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liberals on Chavez:
i should unpleasantly register some annoyance at liberals who seem happy to feed or implicitly endorse the more or less baseless Chavez-bashing of the corporate press without any real recourse to fact - maybe they have some sort of point, probably they don't, but nobody has actually argued the point anymore than they did when Aristide's head was on the block. It should be enough, I would think, for all the democracy-fluffers on the liberal hawk side - and more so the dovish ones - to acknowledge that if some leader is elected fairly and overwhelmingly popular, like an Aristide or a Chavez, that any aggression against their elected office ought to be denounced in the strongest terms. Compared to these democracy promoting military adventures we keep being lead into simply opposing the usurptation of democracy ought to come real cheap. Instead I keep running into cheap endorsements of the idea that the guy is some sort of tinpot dictator.
Eric Margolis says the guy is "a democratic populist demagogue like Argentina’s Juan Peron, whose maniac but popular social schemes bankrupted his once prosperous nation", apparently channelling Greg Wilpert's observation that "liberals like John Kerry and the editors of the Washington Post [see] just another struggle between a populist military caudillo (similar to Peron) and the forces of liberal enlightened democracy". And then you can run across simple matter-of-facts like "Chavez's authoritarian leftist government" that beg the question 'compared to what'?
The guy has survived more than three seperate attempts to overthrow the government by the country's elite, all thoroughly assisted by the private media, which remains perfectly free to continue bashing the guy. The coup organizers in the military weren't summarily executed in the counter-coup like any real authoritarian statesman would have managed but are at trial in a country with no death penalty, and the political and media agitators behind it continue leading the opposition. Some of the coup plotters are living in the United States, not out of fear for their lives but because they'll have to lobby the US to do something about this usurper because they can't mobilize a political opposition that can compete with Chavez. Shit if I don't wish this country had a popular recall process for the Presidency. But if we're going to compare his authoritarianism to something it would make the most sense to compare it to the political opposition: the opposition that staged a fucking coup before ever attempting a referendum recall, kidnapping the president and dissolving the national assembly and appointing their guy supreme "interim" leader. Compared to them Chavez is a goddam civil libertarian.
:: posted by buermann @ 2005-08-30 12:25:07 CST |