The rest of the world is slowly awakening to the realization that Hugo Chavez is more than just a populist demagogue but a ruthless totalitarian that has his sights set on leading the Venezuela down the path of Cuba.

Case in point is this L.A. Times editorial. A few excerpts:

President Hugo Chavez has apparently taken his landslide victory as a mandate to impose an authoritarian socialism on his nation that looks frighteningly like the model created by his idol, Cuba’s Fidel Castro. If his drive to consolidate power over the media, the telecommunications industry and other sectors succeeds, by the time his term expires six years from now it may no longer be possible to hold a free election in Venezuela.

Chavez also seems intent on destroying Venezuela’s civil society. He already controls all three branches of government, with all 167 seats of Congress held by lawmakers allied to Chavez and with the Supreme Court stacked with loyalists. After his reelection, he announced plans to merge his coalition of allied parties — effectively creating a one-party state — and to pursue a constitutional amendment ending presidential term limits, meaning he could run indefinitely.

Any criticism of Chavez or his henchmen can now be interpreted as disrupting public order, and Venezuela also has passed harsh libel laws aimed at curbing “disrespect” of government officials. Though RCTV is just one of many opposition media outlets, Chavez has sent a chilling message to the rest that he can shut them down at any time.

Hey L.A. Times, thanks for joining us in the real world. What I don’t understand is how these same news organizations can critique Chavez while they have ALWAYS given fidel castro a pass. I remember reading L.A. Times pieces on the wonders of travel to Cuba. These news organizations have bureaus in Cuba that could report the truth if their editors only had the balls to do it even if it meant expulsion from the island. I mean if I were a journalist, one juicy story about the real Cuba that resulted in my expulsion (and the subsequent fallout) would seem to be a better deal than hanging around writing puff pieces that don’t offend the castro regime in the hopes of having a front row seat at castro’s state funeral.

As for Venezuela, with all due respect to our Venezuelan readers and contributors, this is what you voted for. You had the example of Cuba (which never voted for this form of government, it was foisted upon them) and said “yeah that’s what we want.” They say there are things that you must experience for yourself to understand the pain, like touching a hot stove. Welcome to communism 101, the first in a long series of painful lessons. I believe Cuba will emerge from its nightmare just as our Venezuelan brothers and sisters are submerged into theirs.

13 thoughts on “Duh!”

  1. Hector, you said: “You had the example of Cuba (which never voted for this form of government, it was foisted upon them) and said “yeah that’s what we want.”

    You are not saying anything literally wrong, but you are being just too soft on the Cuban people. The sad truth is that Castro enjoyed a lot of support. When he f…ed with the owners of real estate, most people clapped, when he f…ed with the land owners, most people clapped, when he f…ed with the owners of big companies, most people clapped, and they kept clapping and clapping until most everyone realized that he had been f….ing everyone since day one. Not to talk about how people chanted “Paredon, Paredon” and the “meetings repudio” in 1980. The truth is that Venezuelans and Cubans are reaping what we sow.

    Hopefully (but not certainly) both peoples will learn the lessons.

  2. Agreed but mass mobilizations of adoring crowds are not the same thing as an election. If fidel castro had run in an election with the platform of “I want to be friends with and emulate the USSR” he would have been roundly rejected. That’s why he didn’t do it.

    And if there was no election for fidel castro there certainly was no re-election. Hugo has allied himself with the castro since the beginning. Venezuelans should have known better. How many Cubans settled in Venezuela as Cuban exiles? Cuba had no such example to observe and learn from. For Venezuela to be in this state 47 years after the rise of castro is inexplicable to me.

    I feel Venezuela’s pain, believe me I do. Now Venezuela is going to feel ours, unfortunately.

  3. Why do those idiots believe that the latest Venezuelan elections were “fair” with the massive farfraudulent entries on voter rolls, the intimidation of the voters through “fingerprint machines, and the roll of names from the recall election,and then the rigged election machines.

  4. And what shall we say of our Nicaraguan brothers who have just resumed their former shackles? They have had the full experience of Marxism coupled with the civil war which it engendered, and yet, defying all logic and experience, they have empowered again the same gang of murderers and thieves which brought their country to national ruin within living memory of most Nicaraguans.

  5. I believe what we are seeing is the dumbing down-class envy of a people. A perfect example is of the cubans who leave Cuba and go back as they find it too hard here. People have sold their souls for a mouthful of food and the desire to be lazy and let someone think for you. The US is not that far away and it is obvious by the liberal class envy tactics. Katrina showed us the ugliest side of humaity. I am afraid that social political ignorance and lack of character is quickly becoming the order of the day.


  7. Manuel,

    Over 62% of the Nicaraguan people voted AGAINST Daniel Ortega. The problem with the Nicaraguan presidential elections was that there were too MANY candidates: Daniel Ortega, Eduardo Montealegre, José Rizo, Edmundo Jarquín and Edén Pastora.

    We owe the fact that Daniel Ortega, former Sandinista terrorist and murderer, was able to run for the presidency of Nicaragua to none other than Oscar Arias Sanchez and his “Central American Peace Plan.” According to Arias “The most important feature of the Central American peace plan was that nobody was seated in the defendant’s chair, which was where Washington wanted to put Nicaragua.” Thanks to the “best and the brightest” of Latin America, the Ortega brothers (and many others) were not tried for crimes against humanity.

    Leftist Daniel Ortega first day as president was spent signing a socialist trade pact with Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba. He’s also planning a meeting with Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who, by the way, attended the inauguration).

    Jeez, I wonder when John Kerry will go down to congratulate him!

  8. Firefly:

    We owe Daniel Ortega’s victory to the cravenness of the democratic opposition which refused to come together to save the nation, preferring, instead, to hand power over to Ortega rather than share it among themselves.

  9. Manuel,

    I agree with you. They should have placed the best interest of Nicaragua above their own. Then again, this issue would be of no consequence, had Daniel Ortega been tried for his crimes and had not been able to “run for president.”

  10. Conductor,
    I doubt if the Venezuelan people voted even once for chavez. I am certain chavez and his cuban helpers corrupted each and every election that has included chavez.
    The lesson for Venezuela, if they ever gain enough liberty to learn from it, is to never allow convicted criminals – which chavez is, just like hitler was- to run for office.
    Granting criminals and terrorists good motives is always a mistake, as the people of Nicaragua are going to start learning really soon.

  11. To suggest that no Venezuelans voted for Chavez would be breathtakingly naive. Chavez certainly got many votes by using the same old, populist rhetoric that every tinpot, Latin American leftist has used for years. And I don’t think that there’s much doubt that the poor and uneducated have largely bought into it. The question is whether Chavez legitimately commanded the requisite majority.

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