3 December 2007

The United States Says…

Filed under: Culture — ktismatics @ 5:30 am

CARACAS (Reuters) – President Hugo Chavez crashed to an unprecedented vote defeat on Monday [note: the vote was 51% to 49%]. Celebrations immediately erupted throughout Caracas. Many said Venezuela had narrowly escaped the imposition of authoritarian rule. “The reform would have made some frightening changes in our country,” said an ecstatic Astrid Badell, 18, pulling a plastic green whistle from her mouth to talk.

The self-styled revolutionary [question: is it less arrogant to be an “other-styled” revolutionary?] and close ally of Cuba conceded defeat but said he would “continue in the battle to build socialism.” Chavez also said the reform proposals remained “alive,” suggesting he might try to push them through later on. “This is not a defeat. This is another ‘for now,”‘ Chavez said, repeating a famous quote when as a red-bereted paratrooper he acknowledged his coup attempt had failed [note: Chavez was later elected president, receiving the largest electoral majority in 40 years]. He did not appear despondent at his presidential palace [question: is the White House a presidential palace?], where he told supporters not to be sad and wished all Venezuelans a “merry Christmas.”

Students, rights and business groups, opposition parties, the Roman Catholic Church, former political allies and even [!] his usually loyal ex-wife all lined up against Chavez ahead of the referendum vote. They accused him of pushing the constitutional reforms to set up a dictatorship.

The United States [question: who’s he?] says Chavez is a dangerous influence in Latin America, using Venezuela’s oil wealth to win allies and undermine democracy. A fiery speaker, Chavez has called President George W. Bush “the devil” and “Mr. Danger,” says capitalism is “evil” and dismisses his critics at home as traitors. It was a major victory for Venezuela’s fragmented opposition, which had failed to beat Chavez in almost yearly votes or oust him in a brief coup in 2002 [question: so a “brief” coup doesn’t really count as an attempt to overthrow the elected government?]. The victory could embolden opposition leaders to try to block Chavez’s plans [question: is the US part of the opposition?].

Chavez still wields enormous power and his supporters dominate Congress, the courts and election authorities. Soldiers bark his slogan “homeland, socialism or death” when they snap their salutes.

[Question: has Reuter’s been acquired by The Onion? Or by “the United States”?]



  1. Very nice. You need to do this with the news more often!

    K: A fiery speaker, Chavez has called President George W. Bush “the devil” and “Mr. Danger,” says capitalism is “evil” and dismisses his critics at home as traitors.

    Sounds like he would also make a pretty darned good blogger.

    K: Chavez still wields enormous power and his supporters dominate Congress

    Hhhhhmmmm……I was kind of expecting a Freudian spin on this line……..


    Comment by Erdman — 3 December 2007 @ 11:24 am

  2. I like the Freudian idea — can you picture Chavez & Co. with their whips and leather uniforms?
    I was going to comment on the soldiers “barking” and “snapping,” wondering whether they also wear “dog tags,” but decided against it. I think, however, that from now on I’ll start referring to you, Señor Erdman, as “Mr. Danger.”


    Comment by ktismatics — 3 December 2007 @ 11:35 am

  3. That’s what the women in Winona Lake call me.


    Comment by Erdman — 3 December 2007 @ 12:56 pm

  4. I’m not feeling influenced by Chavez, somehow…
    I suppose my French me is either not enough opposed to capitalism or not latin enough.


    Comment by Odile — 3 December 2007 @ 2:51 pm

  5. Chavez’s misguided interpretation of Bolivar is quite dangerous, specially for countries like my Colombia who borders Venezuela to the West.



    Comment by amelo14 — 4 December 2007 @ 8:38 am

  6. You might well be right, Amelo14, and your comment gives me more motivation to understand Chavez’s Bolivarism. But in the US Reuter’s is regarded as a source of objective reporting, and in my view the reporter on this Chavez story is writing editorial commentary and presenting it as unbiased news. Most Americans don’t investigate Chavez beyond what the Bush administration says about him, and this news story makes it appear that Bush is an accurate reporter of facts about a foreign country. And you know where that assumption about Bush has gotten America in the past.


    Comment by ktismatics — 4 December 2007 @ 8:42 am

  7. Chavez is one of those fascinating enigmas. If he were to have tried his revolution minus the power grab he may well have succeeded. But, as with all revolutionaries, he promises a lot and even when he seems to deliver the raised expectations are not met.

    Redistributing wealth is not good enough unless it is accompanied by the means to propagate more. Chavez knows that handouts are usually self-defeating and this is one area where his program was breaking new ground by actually making rural cooperatives into financially productive and independent organisations. If he gets the message and tries again without the power grab, he very probably will succeed. I also think that this is in retrospect a triumph for democracy in action.

    In the final analysis though it also does show that the effective use of money by the US state department and auxiliaries, can be very effective when applied scientifically and when your opponent provides a convenient excuse, for without the external influence Chavez would certainly have got his majority…


    Comment by samlcarr — 4 December 2007 @ 11:06 am

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