cut off their water service? Garbage service? He did not look too steady at first, maybe that he knew he was on cadena or perhaps maybe because he knew that what he was going to say was wrong. But Chavez was in front of him and soon enough he said all that he had been told to say.

But the public servant part of his speech was hardly any better. There were two aspects of it. One was that he said that he would do a lot of things that should have been done. You would have thought that he had conquered an opposition stronghold. And yet Los Teques was won by a chavista in 2004, Salmeron. Not to mention that Diosdado Cabello defeated by Capriles was governor so how come these proposals sounded like novelties that finally the people would get? As a feat of inverted speech it was fantastic to observe as Alirio voice did not even falter once. He does believe his shit! But the second aspect was much more worrisome since he announced measures that would indicate that Chavez was making him an ad hoc Governor of Miranda. That is, the people should go to him to get their projects funded. True, somewhat wrapped more elegantly under the guise of collaboration between chosen districts, but the objective was clear, to show that Capriles was made irrelevant.

Chavista governors have not experienced such threats or such diminution of their functions and prerogatives.

For all those who are willing to see, these days reveal clearly that the chavismo apparat is not democratic, was never democratic and only pretended to be so as long as it won easy elections. The true test of a democrat is when an election is lost. On this account Chavez and at least a large chunk of his new crop of elected officials are failing dramatically.

-The end-

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