Saturday, February 26, 2011


There some people or countries who perfectly match any or all definitions of "enabler":

1.a. To supply with the means, knowledge, or opportunity; make able
b. To make feasible or possible
2. To give legal power, capacity, or sanction to
3. To make operational; activate

And some even go as far as matching the psychological meaning of "enabler":  

A family member, friend, co-worker, cleric or other person who, by being deeply concerned for the well-being of a substance abuser, facilitates the person's continued abuse by attempting to help the abuser–eg.: shouldering responsibility, making excuses for him or her, in fact encourages continued alcoholic or substance-abusing behavior.

What is happening in Libya today (or Venezuela for that matter) is yet another text book case of "enabling" in all of the senses above.  As a dual citizen I must start by blaming France as one of the main enablers of hard core repressive regimes, whether the president comes from Socialist ranks or the Gaullist ones.  The coddling of Mitterrand to many an African Dictator is known as much as Sarkozy's entreaties to Libya's Qaddafi once he threw a few million to clean up his act such as paying off a few of the victims of the planes he had shot down.  Was Qaddafi not allowed to plant his Bedouin tent on the Champs Elysees?

It is not only in Libya, as we can discuss at will what on earth (besides the obvious economic gains) pushed France's Alcatel to sell Venezuela a submarine cable that links Cuba to Venezuela, Cuba a country where Internet is censored and where the average citizen cannot afford a cell phone?.  The note I mention indicates that Internet speed in Cuba will be increased by three thousand.  So, does that mean that Yoani Sanchez will be able to blog at ease?  Who are we kidding here?  The French are allowing Cuba to connect fast to Venezuela so political and police control can be done straight from Cuba much more efficiently than inside Venezuela.  Can possibly Alcatel, the French ambassador attending the opening, the French strategic agencies be so oblivious of what is the real reason for such a cable? To bypass any Western Satellite that could intercept messages between the two repressive regimes, and thus repress better, control better the citizens.

Of course France is not alone and we must include as two major offenders the UK and Italy where Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi go hand in hand redeeming Qaddafi once this one allowed them to control part of his oil and buy from them a whole bunch of weapons in spite of his notable terrorist past.

Maybe the US has not been such an enabler of Qaddafi: at least we must recognize that they tried to bomb kill him once.  But the PanAm airline was a US airline jet shot over Lockerbie and it is damaging that the rapprochement was started under Bush junior just as on the other hand he bombed Iraq who certainly did not do anything worse than Libya did as far as sponsoring terrorism (I leave outside the Kuwait invasion because Qaddafi never had the army to invade anyone otherwise I am certain he would have done so long ago).

However in the case of Venezuela and Chavez  the US stands right there as an enabler together with Brazil.  The career of Chavez would have never reached the current stage if the US's Bush and Brazil's Lula had not been so eager to provide him with all sorts of food items so that he could enslave quite a portion of the country through food distribution systems, while buying oil and paying cash.  We had to wait for Obama to hear the White House actively encourage buying less oil from Venezuela.

You may argue whatever you want but Brazilian and US companies knew very well that they were screwing Venezuelan local production and that Chavez was using that for political purposes, though we must admit that concerns like Cargill or Sadia did not brag about it.  It is true that Chavez could have found food elsewhere but only the US and Brazil could provide him with the amounts he needed.  Was it that difficult for Lula to demand some political concessions in exchange of cheap food or political support elsewhere?  It was in fact a perfect enabling triangle: Venezuela sold oil tot he US so it could attack safely Iraq; the US sold equipment to Brazil so its industrialization could advance fast; and Brazil sold cheap food to Venezuela so the oil we sold to the US ended up in Venezuelans toilets. Literally.

Maybe we could discuss here, if you must, what is the real drug: power or oil; and thus maybe question who is the real enabler.  But in the psychological sense the enabler and enabled work together and eventually become one.

It remains that if people like Chavez and Qaddafi have gone as far as they have it is because too many countries abdicated their responsibility and chose to look elsewhere as long as they could get something out of the relationship.  And when such countries are so lenient, so "pretend" that all is not that bad, then the enabled of the world can unite to help each other better in their vices as Chavez and Qaddafi did.  Now Europe is getting ready to pay the price of abetting so many Arab dictatorships, just as soon enough Brazil and the US will pay for their neglect of Venezuela, once upon a time the beacon of democracy in Latin America.

PS: Interestingly both Qaddafi and Chavez with their puffed and distorted faces might indicate that there are also drug enablers in their entourage, which certainly explain the terrible end of Qaddafi and allows us to predict a terrible end for chavismo.


  1. "Now Europe is getting ready to pay the price of abetting so many Arab dictatorships, just as soon enough Brazil and the US will pay for their neglect of Venezuela, once upon a time the beacon of democracy in Latin America."

    That is wishful thinking Daniel. For neither Europe is getting ready, nor Brazil or the US will suffer anything of significance for having turned a blind eye on Chavez.

    As per Lula, I mean come on, that guy is a thug, the founder of the largest criminal organization in the continent, the partner of the longest ruling dictator in the continent, or have you forgotten about that?

    As per the gringos, they're clueless, their hands are tied, and have far too many problems themselves trying to impede their country descend into third world status.

  2. But they will pay when millions of Venezuelans, Libyans, Algerians, Tunisians, Egyptinas, xyzians flee their country disorders sure to come.

    As for Lula it is true that in addition of being an enabler he was also enabled at home......

  3. I wrote a post yesterday exactly on that
    here it is:

  4. Bruni

    I suppose great minds think alike. Now we have one piece in Spanish and one in English.

    What do you think is the best way to translate "enabler" so that it conveys the delicious psychological sense it has acquired in English?

  5. I have 2 comments.The first is this:

    We have to realize that in this age of Globalization the whole world depends on oil for its survival.

    Despite the green fantasies, if oil supply would decrease significantly and oil prices go up a lot on a permanent basis the third world would suffer famine and the first world would revert to third world status.

    In general there are many dictatorships in the third world, and in the Middle East in particular the governments have all been dictatorships. To refuse a deal with them for that reason or oppose them actively is not a practical proposition NOR is it the right thing to do in the long run considering the dire consequences of doing so for the entire world.

    In reference to Lula you cannot equate the strategic and political partnership he has with Chavez to the US /Venezuela relationship.Lula has actively defended Chavez's democratic credentials and given him all out support.

  6. Anonymous4:46 PM

    Daniel, Daniel, Daniel... Look around your house. Look at your computer. At your cell phone. Is there anything in your house that has a "Made in China" sign on it? If there is, then you're a gigantic hypocrite.

    You're essentially saying that Europe, Brazil and the US should have treated Venezuela and Libya the same way that the US treats Cuba. Remind me again, how did that one work out for the Cuban people? Did that bring democracy to Cuba? Did that serve to oust Castro? Did it even diminish his capacity to spread his nefarious influence all over Latin America?

  7. Second comment on a different level:

    In many ways countries are like little businesses.They have to make money to survive, they need to make a profit in order to accomplish goals, and just like an individual company, each one has a culture whose values usually include: growth,betterment, status, power, money, happiness, and so on.

    Some countries might be a little less powerful, therefore less able to play the game in a big way.

    These days, any company has to be SEEN as giving in order to succeed.They give in order to get which is not a win-win situation.Just like the Olympic games are not win win.They are win/ lose in many people eyes.There are always losers.What many people don't see however is that we are all losers in the end when the situation is not win win for all.

    Some countries only take without giving, but many will give in order to get something is better for their image.There are NO countries who give without expecting a a return ALL of the time.

    On the order of giving without expecting( unselfish giving) we only have certain evolved individuals, but a country represents nothing more than your average Joe.

    In a perfect world we would see more genuine cooperation.In the real world we have to live in, ideals are limited through competition, and the striving to be at the top with only a minor consideration for the overall good.In the pecking order first comes oneself then the other for most people, and for most countries as well.

    No use in singling out countries to blame, because it is a world wide game.In our case the question is how do we improve Venezuela, not how others are not improving it for us.

  8. Roger7:34 PM

    I would like to focus on Brazil. They are very much involved in the Venezuelan economy and even though they also interact with China, US and even Iran. They do have their own interests in mind. They make not only food but all the equipment, such as tractors, to make to make it. Plus the technology to make it work in the tropics. Even with Lula's huggy kissy displays with Hugo, not much except food sales came out of it. Now we have the "Dilma Zone" so far no huggy kisses with Hugo Bear!
    What I see so far is a more Imperialist agenda. The last paragraph of this story mentions South American Intergration and you can bet it ain't Bolivarian!

  9. anonymous

    there is a difference: china does not care much about poltics nor it pretends to do so. they just want to sell to anyone they can.

  10. Daniel,

    I don't normally disagree with you so vociferously, but this time, I must. The prime "enablers" of Chavez are the Venezuelan people who voted for him and permit him to remain in power.

    If the countries of the world refused to trade with anyone with whom they disagree or disapprove of, we would have practically no trade at all. And, without trade, how can any country exert peaceful influence on another to change their policies? Remember the old line from Frederic Bastiat, "If goods do not cross borders armies will."? As Firepig pointed out, the U.S. tried using an embargo against Cuba in an attempt to change Cuba for better, and we all know how well that worked out.

    No, the blame for Chavez lies squarely on the shoulders of "el pueblo Venezolano". Don't blame the rest of the world.

  11. Firepig,

    You and I used to bump heads regularly. Now we seem to be on the same page most of the time. Que paso?

  12. Roy

    you may disagree but you also must keep in mind that there was no enabling in 2002 in venezuela and the Libyan people were enver asked their opinion on the Green "revolution".

    whatever the people do, there is never an excuse for enabling a corrupt terrorist government like libya is/was or what venezuela is. in 2002 the oas and the carter center and the coutnries behind them knew of "plan avila" intentions of 2002. but the US needed its oil for the iraq war and lula was already living his leftist frustrated angst through chavez and brazil formed that "friends of venezuela group" for which we are paying the consequences dearly.

    true, as of 2004 the enablers are those who support chaevz for a bag of free food or a juicy commission at PDVSA but we should not forget that it was not always the case.

  13. Roy,

    "You and I used to bump heads regularly. Now we seem to be on the same page most of the time. Que paso?"

    I guess you could call us true progressives...we change, and evolve :)

  14. I know you don't like wikileaks, but they published an informative cable on what happens when a country "humiliates" dictators like Ghaddafi by refusing him tent-planting rights:

    For context:

  15. jeffrey

    it is not that i am unable to see any value on leaks from official documents but so far the wikileaks cables have not brought anything good. one thing is to report abuses, another embassy gossip :)

  16. Collateral damage someone? Reuters journalists in Baghdad? Polish revenge attacks killing civilians? The hundreds of people killed in weddings?
    Wikileaks was not properly managed and you could read about most of those things and more in German and Arab, hell, even Frehch media (no, not Monde Diplomatique). Apparently, Wikileaks and those English-written texts had to come for some people in English speaking regions to find out a bit about the whole mess.


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