Holiday in Venezuela: Chavez locks down Caracas, anti-semitic slurs appearing.

Discuss

234 Responses to “Holiday in Venezuela: Chavez locks down Caracas, anti-semitic slurs appearing.”

  1. GuidoDavid says:

    Redshirt:

    This is not a contest between Bush and Chavez. IS that so hard to understand? We are being forced to the whims, orders and wishes of a man who claims he wants to help the people, but all what he does is try to keep himself in power as much as possible, because no one else is fit, according to him. And whoever dissent is not a maggot, a squalid, in his words.

    There are no kids in schools and no students at universities because the government ordered them not open and threatened to fine and shut everybody who did not comply. It is hard for me to remain serene when you mock the opression that we have to live under. When we have 13.000 dead people a year because of crime and the government does not anything and Chavez talks 7 hours in a speech without mentioning crime.

    Have you seen our jails? Have you seen the death squads operated by police? They just killed 8 kids (http://el-nacional.com/www/site/p_contenido.php?q=nodo/65556/Reporte%20Regional/Fiscal%C3%ADa-investiga-muerte-de-ocho-j%C3%B3venes-en-El-Vig%C3%ADa). Bush was a piece of crap, indeed, and I am not going to defend him, but whatever wrong that Bush did is not excuse to enforce this kind of asshole decisions that do not help anybody but Chavez.

    At least Bush was bound by the legislative branch, here this moron does anything he wants and it becomes law instantly, just like this.

    The solution to this and possibly rigged polls? I am not sure, but I can see this ending like another Zimbabwe.

    It pains me a lot, because I decided to stay here instead of going abroad and I feel powerless and beaten. How would you feel if you could not buy groceries because the president says so?

  2. DEL says:

    Why must megalomaniacs like Chavez be compared to other worse/better dictatorial a$$holes like Niyazov, S. Hussien or G.W. Bush?

    Different flavors; same issue. Small group of people behind a strongman who “decide” what is or is not ok.

    The issue here is armed domestic police interfering with the right of people to go about their business. This is thoughtcrime enforcement.

  3. Graham says:

    Citations? I’m not writing a term paper. I’m expressing an opinion.

    But the two things I did link to don’t count?

  4. RedShirt77 says:

    “American government would like to kill him and install a nice puppet. I think that would be shitty for your country and shitty for the region.”

    “I disagree with you.”

    ok

  5. rasz says:

    >”kllr jws” slgns nd “Thrw thm t”. m
    >sck f ths

    r y nw? nd Chvz pntd thm ll hmslf? Myb h hmslf bmbd Gz

  6. spazzm says:

    Saying that there will be a war if the other party win is among the allowed things?

    I guess not.
    But I don’t know that he actually said that, and given Graham’s link above I’m open to the possibility that he was misquoted about the whole war thing.

    I’m unsure about what you are after – if you are dissatisfied with the democratically elected government of Venezuela, what do you propose the world and/or the Venezuelan anti-Chavez minority do about it?
    Stage another coup?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Venezuelan_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat_attempt

  7. Xopher says:

    I have my own opinions about Chavez, but I’d just like to point out that here at BoingBoing, when a moderator (Antinous, for example) suggests that you could be more polite or something, it’s best to do so. Being snotty and saying “why should I?” is not going to help you.

    All opinions are welcome. Just don’t get up in the faces of people who tell you to tone down your rhetoric.

  8. GuidoDavid says:

    Spazzm: No he is not corrupt. He is only surrounded by cronies who steal as much as they can while he does nothing about it because they keep telling him how mighty he is. For us, it makes no difference at all, the oil revenue is ending on bank accounts abroad.

    And, how would you call shutting the whole country down just because he said so, with no approval from our congress or anything? If it is not dictatorial, words fail me.

  9. seanodonnell says:

    GuidoDavid:

    “I never said the death squads are under Chavez control. But here everybody knows they exist and no one does anything. ”

    So if they are not his death squads (and I have yet to see anything that points to organized squads rather than simple unorganized abuse of police power), why do you bring them up?

    “According to the Attorney General, between 2000 and 2007 more than 6,000 complaints were filed at his office for alleged extrajudicial executions by the police. Of the 2,000 officers reportedly involved, less than 400 had been provisionally detained by the end of the year”

    Well there is the possibility that 1600 complaints where found to be baseless, in which case those officers absolutely should bot be detained under any circumstances. Not every complaint will be justified. 1 in 5 seems quite encouraging.

    “Which law? There is no law at all! Just a comment from him on TV and his wish to have a personal holiday and then we have no schools and no stores because he says so. ”

    So just to be clear, you are claiming the Chavez government does not have the legal authority to declare a national holiday? Closing schools for the day on a national holiday is standard practice in most countries, nothing to complain about. I have yet to see a reliable report that all stores where forced to close.

    “I really do not think so. It might well be, but considering that the oil money has disappeared.”

    It would do, with oil prices dropping…. dropping prices are expected to leave Venezuela with 20 billion budget shortfall in 2009. no need for corruption or stealing for that to be a problem.

    “Anyway there is corruption among his close allies and he seems to not notice or care.”

    Yawn, got anything decent to back that up with?

    “If he steals or not, I am not sure,”

    You seemed pretty sure earlier.

    ” but buying an Airbus for him and dressing Armani certainly does not help: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1931243.stm

    Ah, the ultimate crime, wearing nice clothes, down with Chavez!!!!

  10. Graham says:

    Also, how about actually watching the documentary before you criticise it as something I use to support my case?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Graham,

      You came in accusing the readers of having been ‘played’. You gave one citation analyzing the anti-Semitic slurs issue. For the rest of your boisterous claims, you’re demanding that we watch a 75 minute documentary in order to understand your position. It’s conventional for those who want to be taken seriously in political discussions to link to written material from reputable news sources.

  11. Joe says:

    The problem is that the Venezuelan opposition has blown their credibility with their past actions, particularly supporting a coup. That makes it very difficult to trust their word. It’s also a mistake to confuse how the upper middle class folks with international connections and good English skills feel (they don’t like Chavez) with the way the majority of the Venezuelan public feels (they keep voting for Chavez in most cases).

    It’s clear that Chavez wants to increase his power, and that he has sometimes violated human rights standards, but it’s also clear that he isn’t a dictator. He’s put up measures for a vote and, after losing, respected the vote. The opposition screams that he says he will try again, as if a political party is supposed to close its doors forever after one defeat.

  12. spazzm says:

    Takuan, let’s pray, for all our sakes, that that never happens :)

    (If it does, can I be minister of Beer?)

  13. arkizzle says:

    ‘ello ‘ello ‘ello. Wot’s all this then?

  14. RedShirt77 says:

    “More nitpicking, RedShirt?
    You know well I do not support any puppet government.

    Why don’t you answer my other points?”

    I just did exactly what you did to me, take the snarkiest line and respond only to that. As I have said, I think I agree with you on many of your points about Chavez and likely socialism. If he was my president I would likely be working against him despite him being better then what came before.

    But the push back you will get from American liberals is that Demonizing Chavez here is the same as demonizing socialism and is a way to say socialism and democracy can’t coexist. That every socialist leader is a dictator worthy of violent overthrow.

    I apologize for missing your points on your personal lifestyle, but I have to say even knowing that I don’t find the enforced holiday alone a reason to particularly dislike chavez. I It’s certainly arrogant and unthinking, but I don’t see how you have described it is more then an inconvenience. You are sometimes without food, but that seems to be a product of your economic situation more then a store being closed on any particular day.

    Chavez needs to be replaced with a more progressive socialist, but by democratic means until that proves impossible. I concede that the abuse of power and the lack of basic rights must be infuriating, but my limited knowledge of the last 20 years of your countries history yields several coupes and revolts. Revolution is ok when needed, but you put a populace in a constant state of conflict for long enough and eventually they will always choose a strongman to make them safe.

    The things you list, poverty, crime corruption, police abuse of power. Did those things not exist before Chavez? I am sure some problems are the fault of Chavez and associates, but I assume others are long term problems or caused by a radical realignment of the countries economy and government. They will take a long time to solve. But a peaceful hand off in power is the best way to turn the page on that.

    I think you should consider your Job to do more then complain.

    Also, the CIA is not a red herring when they have actually repeatedly interfered in a government in the last 7 years. If Russia was actively trying to kill our president, we would declare war on them. Your government in the same situation has used it as political cover for increased security.

    Two bad choices. I am sure the total obliteration pushed them towards option 2.

  15. gATO says:

    well, spazzm… I’ll keep things in harmony, and just say that I’m not making shit up, and the tab remark was an attempt to make light of a situation that, apparently, you don’t find worrying or outrageous at all.

  16. Takuan says:

    hey I know! Let’s smear him with the coke trade!

  17. arkizzle says:

    Of course :)

  18. Shay says:

    Graham represents in the discussion a certain trendgroup in the international left which are willing to act as apologists and shills for totalitarian regimes merely because they are socialists or anti-American.
    This is nothing new; Noam Chomsky spent the late seventies as apologist for Pol Pot, while Pot’s Angkha were busy building pyramids of skulls in Cambodian cities.

    I question the merit of any so-called leftist who so publicly and so warmly embraces a genocidal Islamist holocaust-denier like Ahmedenijad of Iran.

    A true Marxist would be disgusted by this ‘brotherhood’ as they call it.

  19. GuidoDavid says:

    Rasz:
    Chavez supporters painted that kind of crap, most likely. Anyway, I never saw that before Chavez broke diplomatic ties with Israel and started talking about the subject.

    And this is the Google translation of the note about the forced holiday:
    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.eluniversal.com/2009/02/01/pol_ava_decretan-dia-no-labo_01A2212013.shtml&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.eluniversal.com/2009/02/01/pol_ava_decretan-dia-no-labo_01A2212013.shtml%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3Dssn

  20. rasz says:

    >what do you propose the world and/or the
    >Venezuelan anti-Chavez minority do about it?

    oh thats easy, Obama has right people next to him, all he has to do is ask Robert Gates for help, Gates is experienced in state funded Terrorism.

  21. Anonymous says:

    @guidodavid,

    I think the majority of boingers respect you and your newfound ‘political awareness’ — most of us have a similar sociopolitical evolution.

    Study your fellow concerned reformers, and most importantly for you, Chavez himself at the beginning of his career. If you can understand (not necessarily approve of) his original motivation, it may help you to create a truly effective movement!

    Neither complete capitalist anarchy aka libertarianism nor complete communism is effective — your opposition to socialism based on the messenger on anti-personality-cult basis is interesting, but what is the solution? Is it possible to have a non-charismatic leader?

  22. Xeni Jardin says:

    There’s too much crazy in this thread for me to address everything, but I will rebut one point.

    For those who seem to believe that the bit about anti-Jewish graffiti was some kind of CIA conspiracy, or only happened 5 years ago, or that I don’t factcheck anything I post (even when I’m posting another person’s first-hand opinion and observation as I was here) — I submit for your consideration this link, among many that appeared on various wire services in the US and abroad. This photo is one example, google around and you’ll find other reports in January and early February of 2008. There seems to be a bit of a social meme going on there at the moment, some people in Venezuela are painting anti-Jewish graffitti. Some speculate that the reaction is related in part to various comments Chavez made about Israel/Gaza. No, that does not mean Hugo Chavez painted the graffiti personaly. I don’t know how widespread the meme is. I don’t know how much graffitti there is. But just as there have been spikes of racism in the US, related to various statements by our government, there seems to be something like that going on in Caracas right now.

    Also: It is possible that Chavez is an imperfect leader, or even a downright bad/scary/crazy leader, at the same time that the CIA and the Bush administration and the ultra-right in LatAm have been any or all of those things. There’s a lot of sleaze and evil to go around. The world is not binary.

    Those of you who have not spent time there might want to stop romanticizing the place, and its political systems. Instead of inserting links to documentaries, try going there yourself.

    The world is complicated, and few places more so than here.

  23. Takuan says:

    ooooh! mod-pile on the poster! (I have this wonderful image of zombie chiuauas, bulging pop-eys leaking yellow crusted rheum, tattered vocal chords whispering yipyipyip through torn throats, little needle teeth digging into ankles and one plastered on the side of the head, little flanks frantically plunging away…. we’ll teach him! yipyipyip!)

  24. GuidoDavid says:

    SeanODonnel:
    “So if they are not his death squads (and I have yet to see anything that points to organized squads rather than simple unorganized abuse of police power), why do you bring them up?”

    I bring that up because we are fucking DYING. Because this damn asshole spends hours a day in front of a damn TV camera instead of solving that kind of problems. I bring it up because there is corruption at any level in public administration and nobody cares as long as the corrupts and we were in the middle of a fucking oil boom and we let it go and our problems remain the same, but some bank accounts are much bigger. I bring it up because he does constantly this kind of petty and absurd things and lives creating FUD from election to election, he lives in permanent political campaign instead of doing what he was elected for. That is why I bring it up, because I am too frustrated with all this inaction from the government in what matters, while at the same time does this kind of crap. The government is busy doing all kind stupid stuff while failing to perform its real function.

    How the fuck would you feel if your brother had been shot in an arm and the killer would in the streets, looking for him, while the police does absolutely nothing but following this kind of stupid orders and protecting high profile politicians?

    Corruption:
    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.alasbarricadas.org/noticias/%3Fq%3Dnode/5470&ei=8EyISeXzN4-ctwfx5KClBw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%2522el%2Blibertario%2522%2Bcorrupcion%2Bvenezuela%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3Df1L%26sa%3DX

    From an Anarchist zine that I distribute, “El Libertario” http://www.nodo50.org/ellibertario
    But, most likely you will dismiss that also. If you really want to understand what is going on here from an objective source, that is a very good place to start with.

    More on stupid expenses:
    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://venezuelanoticia.com/archives/9765&ei=RU-IScXLMqGbtwfJjJmdBw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://venezuelanoticia.com/archives/9765%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3DIBM

    What I meant is that I am not sure HE has a Swiss bank account, but to me, those outrageous expenses ARE corruption, no matter if legal or not. And yes, hiring his brother is not illegal, the same way than much of the stuff that lobbyists do is neither illegal, yet it is still not right at all.

    Report on yesterday’s closure:
    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.eluniversal.com/2009/02/03/ccs_art_el-feriado-bajo-amen_1252150.shtml&ei=PlCISZCIAZjAtgeNvZmeBw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.eluniversal.com/2009/02/03/ccs_art_el-feriado-bajo-amen_1252150.shtml%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3DJFM

    And I have seen people who are payed and boarded in buses to go to demonstrations in Caracas. If that is not corruption, well, you are delusional. I have no written source for this, but I am writing this with my real name and I have written a number of stuff since 8 years ago. I have been so far honest and upfront and I have no hesitated to criticize the opposition in all my writing, which deals mostly with science and technology. If you want to call me a liar, so be it, but I am pretty sure that you will dismiss anything that goes against your preconceptions about what is going here. It would be pretty bold to lie about subjects which can be verified by other Venezuelans quickly with my real name in a place like BoingBoing. It would ruin my whuffie forever, so I am doing my best to show the nightmare that we live here, because I care, because to me people comes before ideology, not the opposite. I have no political or commercial interest on this.

    RedShirt:

    The point is not the law itself (which is no law at all), but the way that it was imposed on everybody with just two day notice and enforced using the national guards, even if it is not illegal to open a store on holidays as long as you pay your employees twice per hour. Not even on Christmas day you have armed people closing stores. The point is the arbitrariness of the decision. Even if some countries have no limits on the number of terms, the president has much less power, as those countries are parliamentary democracies, not presidential systems, those presidents could not ever do shit like this without parliamentary support. This is not the same as unfair laws that I condemn also, as sodomy laws, this is even worse. Authoritarianism is bad in any form, but when you use it in the name of social reform, it is even worse, as it hurts it. Right wingers always use Stalin as an example of how bad Socialist ideas are, they never bother to see Scandinavia and the kibbutzim.

    You don’t like the mix of grocery stores closed because of bloated ego (even if it is legal) and death squads? How lucky you are of not living here! This is a general rant, not a paper on priorities for Venezuela. If you point that you are nitpicking instead of addressing the real issues.

    *****************************

    Let’s see, this guy has been in power for the last ten years, and wants to be in power until 2049, so he is calling yet another poll (A call for a constitutional reform can be done only once per presidential term, so he is calling this an “amendment”) so he can be re elected, which he claimed was not the purpose of his failed constitutional reform. So far, he has not improved our life standards a lot, even if things have improved slightly for the poorest of us (billions of dollars in oil revenue, anybody?), crime has gotten worse, much worse, and corruption is rampant and unpunished. Have we become a more egalitarian society? http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/eco_dis_of_fam_inc_gin_ind-distribution-family-income-gini-index

    According to the statistics we are less egalitarian than the USA. Yes, that haven of capitalism, rich/poor gap and corporate welfare is more egalitarian than the Socialist Venezuela. Middle class is the answer, which is shrinking class here, and we have the new Bolivarian Bourgeoisie with fancy humvees and expensive houses, while the people get the crumbs. We are not even close to real social democracies like the Scandinavian countries.

    On top of that he has been babbling a lot of shit about other people and blaming pretty much everybody who dissents of being a CIA puppet and the cause of the troubles of the country. We are divided and polarized, focused on election after election instead of doing our daily job and improving our situation, create wealth. Acts like this remind us of all the power he has got and how much more he wants, calculated displays of power to scare and annihilate wills and resistance, to remind us that he is the supreme ruler and we are peasant folding to his wishes.

    And now he wants to be in power for longer, to solve what in ten years he has not. He has 4 more years of constitutional rule, but he already says it is not enough to solve our problems, that he needs a blank check from us to save us. Does not that looks familiar from many periods and places?
    He had an overwhelming public support when he started in 99, sky high approval rates, he had tons of money to rebuild a country plagued by corruption and mediocrity. Yet he chose to fight, to divide, to destroy, to create a personality cult in which he is the only person able to rule the country, and where all the resources are aimed to enhancing his power.

    I am so mad at this because I am an Anarchist, I want social change, because what we had for 40 years, before him, was terrible, but he is not the answer to our problems, but yet another problem. When he is gone and the country is destroyed, in ruins (because by then the oil is gonna be pretty much worthless), when a new generation of social democrats emerge, the right wing will accuse them of trying to repeat Chavez’s legacy. Chavez is smearing the left and the social change, and right wing fear mongers will use him as bogey man to prevent any social change that screw their interests.

    If Chavez really stands up for a new and a better world, he could look to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland as examples, not to Mugabe, Ahmadinejad and Saddam (just like Rummie, you know).

    What do I want posting this? To show how much of a myth is Chavez social reform. To show that he deserves no free ticket, because nothing of what he does justifies his totalitarian behaviour. Because there is Freedom of Speech and it is necessary to prove that his ideals are not real social change, that we must look to Northern Europe for good societies, not here, not Cuba, neither the US.

  25. GuidoDavid says:

    More nitpicking, RedShirt?
    You know well I do not support any puppet government.

    Why don’t you answer my other points?

    This is getting really tiresome.

    Nixar: Yawn

  26. Xeni Jardin says:

    Grhm, y mght wnt t < hrf="http://bngbng.nt/2008/03/27/bng-bngs-mdrt.html">rd r mdrtn plcs.

    wld ls lk t pnt t t vryn hr tht jst bcs smn s tlvsn wrtr, nd vry fn n, n shw tht ll f s hr t Bng Bng rlly lv — nn f tht mks nyn mmrtl r prfct r bv th mdrtn stndrds fr ths blg. Lt’s ll b cvl hr, flks. vn fms flks.

    UPDATE: Graham and I “spoke,” we’re cool, and while I still disagree with the content of his comments, I was a douche for posting this and I apologize.

  27. Rindan says:

    Maybe my attention spam is short, but WTF does this article half to do with the ex-president of the US? Why is it any time a shitty world leader, like Chavez, gets brought up, it some how comes back to trying to make moral comparisons to the US.

    1) It is possible to discuss other nations without dragging the US in. The article is about what a douche Chavez is, not if the US is of greater or lesser moral character.

    2) The US is not the frigging moral gold standard. If you out moral the US, it doesn’t mean you are free to go nuts. If the US suddenly goes nuts and commits mass ethnic genocide, it doesn’t suddenly mean that mass genocide is ok.

    3) Even if for some weird fucked up reason you believe that the US doing something automatically makes it ok, and even if you do believe that the US is some moral gold standard (as opposed to Sweden or India), people are still off their fucking rocker 90% of the time when they compare the US to some other place. Get a fucking sense of proportion. Bush’s expansion of executive power is pocket change next to Chavez who regularly threatens violence against the opposition, tried to amend the constitution to let him stay in power forever, and has systematically stripped his government of independence from executive power on a scale that makes Bush look like a kitten.

    Chavez is a bad guy. If you really believe that a guy who wants to amend the constitution so that he can rule forever (because clearly no one else can carry on “the revolution” besides dear leader) and declares his election a national holiday enforceable at gun point is an okay leader, you are so insanely wed to pushing your ideals that you likely have no limits as to what you would like to see done to push them. Sch wndrfl flks lk y hv ld t sm btfl mmnts n hstry, lk Nz Grmny, th Crsds, th gncds n Cmbd nd Rwnd, nd th mss prgs, dths, nd strvtn f Stlnst Rss nd Chn grt lp frwrd.

    Wlcm t th clb f psychpths rspnsbl fr nmgnd hmn sffrng n th grndst scl cncvbl.

    Ppl.

    Gt fckng grp n rlty.

  28. Takuan says:

    Nixar, would you try to be a little more polite, please?

  29. Takuan says:

    whaddya think guys? Our mascot: Zombie Chiuaua!
    Can someone do a graphic?

  30. Simon Cameron says:

    @Redshirt77

    “But lets be clear here. Chavez is popular with many because he worked to make life better for your poorer countryman, and because the needs of the poor in Venezuela were not addressed for a very long time. Were you as opposed to those leaders as you are to this one?”

    It’s very easy for Chavez to TELL the populace that he has made life better for them, since he has already shown the independent media what happens to those who disagree with him.

  31. Simon Cameron says:

    @MDH and @Antonius

    For the record, that post was not intended to be either pro or anti Castro. It was just a commentary on people’s dual-standards in regards to demanding verifiable evidence.

    This isn’t the first thread in which it has happened. I’ve seen Antonius shouted down for linking to a Wikipedia article in support of his viewpoint: I’m sure they wouldn’t have objected, except that the article happened to support the opposite viewpoint.

    For the record, I do not think either Chavez or Bush are dictators. I do think that they both displayed worrisome anti-Democratic tendencies. They are certainly not alone in this, but that doesn’t exempt them from criticism.

    While creating a national holiday might not seem especially cruel, I think we all need to be worried when politicians use the state to create cults of personality around themselves. It almost inevitably leads to the leader taking more power for himself, often with the support of the people whose rights he is subverting.

    In regards to the constitutional amendment, I caution against confusing following a valid-process with being democratic. I really hate to evoke Goodwin’s law, but the circumstances seem eerily similar to the ‘Enabling Act’ of 1934, including the previous failed coup.

  32. roolb says:

    I must note that support for Chavez seems to be bigger and blinder the further you get from Venezuela. Probably coincidence.

  33. Ito Kagehisa says:

    President Chavez is the duly elected leader of his country, exercising powers given him by the majority of the people of Venezuela, is he not?

  34. Ceronomus says:

    Why is it that so many people who have probably never have been to Venezuela think that they know more about the conditions in the country than someone who lives there?

    Why is it that so many people who probably have a pantry full of food can’t seem to grasp that the entire world doesn’t live that way, and can’t afford it?

    This argumentative thread brought to you by ethnocentrism and poor grasp of issues.

  35. GuidoDavid says:

    Joe:

    That is true. I, as an anarchist, feel depressed, we have very little choice but to keep fighting. But some things are just too much, an abuse of power like this should not be ignored.

    But, don’t you forget also that Chavez tried to deliver a coup in 92. He likes to point the finger to others while forgetting his misbehaviour.

    It is a weird conception of democracy to ask again and again if people will let you be president forever until they say “yes”.

  36. Takuan says:

    could I make the suggestion those who actually LIVE in Venezuela be the ones to wax emotional? I have strong feelings about abusive governments too, but the people who actually live under one should be allowed some slack. Not necessarily everyone else onlooking.

  37. Graham says:

    “I must note that support for Chavez seems to be bigger and blinder the further you get from Venezuela. Probably coincidence.”

    Right…so who keeps voting him in? His opponents?

  38. DreadLetterDay says:

    Bush vs Chavez. The logic of anyone who would even compare the two would use terms like: ‘election’.

    Oh you did, thanks.

  39. Takuan says:

    oh come on! I could handle, say, Samoa. I’ve always liked Samoa. Or Tonga?

  40. seanodonnell says:

    CERONOMUS:

    Why is it so many people accept anything they read and never question the source? Even when the source states themselves that they are biased?

  41. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Clearly Chavez is going a bit nuts, but to date he still seems to have done more good then harm.

    Bullshit. Chavez is no more a socialist than Bush is. He’s emptied the treasury into his own pocket. By nationalizing the oil industry, he’s been able to take all the money that the oil companies would have put into infrastructure and pocket that as well. His educational initiatives don’t educate anyone on anything except the necessity of keeping him in power. To be clear, I’m a (small C) communist. I support (at least for now) Evo Morales, whom I believe is sincerely trying to improve the lives of indigenous people in Bolivia. I support the Cuban revolution. Chavez is a petty dictator and a crook.

  42. GuidoDavid says:

    “You have to wait 24 hours to get a fucking loaf of bread!?”

    I have nothing but contempt for your lack of empathy to people and I will refrain myself from replying in a more aggressive way.

    Here many other have condemned the Iraq war and Bush’s stupid and bigot policies.

    And yes, Chavez has made less harm than Bush to people, but I do not see the point of trying to nitpick and argue that his abuse of power is not that bad at all. If things like these would be happening to people in developed countries, they would indeed be yelling bloody murder and civil liberties violations. When they happen here, if it is a left winger, somehow is not that bad. If it is a right winger, again, bloody murder. So, Greek students rioting are good, Venezuelan “students” (I know many of them first hand, they have been in university forever) rioting against a leftist government, bad.

    And do not forget that Chavez is buying billions of dollars in weapons for a country that is not in war and respects the FARC. And he threatened a war with Colombia less than a year ago. Again, just because he said so. But that is somewhat all right.

  43. Xopher says:

    Antinous 216: It greatly informs the discussion to know whether you’re reading the opinion of a diplomatic attache or a teenager in rural Wyoming.

    I certainly agree, and would like to emphasize that if the topic is “what are the teenagers in rural Wyoming wearing/doing on a typical Saturday night/saying about the war in Iraq,” I’ll take the opinion of the rural Wyoming teenager over that of the diplomatic attaché every time.

  44. spazzm says:

    Why is it that so many people who have probably never have been to Venezuela think that they know more about the conditions in the country than someone who lives there?

    I hate to be the one to break this to you, but this is the internet. Just because someone says $TERRIBLE_THING is happening in $PLACE and that they come from and/or are currently in $PLACE, does not mean that any of it is true.

    Let me give you an example:
    I’m Canadian, and right now I’m in Toronto where abortionists have gone on a rampage, ripping the babies right out of the bellies of their crying, helpless mother.

    See what I just did? I lied. It’s very, very simple. People do it all the time – especially on the internet.

    Which is why people in this thread, including me, are repeatedly nagging about “sources”.

    Or, to quote the dying words of my great friend and long-time lover Pamela Anderson:
    “Pix or it didn’t happen”.

  45. Takuan says:

    Venezuela needs to be taken over by Russia for its own good.

  46. Ceronomus says:

    I’m not arguing that the source isn’t biased. I am merely pointing out that the source knows a HELL of a lot more about his situation than people sitting half a world away who seem to think Chavez is okay because he’s not Bush.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I am merely pointing out that the source knows a HELL of a lot more about his situation than people sitting half a world away who seem to think Chavez is okay because he’s not Bush.

      And I’m trying to figure out why this thread is so popular with my neighbors to the north. Does Canada have a big Venezuelan population?

  47. Takuan says:

    …oh….well….can I be Zombie Chiuauau then?

  48. Takuan says:

    teh D.Z.C.M.S. does not engage in “witch hunts”
    Mother Teresa’s Littul Kittons respond as the sutuation warrants.

  49. irvken says:

    “That’s why we strongly encourage commenters to identify their sources of information.”

    Of which I’ve seen precious little in this thread.

    An anarchist would declare a plague on your both houses and ask what about the poor?

    Chavez of course has Venezuelas best interests at heart because that is his power base, maybe not for you individuals on either side but he’d like the country to prosper no doubt about that.

    He obviously thinks the best way to do that is to toady up to the Arabs, his fellow oil producers. Bit of anti-semitism, chance to put the frighteners on the rich. I’m sure the kids enjoyed the Holiday :)

    To be frank I’d rather have him than the previous lot, at least I know if I get ill I’ll get medical care and my kids will get an education, but really, both sides are run by greedy oppressive f**ks.

  50. Graham says:

    Sorry for the multiple postings, but… why do you expect me to spend my time tracking down news stories that support my argument, when you don’t want to spend seventy-five minutes of your time watching an excellent documentary that was filmed from inside the 2002 coup? And why have you decided that the documentary is not reputable?

    How about this…I’ll go Google ‘Chavez’ and find a few dozen things that support my argument (you could do this yourself, but never mind) if you watch the doc.

    (The ‘You’re being played’ line obviously rankled–I apologise for it. I didn’t mean to offend, I was just trying to show that we’ve been here before.)

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Graham,

      Why don’t you take the rest of the day off to work on some convincing arguments to support your position.

  51. Bois says:

    BTW – while you guys are complaining about the mandatory holiday, the get out to Vote SI campaign,
    his anti-semitism, his support for FARC, the way he is abolishing free speech, cuddling up to Russia and Iran(if you want to ruin a society, those are good mentors), and so on.

    Old Chavez got his hands . . . . .
    in the cookie jar and just about has it empty.
    He gutted PDVSA’s finances to the point they can’t pay their bills. Their equipment is broken down due to neglect. They have a cancer and are rotting from the inside out.

    One day soon everybody in Venezuela will wake up to a bankrupt PDVSA. Then what are you going to do?

  52. High On Markers says:

    Yikes! A forced holiday? What’s next, cheap fuel oil for all citizens?

  53. an ecumenical matter says:

    Is it true you’ve banned Graham from posting on this forum?

  54. spazzm says:

    Ito Kegehisa: Don’t confuse us with the facts – we need more internet rumours!

    Just kidding.
    Yes, if he’s enforced a special time when certain stores must be closed, that puts him on equal footing with other tyrannical regimes that do the same – like Australia. Or Norway.

  55. jacques45 says:

    Rasz,

    good idea, let’s blame the Venezuelan Jews for what happened in Gaza. Maybe the Venezuelan equivalent of the brownshirts can take care of the problem, eh?

    BTW, I caught your holocaust joke in one of those previous posts, but it was tough to catch the punchline with the disemvowelling. How many disemvowelled posts does it take to get a ban around here, anyways?

  56. spazzm says:

    By nationalizing the oil industry, he’s been able to take all the money that the oil companies would have put into infrastructure and pocket that as well.

    This is true, as long as you believe that “infrastructure” = “the pockets of the shareholders and executives”.

  57. GuidoDavid says:

    Silliness is what makes comments fun and relieves the pressure. And yes, having fun while doing what you love and helping others is the way life should be. But I have to confess, Takuan, that you have baffled me, my subtlety in English is not that good. I guess I should read even more Banks.

    Again, I have to thank you all for giving me space here and having patience to engage in this dialog.

    I think I will start blogging in English again, even if I am too self conscious about my grammar, this has been an encouraging experience and I think I have shown enough data to at least cast some doubt over the Chavez hype.

  58. Takuan says:

    gasoline is six cents a gallon

  59. Takuan says:

    Dear Guido David: what do you want people to do? Invade your country? That doesn’t work so well.

  60. GuidoDavid says:

    Rindan:

    Thanks for bringing some common sense to the discussion.

    Ito:
    Basically your argument could be said by Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity about Bush. He can do whatever he wants (including re electing himself until 2049/wiretapping people) because he was elected

    And the majority did not vote for him. If you add up the abstention and the amount of people that voted for Rosales, the majority did not vote for him.

  61. GuidoDavid says:

    Thanks for the advice. I guess the only way to improve my English is keep on writing, so I will start blogging again.

  62. gATO says:

    hey, Ito:

    Robert Mugabe is the duly elected leader of his country, exercising powers given him by the majority of the people of Zimbabwe, is he not?

  63. subaculture says:

    Forced Holiday. How horrible…but isn’t every national and religious holiday forced? Just look at the forced snow day holiday yesterday in the UK and the business outrage.

    Anyway, I would recommend the documentaries ‘The revolution will not be televised’ (2002) about the CIA / opposition / media backed coup and ‘
    War on Democracy’ (2006) by John Piliger who covers much of the same group but notes that people power brought Chavez back.

    Both documentaries note the media manipulation involved in the coup and the biased coverage of Chavez. I have no idea why Boing Boing posted this entry but Chavez is democratically elected and has won election after election, recall after recall and so on.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Shenanigans!

    Going from “he’s a crook” to “any bad thing including anti-Jewish graffiti is his fault” is a bit too much for me to swallow, sorry.

    Pics or it didn’t happen. I want to see Chavez with spray can in hand and a clear view of the graffiti.

    –Charlie

  65. Takuan says:

    (bastards)

  66. Mindpowered says:

    Can we agree that there are good leaders and bad leader? Can we also agree that living under a bad leader does not strip you of the ability to recognize BS when you see it?

    Simply because we have had the misfortune to live under Bush, we can still recognize that Chavez is an resource fueled dictator, one of many in the past 50 years. Like, Saddam Hussien, Gen. Sani Achaba, Vladimir Putin, Ferdinand Marcos, Gen. Suharto Gen. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Mbuto Sese Seko and Robert Mugabe and many other of the same ilk, he has some from a military background and seized control of the state.

    He broke his promises to the indigenous Venezuelans, he’s cracked down on civil liberties, tried to rewrite history, runs a corrupt and bloated administration and is now apparently threatening war to keep himself and his cronies in power.

    Like Stalin in the 1930′s we have a to contend with a hoard of admirers, who are fed only the party line.

  67. GuidoDavid says:

    Takuan:
    Maybe my rants are too long, but if you are going to criticize me, please read me first:

    “What do I want posting this? To show how much of a myth is Chavez social reform. To show that he deserves no free ticket, because nothing of what he does justifies his totalitarian behaviour. Because there is Freedom of Speech and it is necessary to prove that his ideals are not real social change, that we must look to Northern Europe for good societies, not here, not Cuba, neither the US.”

    Because I am a supporter of social change and I want to show how shitty all the whole crap of Bolivarian Revolution is. I have never said anything about invasions, so please stick that straw man wherever you pulled it from.

  68. gATO says:

    Spazzm: since the so-called nationalization, which btw is not the first one ever, the oil industry’s production has been in decline, partly due to very little infrastructure maintenance; the same can be said for other nationalized (or already state-owned) industries, such as the national phone company, electricity, iron and alluminum processing, etc. You could argue that previous administrations were responsible, but hell, this guys have been in power for ten years; I guess that that would be plenty of time to make things run decently, at least.

  69. GuidoDavid says:

    Antinous: Agreed. Besides, he gave a no bid contract to Chevron-Texaco. How socialist of him.

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://pr.indymedia.org/news/2008/02/31402.php&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=6&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dchevron%2Bplataforma%2Bvenezuela%2Bdeltana%2Bcontrato%2Blibertario%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3DbRo

    http://investor.chevron.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=130102&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=722289&highlight=

    Spazzm:
    Oh sure, in Norway the PM says “in two days no store is going to open” and sends armed guards to shut them down. Sure, sure. And in Australia they shut down universities and elemntary schools alike just because the PM have a slight wish. Do not forget the astronomical amount of deaths because of crime also in those places, where police is corrupt and does this kind of crap instead of fighting criminals.

    Maybe I should start being afraid of Tarja Halonen also.

    Takuan: Do not worry. We are buying billions of dollars or Russian weapons that we do not need unless we are gonna kill each other. As Chavez said, if the opposition wins, there will be a war.
    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.minuto59.com/%3Fp%3D9842&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.minuto59.com/primera-pagina/chavez-amenaza-con-guerra-si-no-gana-enmienda/%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3DiVo

  70. seanodonnell says:

    First of all Chavez is demonstrably not a dictator, his defeat in the 2007 referendum proves that.

    The Carter Centre concluded Venezuela’s election results where accurate.

    I can find absolutely no reports that back up the posters accusations of businesses being closed at gunpoint.

    I am aware of no evidence for accusations of his “lining his own pockets” with Venezuelan oil money or operating Death Squads. Both this post and many of the comments backing it seem to consist of nothing but rumors and slurs. I would have expected better from boingboing.

  71. zikzak says:

    You might be an anarchist…

    If you think Chavez has got some good points about Bush and American empire, but the guy gives you the police-state willies, you might be an anarchist.

  72. spazzm says:

    And the majority did not vote for him. If you add up the abstention and the amount of people that voted for Rosales, the majority did not vote for him.

    Funny how you think that everybody that didn’t vote is a vote for Chavez’ rivals.

    1. It is reasonable to assume that the people that did not vote would have voted pretty much like the people that voted.
    2. People who don’t vote even when they can shouldn’t get to complain if they don’t like the election results.
    3. Of the Venezuelans that bothered to vote, more cast their vote for Chavez than any other candidate.

  73. noen says:

    @ Ceronomus — perspective. Sometimes one is too close to something. Dialog is good.

  74. subaculture says:

    2009 – Rory Carroll reports from Caracas on the celebrations for Hugo Chavez (Guardian)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/audio/2009/feb/02/hugo-chavez-rory-carroll

    —————-
    2008 – Chavismo is alive and kicking(Guardian)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/27/hugo-chavez-venezuela

    ———
    2008 – The Real Hugo Chavez (NPR)
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/talk/2008/02/the_real_hugo_chavez.html

    ———–
    2008 – Demonizing Chavez exacerbates hemispherical contempt for US policies
    http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2005/11/demonizing_chav.html

    ————

  75. arkizzle says:

    Everytime I pass by this thread I think of:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eyROvw6zbY

  76. spazzm says:

    And I’m trying to figure out why this thread is so popular with my neighbors to the north. Does Canada have a big Venezuelan population?

    I’m not actually Canadian. That was, as I indicated in comment #80, a lie.

  77. Takuan says:

    have some faith in the Venezuelan people.

    Guido David: please let me tell you what I have had to tell many like you: Stop Worrying About Your English. Really.

    Firstly, I watched your video presentation and read your posts. Your intellect is obvious. Anyone who would criticize you (and ESPECIALLY anyone who only speaks one language) is being foolish and/or dishonest. And probably an asshole too.

    If it pleases you to put time and effort into perfecting the minor niceties of grammar and pronunciation, well, that is your pride and privilege. I once made the mistake of telling a very smart and scholarly man “don’t worry about your English” and he made it painfully clear to me that he WANTED to. Of course I was being a patronizing ass. So, OK if you want to.

    But as far as your ability to communicate, I say you do better than too many so-called “native speakers” I have known. Same goes for your writing.

    Forgive me if you already know all this and have just been being humble and self-depreciating. It’s just that I get really upset when I do see someone intelligent and with something to say made self-conscious by their lesser’s opinion of their language for no good reason.

    PS: I have no Spanish.

  78. Takuan says:

    understandably touchy. But that is how you come across to me. I agree with all you say by the way.
    I do think you should have a care how your “rants” can be used by others that WOULD like to roll tanks across your borders. For their own reasons.

  79. an ecumenical matter says:

    I agree with Graham,
    The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is an excellent documentary that should be watched by all those who claim Chavez is a crackpot dictator. Won numerous awards in 2003 including best documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival
    Also there’s a fascinating John Pilger documentary about Latin American politics made in 2007 called the War On Democracy that deals with the media portrayal of Chavez as a monster.

  80. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Gato, I am not sure if Robert Mugabe was fairly elected; his opponent (who received a higher proportion of the initial vote) withdrew from the election under suspicious circumstances. I believe Mugabe has also on numerous occasions done things that were outside any powers granted him by his people.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimbabwean_presidential_election,_2008

    GuidoDavid, I think comparing me to Bush and his cheerleaders does not address my question. Your last sentence is more interesting. Is it true, as I have heard, that polling in Venezuela is controlled by anti-Chavez aristocrats, but voting is controlled by the army?

  81. GuidoDavid says:

    Subaculture:

    It would be a good idea to actually know a bit of the situation here before making assumptions. No holiday has ever been enforced here with armed people closing stores. Not Christmas, Independence Day or New Year’s Day. This is the first time.

    Concerning one of the documentaries:
    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.cybercomunismo.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php%3Ft%3D150&ei=73mISYLWI5aitgeT5pSaBw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%2522revolucion%2Bno%2Bser%25C3%25A1%2Btransmitida%2522%2B%2522el%2Blibertario%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3DS1O%26sa%3DG

    An article from EL Libertario, the Anarchist publication.

    He has won elections. So what? it is not right to abuse power in this way.

  82. Takuan says:

    PPS: and my English needs some work too.

  83. arkizzle says:

    Will this do?

    http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u289/ecto_90/chiuaua7lp.png

    It’s not a natural zombie, mind you. More like an experimental-medical-waste victim..

  84. Daemon says:

    “…who can starve people for a day (not even grocery stores are opening)…”

    So… Venezualans are incapable of buying more than one day’s worth of food at a time?

  85. noen says:

    @ Rindan – The reason for making the comparison to Bush is that the subtext for news like this is that we should be thankful here in the US that “we are not like those other people”. Which is not the intent of Xeni’s post of course, just years of conditioning kicking in.

    American exceptionalism is a lie but I am of an age where I grew up believing in it. I’m kinda ticked off about the whole thing.

  86. arkizzle says:

    If only Venezuela had one more syllable..

  87. spazzm says:

    Gato: That’s very interesting. Do you have a source for that?

  88. zikzak says:

    I think the problem some of us are having with this discussion is that we’re confused as to who the players are. We see the scenario as “US Imperialism Vs. Chavez”, and arrive at an irreconcilable dilemma. Because the US imperialists are controlling and greedy, but even though Chavez opposes them flamboyantly, he’s controlling and greedy himself.

    So we arrive at the question Takuan asked: “what do you want people to do?”. Which is really the only question that matters. We’re not imperialists or presidents, we’re ordinary people. We don’t have to pick a side and wave their flag. We have to decide what kind of world we want to live in, and work to make it happen.

    Being forced to pick which elite we hate more and which less drives us apart unnecessarily. It causes us to identify with individuals and organizations who are firmly against what we are. Which, again, is ordinary people.

    People need to have the power in Venezuela. Not Chavez, not a socialist bureaucracy, not the CIA, not multinational corporations. Since we’re people, what we should be doing is looking for ways to support other people who are trying to create that kind of Venezuela. I bet guidodavid has some specific suggestions, and I’d love to hear them.

  89. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Here’s an interesting New York Times article about how the Chavez regime is systematically destroying the Venezuelan oil industry and, by extension, the country. It’s long, but well worth the read to get an idea of how Chavez runs the country. And for whom.

  90. spazzm says:

    Do not forget the astronomical amount of deaths because of crime also in those places, where police is corrupt and does this kind of crap instead of fighting criminals.

    Ok. Police corruption in Australia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitzgerald_Inquiry

    Now, please post some source for your allegations that “astronomical” amounts of deaths because of crime. I’m sure there’s police corruption in Venezuela – as I have just demonstrated, police corruption occurs in even the most well-organised society. Do you have any evidence that police corruption is worse in Venezuela than other, comparable, South American states?

  91. Anonymous says:

    I’m from Delaware, USA. Hugo Chavez provides free heating oil to twenty homeless shelters here.

    Why should I believe Chavez is the devil incarnate, when he is helping my community and asking nothing of me?

    –Charlie

  92. dainel says:

    If this was a wikipedia article, there’ll be a “hot topic warning” : the neutrality of the opinions expressed here may be disputed. What appears to be factual statements, may be inaccurate, exaggerated, embellished, or simply made up.

    ;-)

  93. Rindan says:

    Rindan begins by chastising those in this thread that compare Chavez to other figures.

    Rindan ends by comparing posters here to Nazis, The Spanish Inquisition, Pol Pot, Rwandan gangs and Chinese fascists.

    FAIL

    No. I begin by chastising people for taking an article about Chavez and failing to get even one post in before it suddenly degraded into an argument of where Chavez sits on a scale that rates from better to Bush to worse than Bush, with anyone better than Bush in any way conceivable being above reproach.

    The article is about Chavez… in Venezuela. It isn’t an article about the ex-president of the US or the US. Further, Bush is not a fucking moral measuring stick where any asshole who can find a way that Bush did the same thing or worse suddenly walks on water.

    If you think that the point of my post was to declare using comparisons evil, you need to take a step back and reread it. I am saying that the reflex to compare each and every single world leader and nation in this world to Bush and the US is trite and shallow. Further, I didn’t declare people who watch Chavez with starry eyes to be Nazis and what not. I declared them the sort of suckers who make good Nazis, crusaders, and other assorted fanatics because their scale of moral relativism is so utterly fucked up.

    When you can with a straight face tell me that a guy who declares his election day anniversary a national holiday enforceable at gun point and attempts to change the constitution so that he can be dear leader for life is a good guy (because no one else can do the job…clearly), you are a raving fanatic.

    Think that socialism is a good cause? Hurray! That is a perfectly reasonable stance. Think that it is such a good cause that if it takes a megalomaniac psychopath to push it it is still okay? You just merrily leaped over the line from wanting to advance a reasonable cause to being a raving fanatic who will do anything to see his cause advanced.

    Chavez is a psychopath. If socialism is the path Venezuela wants to pursue, more power to them. They need to go find a sane leader, elect him, and than swap him out with a new non-insane leader every few years… just like all the other functional socialist nations in the world who seem to manage just fine without resorting to a crazy cult of personality figure. Cult of personalities fail. One of the greatest feature of any resilient democracy is that they can toss out leader, get new ones, and keep on functioning.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Rindan,

      Calling Chavez a psychopath is just silly. You might make a case for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, though.

  94. GuidoDavid says:

    #149:
    Did you read the Anarchist rebuttal written by Venezuelans who also lived those days?

  95. DreadLetterDay says:

    Could someone point me to a source of information that has some evidence of Chavez doing something he is not entitled to do under the constitution of his nation, or behaving in a completely corrupt manner?

    I mean, accusing the man of raping cash from the state oil industry and lining his own pockets is a pretty heavy allegation without a single source to back it up.

    A thread from someone who makes no bones about his partisanship, based on an article from El Universal – which is anti-Chavez to say the least – with no balance whatsoever. *sigh*

  96. GuidoDavid says:

    Irvken:
    College education has been free for a very long time here. Primary education is mandatory, yet the enrollment is not total, still, around 8-9% of kids do not go to school. http://www.nationmaster.com/time.php?stat=edu_sch_enr_pri_fem_net-school-enrollment-primary-female-net&country=ve-venezuela
    And many children are in the streets, while Chavez has claimed on TV that there are none. Some of this kids are sexually abused.

    The attendance to secondary schools is not very good, neither:
    http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:0xf42gxG7VsJ:www.childinfo.org/education_secondary.php+school+enrolment+statistics+venezuela+secondary&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&client=firefox-a

    “An anarchist would declare a plague on your both houses and ask what about the poor? ”

    Straw Man. I have pointed around n links that do precisely that and I ask exactly that. It pains me to see people humiliating themselves for crumbs, a bit of cash, for fear of losing their access to the “missions” in which adult education is given.

    It is a disservice to the poor to assume that we have to lick military boots in order to have a decent life (Only the ones into uniforms and S/M, no matter their social class, should!).

    And the quality of your children education would be pretty close to brainwashing.

    “Chavez of course has Venezuelas best interests at heart because that is his power base, maybe not for you individuals on either side but he’d like the country to prosper no doubt about that.”

    So, if you know that, if you know so well how he thinks, can you tell me, honestly and in a simple way, how preventing people from going to work will make the country prosper? How insulting other people and getting them against him will make the country prosper? How to live in an eternal election and campaign, one after the other (just like the Orwellian War) will make the country prosper?

  97. Antinous / Moderator says:

    spazzm,

    What’s your interest in this? I’ve already laid my cards on the table. I abhor leaders who pretend to be socialist in order to rob the store. And I agree with you about the TV station thing; the government was acting well within its legal and ethical rights. But you seem to have a vested interested in the discussion. So what’s your story?

  98. TarlSS says:

    hm..y gys r kddng, rght? Bsh hs crtd pltcl prsn n frgn lnd, nggd n trtr, nd prpttd wrs n frgn sl, bt y frgt tht h dd ths n -mrc-.

    Ths s th lnd whr vn th prst cn t vrydy nd smll cttg ndstry hs sprng p mkng fn f th pr bstrd.

    Y frgt tht Bsh dd ll f ths thngs -lglly- sng xctv prcdnts tht hv bn rnd s lng s th Knndy dmnstrtn.

    Y ls frgt tht n th lst yr Bsh hs bn vrtlly pwrlss. Tht’s nt th sgn f tyrnt, rthr prvlgd bt fld pltcn.

    nd y frgt tht vrtlly VRY frst wrld cntry s gng thrgh crss f scrty vs. frdm. Thr sn’t ny plc n th wrld y cn g whr wrtppng, njst wrfr nd th lk rn’t th cs n nrm.

    Thr’s srs dscnnct btwn 3rd wrld tyrnt nd n xtrmly npplr prsdnt f th wrld’s mst pwrfl ntn.

    Y d yrslvs dssrvc nd rvl shckng mnt f pthy nd bs whn y s smthng s wk s th ‘tyrnny f bsh’ t jstfy sm knd f nrgd nd hlplss pthy.

    Whn y s Bsh s strwmn, y rvl tht y r stll yt th pmps, thncntrc, pthtc, fls nd flky mrcn hpstr scm tht gt hm lctd n th frst plc.

    Cmprng yr sffrng t ppl n thrd wrld cntry s jst gnrnt. Y cn bvsly rd, wrt, s cmptr, nd hv th tm t pst pltcl cmmnts, ftn ths ppl dn’t hv sch prvlgs.

  99. mdh says:

    @ simon cameron

    re: double standards – I think you need to review my contributions to this thread, and then take your strawman off my lawn.

  100. GuidoDavid says:

    So, now to be outraged because you cannot go to the grocery store because a tyrant said so is lack of reason? I guess I should be smiling because I am not being sent to Siberia. So, now you approve this kind of actions and you do not care if people can eat or not because of tyranical whim, an abuse of power and you claim that you do not lack empathy? You do not care about the thousands of dead people because of crime while the government, instead of tackling the problem devotes resources to worshipping Chavez and you claim that you do not lack empathy?
    Yeah, right. You only seem to have empathy for the ones that think like you.

    “It’s just that Demonizing Chavez rather then keeping him in perspective is the sort of thing you see before the CIA goes into install a new government.”

    You behave exactly like Chavez. Naming the CIA when dealing with criticism in an attempt to dismiss valid points. And if accepting that some policies are valid, (like the forenamed Science Policy) is demonizing, I am guilty of it. But it is obvious that you are not reading my posts, you are only nitpicking and trying to pull the old CIA trick.

    I agree that a CIA gov. is not the solution and I have said so many times in this thread.

    Yes, Bush is worse than Chavez. So what? Stalin was worse than Bush, so let’s stop criticizing the ex president. Same stupid argument.

    “But lets be clear here. Chavez is popular with many because he worked to make life better for your poorer countryman, and because the needs of the poor in Venezuela were not addressed for a very long time. Were you as opposed to those leaders as you are to this one?”

    He did some things to improve their life, yet 10 years and several billion dollars later, we are not much better. He had his chance, he still has four more years, but he wants more power. The poor were neglected long time, that’s true, they have some crumbs, from this oil boom, but that is not enough.

    And, in any case, I fucking refuse to bow for crumbs. I fucking refuse to say “Homeland, Socialism or Death”. I fucking refuse to shut and stop dissenting for the sake of keeping a failed reformer in power. Because I know that the right reforms could improve much more the daily life for millions without needing to be political beggars that have to humiliate and attend rallies in order to get a meager income.

    And, for your last question. I am 25 YO. Since I became politically aware, Chavez has been the only president I know. I clearly said before (which makes clearer that you are not reading my replies) that what came before Chavez was awful and was what lead us to him. We lost many opportunities and we are losing them again.
    And there is a link to my blog at the beggining of this post. There is a link to my BB comments when you click on my profile. You can google my real name and decide if I am kosher enough for your taste. If you can do all that, why raise doubts about the honesty of my points of view?

  101. spazzm says:

    Antinous: Interesting-looking article, thanks. It will take me a time to digest it.

    At a cursory glance it seems odd that this anti-nationally-owned-oil article does not mention Norway. Must be just an oversight.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statoil

  102. spazzm says:

    Antinous: I think I addressed that in post #13.

    If you are accusing me of ulterior motives, fine: I confess. I’m at work and bored.

  103. Takuan says:

    how come comments are closed on That’s Delightful?

  104. DreadLetterDay says:

    When does howling insanity pass through disemvowelling?

    CHAVEZ IS A PSYCHOPATH!?!?!?!

    A psychopath with an approval rating in his own country comparable to the hope bomb that’s going off in the US at the moment.

    He wields almost total power because the voting population of his country, in fair elections verified by outside sources, gave him that power. Overwhelmingly. On multiple occasions.

    If you feel that the Venezuelan people are subhuman in some manner, unable to make decisions based on what is good for them in the long or short run, then fine… I’ll just remind you that they did vote down a constitutional amendment to allow for perpetual presidencies in theory. (Which most democracies in the world outside the US allow for.)

    Screaming baseless accusations of outrageous corruption and mental instability against a man so popular in his own country makes one look silly as well as casting a suspicion of being a shil.

  105. Alphonse Dagenais says:

    I agree with JMV at #187 that Graham is being singled out.

    No moderators demanded evidence from athensugadawg on post #7 when he fired off a list of accusations against Chavez with no citations whatsoever.

    Graham did offer a citation, but was told it was inadequate because it was a movie. Documentaries are acceptable sources in university papers, but apparently not here, where wikipedia articles are okay.

    Graham’s other crime was supposed to be rudeness. But again, he’s quite mild by the standards of this conversation. He didn’t call anyone a “mouthpiece,”(#70) and he didn’t describe anyone’s argument as “bullshit” (#26).

  106. Xopher says:

    jwv 187: Witchhunt based on what?

  107. Takuan says:

    so, didn’t look at my #161 did we now? (bastards)

  108. Anonymous says:

    #33-
    no, we cannot agree that there are good leaders and bad leaders.

    the black & white world view, typical result of u.s. history textbooks’ heroification treatment [colombus = good, communism = bad], is no less applicable when discussing current leadership than it is when questioning the ideas and motives that have guided societies throughout history.

    until we can move beyond the mindless debating of angelic right and devilish wrong, republican vs. democrat, pepsi vs. coke, we can never pursue informed, multi-dimensional discussion on our leaders who are neither weeping privately over sheer empathy for the plight of their countryfolk nor cackling over their latest plan for the enslavement of mankind.

  109. arkizzle says:

    Also, Xeni:

    Mad props for taking back your comment @ 159. I think it was the right thing to do, regardless of any agreement with the comments that led to it.

  110. Takuan says:

    excellent!

  111. Takuan says:

    shill has two “l”s

  112. GuidoDavid says:

    Seanodonnell:

    OK, he is not a dictator, he is a tyrant. Anyway, if he would not be one, he would not be doing another poll (an unconstitutional one) for re electing himself again, barely a year after we said NO.

    About Death Squads:
    From International Amnesty:
    Police and security services

    According to the Attorney General, between 2000 and 2007 more than 6,000 complaints were filed at his office for alleged extrajudicial executions by the police. Of the 2,000 officers reportedly involved, less than 400 had been provisionally detained by the end of the year.None of the recommendations made by the National Commission for Police Reform had been implemented by the end of the year. Among the recommendations of the Commission were measures to improve the accountability of the police, training on human rights and the use of force, the regulation and control of arms used by the security forces, and legislation to integrate the different police bodies.
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/venezuela/report-2008
    The most recent case:
    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.eluniversal.com/2009/01/29/sucgc_art_por-una-moto-robada_1246399.shtml&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbrisas%2Bonia%2B8%2Bpolicia%2Bjovenes%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3DNqo%26sa%3DG
    So, are that rumours and slur also?
    And what about the 13000 dead people each year because of crime?

    You are right about not being able to find reports of people closing stores gunpoint, however, they might appear tomorrow, and if you read the first link I sent, the minister said he would fine people because Chavez said so. And they are in the streets with the national guard.
    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.eluniversal.com/2009/02/01/pol_ava_decretan-dia-no-labo_01A2212013.shtml&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.eluniversal.com/2009/02/01/pol_ava_decretan-dia-no-labo_01A2212013.shtml%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3Dssn

    Well, concerning corruption, then tell me how do you explain so much misery with such a huge oil revenue and so many the gov. functionaries with brand new humvees. And we have this case, also:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maletinazo
    There is much more if you dig. There is almost not a single person in jail because of corruption and according to transparency international we are in place 158th of 180 of the corruption index.

    http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2008/cpi2008/cpi_2008_table

    And not a single high profile functionary in jail. And our education minister is Chavez’s brother, who is not a teacher, is a lousy physicist. I guess that is not nepotism, neither, right?

    And International Observers said nothing about rigged Polls in Peru when Fujimori beat Toledo and then left the country to go to Japan shortly after.

    Spazzm: I never said that they were against him. I just said said that majority did not vote him, which is different and true. And in any case, that does not mean that he can use OUR money to insult US on live TV every time he feels like doing it.

    Ito: He uses public funds to pay people to go to demonstrations. He uses public funds to print leaflets to call to vote for him. He insists that public servants leave their offices to go and march for him.

    “Is it true, as I have heard, that polling in Venezuela is controlled by anti-Chavez aristocrats, but voting is controlled by the army?

    That is not even close to the truth. Opposition has no place in any place of public administration in this government. Voting is traditionally controlled by the army, yes, and it has been that way since we got a “democracy”.

    And, my point with comparing you to Bush’s cheerleaders is that even if 90% of the people elected him there things that he has not right to do, no matter what.

  113. Takuan says:

    Graham has not been banned. In point of fact, he is being currently held by the Deadly Zombie Chiuauau Moderation Squad and is being mildly tortured. Well, not tortured really. Sort of inconvenienced. Well, mildly inconvenienced. OK, so he’s not being inconvenienced! But he COULD be! He could be being gummed with tiny toothless jaws dripping green death slime! He could you know!

  114. DreadLetterDay says:

    It does. Mea culpa.

    I typed it out with two and somehow managed to kill one before submitting… gah… How that is possible, I have no clue.

    It’s before 6am here, in my defence… Oh scholars of teh interwebtubes.

    Forgive my grave error, I beseech you.

  115. High On Markers says:

    Takuan, that would go against everything I believe in (#151)

  116. Takuan says:

    if the people of Venezuela wish it, they can make revolution without any help or hindrance from outside.

  117. GuidoDavid says:

    Takuan:

    Understood, and thanks for the advice. We have to solve this problem by ourselves, but I am not really optimistic about us doing it, unless oil plummets and there is a huge social unrest.

    To make things clearer, this government is not the absolute evil, and some things have actually being good, like Science Policy, which actually was highlighted by Nature. But I just cannot, in good consciousness, support a system that chooses faithfulness over efficiency for performing a task. A government that asks its military personnel an Oath that says “Homeland, Socialism or Death”. A system that tracks you and store your data if you signed asking a referendum.

    All I can do as an individual is fight lies and complacence and make clear that some people from the left do not support all this crap, so one day, when this will be over, we cannot be accused of silent complicity. All I have left is rant, for me, violence is not an option.

  118. GuidoDavid says:

    Spazzm:

    You only throw half cooked rebuttals and then when you are shown wrong, you simply change the issue. That is a well known creationist strategy when debating evolutionist. For you is much easier to point supposed mistakes rather than engage in a debate and actually learn something.

    OK, the is not an astronomical number of deaths, it is “only” 13.000, not googols of people who die:
    http://www.economist.com/world/americas/displaystory.cfm?STORY_ID=11750858

    And people return to misticism because they cannot get any other kind of protection:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky-_Q2ghHhM&feature=related

    And the Australian case: Great. Abuse of power is the same thing than 8 dead teenagers in one day.

    Daemon:

    Some of us live day to day. I barely have cash to eat and sometimes I only have food for a couple of days. Many others are in much worse condition than me and many owners of Mom and Pop stores depend on day to day sales. It is disturbing that you mock our situation.

  119. GuidoDavid says:

    “But the push back you will get from American liberals is that Demonizing Chavez here is the same as demonizing socialism and is a way to say socialism and democracy can’t coexist. That every socialist leader is a dictator worthy of violent overthrow.”

    Well, not all the American liberals think like you.
    To me, people that support Chavez are the ones who actually support the idea that democracy, rule of law and rights for minorities cannot exist in socialist revolution. They put welfare, human rights and dignity below ideology. We have already seen that many times, and the results are invariably terrible. If you equate Chavez and Socialism, then you know neither. Again, our Gini quotient is worse than yours!

    I really would like to know why Tarja Halonen has no club of fans.

    “I apologize for missing your points on your personal lifestyle, but I have to say even knowing that I don’t find the enforced holiday alone a reason to particularly dislike chavez. I It’s certainly arrogant and unthinking, but I don’t see how you have described it is more then an inconvenience. You are sometimes without food, but that seems to be a product of your economic situation more then a store being closed on any particular day.”

    Well, this particular thing just was what made me say ENOUGH and submit a post. I am tired of being called “squalid”, “traitor”, “violent”, “golpista” (perpetrator of coups, funny coming from him), “oligarch” and so on, just because I dissent. I got tired of arbitrary shit in my way. I got tired of seeing people being humiliated (“knee on earth with the Commander” is a favorite slogan) for damn crumbs. I got tired of watching every resource that the gov. has devoted to self perpetuation, instead of solving our problems. I got tired of watching fascist (yes, fascist) groups screw others just because they oppose the government, as when Chavez supporters stole and destroyed pictures from an art exhibition because they were mocking Chavez, claiming that the pictures were obscene and violated the dignity of Venezuelan women.

    Some of the pictures:
    http://rafaeluzcategui.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/volviendo-a-las-antiguas-manas-de-la-provocacion/03_lafamilia_1/
    http://rafaeluzcategui.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/volviendo-a-las-antiguas-manas-de-la-provocacion/04_lafamilia/
    http://rafaeluzcategui.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/volviendo-a-las-antiguas-manas-de-la-provocacion/05_elpartidounico/
    (In this one you can see the “Rodilla en Tierra”/”Knee on Earth” slogan, if you think this is a joke, google “Rodilla en tierra”, but the automated translation takes a lot of the original flavor)

    A description of what happened in the art show:
    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://rafaeluzcategui.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/sobre-el-paso-de-los-barbaros/&ei=nSSJSYC4Oce_tgfMlOGVBw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://rafaeluzcategui.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/sobre-el-paso-de-los-barbaros/%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3DuiF
    (And a tasty picture of Virgin Mary being robbed gunpoint with Baby Jesus in arms)

    I got fed with anti semitic shit, which I never thought I would see in this country, which I believed a safe haven against racism, we were once a proud melting pot where race was not very important (to me is hard to understand the importance of race in the US). Pro-gov newspapers have published awful crap against the European immigrants:

    http://rafaeluzcategui.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/vea04.jpg

    This is not a transcription, is a scan of the paper “Vea”, so I translate a fragment of the second paragraph:

    “The wealthy middle class

    “That European immigration transmitted to its children and grandchildren that anti communist irrational and barbaric hate characteristic of Europeans against mongrels and hate against the common people” (And I thought that Marx was European and Jewish!)

    And in a government supporters’ web, they just pulled back an extremely anti semitic piece that encouraged people to start yelling pro-Palestine slogans to any Jew they saw:

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.aporrea.org/ddhh/a70960.html&ei=HBaJSdDXM5C8MuqH7dIH&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.aporrea.org/ddhh/a70960.html%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3D1kE

    I got fed with all this and that is why I have taken the time to reply to any pro Chavez argument not only with my feelings, but with facts and statistics. And yesterday I did not eat very well because the University canteen closed and there was not any nearby grocery store open, but this is secondary.

    “Chavez needs to be replaced with a more progressive socialist, but by democratic means until that proves impossible. I concede that the abuse of power and the lack of basic rights must be infuriating, but my limited knowledge of the last 20 years of your countries history yields several coupes and revolts. Revolution is ok when needed, but you put a populace in a constant state of conflict for long enough and eventually they will always choose a strongman to make them safe.”

    The last twenty years start with the riots of 1989, then the two attempts of coup from Chavez in 92, then the outing of Perez because of corruption, then Caldera ruled 5 years with low oil and economic downturn and then, 10 years ago, Chavez came with a lot of promises. We were not under constant distress. Now, we are. Every day there is some artificial conflict, think how it would be to have Fox News ruling the US. Every day there is a new Enemy that we have to hate to be good patriots, not squalid traitors. Some days it seems that we have always been in war with Eurasia since ever. Yes, we need a progressive president, but the opposition seems without one for the time being.

    “The things you list, poverty, crime corruption, police abuse of power. Did those things not exist before Chavez? I am sure some problems are the fault of Chavez and associates, but I assume others are long term problems or caused by a radical realignment of the countries economy and government. They will take a long time to solve. But a peaceful hand off in power is the best way to turn the page on that.”

    Of course they did exist before Chavez. And Chavez promised, ten years ago, that they would be gone. But they have not, and some have become even worse since then. And now we have problems that we did not have before like xenophobic bastards and vandalized synagogues, a heavily polarized country and truly virulent crime where you can get shot just because you have no money, so the thugs aim to an arm or a leg and tell you to have some money for them next time. He has been ten long, painful, stressful, unproductive years in power, he still has 4 more to go, and yet, he wants even more. To achieve what? He has had plenty of time and resources, yet he has achieved very little, even some things of that very little are very good and impressive. Why should we give him one more chance?

    “I think you should consider your Job to do more then complain.”
    I wish I could.

    “Also, the CIA is not a red herring when they have actually repeatedly interfered in a government in the last 7 years. If Russia was actively trying to kill our president, we would declare war on them. Your government in the same situation has used it as political cover for increased security.”

    They might, but using the CIA argument in a honest debate really makes no sense other than upset your interlocutor and make you look like a fanatic who cannot accept criticism.

    Xeni:
    Thank you very much for posting this. I really appreciate the opportunity to explain a bit more than the usual talking points from both sides and give my personal views on the situation.

    ***
    I apologize for losing my temper during this discussion and for writing too much, but I think that even if one person understands better what really is going on here, that would be worthy.

  120. spazzm says:

    I never said that they were against him. I just said said that majority did not vote him, which is different and true. And in any case, that does not mean that he can use OUR money to insult US on live TV every time he feels like doing it.

    Fair enough – I apologize for implying that you claimed that non-voters are voters for Chavez’ opponents. You did not.

    But the majority (over 60%, IIRC) of those who bothered to vote voted for him. Which makes him your lawfully elected president. Which means that, yes, he gets to use ‘your’ money (I assume you mean your tax money) to go on live TV. Just like the president of the US or France.

    If you feel that he’s insulting you, or appearing on TV more than strictly necessary or at inappropriate times, well – better luck in the next election, I guess.

  121. Takuan says:

    oooh! got one?!

  122. Xopher says:

    AEM and Alphonse: On what basis do you think Graham was singled out? To single someone out requires some kind of undisclosed agenda, no? What agenda would that be?

    I don’t see any in operation. Moderation is subjective, to be sure, and Graham’s posts obviously struck Antinous as more moderation-worthy than the ones Alphonse cites. But what possible reason could he have for a grudge against Graham? Graham’s prior comments were quite civil (I just had a look to make sure) and before this thread he hadn’t commented here at all since November.

    It’s all very well to support someone you like (AEM, you appear to have created your ID specifically for the purpose), but do let’s be rational, shall we?

  123. Simon Cameron says:

    It’s interesting how the burden of proof seems to shift based on who is being criticized.

  124. DreadLetterDay says:

    Ok, fair enough… That’s one… then he went to jail for it, and then won an election almost on the back of it.

    Now, anything since he was elected President?

    And hey, if he’d won, that action would suddenly have become constitutional… Just like 2002! except not.

  125. mdh says:

    It’s interesting how the burden of proof seems to shift based on who is being criticized.

    I see what you did there.

  126. Takuan says:

    well, I find your posts informative. I repeat again very seriously; you say you are 25, be careful. Not in compromising what you believe, but do not be foolish about the lengths others will go to. Be careful. Testify as you must.

  127. Cowicide says:

    Rindan begins by chastising those in this thread that compare Chavez to other figures.

    Rindan ends by comparing posters here to Nazis, The Spanish Inquisition, Pol Pot, Rwandan gangs and Chinese fascists.

    FAIL

  128. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    JWV, thank you, but we’re already dealing with the situation in e-mail.

    In the meantime, please don’t use overblown terms like “witch hunt.” I expect it’s just because you’ve never seen the real thing, but believe me, they don’t look anything like this.

  129. Simon Cameron says:

    I’m glad you understood.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I’m glad you understood.

      I’ll be sure to add the Baby-Eating Photo Standard to the Moderation Policy page.

  130. Takuan says:

    ah Guido David, I feel for you. Stay high profile, it will protect you and your work. If it makes you feel any better, every single person posting here also has a government that is solely concerned about keeping power. It’s just a matter of degree.
    When I mentioned earlier I was concerned for your safety,it wasn’t so much I was thinking Chavez would order a hit on you. More I was thinking about the unthinking followers of Chavez that ride his wagon and don’t think beyond rah rah rah! Rather like some here that think some imagined indignity to some commenter is “important”. You are at the edge of life and death in your work and your publicly avowed opinions and ideas, I salute you!

  131. Takuan says:

    good luck and take care they don’t kill you.

  132. Xopher says:

    Takuan, please learn to spell Chihuahua.

    Chi, as in body energy.

    Hua, as in Hua Kuo-Feng.

    Hua, as in Hua Kuo-Feng again.

    Chihuahua.

  133. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Dainel, isn’t that the warning label printed on the back of the internet?

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      I wrote this to TNH last night and will re-post it here:

      To Graham and others: one can believe that Chavez is off his fucking nut AND believe that
      the CIA/Bushco dirtily supported his opponents. There’s plenty of sleaze to
      go around.

      I received a ton of “you’re being played” emails today by people who said BB
      was “to the right of CNN” with my post here, from the guy in Venezuela.

      FACT: Many major news orgs in the US, including AP and Reuters, and other
      spanish language venues, were posting stories about some vandalism in
      Caracas against Jews this week. There’s a bit of a “jews are evil” meme
      going on down there right now. I didn’t hallucinate that. It doesn’t make
      Chavez responsible, per se, but the wave seems somehow related to some
      recent statements from him about Israel/Gaza.

      FACT: Chavez pulled a weird move with declaring the anniversary of his
      election a national holiday that requires stores and schools be closed.

      This post isn’t about Bush or the CIA, and the aforementioned facts don’t
      mean other bad actors are at play.

  134. Takuan says:

    and Guido David; don’t take any of the ancillary silliness here as in any way lessening how seriously we take your words. We can have a little fun and save the world too, with no disrespect to anyone.

  135. Antinous / Moderator says:

    spazzm,

    That NYT article is definitely a hit piece on Chavez, although it rings true to my ears. I think that it has implications for any number of OPEC countries with small, ruling elites. Chavez is an easy target because he’s a bit of a buffoon. But when you’ve already spent two years in jail for masterminding a failed coup d’état, it doesn’t look good when you try to abolish term limits.

  136. Ghost Dance says:

    Gato: re Mugabe. Beatings, wholesale intimidation and killings before,during and after an ‘election’ are not the mark of a democrat.

  137. GuidoDavid says:

    Graham: I linked an Anarchist rebuttal of the documentary. Yet, you said nothing about it. Then why do you expect other people to watch the documentary?
    It seems you have no interest in honest discussion.

    And, BTW, Graham’s link is from 2006. Chavez expelled the Israeli ambassador in 2009, and there have been graffiti after that.

    “That said, I think efforts to paint him as a dictator and tyrant in America are largely because the American government would like to kill him and install a nice puppet. I think that would be shitty for your country and shitty for the region.”

    I disagree with you. When he took power he had huge, massive support. Many of the ones that disagree now were charmed by him, willing to believe. Yet, his behavior and policies made him unpopular quickly among certain people.
    But here, making CIA claims is poisoning the well. There are tons of reasons to dislike Chavez and showing dissent comes natural. Trying to shut dissent down does not help anybody and feed the reasons to call Chavez an autocrat. There is genuine dissent.

    “I assume your family is not one that has suffered under the previous leaders and If Chavez actually does do a good job for the poor, having the middle and upper class folks start a revolution because Chavez closed the mall for his birthday would just look bad.”

    My family has been screwed up pretty much with all governments. I, as I said, have barely cash to eat anything, I still live from University’s canteen (which was closed yesterday). I have been lucky enough to have good education and learn English. It would hypocritical for me to count me among the people living on shantytowns, yet I can go several days being hungry. What you said is a nasty, pityful ad hominem attack that does not address any of the valid points that I raised. What you said speak volumes about the kind of person you are, says much more about you than about me or my family, and is completely false.

  138. Takuan says:

    Arkie: yet again, your talent overwhelms me.
    say! think you could do a “ZOMBIE CHIUAUAU!” voice of god over, a la The Shocking Truth! that came up with image??? huh huh huh could ya??
    (truly that’s a zombie doggie!)

  139. arkizzle says:

    Pah! That was but a treat before bed!

    I dig the zombie chiuaua single-server though. P’raps tomorrow, if you remind me.

    Who can we commision for the Voice Of God?

  140. arkizzle says:

    ..oh, and thanks :)

  141. arkizzle says:

    And flashing eyeballs!

  142. Takuan says:

    well Guido David, reflecting on your words, at least I can make clear to my own government that interactions with Venezuela must weigh all sides. As far as they listen to any of us.

  143. spazzm says:

    Guidodavid: From the graph you posted it looks like the murder rate in Venezuela is pretty similar to the murder rate in Colombia.

    According to this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_rate
    the Murder rate in Venezuela is below that of comparable countries El Salvador, Sierra Leone, and Honduras.

    The graph you present also omit the peak years 2003 and 2006, making it appear that there has been a steady rise in murder rates under Chavez’ rule.

  144. jahknow says:

    As much as I think that U.S. foreign policy in the 20th century was a bad deal for the people of Latin America, that isn’t preventing me from coming to the conclusion that this guy’s off his rocker. Bush was tyrannical, but Chavez truly has become a tyrant.

  145. GuidoDavid says:

    Better luck next time, unless he uses our money to rig the elections and favour his cronies. Just like Fujimori. And I am not saying that he is not the lawful president. That is another straw man that you are pulling.

    Did the fact that Bush was US lawful president authorized him to torture and wiretap? Did Bush Sr. being president meant that it was a good thing to say that atheists were not citizens or patriots? If you support this asshole getting on TV and calling for violence against the ones who think different, then you are also a fascist. Note that I say if. I really hope you do not support that kind of thing.

  146. GuidoDavid says:

    I do not really think they are coming after me, I just talk. And so far, I am staying here, even if I could go abroad. The things that you can do here, cannot be done in the developed world.

  147. GuidoDavid says:

    More on indefinite re election:

    “http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.eluniversal.com/2009/02/04/pol_art_presidente-puede-pre_1255207.shtml&ei=nJaJSfSHG9WDtwfbp6ikBw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.eluniversal.com/2009/02/04/pol_art_presidente-puede-pre_1255207.shtml%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3DDe2″

    “If the president loses the referendum of February 15 it is not precluded from re-request the amendment of Article 230 of the Constitution to ensure their proposal and re-bid for the presidency indefinitely nationally.

    This is the main conclusion of the presentation by Judge Francisco Carrasquero-ex-president of the CNE ”

    CNE= National Electoral Council. This so unbiased person was in charge or our very clean electoral system. Somebody should write a book.

    Well, somebody did. It is called Animal Farm.

  148. Takuan says:

    but I found three variant speelings!

  149. Xeni Jardin says:

    Graham hasn’t been banned here. We’ve spoken, we’re cool guys.

  150. GuidoDavid says:

    It is still way too high, and those countries that you named have had recent wars, the situation is not even close to be comparable, besides, the Venezuelan GDP is higher, we should have more resources to tackle crime. Colombians are still fighting an undeclared war against left wing Guerrillas and right wing paramilitry armies.

    There has been a huge increase compared with 1998, despite all the oil boom.

  151. spazzm says:

    Antinous: He may be a buffoon, but he did go trough the appropriate channels to try to change the constitution. When the referendum failed, he abided by the democratic decision.

    Finally, lots of countries have no term limits for the post of president (e.g. France) or prime minister (e.g. UK) without being dictatorships.

  152. Takuan says:

    (shhh! I’m chewing)

  153. seanodonnell says:

    GuidoDavid:

    How is seeking another referendum unconstitutional? I was not aware of any such issue?

    “OK, he is not a dictator, he is a tyrant. ”

    The same can be said of just about any leader one does not approve of.

    None of the articles you linked to on police related deaths suggested they constituted death squads under the control of Chavez. The 13000 people dead from crime also seem to have little to do with death squads. Venezuela seems to be a violent place and there would appear to be serious police abuse of power, there is still a big difference between suffering from these problems and death squads operated by the head of state. So yes, Chavez controlled Death Squads still come under the heading of rumours and slurs.

    I have read the first link you sent. Those who break the law will be fined, seems like a reasonable state of affairs.

    On the corruption front there are many possible explanations. Stupidity, Inefficiency, corruption of those other than Chavez. Perhaps the Oil Wealth is not in fact enough on its own to solve the problem, I don’t know. But without evidence pointing to this as any kind of proof of Chavez corruption is irresponsible.

    The index you pointed to is an index of perceived corruption, obtained by surveying foreigners for opinions. The U.S. medias treatment of Chavez alone would account for that.

    I find his appointment of his brother as Education minister to be extremely distasteful, but is it illegal in any way? I also find his goals of allowing extended terms and infinite election unwise. I in no way regard Chavez as a saint, and disagree with many of his policies. That said, the baseless accusations that are regularly thrown against him should not be allowed stand.

  154. Takuan says:

    you know better than me.

  155. GuidoDavid says:

    Welcome to a new era for Venezuela.
    An era of what? I am sure we will find out soon, but expect no surprises. We still will be poor and insecure and there will be even more personality cult.

  156. noen says:

    “I would oppose any gov. that takes the money from our common resources to support itself and that claims that because I oppose it I am a despicable person.”

    I don’t see this as any different than that during the Bush hunta. You know, the twice unelected leader of the the largest “democracy” in the world. While I have no illusions about Chavez and never have, had the Bush regime succeeded in overthrowing him the people of Venezuela would be worse off.

    I would also be very skeptical of any information we get in the media here. I’m sure the CIA is very busy.

  157. Antinous / Moderator says:

    FYI – GuidoDavid, whose blog post forms the bulk of this entry, is a Venezuelan living in Venezuela. Xeni has traveled extensively in Latin America. I have known many Latin American revolutionaries, many of whom have been killed or spent decades in prison for their political activities.

    I don’t expect anyone to know these things. I do expect that commenters admit the possibility that someone else has superior knowledge or expertise. That’s why we strongly encourage commenters to identify their sources of information. It greatly informs the discussion to know whether you’re reading the opinion of a diplomatic attache or a teenager in rural Wyoming. Either one can be valid, but readers deserve the opportunity to make an informed choice about what to believe.

    Knowing whether information comes from the Mail or the Guardian, from the news section or from the opinion pages, from personal experience or from Wikipedia all help us to make intelligent decisions. That’s why we frequently ask for citations in heated political discussions.

  158. spazzm says:

    Guidodavid: Where did I imply that you have claimed that Chavez is not your lawfully elected president?
    I merely stated that he is, I did not say anything about your position on the matter.

    I’d like to see a source or translated video clip of Chavez calling for violence on ‘the ones who think different’.

  159. GuidoDavid says:

    Takuan:

    I am very curious about Obama’s election and its effect here, since Chavez needs a foreign enemy, he will try to create artificial conflicts with the US, now that Bush is gone and he lost his bogey man.

    One of the reasons to pick up a fight against Israel and the Jews might be that it is tougher for him to frame Obama as the bad guy, as the devil, plus it pays with his buddy Mahmoud. Another weird consequence of his foreign policy is that Morocco closed its embassy in Caracas because of Chavez’ support of the Polisario Front:
    http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/01/21/global-morocco-closes-caracas-embassy/

    I agree with the government in this, but I am not sure that for the same reasons…

  160. Takuan says:

    (well,gumming really, but the dribble has ruined his socks!)

  161. gesteves says:

    It takes a very special kind of arrogant egotist megalomaniac to institute your very own national holiday in your honor, force people to celebrate it, and punish those who refuse to celebrate one man’s gigantic ego by actually going to work. Unbelievable.

    My father called me a few hours ago from Plaza Las Américas (a shopping center near where I live, in Caracas) and he told me the SENIAT goons where fining and shutting down the businesses that opened today.

  162. Xopher says:

    Takuan…don’t make me summon KLIBAN again.

  163. mdh says:

    I’m glad you understood.

    I’m gladder you didn’t

  164. jahknow says:

    #2 Noen, I’m no Bush apologist, and was only trying to imply that Bush was better only for US citizens in this one way: he and Cheney didn’t declare martial law before Jan 20 (as some of us feared), in contrast to Xeni’s reporting that Chavez has explicitly threatened to do exactly that. In fact, I wouldn’t argue against any of your points here.

    And Xeni, I can only imagine you were making an intentional Dead Kennedys reference in the page title? That was my unicorn chaser for this post; thanks.

  165. GuidoDavid says:

    A bit more on why I chose to stay (At least for now):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6JpbIWej-E

    But it is too long, 45 min of dull, nervous, funny-accented speech about Open Source Biotechnology.

  166. spazzm says:

    Is this going to be like that time when he ‘abolished free speech’, when in actual fact he refused to renew the licensing agreement of a TV station that had supported a bloody coup attempt against a democratically elected government?

    I’ll gladly accept that Chavez is a corrupt, power-mad dictator-in-the-making, but I’ll need a bit more evidence than a twitter stream and an untranslated speech.

  167. Takuan says:

    FACT: Guido David is fighting Chagas Disease. That alone gets him my vote. I wonder what Chavez is doing to help?

  168. Takuan says:

    interesting! You’ve been working on Chagas? (I’ll need to find 45 minutes to watch this)

  169. RedShirt77 says:

    So Bush starts wars, tortures, wire taps, and subverts our justice system and this guy is worse for enforcing a national day off?

    “The country is paralyzed, no children at school, no classes at the universities…”

    Wow, how does Venezuela ever get through a weekend? Someone needs to teach them to BBQ.

    Clearly Chavez is going a bit nuts, but to date he still seems to have done more good then harm. He still has term limits, no? when he goes against the will of the people on that, I will oppose him, until then, if he doesn’t open torture prisons or try to assassinate the POTUS like we tried to kill him I am going to ignore some theatrics.

  170. spazzm says:

    It is still way too high, and those countries that you named have had recent wars,…

    Jamaica has, to my knowledge, not had any recent wars. Honduras has not had a war since 1969.

    I’m reminded of something you said earlier:
    “You only throw half cooked rebuttals and then when you are shown wrong, you simply change the issue.:

  171. Takuan says:

    honestly! one was even “chiwawa”

  172. GuidoDavid says:

    Spazzm: Do not forget 92. Do not forget 92.

    Sorry I cannot provide captioned videos, you will have to ask to somebody you trust that speaks Spanish. But I just posted a link about Chavez claiming that there would be war if the Opposition won the elections.

    seanodonnell
    I never said the death squads are under Chavez control. But here everybody knows they exist and no one does anything. Neither tackling regular crime. And read again what Intl Amnesty says about it:
    “According to the Attorney General, between 2000 and 2007 more than 6,000 complaints were filed at his office for alleged extrajudicial executions by the police. Of the 2,000 officers reportedly involved, less than 400 had been provisionally detained by the end of the year”

    “Those who break the law will be fined” Which law? There is no law at all! Just a comment from him on TV and his wish to have a personal holiday and then we have no schools and no stores because he says so. If that is not a tyranny, then what it is? Again, there is no law, no decree, no resolution on the Assembly (Our congress). His word is the law. No checks, no balances.

    “The index you pointed to is an index of perceived corruption, obtained by surveying foreigners for opinions. The U.S. medias treatment of Chavez alone would account for that.”

    I really do not think so. It might well be, but considering that the oil money has disappeared and that in Venezuela we have a long tradition of corruption that he promised to eradicate, I think it is accurate. Anyway there is corruption among his close allies and he seems to not notice or care. If he steals or not, I am not sure, but buying an Airbus for him and dressing Armani certainly does not help: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1931243.stm

  173. Takuan says:

    OK, watched the first half.

  174. GuidoDavid says:

    Yes, right now I am doing a mathematical model of the parasite, but I decided to switch to something more practical once I finish my thesis. In my lab we have developed a new test for Chagas, more accurate and locally done, which makes it way cheaper than tests from the US. The enzymes, antibodies and antigens are all locally produced.

    A piece I wrote on Open Chagas epidemiology:
    http://freedomofscience.org/?page_id=22

    Open Source Biotechnology could make a difference here, given the fact that Pharma companies give a shit about neglected diseases, and the convergence of hacktivism and science is extremely attractive to me.

  175. RedShirt77 says:

    #16 GuidoDavid

    “How would you feel if you could not buy groceries because the president says so?”

    I hate to criticize those that are clearly living in society with limited political freedom. But let me say that that I find something incredibly odd about posts that speak of death squads and closed grocery stores in the same breath. Here in the states, liquor stores are closed every Sunday! And I do believe they would be fined if they opened! The Horror! A hundred years of oppression!

    Admittedly we do have legislative recourse to address this if it became unpopular enough. Any public opinion polls on the unpopularity of the Chavez birthday?

    Also, anyone calling the Colombian government Democratically elected, should know two things, its not and Chavez is. The Colombian government controls what, like a third of their country? So I imagine they aren’t counting a lot of ballots from the rural areas. Also, last I read Wikipedia, every liberal or progressive ever elected got the gift of a bullet soon after. Also, it isn’t FARC that puts a bullet in the head of everyone that ever tried to form a union in Columbia its corporate thugs and their govt buddies.

  176. athensugadawg says:

    “I’ll gladly accept that Chavez is a corrupt, power-mad dictator-in-the-making, but I’ll need a bit more evidence than a twitter stream and an untranslated speech.”

    How about the times that he has blatantly threatened Colombia and its democratically elected government? Supported FARC with its tools of torture through kidnapping, extortion, and drug-running? Term limits….hide and watch; that will soon be only a fond memory in Venezuela.

  177. GuidoDavid says:

    Jamaica is a special case, indeed, and I do not know anything about it. Honduras has not had a war, but is very close to Guatemala and El Salvador, besides, the Maras gangs have had a very hight impact, and it is a very complex situation. In Venezuela there no such gangs that explain the amount of violence, besides Venezuela’s population is density is 5 times lower than Honduras.

  178. subaculture says:

    Ia agree that Chavez is no saint but neither he is the great Satan. He is a politician, with pretty good survival instincts. While the Oath that says “Homeland, Socialism or Death” isn’t at all catchy, here in the UK the army, politicians must give an oath Allegiance to the Queen in a process known as “attestation.” American kids must say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school…the point being that the only legitimate means to change your government is through the polls rather than agitating for social unrest.

  179. Neon Tooth says:

    Chavez may be a favorite bogeyman….
    What’s the solution? Kick it old school with a C.I.A. coup? More U.S. funded mass murder? Let the Venezuelan people deal with it themselves. We’ve (the U.S.) got a pretty filthy dilapidated house to worry about ourselves.

  180. noen says:

    @ jahknow — I wasn’t really responding to you or even directly to Xeni or the article.

    I’m just having a really hard time feeling all gushy about the US knowing that we still do renditions, probably still torture, that we funded death squads in Latin America and taught their dictators how to torture in the first place. Murdering those who wouldn’t let their country be raped by our corporations.

  181. GuidoDavid says:

    Spazzm: I missed that point in my reply. Indeed you never did claim that I do not recognize him as president. But still, it is odd to me that you refuse to acknowledge that some things should not be done even if you have a 99% majority.

  182. gATO says:

    a lot to digest, here… I’ll start from the end.

    Ghost Dance: And would you agree that creating a list of people who voted against you (when your vote is supposedly secret), and using it as a tool to discriminate who can work for the state and who can’t, is a mark of democracy? What about forcing state employees to attend rallies, under threat of being fired? What about protecting criminals who do as they please (Lina Ron and her cronies, Colectivo La Piedrita), under the pretense that they “defend the revolution”? I could go on.

  183. Patrick Dodds says:

    Here we go with the “starve” word again. Not that I’m apologising for Chavez or anything …. (some deja vu as I construct this post).

  184. gollux says:

    All hail Hugo the Chav. Gotta have somebody to blame when your chaotic political policies start to fail.

  185. Xopher says:

    *mists gather, and meowing is heard in the land*

  186. Anonymous says:

    Guido David’s post acknowledging Chavez’s support for his research makes his other claims much more believable, I must say.

  187. Graham says:

    “For starters, yelling at Bush doesn’t make Chavez a good leader.”

    I guess not, although I’m surprised your duties as moderator extend to telling me so.

    And sorry for my exclamation marks earlier, but I find it depressing that so many people fall for the anti-Chavez narrative. As I say, taking some time to watch ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ will give you some idea of the forces lined up against him, and why I feel angry enough to resort to three punctuation marks.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I find it depressing that so many people fall for the anti-Chavez narrative.

      And you don’t feel that your comments, unsupported by anything other than a television documentary which you’ve mentioned twice, constitutes ‘falling for the pro-Chavez narrative’? If you want to be taken seriously, provide some citations to support your position.

  188. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Yes, Takuan, you can. Hold still, now. (Asperges, waves censer, chants in Pig Latin.)

    There. Permissions should work in all of the weblogs, though you may have to log back in the first time you enter the moderation lounge.

    How’s that?

  189. gATO says:

    Hey, Gestevez, it could be worse: a co-worker got a call this morning from her mother in San Cristobal (that’s a city in the country’s western region), telling her that she was having lunch, when some National Guards stormed in and shut down the place.

    Didn’t mention anything about the tab, though.

  190. freeyourcrt says:

    Pro-Chavez propaganda or anti-Chavez propaganda. How can anyone even pretend to believe they truly understand anything.

  191. Takuan says:

    put the cap back on the marker.

  192. Graham says:

    Don’t believe the black propganda on Chavez, even if it does come wrapped in web2.0. Who was the first person FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt thanked when she was released? Who walked into the UN and told Bush to go fuck himself? Who is sitting on vast quantities of oil that America desperately wants? There’s about five jigsaw pieces in this puzzle and some of you STILL have trouble putting them together.

    Have a look at this http://bit.ly/7O3R and tell me where the threat to Venezuelan democracy is most likely to come from?

    Wake up, for God’s sake! You’re being played! Again!

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Graham,

      For starters, yelling at Bush doesn’t make Chavez a good leader. Ahmadinejad did it as well. So did Putin. And Mugabe. Secondly, is it necessary to use all those exclamation marks? It makes it look like you think that we’re stupid and you need to yell for us to understand you.

  193. GuidoDavid says:

    Zikzak: My suggestions are unemployable. First thing is get rid of corrupt functionaries using technology. Throw them baits and get them on tape accepting bribes. Get ten or twenty and make a public hearing, stripe them of all their property and lock them up. That will send a message to others. Suggest that everybody is watching them, audit them in a totally transparent way, that people who work in those places understand that they are public servants. Whoever gets a job in public administration should be prepared to be watched.

    Now, they enforce fingerprinting for buying a cellphone and every time you buy something you must give name, ID number and address. Why don’t we use our MPs for testing if such systems work to prevent crime? If it does not work for such a small number of people, then it is pointless (unless your real purpose is collect data about people) applying it to the whole country.

    I think that the main problem we have is widespread corruption, as it touches everything. For instance, a thieve bribes the cops with the just stolen money and they let him go. If they don’t accept the money, then the judge or the DA will do. If you want a building permit, you bribe the officer, and if you want to sell something to the government, no bid will do unless you pay a bribe to the official in charge of doing the purchase. If you want to complain, no one will hear, because everybody benefits from that.

    Investing more in education and science and comparative political science will give good returns. We have to study the education and health systems of many countries in order to find out what works. Appropriate technology for water purification in rural areas could be a hot tech. GM crops tailored to our conditions should improve yields and benefit peasants while letting us be independent from Monsanto et al, and, if we keep our population steady, we could actually use less land and let some ecosystems recover.

    Changing our culture will be difficult, but is doable, others have done it before us. But the main problem is tackling corruption and allowing the oil revenue to be used for improving the life standards, not for expensive cars and leaflets saying how god the current president is.

    But all this is very unlikely to happen, either now or after Chavez. I see my role in society just complain and offer data on what the gov. is doing wrong, besides my current research.

  194. Teller says:

    Hugo Chavez is fine until Danny Glover and Sean Penn say he isn’t. Anyway, Bush was way worse and even if Chavez IS bad, which he isn’t because he hated Bush and so do I, but even if he is bad, he’s not as bad as Bush, so stop saying he sucks when Bush sucked a lot worse than Chavez, who will never suck as bad as Bush.

  195. Graham says:

    Oh, yeah, and as for “anti-semitism”…

    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2805

  196. GuidoDavid says:

    Anonymous:
    “Neither complete capitalist anarchy aka libertarianism nor complete communism is effective — your opposition to socialism based on the messenger on anti-personality-cult basis is interesting, but what is the solution? Is it possible to have a non-charismatic leader?”

    I do not oppose Socialism. If you read well, my ideal models of society are Scandinavian democracies or even an Israeli Kibbutz. I am not a capitalist in any sense.

    Well, let’s be honest. My ideal society would be Banks’ Culture, LOL.

  197. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Graham @135:

    Sorry for the multiple postings, but… why do you expect me to spend my time tracking down news stories that support my argument, when you don’t want to spend seventy-five minutes of your time watching an excellent documentary that was filmed from inside the 2002 coup?

    Because I can skim a document, read bits of it, assess the footnotes, and decide whether or not it’s crap before committing myself to the full investment of time, but a documentary has to be watched.

    Because I’m a very fast reader, but I can’t watch a documentary on fast-forward.

    Because I track down documentation all the time for the stuff I say online.

    Because it’s not hard to find further sources, especially if you already have one source you know they’ll agree with.

    Addendum: That’s not a “why you’re obliged” list; it’s a “why I’m not big on dropping everything to watch a 75-minute documentary when I’m just looking for a source of confirmation on a point.”

  198. Takuan says:

    OK OK! you can pick the spelling! Just no cows!

  199. spazzm says:

    But still, it is odd to me that you refuse to acknowledge that some things should not be done even if you have a 99% majority.

    Of course I acknowledge that. When did I refuse to do so?

    There are things one should not do, even with 99% majority.
    I do not think “appearing on TV” and “hold a referendum” are among those things.

  200. RedShirt77 says:

    #112 GuidoDavid
    “I have nothing but contempt for your lack of empathy to people and I will refrain myself from replying in a more aggressive way.”

    I have plenty of empathy, just not for your lack of reason.

    It’s just that Demonizing Chavez rather then keeping him in perspective is the sort of thing you see before the CIA goes into install a new government. And as wonderful as Chavez might seem now, a CIA govt will be bad for everyone, even the upper class folks that might welcome it. Just ask Afghanistan how the Taliban worked out.

    But I stick to my general point, Bush worse then Chavez even if U.S. is more free then Venezuela.

    Yes you need elections and probably a better constitution.

    But lets be clear here. Chavez is popular with many because he worked to make life better for your poorer countryman, and because the needs of the poor in Venezuela were not addressed for a very long time. Were you as opposed to those leaders as you are to this one?

  201. GuidoDavid says:

    Takuan:

    Actually Chavez spoke about Chagas disease and committed to fund our diagnostic kit. We just set a company with gov. venture capital (there is no such thing as private venture capital here, almost everybody in the private sector is very near sighted) for scaling up the production of the kit. That is part of the Science Policy that I support (And that I supported long before the government gave us that money):

    http://globallyconnected.blogspot.com/2007/12/nature-editorial-about-venezuela.html

    My thesis advisor just finished mapping and sampling five states to detect Chagas prevalence, but the data is not open. I am thinking about using neural nets to predict the risk of Chagas in an area with population, vegetation and weather data and also satellite images.

    But, unfortunately, neither Chagas, crime, violence or corruption are priorities here, only keeping him in power, that is what the bureaucrats devote their time instead of fixing people’s problems. Add that to the dividing speeches and you will see what drives me nuts. I am very afraid that the next guy (or girl) will shut the funding for this kind of programs, but that is not a reason to accept political blackmail.

  202. Takuan says:

    so long as I get to be a knife missile.

  203. arkizzle says:

    I had found Tak’s spelling too.. Does that mean I have to redo the Zombie Chiuaua poster? :(

    Also FYI, “An Ecumenical Matter” is a line from Father Ted, one of Graham Linehan’s best shows.

  204. Nixar says:

    * Chvz ws dmcrtclly lctd, nd r-lctd
    * Chvz cndmnd srl fr th Gz msscr (wh dd?)
    * Bsh’s régm trd t vrthrw hm n 2002
    * H std p t Bsh

    Bt hy, h’s bd vl dcttr r smthng, tht’s wht th ppl wh tld s rq hd WMDs nd mbl wpn lbs wh r tllng s; thy sr knw thr sht, s thy hv dmnstrtd!

    Cngrts n stll gbblng p th ncn prpgnd. Wk p ppl, t’s 2009!

  205. spazzm says:

    “How about the times that he has blatantly threatened Colombia and its democratically elected government? Supported FARC with its tools of torture through kidnapping, extortion, and drug-running?”

    None of this makes him a corrupt dictator, even if it is true.

    An asshole, sure, but not corrupt or dictatorial.

    As an aside, I think the public should be wary of when the press suddenly takes an acute interest in the foibles of leaders of small, oil-rich nations.

  206. RedShirt77 says:

    “The truth is, if what is happening in Venezuela was happening in the US, people on these boards would be crying bloody murder. In fact, people do. Look through the above comments at the way people talk about Bush as if he was some crazy despot ruling the country with an iron fist. While Bush was an awful president (it was the incompetence that gets me more than anything else), comparing him to Chavez is laughable.”

    To all the silly people that keep making statements like this, you are silly.

    Clearly Chavez has less checks and balances and declaring his own holiday is an abuse of power. But his act of creating his own holiday is absurdly irrelevant to freedom when you consider that bush was able to lie and bully himself into a war. Billions of dollars, more then 50k Americans killed or seriously injured, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, millions of refugees.

    You have to wait 24 hours to get a fucking loaf of bread!?

    Perhaps the degree of violation is higher but the scale is so completely different. This is Americans on the titanic criticizing the deck chairs on the QE2

  207. spazzm says:

    Gato, that’s nothing – I was just having lunch in an idyllic little sidewalk cafe in Los Teques, when the Venezuelan army stormed in and murdered every last one there, including me.

  208. evanname says:

    You want your internet pictures? How about real people? You can use the internet to hook up with (in many places in the US and the rest of the world) local groups of Venezuelans that you can meet and talk to. You will find that most keep relatively close contact with a wide range of friends and family back home. Rather than speculate, just ask them about the situation.

    I think the biggest disconnect here is that most people posting these comments seem to think of Venezuela as some little backassward South American country that is trying their best to inch away from third-world living conditions. Actually, Venezuela used to be a very modern country with an enormous amount of wealth.

    I would bet almost anything that significantly more than 90% of the posters here (probably all), would have no problem going down to their local store and buying some milk, or flour, or whatever foodstuff they want. I also bet that if they couldn’t get their hands on something as simple as flour because it was sold out everywhere, they would throw a fit and demand someone’s head. But when that happens in Venezuela, it’s understandable because, hey, they are in South America, so it’s OK that their poor. It’s a different country, a different culture, so let’s hold their living conditions to a different standard.

    The truth is, if what is happening in Venezuela was happening in the US, people on these boards would be crying bloody murder. In fact, people do. Look through the above comments at the way people talk about Bush as if he was some crazy despot ruling the country with an iron fist. While Bush was an awful president (it was the incompetence that gets me more than anything else), comparing him to Chavez is laughable. Can you imagine if it was Bush who had declared the anniversary of his ‘election’ a national holiday enforced by the federal government? And yet there are actually posters here who are defending Chavez for doing exactly that. It is an incredible double standard.

    If you actually believe what you are saying, go ahead and move down to Venezuela and check it out for yourself. In fact, if you really have the cojones, after moving, burn your passport and rescind your citizenship. Let’s see how you like it when it is YOUR country that is going through something like this.

  209. jwv says:

    I do find it interesting that a large amount of animosity has been directed at graham’s posts in particular. He may have broken moderation rules, i can see no infractions myself but it’s not my position to judge, but if he has then so have many others. If the targeting is in response to the aggressive tone of the first post then again the response hardly seems fair. There have been many other posts on here which are much more incendiary and yet none have garnered any attention from the mods. Similarly there are many posts expressing opinions which haven’t had citation backing, and those haven’t been met with any mod attention.

    I call witch hunt.

  210. GuidoDavid says:

    Graham: Stop being a mouthpiece, please.
    Ingrid Beatncourt opinion is just that. Her opinion.
    Who issued a no bid contract to Chevron-Texaco?

    Spazzm: Saying that there will be a war if the other party win is among the allowed things?

  211. Takuan says:

    @67 gee, I wonder if I became leader of some country, what quotes from here would come back to haunt me – or be open to mis-quotation?

  212. Nixar says:

    “Why dn’t y tk th rst f th dy ff t wrk n sm cnvncng rgmnts t spprt yr pstn.”

    nd wht r yrs? Whr d y gt yr nf? vr trd dmcrcynw.rg, fr xmpl? r s tht t “lftst”?

    nd d y knw wh y’r tllng t stf? Jst wndrng.

  213. Takuan says:

    when you make the eyes flash, can you do a quivering lip curl and slime drip too?

  214. RedShirt77 says:

    Ok there Gio

    “You behave exactly like Chavez. Naming the CIA when dealing with criticism in an attempt to dismiss valid points.”

    Sad thing here is I think I agree with you on most things. You haven’t really said what your solution is so I don’t know if I agree with you or not. I think Chavez is a narcissistic power hungry politician. I think he has tried to do some good things. I think he has played a foil to the U.S. after we tried to overthrow him. a good thing for the world even if it isn’t for Venezuela.

    I am certain he needs to leave office when his term limits expire, I hope a more sane socialist wins the term after his. And he refuses to leave office I think we are looking at a completely different state of affairs.

    That said, I think efforts to paint him as a dictator and tyrant in America are largely because the American government would like to kill him and install a nice puppet. I think that would be shitty for your country and shitty for the region.

    I wouldn’t begin to suggest you should bow for crumbs. That said, as you are referring to the poor in the third person, I assume your family is not one that has suffered under the previous leaders and If Chavez actually does do a good job for the poor, having the middle and upper class folks start a revolution because Chavez closed the mall for his birthday would just look bad.

  215. jahknow says:

    Yes, the last US administration did nothing but harm. Slight correction: they did send a few malaria vaccines to Africa or something, but that’s it. I think his wife and/or Condi must have put him up to that.

    And no, secret wars aren’t the solution, and I’m also hopeful that change from within Venezuela will change things.

    Barring that, maybe the UN will grow a spine — and a budget — and actually live up to their promise, assuming the US doesn’t keep vetoing UN Security Council votes (e.g., Gaza). I’m kinda doubtful of that.

    I need a drink. Viva boingboing ~

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