I could not have hoped for a faster confirmation on my two recent post on foreign affairs. In the first one I mentioned that Venezuela, or rather Chavez, had not been invited to the Viña del Mar conference for progressive leaders to offer proposals to the coming G20. In the second post I criticized Lula for defending Chavez against all common sense. Well, Chavez today showed that he was really pissed off at not been invited at Viña del Mar and along the way embarrassed further Lula who will have even more of a hard time dodging questions about Chavez.
The first thing that hit the newsroom in Venezuela was the declarations of Chavez against Chile's Bachelet in Doha. The event in Doha, Qatar, is a "summit" between the Arab League and South American countries to promote trade. It is not to promote democracy of course as even Iran (not a member of the league) is more democratic than most of the Arab league members. The league, not democratic, some of its members militantly Muslims, challenged the rest of the world in its own summit held yesterday by inviting al-Bashir, the genocidal president of Sudan, currently with an international arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court. Interestingly if you look at the map of the ICC you will notice that only three Arab League countries belong to that International Court (the US, by the way, does not, but Venezuela does).
So why did poor Bachelet deserved the wrath of Chavez? According to the Tal Cual release (nothing in English yet, sorry!)
"There are some progressives around here that I do not understand (...) They do not do anything good for the unity of South America when president Bachelet calls for a meeting with the Vice President of the USA and the British Prime Minister (...) Two representatives of the Empires! I think that this jeopardizes South America Unity!"Oh dear! Where should we start?
With the ignorance of Chavez entourage that was not able to explain to him that this Viña del Mar meeting had nothing to do with South America? Or with Chavez bad faith at not been invited and uttering such spiteful remarks, implying that unity is only possible with him at the helm? Truly, he is pissed of not having been invited. The pariah status he is gaining is starting to affect him. As I wrote then, it is clear that when serious work is required folks like Chavez are not invited.
So, not been able to steal the show at Viña Del Mar he went ahead to steal the one at Doha. After all in Doha little work was expected anyway as it is more of a P.R. show summit than anything else, where the only objective of the Arab countries is to trump their nose at the West by hanging out with some Latin Leaders. Any serious work of the Arab League was done the day before.
So Chavez arrived proposing a new "petro currency" to replace the dollar. What is that fixation with creating world currencies when Chavez is unable to manage his own currency? What would he do with his spending ways if Venezuela depends from another currency for its accounts and populist programs?
Then to remain the darling of Muslim fundamentalist countries he stole the show by defending al-Bashir and dismissing the ICC even though Venezuela is subjected to its decisions. He wondered aloud why the ICC was not arresting Bush before arresting al-Bashir. The only thing that this reveals is his conception of justice, Venezuelan style, where Chavez announces on TV what politicians he wants to see behind bars, and quickly HIS judicial gang proceeds to forge any necessary evidence. A smart journalists would ask Chavez whether he submitted to the ICC a well documented case to arrest Bush or Olmert. Probably the thought never crossed Chavez mind....... Or the journalist could simply ask whether Chavez read the al-Bashir file.
And then he invited al-Bashir over to Venezuela. I am sure that the Darfur experience will be of great use to Chavez when he decides to kill off the opposition that refuses to submit to his military regime. Not to mention that al-Bashir can offer tips to Chavez on how to escape international prosecution when his turn will finally come. Asinus asinum fricat.
- The next interview of Lula by a big gun as Zakaria....
- Venezuela lame excuses to leave the ICC....
- Bachelet refusing to meet Chavez ever again
- The International Socialist group visiting Venezuela and Chavez possibly not receiving them
- al-Bashir probably will not come as he knows better than going to an ICC country (though admittedly Chavez could use this as an excuse to pull Venezuela out)
- But if al-Bashir does not come expect a "triumphant" tour through Arabic countries by Chavez anytime soon.
- And more, much more comedy sketches to this show "loud mouths in search of an audience"
Update: Cristina Kirchner, certainly not a very admirable leader, today did something good for her very tarnished image: she was the only leader at Doha who did not take part in the "family picture" and who stood up and left when Bashir turn to speak came.
Update 2: do not miss this great editorial of the Washington Post