Not-Quite Dictator Watch Three
24.08.05 | Previously, on Dictator Watch: up-and-coming hopeful Hugo Chavez - as we're continually reminded - was democratically elected, and subsequently took the rather anti-democractic step of consolidating all government power in the executive branch (which we heard considerably less about). His highly-trained police then shot three students on a street in Caracas. Lately, he's taken to organising Youth Festivals for aficionados of Stalin and Kim Il-Sung, at which he pontificates on the various evils of America and pimps his new TV station. And now, the continuation.....
It's quite early here in Dublin and I must thank Brian Maloney (who's filling in for the irrepressible Ms. Malkin) for linking to us from her site. Would've been mentioned earlier, were it not for the time difference on this side of the Atlantic. I'd love to tell you how many orders of magnitude it's upped our readership by, but I keep losing count of the zeros.
I presume many of our readers have already encountered Pat Robertson's remarks on the radio, the internet, your dailies, the TV, and a mysterious bottle that showed up in your drainage pipe. Personally, having just turned off Sky News (which is a remarkable station considering its owner, a fact one of us will deal with in a later post) after colliding with the "hot" topic for the twelfth time, I'm already rather weary of the whole thing. It's not clear exactly why so much credence is being afforded to a man who, in the past, has stated that feminism "encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practise witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians," and that he "know[s] one man who was impotent who gave AIDS to his wife and the only thing they did was kiss." Are his latest comments inflammatory and nonsensical? Yes. Is the person he's talking about a dictatorial, militant lunatic who's running Venezuela and her allies into the ground? Again, yes. The most fascinating aspect of this story is the scant coverage of Chavez's general comments, as compared to the hullabaloo over the words of a Christian evangelist with no affiliation to the Bush White House. They're jumping all over it here. The left loves Chavez the way the used to love Stalin, before all the "lies" about the tens of millions he slaughtered made him somewhat less cool. They admire Chavez's stance against Pax Americana whilst ignoring his own actual imperial ambitions. And as President Bush remains silent and dignified amidst the proliferation of Chavez's opinions, the left have little to rail against until now. Their argument goes something along the lines of: Mr Robertson is Christian. So is Bush. Ipso facto, Pat is definitive proof that President Bush is also deranged. Case closed. Or is it?
Many opponents to the Iraq war utilised the "can't you send in some Rambo-type figure to kill Saddam and spare the people?" argument; it seems rather disingenuous of them to slam Robertson for broaching a similar possibility. If Chavez continues along his inflammatory and ridiculous path, lightning may strike twice. Is there a case for assassination today? Certainly not, but one should not rule out the capture or imprisonment of Chavez in the future.
El Presidente's response to Robertson, while meeting the repeatedly-elected Castro today, was simply "I don't even know who that person is." Mark down this moment for posterity; this is the first time, and will likely be the last, that we agree with Chavez's attitude.
Meanwhile, democratic idealist Castro said the following:
"Only God can punish crimes of such magnitude."
Hilarious! Do you see how he flipped Robertson? The man is a legend. What do you mean he's a Communist with a history of religious repression and crimes of rather greater magnitude?
Chavez's vice president Rangel (about whom I admit to knowing little for now) spoke of a legal option, criticised the US for being hypocritical on the war on terror and once again made the inane analogy between Christians in America and Al Qaeda:
"[Robertson's comments] reveal that religious fundamentalism is one of the great problems facing humanity in these times."
Apparently, Mr. Rangel sees no hypocrisy in making such comments while his government are cosying up to Iran. Let me finish by quoting Chavez:
"Capitalism makes democracy impossible. Capitalism makes social justice impossible. If we don't change this system, the world is going to end. The eternal existence of our planet is not guaranteed. Look at other planets. In Mars there was water. It's possible they will soon find remains of living beings. Who knows how many years ago there was life on Mars. Mars is very similar to Earth. It rotates around the sun almost the same as Earth. It's very likely that there was life on Mars. It's possible that the Martians couldn't keep life going on their planet. Old Karl Marx was right. Capitalism, monopolies, the exploitation of man by man, Karl Marx's theory was correct. We have to break this model of domination."It's not just Pat Robertson who's crazy.
Brian Maloney points out the hypocrisy of railing against an overopinionated television host, while ignoring the somewhat more substantial issues of Chavez's human rights record. Publius Pundit has a good roundup of reaction from Venezuelan media and bloggers.
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