In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has made it his goal to oppress all opposition and to draw as much power to himself as humanly possible. Newspapers and networks critical of him have been forced to shut down. He’s also trying to rewrite the Constitution which would enable him to remain his country’s president until the day he dies. What’s more, students who attended an anti-Chavez protest yesterday were fired on. Two of the student-protesters were wounded.
Clearly it brings up memories of the University of Wisconsin or Ohio State during the Vietnam War. Yes this sounds bad, but like so much fascist anti-Chavez propaganda that gets repeated again and again in the news, there is little truth to it.
- Fact : Opposition student protesters were not getting much media attention so they went violent.
- Fact : Opposition students, including those from other Universities, went to the School of Social Work and blocked students supportive of Chavez inside. Opposition students threw rocks at the school, and were making attempts to attack revolutionary students attending a Bolivarian conference.
- Fact : Unlike the US, Universities are seen as sovereign entities, and police were not able to enter the campus.
- Fact : The black hooded Chavistas, as the right likes to call them, were simply scaring the violent opposition away. Since revolutionary students were blocked inside the School of Social Work, and opposition protesters were attempting to get inside, there was good reason to believe the fascist protesters would harm the revolutionary students.
A few things worth pointing out.
Most of the media in Venezuela serves a rich, elite minority. They are like Fox News on steroids but minus the facts. Fox is light on facts you say, then you get my point. More often than not the news reports – propaganda – they release to the western media is more fiction than fact. This was another example of the fiction being played again and again in American media, with little consideration for the facts.
Time and again we hear on the fascist news outlet (think Fox) that Chavez has declared himself dictator for life. While that makes good headlines in an Orwellian way, it again lacks any basis in truth. The Venezuelan congress gave Chavez the authority to revise the constitution through the will of the people. In my book that is raw Democracy, I may not always like Democracy’s decision, but I respect it none the less. The constitution gives Chavez no more power that the governors, senators, or representatives to congress. Are they dictators because they can run for office again and again? For the record, I think term limits are a good idea, but respect the will of the people to change it.
The opposition leaders are upset that revisions in the constitution will give Chavez too much power. I actually think they have a point which was why Chavez seperated some of these revisions into more referendums. The powers that Chavez will get from what I call a Patriot Act lite are no doubt problematic, but far less damaging to civil liberties than Patriot Act 1 or Patriot 2. There is one big difference between Chavez’s approach to expanded presidential power, and our imperial president, Chavez is taking the referendum directly to the people, and Bush got his powers in the shadows of night with the least opposition.
My fascist friend from Fox had this question,
How can anybody — even a left-wing nutjob — now voice any support at all for Hugo?
You watch, they will. And their reasoning is going to be amazing to hear.
The answer my friend is blowing in the wind. Its a word that starts with D? And no its not dictator nor devil. The word is Democracy. Unlike the devil in the White House all Chavez’s power has come directly from the people. When he felt he needed expanded powers to combat terrorist, he did not strong arm congress in the shadows of the night, but took a referendum directly to the people. Orwellian double speak need not apply.
My last point is while the right of center fascists have plenty of time to attack a Democratic Socialist like Chavez, they have been silent about military rule in Pakistan. One would think if ones issues are the rule of law and extra constitutional powers, the events on the ground in Pakistan would be more intriguing than Venezuela. No the real problem with Chavez is not his “dictatorial” tendencies, but his Democratic ones. The fascists despise Chavez because of his socialism or what Tucker calls middle class entitlements.