The Stupidest Hugo Chavez Hagiographies From the Yanquis Who Loved Him
He wasn’t authoritarian enough. He understood democracy. He was groovy. Michael Moynihan collects five of the dumbest love letters to the departed Venezuelan comandante.
There was something North Korean about the funeral cortege, with Hugo Chávez’s casket winding through the dilapidated streets of Caracas, followed by a crush of weeping, wailing supporters. For this final episode of the Hugo Chávez Show (Adios Presidente!), the Venezuelan government again made use of the cadena—the requirement that every television and radio station carry the government’s propaganda feed—to send off their comandante. Mourners were interviewed, provided they were tear-stained and came only to praise their departed leader. No critics were given camera time; they never are.
But out they came to shout, ad nauseam, that Chávez was “democratically elected,” while failing to point out that, by even the most expansive definition, he didn’t govern as a democrat—that rather important second step. He was a hero to the poor, commended impressive support both within Venezuela and abroad, and spoke of his loathing of yanqui imperialism. And many yanquis loved it.
I’ve collected five of the most absurd Chávez hagiographies (and one conspiracy theory), a list that could, rather depressingly, be much longer.
1) The most astonishing entry comes from New York University professor Greg Grandin, writing in The Nation, who allows himself to “be perverse and argue that the biggest problem Venezuela faced during his rule was not that Chávez was authoritarian but that he wasn’t authoritarian enough.” If nothing else, one must give Grandin points for honesty and for bolstering Polish historian Leszek Kolakowski’s theory that such regimes must resort to authoritarianism to survive.
2) In an unbylined piece at The Huffington Post, readers are told that “Hugo Chávez was a man of many talents: he played ball, sang songs, pulled out pistols, and got down and groovy—and that is precisely how we’ll remember the Venezuelan leader.” One can debate whether drawing a firearm counts as a talent, but The Huffington Post might want to remember Chávez’s reign, which was, in the words of Human Rights Watch, “characterized by a dramatic concentration of power and open disregard for basic human rights guarantees.” How very groovy.
Read the entire story and the rest of the list HERE.