Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hugo your way and I'll go mine

Headline in the New York Post:

OK, Hugo to hell now! Venezuela’s loony leftist Chavez croaks

And overheard (I wasn't really listening) on the BBC this morning, on the same subject, a voice from Miami, I think, young, US-educated, and deeply offended: "He divided us."

No, Sunshine, he forced you to recognize the division. Venezuela was this sleek little country where oil money wasn't a problem, and practically the whole population was beautifully dressed Italian immigrants, and the Liberals succeeded the Conservatives, and then the Conservatives succeeded the Liberals, and everything was perfect if you had a little money, and everybody did, except it wasn't true. Hugo Chávez discovered that there were poor people in Venezuela, and self-satisfied oligarchs, and mountains of corruption, and he rubbed your faces in it. Then you disposed of your unpleasant knowledge by blaming it on him. "He divided us."
Centro Finanziero Confinanzas, Caracas, half-built and abandoned in 1994, now  a squat for 625 families on 28 floors, no elevators. Photo by Iwan Baan.
And then he tried to do something about it. I expect he did a lot of things wrong. Probably he wasn't as well educated as some of you all, and nobody can say he had very good taste. I'm sure he caused political opponents to be badly treated on flimsy pretexts and did favors for his family and friends. It seems amazingly difficult, though, to present convincing evidence of human rights violations on his watch.

And the other thing I wanted to say was this: the clownish persona, the four-hour speeches, the monstrous self-regard, and the playdates with disgusting foreign thug leaders all began after the 2002 coup attempt convinced him that the United States was his implacable enemy. Rightly or wrongly, who knows; it's certain that the old Iran-Contra villain Otto Reich, who was serving as assistant secretary of state, welcomed it, and it's not as if the US never involved itself in any of that there regime change before. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you, as the saying goes.

Every once in a while they try the other approach, you know, quite a bit recently with some of those other South Americans, old Lula, of course, and Evo Morales, and so on, and let them just go about their weird socialist business, and guess what happens? It's not so bad, really. It's better than being the kind of scum that writes judgmental headlines for the Post.

No comments:

Post a Comment