Rantings of a Sandmonkey
Why actors and models like to hang out with Chavez..
One sees it everyday, and not only with actors and other celebrities… It’s mind-bogling how some people wear shades that blot out everything that doesn’t fit with their specific view.
to all Socialis regimes sympathizers, and chaves/che gevara/castro/ahmad-dinner-jacket lovers:
VENEZUELA: Gunmen opened fire on students returning from a march in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas in which 80,000 people denounced President Hugo Chavez’s attempts to expand his power. At least eight people were injured, including one by gunfire, officials said.
The violence broke out after anti-Chavez demonstrators marched peacefully to the Supreme Court to protest proposed constitutional amendments that would abolish presidential term limits, give the president control over the Central Bank and let him create new provinces governed by handpicked officials. Protesters say the amendments would weaken civil liberties in one of South America’s oldest democracies and give Chavez unprecedented power to declare states of emergency.
That was an exellent article. I can’t believe it was in Slate.
That was an excellent article. I can’t believe it was in Slate.
Um…whoops. Sorry about the duplicate, dear. I tried to stop it from sending the first time; I guess it didn’t work.
I was talking about Chavez to some liberals from New York, and they asked me, quite earnestly, “what is it that Chavez did that was so wrong?” Well, I knew that he was a demagogue and that he was pressuring opposition media (including, I believe, attempting to close down an opposition TV station), but I couldn’t think of more to say. Then I found this article in a recent issue of the American magazine Foreign Policy, written early last year by Javier Corrales, a professor from Amherst College.
Sorry, I can’t seem to find a link again to the full article. The Foreign Policy site requires that you be a subscriber. In any case, I remember some of the main points:
a) Chavez eliminated the Venezuelan Senate, leaving the lower house as the only parliament he had to deal with. He also changed the required majority for passage of legislation from 2/3 (which he did not have) to just over half, so that this house became a rubber stamp.
b) This rubber-stamp parliament allowed Chavez to increase the number of judges in Venezuela’s Supreme Court from 20 to 32, and, of course, all the new appointees were Chavez loyalists.
c) Chavez ended parliamentary oversight of the army, taking it on himself. Then he fired all top officers who opposed him, and promoted loyalists.
d) Chavez ended independent oversight of Venezuelan elections, and started concentrating his energies on his electoral machine, with the usual problems of corruption and gerrymandering.
e) Chavez had passed legislation allowing the prosecution of journalists deemed disloyal to the government and government oversight of the content of news reporting.
f) Chavez took control of the largest oil company in Venezuela, which is the source of most of Venezuela’s national income, and uses a good part of the funds to bolster his party.
g) It should be noted that, even though he famously lavished some money on some programs for the poor, progress for the poor under his government has been non-existent. Such programs as he’s had seem to be more of a token effort or a public relations effort.
h) Also, most of the poor voters don’t support him. About 30% (I think, maybe a little higher) support him, with a good chunk (about 40% undecided).
The author says that Chavez is attempting, rather successfully, a new kind of authoritarianism, a competitive authoritarianism. His is not a regime like Castro’s: There is a strong civil society, even a lively press and opposition. Chavez cannot do away with the opposition totally, they’re too strong and the political consequences internationally may be too dire for him. But he dominates them through corrupted elections, false populism and demagogy. Thus Venezuela appears to be democratic, but Chavez is continually concentrating more and more power in his hands. After all, he controls the legislature, the supreme court, the military, and most of the country’s petrol profits. He’s on a roll!
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