The Bolivarian check book might be a little flat these days but it still has enough money to host last week a conference of "leftist parties" in Caracas who unabashedly look upon Chavez as a messiah of sorts. Heck, who else can finance a tropical vacation for these hanger on? Unfortunately a weakening Chavez could not resits the adulatory assembly and in a trance he announced that he was calling for a V-th Socialist International while he did not miss the opportunity to renew his antisemitism credentials by praising Carlos, the noted Jackal terrorist.
Let's start with the V-th Socialist International. For those who need to dust off their history books there has been so far 4 Socialist International, large assemblies where a group of people decide to establish the dogma of socialism as an ideology and a way to make politics. You know, a little bit like the many councils of the Catholic church through the ages. And just as the Catholic church councils the Socialist International had its divisions and parallel assemblies such as the defectors of the 2nd Internationale one who created the "3rd" Socialist International, controlled through Moscow all through its history until the wall fell. (1)
Eventually common sense and democratic values prevailed and the 4th Socialist International was established a few years after WW2, once the division between democracy and totalitarianism was firmly established in the mind of its attendees. This Internationale has been the most successful of the lot, having in its roster an impressive list of members having exerted power in most major Western countries for a significant amount of years. When Democracy came to Venezuela AD became a member. When AD ideology became more confuse the MAS joined and today PODEMOS is an observer. But, and that is the interesting point, neither the MVR nor the PSUV will be admitted to that 4th Internationale which is something that hurts deeply our most beloved Supremo leader. See, if there is anything that democratic socialists have learned through their perturbed history is to mistrust anything with a whiff of militarism.
Thus Chavez decides to create his very own Internationale, with a whole bunch of minority hackers that he will control through his check book, EXACTLY as Stalin controlled the member of the 3rd Internationale. You can be assured of one thing, democracy will be a best a minor concern of the 5th Internationale which is assured from the start to be a ridiculous endeavor, but one which will cause some damage here and there. Interestingly this Internationale is called for next April for a speedy formation, just as the 3rd one benefited from a speedy formation. The 4th Internationale came to be after many congresses, symposiums and all sorts fo meetings, because, see, it was democratic. (2)
But all of this is funny if costly for us Venezuelans we must endure the mad man in charge, calling for a new International he will pay for when he cannot even ensure us a reliable water and electricity supply. In his trance Chavez went much further, he praised Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as the infamous Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal who is serving life sentence in a French jail. Simon Romero of the New York Times was not amused and offered a recap of the high feats of Carlos. Simon Romero notes all the anti Zionist and antisemitic undertones in such a defense of Carlos, and at such gathering of leftist parties where too many of them look more fascist than genuine socialists.
And that was not all, Chavez praised Mugabe and Ahmadinejerk once again and managed to have kind words for Idi Amine. Gasp....... The BBC journalist must also have gasped reporting it. The AP reports that in Uganda they were not amused. And speaking of the Associated Press, looking across the news we find that dispatch signed by Ian James who definitely must have been feeling high on the sycophancy vapors of the Caracas meeting he was covering last week. He titles it: "Chavez praises alleged terrorist Carlos the Jackal". Alleged... Ian James is an ignorant idiot, redundancy intended, and he owes us an apology (hat tip Caracas Chronicles).
I do not know about you, but that "leftist party" meeting of last week reminded me of the Titanic band... Not that the bolibanana revolution is about to go under anytime soon, but such displays of arrogance and ignorance must mean that the end cannot be that far. And it also would explain why Chavez seems to need to provoke even more than his usual habit, as duly noted by Rory Carroll at the Guardian. In his speech he indicated he was well aware he would be causing waves.
1) there are many conventions to name these International Socialist meetings and their results. some hate the numeration since it sorts of admit that there are more than one socialism, anathema for them! Other only will accept names that include words such as "workers". Here, it is Socialist International, or Internationale, the French way (which is also the name of its famous anthem, second only to the Marseillaise as a revolutionary chant in the past).
2) one wonders what will be the relationship of this new Internationale with organizations such as the "Foro de Sao Paulo". A sign of future tensions with Lula? Or is Lula only to happy to franchise his Foro to Chavez?
3) New york times now carries links just like blogs and the Romero piece links to this 2006 compendium of Chavez attacks against Israel and Jews.