Thursday, November 8, 2007
Fuck the Chavistas!
I've tried to cut all kinds of slack for Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, since he faced a ridiculous coup attempt in April 2002, and his Bolivarian economic alternatives for the southern cone really represent a good challenge to IMF/World Bank "Washington consensus." But I was always nervous about his military roots and demagogic tendencies, and the way he was mobilizing poorer citizens not just toward self-determination, but toward the "Committees for the Defense of the Revolution" Stalinist model perfected by Castro and others.
The response by anonymous gunmen Nov. 7 to peaceful university protests says it all. Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, and Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador, both have found ways to mobilize the poor without turning everything into provocative class warfare. Chavez has pushed the Venezuelan proletariat into thug methodologies. He's the perfect kind of guy for western capitalists to demonize, and given Venezuela's oil wealth, he's likely to be around for a while. But that doesn't mean he's the kind of person that any western progressive should admire. I'm utterly through with Hugo Chavez, and I won't give much credit to friends in the progressive community that still like him.