Friday, January 21, 2011

The real Chavez is never far under the surface, even Cohn-Bendit knows that

It was not too long until the fake meek words of last Saturday were blown away.  Tonight as a matter of fact when Chavez announced that the enabling law would not be returned for revision at the National Assembly.  In one of his editorials Teodoro Petkoff was sort of looking at Chavez's Saturday performance as a possible sign of more flexibility; but tonight Chavez made sure to let us know that war is all that he has in mind and that the enabling law will be used, among other things, to destroy the rental market and private construction sector.  Considering the more than proven ineptness of the regime at building houses (amazingly also recognized in tonight's cadena by Chaevz himself) we can only suggest to newly married couples to learn to shack it up and tune it down at their parents home.  That, or learning to assemble zinc and cardboard shacks to shag.

If one parable has been proven over and over by Chavez, it is the frog and scorpion crossing the river.  Or in more realistic words, what this blogger tells you over and over: too many chavistas will have to go on trial once the regime is over for them to allow any transition.  Chavez words last Saturday where for the consumption of the foreign press and attending ambassadors, as I noted in the Google news section who listed all sorts of beaming foreign correspondents that Chavez was going to resend the enabling law in May.  But for the Venezuelan public I am surprised that it took until today for Chavez reminding us that nothing had changed.

But there was a delightful moment this week, from the European Parliament, nothing less.  There was a fierce debate as Hungary's prime minster, Orban, fresh from presiding over the enacting of a restrictive freedom of the press law came to present Hungary's plans for Europe as they preside it for the next 6 months.  Hungary and its government have been receiving quite a lot of flack from that law. I am in no position to judge how dangerous it is but my guess is that it is less coercive than the one in Venezuela voted last month but already too much for Europeans to stomach.

Cohn-Bendit, as reported by El Pais in Spain, intervened in the debate with a strong criticism of Orban and accused him of being some European Chavez.  Since Cohn-Bendit is a Green French representative at the European Parliament I took the trouble to find his exact words in French:
"un Chavez européen, un national-populiste qui ne comprend pas l'essence et la structure de la démocratie"
 That is: an European Chavez, a national-populist that does not understand the essence and the structure of democracy.

There you have it, one of the clearest appreciation of chavismo you can find in recent memory, and from someone with leftist impeccable credentials, as far back as May 68.  Real leftist democrats like Liberation and Cohn Bendit were the first ones in France to have discovered the true nature of Chavez, as the right wing French and Le Figaro still manages after all these years to wiggle on occasion, I suppose hoping to help French business get fat contracts....

What I am trying to tell you is that this is big, that if Cohn-Bendit has incorporated anti Chavez rhetoric to the point of spitting it in an angry debate at the European parliament it is because Chavez image in Europe is, well, totally screwed.  Now we are waiting for the last democratic leftward bastion to join the anti Chavez chorus:  too many Liberals in the US who for some reason still cannot seem to make up their mind over Chavez.


  1. Hongaarse premier is Europese Chavez:
    that is what train travellers read in the train newspaper in many places.

  2. Isn't the fiber-optic cable to Cuba being supplied and installed by a French company? Alcatel-Lucent, I think. On top of the $70 million face value cost to the Venezuelan people, I suppose you can expect some fat gains for individuals both sides of the Atlantic. I agree with you: not everyone in France is prepared to call Chavez a national-populist.

    I am sure that Venezuela is footing the entire bill for the cable. That way Alcatel should have nothing to fear from the American blockade of Cuba. The benefit to the Cuban or Venezuelan peoples? None.

  3. JOALRED3:24 PM

    "That, or learning to assemble zinc and cardboard shacks to shag." CONO Daniel I didn't know you had a crude side! hahaha

  4. First of all I would be the last one to congratulate any leftist who took umpteen years to see what the lowly uneducated FOX news and MANY others saw from the beginning.I myself saw through Chavez from day one as well, so I can hardly be heartened by such a tardy response.So where is the critical thinking of these leftists? Buried under the blind filter of idealism?If it took them this long to see who Chavez is, what else are they not seeing?I simply do not believe in their sincerity.

    Now the first thing we have to admit when it comes to politics is that it is basically a power game that uses all manner of tricks and lies to get what is coveted( mostly votes )..This means that much of what is said can taken in this vein.It is not like we are dealing in honest opinions here.

    It seems natural to me that the left in Europe having the desire to incorporate Belarus into the EU( but first must get rid of its dictatorship) would begin to feel uneasy about the developments over the years with Hugo Chavez.These developments begin to be more and more difficult to hide.After all, it begins to look bad for the future of the European left to have the support of leftist Chavez and his friendship with Lukachenko threatening to tarnish the IMAGE of socialism.The US does not have a situation like this.

    However having said that, there are still HUGE bastions of Chavez sympathizers left in Europe as evidenced by the incredibly Machiavellian articles the BBC puts out on this affair.

    And last but not least, remember that what these leftists do for IMAGE, does not necessarily represent their final goals.My speculation is that that it simply doesn't.It just behooves them not to tarnish their interests in the worldwide movement towards socialism.

  5. Hi Daniel: You've mentioned a number of times that any transition will not be feasible (at least in a peaceful way) since the Chavistas are implicated in too many illegal activities. However, isn't the army in Venezuela a) mostly pro-democracy and b) not necessarily pro-Chavez? If this is the case, wouldn't the army "force" any transition to go over mostly smoothly? It would be really interesting if you could elaborate more on this.



  6. Speaking if Hungary didn't they just announce that the government was seizing private pensions?

    Yes, a bastion of liberty that.


  7. Anonymous4:25 PM

    PDVSA signed a big contract with the French engineering company Technip in November:

    It made news outside of Venezuela at the time, at least in the energy and financial press, but seems to have vanished from the rest of the Internet. Amounts were not given but I'm certain it was well into the millions of dollars.

  8. Federico

    The army has known for 12 years, or at least since 2003, of Chavez real intentions (to go to a Cuba like system) and of the corruption that accompanies his tenure. If they have done nothing since 2002 it is becasue 1) they are benefiting from it and 2) they are not going to do any action until several of these conditions are met simultaneously: that Chavez goes below 40%, that their "extra income" is threatened, that Chavez demands real bloody repression from them, that the constitutional violations escalate in such a way that the top brass is implicated internationally, that Venezuela does indeed slip into a narco-state status, and others...

    Unfortunately most of these conditions imply a deep division into the army and thus a very heightened possibility of civil war, which is probably Chavez wants at this point. His problem is that the opposition has no means to start a civil war even if it wanted to do so. I do not think they want that becasue the leadership is educated enough to know that the costs of a civil war will be even worse than those of the corruption.

    It is my opinion that what is going on right now inside the army is not an anti Chavez feeling, but that a portion of the army is not willing to pay the political and human cost of letting Chavez in office, EVEN IF they had pro Chavez feeling, or still have.

    In other words, it is an internal army problem that has nothing to do with democracy, or with their love of Chavez, or the leadership of the opposition.

    The only thing the opposition can do is to reach a solid 60% support and then force the army to decide its best survival strategy which could include, make no mistake, brutal repression of the opposition.

    My current model is the Mynamarization of Venezuela, not necessarily with Chavez at the top.


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