"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

¡En Fuego!

Chavez en fuego
My dog, callin' Dubya el Diablo, getting laughs from the crowd. It's inflammatory rhetoric, but that's politics. On substance, his critique of Bush's "Freedom is on the March" rhetoric and foreign policy is actually dead-on.

For those of you who are new to this, understand that 95% of what you read about Hugo Chavez in the english-language press is propaganda. He's won solid majorities thrice in internationally certified elections, which is more than I can say for most leaders these days, including our new boy down there in Mexico.

Meistro? A little history, please.

So why the propaganda? Well he's a socialist who uses his country's natural resources to provide infrastructure, medicine and education to the poor, and he's building stronger regional economic ties outside of any of our fancy funds like the IMF or World Bank.

Apparently we're still so afraid of communism that we can't handle this. He's showing us up, so fuck 'em, he's a dictator! Coup d'etat his as, or get someone down there with a poison cigar or something...

Chavez is up for re-election this year, which he does seem likely to win, but it also looks like his opposition won't boycott the political process (as they did in the 2005 parlimentary elections, to ill effect for them). That's good. Instead, they've adopted Chavez's rhetoric of helping the poor, and are critiquing his foreign-aid and military-acquisition programs as unnecessary diversions.

On the downside for them, the Un Nuevo Tiempo (A New Era) party doesn't have much credibility -- still closely tied to the economic elite -- so in spite of the fact that Chavez is vulnerable on just about every issue except education, they probably won't be able to capitalize, this time. But if they keep at it...

The point is, you can hardly call the man a dictator. He may be inheriting Castro's place as the regional champion of socialism, and setting him self up in opposition to US Hegemony, but he's not running a police state or anything, and frankly it's a little embarassing that our media and political elites can only see a Red Menace.

Castro y Chavez

Keep on rockin' in the free world.


Then John Bolton acts like a true idiot saying Chavez's freedom to speak his mind isn't enjoyed by the Venezuelan people--a made-up criticism, where another legitimate argument might have been made.

(The NYTimes provided the Bolton quote without remarking on it's truthfulness.)

On the other hand, I would love to believe in Chavez, but I have a hard time given this kind of behavior. Strains of instability, megalomania.

new blog. wuwhat! dibs on comment number 6.

yeah, chavez kinda rocks, but what's the point in antagonizing Mr. Donkey Danger? i mean, i don't think he's the red terror, and i think he's right in most of the things he says about bush, i even have occasional weakness for socialist programs--but the foreign devil rhetoric ain't just words. as we've learned, the presidency is not the place to get into a pissing contest of any kind. it's bad diplomacy, and limits future options with a country like us. and we can, on occasion, be mildly useful. but for now, he keeps the headlines bumpin'--just not so sure i'd be as keen if i were a venezuelan.

so, someone disagrees with me, but i can't quite figure out what sly thing the two have figured out...