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Venezuela's reality TV show...

By Alexandra Beech

Venezuelan politics make Donald Trump’s reality TV look like child’s play. Imagine a country’s Vice President calling a senior US official a “clown”. Now imagine a president calling another president a liar. Then imagine a president calling US National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice “politically illiterate,” only days after he suggested that she study in his country’s literacy program, Mision Robinson.

Imagine this taking place on television.

While these suppositions would normally be out of line in civilized countries, they are a fact of life in Venezuela. Just last year, Vice President Rangel called senior White House advisor, Otto Reich, a “clown” for pressuring the country towards democracy. This week, President Chavez called Chile’s President Lagos “sad” and said that Lagos does not tell the truth. During a CNN interview yesterday, President Chavez characterized Dr. Rice’s comments as “smelling of ignorance or political illiteracy, or extortion, or an attempt to pressure a country that is sovereign and does not accept pressure.”

What does the US government say about these insults? Nothing.

Is it a smart move? Maybe. If I were in Chavez’s shoes, I would try to pick a fight with the only super power in the world. That way, if I decided that there would be no recall referendum, no one would have the clout to strong arm me back to democracy. Certainly not the OAS or the Carter Center.

Here we are, after the strike, and the OAS Resolution 833, and the May Agreement, still wondering whether one man will allow democracy to go forward. If that is not the concentration of power in one human, then I don’t know what is.

Speaking of dictators. Anyone who wonders where Castro fits in this equation should check Chavez’s itinerary. Immediately after leaving Monterrey, Chavez made an unscheduled stop in Cuba, no doubt to draw praise from his mentor for his chutzpa during the summit. That is the only approval Chavez seeks these days.

After all, Castro is the King of Isolation, and Chavez is his best subject and pupil.



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