Hugo Chávez: Eat the Rich


In this video clip which is making the viral rounds in the Spanish-speaking online world, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez says "The rich are not human, they are animals in human form." A Boing Boing reader who lives in Venezuela says,

I decided to leave Venezuela soon, if I can, when I saw this. Dehumanizing a group of people is certainly in the manual to start genocide and living in a country where officially a portion of the population are not human by decree is against my ideals. I can live with crime, bad public health and even scarcity, but to live with this crap is not acceptable, even with all the basic needs covered. Yes, I might be too sensitive, but I cannot forget all those other times and places where dehumanizing has brought woes.

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  1. Eat The Rich
    There’s only one thing that they are good for
    Eat The Rich
    Take one bite now – come back for more
    Eat The Rich
    I gotta get this off my chest
    Eat The Rich
    Take one bite now – spit out the rest

    -Aerosmith

  2. I can live with crime, bad public health and even scarcity, but to live with this crap is not acceptable, even with all the basic needs covered.

    While I sympathise, I think you’ll find that once your basic needs such as food, water, and shelter are not covered you’ll hate the rich, too.

  3. @spazzm, you’re missing the point. The party inciting here isn’t one of the victims, or one of the poor. He’s the head of state.

  4. @ number 3, spazzm. Wealth is relative, to some people you may be rich enough to eat.

  5. I’d leave as well.

    This is textbook Chavez. Not taking this comment at face value is a dangerous strategy indeed.

    Good thing our new Republican light administration is now starting “dialogues” with this guy yes?

    Sigh…

  6. One imagines that Chávez’s Swiss bank accounts will come to light eventually, and then it will be roast Latin American dictator in sauce cepeda.

  7. Spazzm:
    You don’t know if whoever wrote that has his/her basic needs covered. That person, for all that you know, might be already dealing with crime (most likely), scarcity (quite plausible) and lousy (but universal) public health services.

    And hating somebody is not even close to claim that person is not human at all, because you say so. Even if I hate Bush, Cheney, et al., I would never claim they are not human and deny them rights.

  8. Seems like Huguito found a solution to Panfilo’s problem, then…

    Jokes aside, this statement comes from a guy who owns $5000 shirts, which is about what a minimum wage worker makes in this country, in a year.

  9. “but I cannot forget all those other times and places where dehumanizing has brought woes.”

    said moron from a country where people die in ER waiting rooms and Military tortures to death while elites get bailed out with Billions.

  10. Can anyone translate the video more fully? I get the ‘Rich people are evil’ and ‘Rich people are animals with human form’ but it sounded like he said something like ‘If you are rich’ or ‘if someone is rich’ that was beyond my high school Spanish. Thanks!

  11. If Then Why, What are you talking about? Of course its good The U.S. Government is talking with this guy. It’s called diplomacy! Hello!

  12. Animals usually don’t oppress people. Comparing the powerful in this world to animals is a bad analogy.

    In terms of ethics, I tend to have much less compassion for those who hold enough power to oppress. This may be a character flaw of mine. I don’t know a lot of people who end up with power by accident, however – life is not a Marvel comic book. You chose to hoard power, deal with the consequences.

    The problem with advocating slaughter, however, is that it doesn’t take long before the wrong person gets killed. But it doesn’t take away from the fundamental issue – the powerful must be kept in check and prevented from doing harm.

  13. Well, Hugo’s on his way to making himself as rich as Castro or Kim Jong-Il. Maybe he’s just projecting.

  14. for Chris@11 (and everybody):

    “(…) a rich man to the Kingdom”, because being rich is bad. Being rich in… to accumulate wealth, and lands… Behold, I’m the Lord of the Prairie… you are poor… imbecile! What’s more, you’re not a man, you’re not human; the rich is not human. I say it, and I take responsability for it, the rich is not human, it’s an animal, in human form. It’s an animal, in human form. Now, if a rich man… comes forth and says “Chavez is offending me”, well… ok… Feel offended. Now, you want to be human? And that’s why Christ said what he said, because a rich man came to talk to him

  15. twiggy_trippit:
    So, you apply that to Chávez himself, the most powerful individual in Venezuela?

  16. oh well… He starts referring to the Biblical verse, about a rich man going to heaven (that it’s easier to put a camel through the eye of a needle, whatever)… so he says that “being rich is bad, being rich is to accumulate, and say “look at me, I’m the lord of this lands”, but not, you are an asshole… you’re not human, you’re an animal. The rich is an animal with human form… And I take responsibility for saying this” …More or less.

    Chavez is such a fraud. He makes this claims against the rich, but his government has made millions from the oil. He calls Bush “pendejo” but still do contracts with Chevron-Texaco for millions of dollars. He forces military service into high schools.

    He’s your average 80’s film southamerican dictator, in a postmodernist version :)

  17. Yeah, what Chris Owens said. Although it’s the fourth most spoken language in the world, a lot of us don’t speak it.

    Interestingly, the phrase “eat the rich” is is traceable to Rousseau, who is reputed to have said at a speech: “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich…”

    Of course, I’m fairly sure Rousseau meant that with a lot of irony and a fair splash of hyperbole/metaphor. Literally talking about eating the rich (outside the context of British black comedy) is, as the anonymous BB reader suggested, courting genocide.

  18. Hmm… If there was such a thing as jumping the shark for autocrats, Chávez might just have done it.

    Or it’s bad memory on his part and not remembering why Swift’s A Modest Proposal was both to the point and cruelly funny.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal

    Turning it around and putting “rich” in the place of “poor”, tempting as it might be from a purely nutritional point of view, just makes you sound like a bully. And it gives unnecessary ammo to the kind of guys who’d just love to get an ever bigger bully to oust you one of these days.

  19. Rasz:
    You are assuming the reader is American.
    Why?
    Talking about American centric points of view…
    He might be Chinese, Lebanese, Colombian or even Venezuelan.

  20. Then I guess you should never work for a corporation either…they de-humanize.

    In fact this may come as a shock to many of you, the rich (super elite) aren’t worried about how many lives they destroy when they make decisions that cause famine, scarcity, stress, and displacement…they worry about the bottom line. Is this not any less de-humanizing? I’m sorry, but the rich are just as guilty as hate mongering fools…

    To blindly criticise one but not even see the other is myopic, I suggest a thick pair of social glasses.

  21. newe1344
    If you are American/Canadian/European, you are already rich enough to be an animal to these people.

    You are one of them no matter what you say.

  22. I suspect there are other motives here, such as distracting the eyes away from his own probable hoard. After all, if you eat the rich, you then can’t *tax* them.

  23. “I decided to leave Venezuela soon, if I can, when I saw this.”

    In a democracy — like Venezuela — the solution to the problem of executive excesses may be something other than people of means fleeing the country.

    — MrJM

  24. @Nawel:

    I’m FAR from a Chavez supporter, but the whole “Chavez forces military service into high schools” is bull… First off, the Pre-Militar clases are far from military service, and second is that they’ve been around for years, including a long time BEFORE Chavez in power.

    With regards to this, this is par for the course for Chavez. It’s truly maddening how not only the whole country allows him to do this, but how no international body will even confront him on any of his actions; most of which not only make a mockery of the Venezuelan country and people, but of any other country he deals with.

    I’ll never leaver this country unless I’m forced to, partly because It’s a great country to make money in (although I’m fortunate enough to have income in the states, so a possible “escape” is more than covered), but also because I simply love this country for what it is and what it can become.

    Simon Bolivar said some very wise words (among others, most of which are ignored by chavez in his ‘Bolivarian’ Doctrine): “A country has the government it deserves”. Unfortunately for us, our complete laziness and complacency has not only given this, to use mi comandante’s term, Animal, but will probably allow him to remain in power for some time to come.

    1. It’s truly maddening how not only the whole country allows him to do this, but how no international body will even confront him on any of his actions

      Juan Carlos told him to STFU.

  25. Chavez is apparently taking a page from Pinochet’s textbook. The liberal elites have all of the money, are socialists, are American sympathizers, etc. and therefore sub-human and no longer accorded basic human rights.

    Enter the death squads and the DIVA teams kidnapping people off the streets in broad daylight, never to be seen again.

    Chavez is good at rhetoric (find the clip of him referring to Bush as Satan and claiming the speakers’ pulpit in the UN still smelled like sulfur after Bush used it the day before) but he doesn’t seem to think about greater repercussions. Does he actually want people to start devouring the wealthy? Of course not! He’s wealthy! But it makes for a juicy sound bite, and that’s all he’s thinking of.

  26. well, MrJM@26, not only the people of means are leaving the country. Having elections does not a democracy makes; the situation is pretty complex, the damage done, material and human-wise, is enormous, and peaceful solutions could take many years, even decades.

  27. http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSN1351444020071214

    ” A video of a Gucci- and Louis Vuitton-clad politician attacking capitalism then struggling to explain how his luxurious clothes square with his socialist beliefs has become an instant YouTube hit in Venezuela.

    Venezuelan Interior Minister Pedro Carreno was momentarily at a loss for words when a journalist interrupted his speech and asked if it was not contradictory to criticize capitalism while wearing Gucci shoes and a tie made by Parisian luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton.”

    Youtube link included there.

    MrJM:

    Have you been following the news?
    In Caracas, the opposition won. What did Chávez and his congress/parliament/assembly (legislative branch) did? They stripped legally to the mayor of most of his budget and authority over police, hospitals and public services. Then Chavez appointed a super-mayor on top of the opposition guy. Then she claimed she had been elected by “the fingers of the people, because they are Chavez’s fingers”

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/venezuela/090421/crackdown-chavez-opponents

  28. Eclectro@25: Of course it’s pure doubletalk; to give just one quick fact, in the years since Hugo Chavez first came to power, the Chavez family has become the largest land owner in their home state.

  29. When Chairman Mao said “All power to the people,” the critical question was: “How do you define ‘people?'” Comrade Hugo has just made the point more explicitly.

  30. Just because nut-bar Chavez said it doesn’t mean lots of people aren’t already thinking it. The only reason we don’t hear it more often is that microphones lean away from poverty and towards wealth.

    I’m just saying it shouldn’t be so much of a surprise.

  31. @ MrJM: Ah, but those annoying poor people in Venezuela keep voting for that guy who tells them the rich are bad and the poor are good, and not only in the eyes of God… Maybe if there were less poverty in the country, the lot of the rich would be easier?

    (Not that I’d expect Chavez to do a lot to level social inequalities in his country, really. He seems more like the kind of feudal owner who got religion and gave free bread and uplifting sermons to his people on Sundays, but didn’t go as far as dividing up his ownership of the land.)

    Incidentally, I’ve yet to see a Chavez story where the incensed and apparently frightened for their lives anti-Chavez are forcibly kept from leaving the country – or persecuted for posting videos on the Internet. The old Iron Curtain countries in Europe were a lot less easygoing with dissidents…

  32. Irene Delse:
    You just wait and see. Already getting dollars to get out of the country is very difficult.
    Black market transactions are punished with jail, as is also talking about the black market dollar price.

  33. That’s disturbing. The people of Venezuala narrowly voted down his constitutional changes (included an end to presidential term limits) back in 2006. I would hope that degree of skepticism prevails.

    Chavez expelled Human Rights Watch from the country late last year, something that along with his poor record on press freedoms is very unsettling.

  34. Memo to anonymous @ #28:

    “Chavez is apparently taking a page from Pinochet’s textbook. The liberal elites have all of the money, are socialists, are American sympathizers, etc. and therefore sub-human and no longer accorded basic human rights.”

    This is a bunch of nonsense, to be polite.

    Pinochet was backed by the USA and the local moneyed classes; he persecuted socialists and liberal intellectuals. Get your history straight before drawing parallels.

  35. Irene Delse:
    Oh, sure, and when those poor vote for the guy of the opposition, the just appoint somebody that you like!
    What a democracy!

  36. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like there are a whole lot of knee jerk comments popping up here that don’t really seem to be based on anything other than the title of the post.

    My Spanish is by no means up to the task, but I don’t think Chavez says, “Eat the rich” anywhere in the video. He does say they are animals and that they aren’t human, but so many of the reactions seem to be based solely on the “Eat the rich” comment.

    Taken in the context of who Chavez is (whether you love him or hate him), I would suspect the “dehumanizing” comments are not meant to be taken at face value. The Wikipedia article describes his style of speaking as full of “colloquialisms and ribald manner”, to which I feel comments likening the rich to animals would likely fall.

    There seem to be a lot of comments from people who don’t know anything about Venezuelan politics as well. To describe Chavez as an “autocrat” or a “dictator” isn’t even close to the mark. He has been democratically elected by a majority of the population in two elections, and survived an recall referendum in 2004. The recall referendum was observed by international observers. The observers as well as exit polls upheld the vote as fair and democratic. (When was the last time that happened in the US?)

    He survived a (possibly US backed) coup attempt in 2002, mostly because hundreds of thousands of people showed up to demonstrate against the coup government.

    In general, the Venezuelans who don’t like what Chavez is doing (and those behind the coup) have been the wealthy CEOs of companies in industries Chavez has been nationalizing.

    Granted, I don’t live in Venezuela, but I can imagine many worse things than a populist president who implements policies geared towards strengthening the economy of the country he is responsible for, and policies that are geared towards meeting the basic human needs of his constituents while shrinking the economic gap between the haves and the have nots. Even if he sometimes speaks with colorful and ribald language, or with hyperbole.

  37. “In general, the Venezuelans who don’t like what Chavez is doing (and those behind the coup) have been the wealthy CEOs of companies in industries Chavez has been nationalizing.”

    Great character assassination attempt, buddy.

  38. I believe Chavez constitutes being one of the ‘rich’, he certainly has all the hallmarks: power, influence, privilege, access to resources, protection. I guess he’s suggesting the poor eat of him. Perhaps something like: “Eat of me, eat of me!”

    Well, perhaps they should.

  39. @ Antinous #36: Thanks for the link. It certainly paints more detailed picture than either the “Saint Chavez” or “Demon Chavez” tales.

  40. I am venezuelan and I know when I say that Chavez is just a communist dressed as a “democrat-socialist” he doesn´t even know how to define his political doctrine.

    I this video you can actually see that people that go to his show and his subordinates are like muppets that agree with everything that he says, no matter how coherent, violent, mistaken or whatever it is. They just clap, laugh and yell whatever he wants.

    Is sad to see my country passing through this, it´s clearly a punishment for years of corruption in previous goverments. And this one, is by far, worst that what we had.

    Sad enough to say is that clearly, there is no democratic way of winning against this dictator, since he rules all the goverment by himself, making the institutions look like one more arm of his machinery.

    He is just giving the poor ignorant people seeds of hate and violence that creates no other thing than a country teared apart and with a climate of a civil war that can happen anytime soon.

    Like Hitler he just wants to take control of the communictions to make people believe this hate for the rich that is traduced to everything private that he just want a piece of. Because the only thing that works properly is the private sector, the public sector controlled by the goverment is full of the vices that brought him in the presidency.

    Venezuela is NOT Cuba. People will get out of the country, yes, but the people remaining are not soldiers subordinated to this “comandante”, and there is not too much likeness from him deep in the military forces either.

    He is just buying peoples minds. All the oil money coming into the country is being given to his puppets and to buy alliances as he has in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and the middle east.

  41. I think it would be an interesting exercise for this commentator to count the number of times the rich have been dehumanized and compare it to the number of times that everyone else has been dehumanized. Roughly, it would be about 5 to a million.

  42. Any intelligent person should ask him/herself, “Why would Chavez want to incite violence against the wealthy people?”

    People who advocate “collectivist” forms of government, systems such as Socialism and Communism, fail to realize (or refuse to recognize) that social stratification DOES NOT AND CAN NOT EXIST within these systems. In other words, you will inevitably have a ruling regime in which all of the political power (coercive power), property, etc, is concentrated. Obviously, such a system could not be implemented in a capitalist country (or, in this case, a country which is well on its way to collectivism) without a popular revolution. Chavez must create an atmosphere which is hostile to wealthy Venezuelan industrialists.

    This is a Psychological Operation being conducted against the people of Venezuela.

  43. Xanthippas:
    NOBODY should be dehumanized. Is that so hard to understand and radical?
    Again, if you are American, you are already dehumanized.

  44. Chavez also released the names of everyone who signed a petition against him. Classy guy. I’d leave.

    Also to those who think that the rich are evil, look at yourself in a mirror.

  45. Behold the vox populi, and were it not we would not cower. A strike against a powerful elite by a group of men who proclaim to execute the will of the majority and perhaps represent them, is representative of a general consensus if those few and powerful can not defend themselves. Whether this attack be right or wrong is at this stage not an issue but why and how. Here there is no genetic prejudice but rather just a general uprising against those in power, greater men have labeled such acts revolution even when lesser cause was present. I suppose we no longer live in an era that can afford men of such generous words, our times are not for causes great or small.

  46. I declare shenanigans against everyone calling Chavez a dictator or autocrat when he has won every election he has run in, including the recall election. I predict that every Venezuelan who has criticized him here also has white skin & went to school in the US. Actually this is a bullshit story. What’s more important is, will Venezuela along with Argentina, Brazil etc. continue on the drift towards a Latin American Common Market? Or has the fall in oil prices, recession etc. killed that? I’m just talking about the possible end of hundreds of years of European/US domination of Latin America.
    Oh, and in English, ‘eat’ is also slang for oral sex. Does this also hold true in Spanish? You may be misunderstanding Chavez’ attempt to reach out to his enemies . . .

    1. I declare shenanigans against everyone calling Chavez a dictator

      Paging Mister Godwin! Hitler was popular with the masses, too. Of course, Hitler staged a coup. Oh, wait. Chavez also staged a coup. But Chavez is a socialist! Yeah, Hitler was only a national socialist. They really have nothing in common except for seizing the state via quasi-legal means and demonizing their political enemies.

      How about considering principles? Like not dehumanizing people by calling them less than human. Like not repealing term limits. Like not destroying the national economy and depositing the crumbs in a Swiss bank account.

  47. @45 Anonymous Like Hitler he just wants to take control of the communictions to make people believe this hate for the rich that is traduced to everything private that he just want a piece of. Because the only thing that works properly is the private sector, the public sector controlled by the goverment is full of the vices that brought him in the presidency.

    Bingo. The same thing is happening in America (at a slower pace). Most people realize that what we really have in America is a one-party system (controlled by “special interests”) masquerading as a two-party system. The problem is that so much subterfuge exists, no one can tell you who the “special interests” properly are.

    I can tell you who they are. It’s not “Big Oil”, “Big Pharma”, “the bankers”, or the myriad other groups that so much scorn is heaped upon. Well, it is and it isn’t. Those groups are all a front for a single organization which is trying to create a world Collectivist state. The same group controls Chavez. I won’t mention who the group is specifically, because I don’t want to get into a long drawn-out debate/history lesson. Suffice it to say, one big Psy-Op is being carried out against the people of the various countries of the world. BTW, it’s not “the Jews”.

  48. There are some times one feels Godwin’s law needs upgrading. Like when a moderator wallows in (very bad) Hitler comparisons…

    Godwin II, anybody?

    1. Well, Irene, so far you’ve rejected Hitler and Pinochet. How do you think that dictators come to power? Do the aliens just drop them in? Chavez, who already staged a coup against a democratically elected regime has now repealed term limits. What part of ‘rise to totalitarian dictatorship’ are you unclear on?

  49. Well, I make the following comment fully understanding that it will be read as an apologia for Chavez, which it isn’t.

    My opinion: Chavez has become a cartoon character. Every political lever he pulls should be labeled “Tin Pot”.

    Still, when it comes to politicians demonizing a political/economic class, I recall living through a rather long period (8 to 12 years…20?) in U.S. history in which the poorest were demonized as being Cadillac driving welfare queens, living high on the hog at the nation’s expense.

    Reality was a bit different. Also, after thirty years of this, notions of poverty in the U.S. and even decent living standards have become a bit skewed. But hey, Tin Pots only exist in South America, right?

    Again, this isn’t some sort of excuse for Chavez, but if you’re going to throw slings and arrows, look at your own nation’s ideological demons.

  50. Chavez is an autocrat. His popularity doesn’t change that any more than Bush’s did.

    That said, I can’t take some of the outrage at his comment seriously, coming as it often does from those who routinely demonize the working class as lazy and therefore undeserving of everything from food stamps to health insurance.

    Demonize the rich and be denounced as a genocidal maniac. Demonize the poor and be applauded for your sensible spending priorities.

  51. Yeah, yeah. Hugo Chávez has a big mouth. NPR correspondents like Xeni are appalled by the things he says, calling GW Bush “the devil” rich folks “animals” and all. But conditions improve for the people of Venezuela, including the administration of justice.

    Corrupt officials of both the opposition and pro-government have been brought to trial for their misdeeds including former Caracas mayor and Chávez-ally Juan Barreto.

    Unlike here in Portland, the police in Venezuela are beginning to be held accountable for crimes against the Citizenry.

    Meanwhile next door in US-backed Colombia, a delegation of British MPs on a fact-finding mission released a report that said, “We have no doubts, given the evidence received, that the Colombian government of Álvaro Uribe and the security forces are accomplices in human rights abuses.”.

    At least 1,500 poor people were kidnapped, murdered and then dressed in rebel uniforms to full some sort of quota. This practice continues.

    During the 2007 Colombian election season 30 leftist candidates were murdered while campaigning.

    Actual, human rights violations in Colombia don’t seem to be worthy of Xeni’s concern. Do a search on the boingboing archives and see. But the hypothetical ones that will someday flow from Hugo Chávez’s harsh rhetoric do. Spare me.

    All of you know-nothings who casually post (without support) allegations of Chávez’s corruption need to educate yourselves. If Chávez is robbing the country, then he sure is spreading it around because all economic indicators show Venezuela becoming a more just, humane and equal society since he was first elected President in 1998. See this report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research:

  52. During the current economic expansion, the poverty rate has been cut by more than half, from 54 percent of households in the first half of 2003 to 26 percent at the end of 2008. Extreme poverty has fallen even more, by 72 percent. These poverty rates measure only cash income, and does take into account increased access to health care or education.
  53. Over the entire decade, the percentage of households in poverty has been reduced by 39 percent, and extreme poverty by more than half.
  54. Inequality, as measured by the Gini index, has also fallen substantially. The index has fallen to 41 in 2008, from 48.1 in 2003 and 47 in 1999. This represents a large reduction in inequality.
  55. Real (inflationadjusted) social spending per person more than tripled from 1998-2006.
  56. From 1998-2006, infant mortality has fallen by more than onethird. The number of primary care physicians in the public sector increased 12fold from 1999-2007, providing health care to millions of Venezuelans who previously did not have access.
  57. As Chomsky and Herman note in Manufacturing Consent that one of the hallmarks of a propaganda system is that even great crimes by official allies will be ignored while the smallest faults of official enemies will be repeated endlessly. Xeni and the rest of you consumers of the mainstream media are being played.

  58. voline:
    You are just spreading propaganda.

    Yes, Uribe is a piece of shit, paraco supporter. So what? Does that absolves Chavez of supporting the FARC?

    You are quoting their numbers, unchecked by others, and during an oil boom, let’s see what happens when oil falls. You say absolutely nothing about the HUGE murder rate, the kidnappings and blatant corruption by Chavez cronies, family included.

    And on top of that, when the opposition won, suddenly democracy is not the best system. My, my.

    I’d like to see the source of this:
    “Inequality, as measured by the Gini index, has also fallen substantially. The index has fallen to 41 in 2008, from 48.1 in 2003 and 47 in 1999. This represents a large reduction in inequality.”

    Since Venezuelanalysis’ Tamara pearson say things like Trujillo state has very low poverty and crime, which is utter bullshit. She also say things like:

    “The script is in the photo- it says at the top… ‘homeland, socialism or death, we will win…popular medical centre, milla-central’ and at the bottom ‘the greatest amount of happiness for the people’. Love it!”

    She loves the choice of death or socialism. What a charming person…

  59. RickB:
    Oil Wars was Chavista then, not anymore:

    “You know money is tight when…
    they start telling workers in the country’s most important industry they won’t get any raises this year.

    That is just what PDVSA president Rafael Ramirez just did – he told all 75,000 PDVSA employees there will be no increases for them this year.

    Now, that might not be such a big deal if it were a country with inflation of just a few percent. But Venezuela had inflation of over 30% last year and will likely have it be at least between 20% and 30% this year. Nice consumer goods (TVs, cell phones, cars, appliances, etc) are likely to go up in price way more than that and indeed some already have. So while oil workers in Venezuela are well paid, and in fact probably way over paid, they are definitely going to be taking a pretty big hair cut this year.

    Given that most people in the oil industry inclined to oppose Chavez left in 2003 it is unlikely that this will lead to any seditious action.

    Still, Chavez would probably do well to shut up about how Venezuela is “blindado” against the world wide recession. It is no such thing.·”
    http://oilwars.blogspot.com/

  60. Nice to see media like BoingBoing finally getting the message that Chavez is ruining his country. Even if you are left, Chavez is NOT, which is why he’s been fighting unions the whole time he’s been in power, and why state employees haven’t had a labor contract for five years. When your job depends on how you vote, hard to call it democracy. Not to mention the fact that people are being prosecuted criminally for holding demonstrations, inflation’s like 25%, and the justice system has been completely co-opted by Chavez’ political party. This is very, very sad, and will not end well. Think Zimbabwe.

  61. “That said, I can’t take some of the outrage at his comment seriously, coming as it often does from those who routinely demonize the working class as lazy and therefore undeserving of everything from food stamps to health insurance.”

    Straw man. Many of the people who are indeed outraged with this are outraged with those points of view, also. When you are done with straw men, start debating real people, please.

  62. Lordy, so much ado about nothing.

    A few points — hating the rich is not the same as hating an ethnic group as the silly ‘never forget’ and a few other comments suggest. Being rich is not an immutable characteristic. It is easy enough to become unrich. In Venezuela, where 3% of the population owns 80% of the land, it is not quite as easy as becoming rich, which usually happens at birth as it does in most other places.

    Being rich is not ideologically neutral. Most rich people believe in inequality and in their disproportionate share of the pie. Far from using their wealth for good, they tend to use it instead to accumulate more and to avoid even contributing through taxes. Wealth correlates strongly with fraud of some sort or another.

    Also, let’s please stop with the everyone is rich in relation to someone else ergo no class resentment allowed. While most people can be considered rich in relation to someone else, there is wealthy and there is rich and it is clear who Chavez is talking about here — the micro-minority of oligarchic rubios who have held power and wealth in Venezuela for more than a century.

    Only a few years ago, that riff-raff made common cause with right-wing elements in the military (and their American puppets) and attempted to overthrow Chavez. I wonder what Jardin — whose professional life has consisted mostly of making capitalism and consumerism seem sexy, cool and rebellious — had to say about that. Overall, her concern here seems a little misplaced though unsurprising. As media folks become more comfortable they tend to instinctively puppet the concerns, of, who else, the rich and, of course, someone like Chavez worries the rich everywhere. The rest of us, not so much. Considering what the (mostly American) rich have made of the global economy, I would imagine most regular folks find Chavez’s comments somewhat encouraging.

    1. Hugely popular and populist Barack Obama uses his Democratic super-majority to abolish term limits for the President of the US so that he can continue serving the people for as long as it takes. Would anybody find that acceptable?

  63. “the rich and, of course, someone like Chavez worries the rich everywhere. The rest of us,”

    Who are you talking about? The rest of you? You mean Chavez rabid supporters unable to see in other thing that black and white?

  64. All this Boing Boing reader’s remark, and much of this comments thread, demonstrates is that the paranoia of the Latin-American* middle class is almost as profound as its pathological sense of entitlement.

    And many of you need to look up the word “autocrat” in a dictionary.

    (*oh, wot the hell – make that “world”.)

    —–

    Chavez, who already staged a coup against a democratically elected regime has now repealed term limits. What part of ‘rise to totalitarian dictatorship’ are you unclear on?

    Hilarion. Chavez served his time for that desperate attempt to wrest power from Venezuela’s corrupt oligarchy, then got democratically elected (oh, I know, mostly by poor people – and what do they know?), and re-elected, with majorities and voter turn-out rates** most Western politicians would kill for, and survived a coup attempt against him, during which most of his current detractors remained strangely silent. And when his (foolishly bundled) referenda failed to get up he accepted it, no problems. And now he’s got the term limits provision repealed in an election. What part of “democracy” are you<>/i> unclear on, Antimous?

    (**compare the 15% turn-out in the “landslide” for America’s darling Uribe, not counting the parapolitical scandal. Who ran again before bothering to fix the constitutional provision on term limits. Though, fair enough – term limits are inherently undemocratic anyway as they prevent the people re-electing someone they want to re-elect; recall they were enshrined in the US because of the appalling example of that terrible, terrible autocrat and dictator, FDR.)

    “Dehumanising the rich”? It is to laugh.

    1. cubicblackpig,

      You haven’t made a single assertion about Chavez that I can’t make about Hitler or Mugabe.

  65. “I would imagine most regular folks find Chavez’s comments somewhat encouraging. ”

    Yeah, right, that’s why the Caraqueños voted against his puppet mayor!

  66. #65, I think you missed the “some of” qualifier in “I can’t take some of the outrage at his comment seriously.” If the rest doesn’t describe you, don’t worry.

    If it does, then you, Chavez, and – apparently – Hitler are the same.

    Oh, and because of the term limit repeal, maybe Bloomberg, too.

  67. Right, because demonizing the Jews for being rich totally wasn’t part of anyone’s plan. Look, any time you say “this identified group is not human, and deserves to die” you are doing something wrong. Period. Whether your group is inherent or not, whether your group is bad guys or not. Removing their humanity goes beyond acceptable rhetoric. Full stop.

  68. According to the Wikipedia:

    Colombian elections:
    “Total votes cast (turnout 45.1%)”
    Álvaro Uribe Vélez – Colombia First (Primero Colombia) 7,363,421 62.20

    cubicblackpig, you are talking out of your ass.

    “And now he’s got the term limits provision repealed in an election. What part of “democracy” are you>/i> unclear on, Antimous?·

    What fucking part of “appointing a super mayor on top of an elected official stripped of his budget and duties” you do not understand?

  69. Thalia:
    I iwsh more people would understand that simple fact.

    Does anybody here knows any historical example when this rhetoric has not led to mass murders?

    My captcha:
    machete can

    eeerie

  70. @ Antinous #62:

    “Well, Irene, so far you’ve rejected Hitler and Pinochet. How do you think that dictators come to power? Do the aliens just drop them in?”

    I rejected those comparisons because they were very silly, for sound historical reasons. See my response to one of the anonymous about Pinochet, above. Yeah, Chavez as another Pinochet? Right. Apart the fact they are both from South America, you would have a hard time finding common ground between Chavez and the guy who was for a time the poster boy for economic liberalism in Latin America, a pal of Margareth Thatcher, and who came to power through a right-wing coup supported by the USA.

    I don’t even want to address the fallacy of comparing Hitler to Chavez simply because there was the word “socialist” in the Nazi’s “national socialism”. (As well compare the the American Democrats to the former Democratic Republic of Germany during the Cold War, because of the word “Democratic”.)

    As for that “aliens drop them in joke”: ha, ha. Very funny. Now, I you just want to make jokes, go ahead, call Godwin, raise the Hitler zombie, whatever. But if one tries to understand what is happening in Venezuela, well, the link to the NYT article you yourself provided above is way more interesting than tired comparisons to the usual suspects of dictatorship.

    (BTW, please don’t confuse Hitler with someone who got the power through free elections. He didn’t. What happened is the Nazi party got about 30% of the votes in the last free elections, in 1933, with the rest of the suffrages divided between the other parties, with no clear majority, but the Communist and Socialist parties being strong. Then, the old right-wing president of Germany called Hitler to form a government because he was more afraid of the communists than of the fascists. Once they got their foot in the door of the government, of course, the Nazis staged a coup to bully what was left of the then democratic state of Germany into giving them full, undivided power. So, it was pretty quick and far from democratic.

    In fact, the picture one can draw about the oil-based autocratic Venezuela of Chavez is a lot more reminiscent of old corrupt clannish regimes, than of the modern politic teratological specimens of Fascism and Communism. Not that it’s a good thing, of course… But at least, we might try to stop jumping to the obligatory “Hitler”, “Pinochet” or “USSR” comparisons, here, which aren’t helpful at all.

  71. What is more nauseating than Chavez himself are his supporters that assume they know everything from Venezuela and dismiss a lot of the locals as blond oligarchs.

  72. Oh God, everyone, please quit with the Hitler comparisons. Though the people sometimes make bad choices, democracy is generally considered a GOOD thing and most of the time vindicates the right of folks to hold elective office even if we don’t liek them.

    Attempting to abolish term limits is not cool certainly, but it is not essentially undemocratic since, one, the attempt ws made through democratic means and two, boundless term limits nevertheless leave the ultimate decision with the electorate. It’s not like abolishing elections.

    I think the anti-Chavez folks need to deal with Voline’s remarks. Why so vexed by Chavez and not Uribe? For the rich, I think it is what Chomsky called ‘Fear of the Good Example’. I think deep down what they like least about Chavez is that he has made things more democratic and equal in Venezuela, not less.

  73. Do you want to stack up the corpses of Chavez’s policies next to the corpses that are a direct result of America’s insatiable greed. Please get off your high horses.

    I know Chavez will never be honorable enough to be Pope or anything, but I think he exists for a reason. He provides a much needed alternative to the colonial B.S. we have been force-feeding the continent.

    Chavez’s two biggest sins are having a country that sits on a lot of oil, and not giving enough of his country’s wealth over to the multi-national corporations that set the rules for the rest of us.

    And Antinous, per your question about the extension of term limits: Chavez pulled those shennanigans quite legally. But before we start answering hypothetical questions about a make-believe future, why don’t we just look at our own recent past, our American institutions standing by as the executive shredded the rule of law. As long as Bush remains out of prison, I will conclude that whatever he did was “acceptable.”

    I agree with Chavez. It does smell like sulphur in here. Can’t we give him that?

    “…remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” -Matthew

  74. Clearly some Americans don’t realize that term limits were invented by Americans. In fact, if you want to identify an American-puppet-government state, just see if it has term limits. Almost all other ‘civilised’, ‘democratic’ states don’t. Canada, Western Europe, etc.

    And yes, in response to that monster of a dictator, FDR.

  75. Let’s not forget he did the time, then got elected.

    Then let’s also recall that the CIA has orchestrated TWO failed coup attempts against him.

    Blahblahblah.

  76. I truly hate all the idiotic americans (or ohter nationalities, but usually only americans are so arrogant) that come out defending Chavez, and calling out Venezuelans who are against him for being ‘Rich’ and ‘Upper Class’ and ‘looking out for their own interests’.

    You know what? STFU. Seriously. You have no idea what you’re saying, and much less a clue of what the hell is going on in our country. You can’t fathom how much damage has been done in the last 10 years, not only physically and economically, but in the mentality of the people, where a culture of living off the government and spurning those that actually work enough to earn some money. And most of all, you don’t know what the hell you’re supporting.

    So take your holier than thou “oh please, all you idiots don’t know what you say, chavez has done WONDERS! How could you be so fooled by the american propaganda machine” attitude and shove it up yours, ignorant tools.

  77. Do you want to stack up the corpses of Chavez’s policies next to the corpses that are a direct result of America’s insatiable greed. Please get off your high horses.

    I know Chavez will never be honorable enough to be Pope or anything, but I think he exists for a reason. He provides a much needed alternative to the colonial B.S. we have been force-feeding the continent.

    Chavez’s two biggest sins are having a country that sits on a lot of oil, and not giving enough of his country’s wealth over to the multi-national corporations that set the rules for the rest of us.

    And Antinous, per your question about the extension of term limits: Chavez pulled those shennanigans quite legally. But before we start answering hypothetical questions about a make-believe future, why don’t we just look at our own recent past, our American institutions standing by as the executive shredded the rule of law. As long as Bush remains out of prison, I will conclude that whatever he did was “acceptable.”

    I agree with Chavez. It does smell like sulphur in here. Can’t we give him that?

    “…remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” -Matthew

  78. “Chavez’s two biggest sins are having a country that sits on a lot of oil, and not giving enough of his country’s wealth over to the multi-national corporations that set the rules for the rest of us.”

    US, US, US, US, US, ME, ME, ME, ME.

    Can you give me a fucking break?

    YOU get off of that high horse and stop using YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR SITUATION to judge everything in Venezuela. It takes some nerve to talk about colonial bullshit while trying to analyze Chavez without acknowledging all the mess and violations of rights that he has created.

    Yeah, right, 13,000 dead people a year because of crime is to blame on evil multinationals…

  79. Funny thing like embarrassed Americans trying to be open minded and understanding end up being the very caricature of the selfihs, self centred American that knows only America and cannot grasp local realities different of his own…

  80. I think it’s interesting that this discussion resembles Israeli/Palestinian debates. The same shrill rhetoric from both sides. I think that’s just.. interesting.

  81. American socialists really are the worst. They live in a country where the get to enjoy the benefits of a flawed but basically free and active economy and society, and then wring their hands and piss and moan about their horrible greedy fellow Americans. Chavez hates America and Americans. Do you get that??? Has it sunk in yet?? If you are an American, look at your family members, your neighbors. Chavez HATES THEM and wishes them ill. But I guess you’re cool with that because, well, they deserve it, don’t they? We Americans know we have failed at times to show our better nature, but to defend a man who makes such vile statements, who fosters hatred and dehumanizes an entire class of people. Well, that’s just disgusting.

  82. sadly the problem with venezuela is not chavez, is the people..

    The poor ones, think that SOMEONE will come and put them out of misery and when this someone came in they just follow him blindly..

    on the other hand, the rich ones, who never had done something to help the poor ones, feel
    threatened cuz chavez have soo much popularity and feel like they are loosing the power that they always had..

    so this is a big problem cuz nobody is willing to cooperate with the other side..

  83. American conservatives dehumanize the poor, not to mention gays, immigrants, and Muslims, among other family and friends, but that is acceptable, because they have merely “failed at times to show our better nature,” but when Chavez dehumanizes the rich, well, that’s indefensible.

    Is the problem with Chavez that he supposedly hates all Americans, rather than the select subset of Americans that American conservatives consider it acceptable to hate? Because maybe he could be persuaded to engage in the more targeted dehumanization that conservatives seem to prefer.

  84. dcamsam

    Again, please let us know when you are done with straw men and start debating people.

    A lot of progressive folks oppose Chávez. I personally condemn every single instance of dehumanizing, including torture made by Americans.

    “Is the problem with Chavez that he supposedly hates all Americans, rather than the select subset of Americans that American conservatives consider it acceptable to hate? ”
    The problem with him has been exposed here and elsewhere, if you fail to see it, well, it’s your blindness, not our support of strawmen.

  85. American conservatives dehumanize the poor, not to mention gays, immigrants, and Muslims, among other family and friends, but that is acceptable,

    Who here is saying this? You think that all of us who criticize Chavez are conservatives? Absolute rubbish… these are the kinds of tricks defenders of thieves like this play, setting up false dichotomies. I’m against autocratic dictators who dehumanize populations and set up class warfare whether they’re from the right or the left.

  86. Yes, the world does indeed work best when one class of people spends all their time organizing witch-hunts against the other class.

    It worked so well in Russia despite a little nationwide famine or two, right?

  87. Om nom nom nom nom nom nom nom! =D

    I think we all have to admit we dehumanize somebody to some degree. The homeless beggar on the street? The convicted serial rapist/murderer? The victims, or the perpetrators, of Darfur? Absolute empathy with every other living human being on the planet would literally kill us.

    Chavez is no princess, far from it. But look honestly inside yourself. Castigating him for “dehumanizing” is assured to be the pot calling the kettle black.

  88. @sparky005:

    I just think it’s weird for a butch of people to be so vocal in their denunciation of another country’s leader when their own country’s are guilty of far worse. And I’m not talking about history here. I mean right now, today.

    Why can’t all this outrage be channeled toward demanding justice for all those we’ve been torturing for example?

    “American socialists really are the worst. They live in a country where the get to enjoy the benefits of a flawed but basically free and active economy and society, and then wring their hands and piss and moan about their horrible greedy fellow Americans.”

    When I spoke of the greed earlier, I was speaking about the greed that animates our foreign policy. We overthrow democracies and prop-up dictators depending on what serves our national bottom line. Our affection for corporate profit at the expense of human life is glaringly obvious in our South/ Central American adventures.

    80 percent of Syrian prostitutes are Iraqii girls. I’m sure they’ll be comforted knowing their plight is the work of a “flawed but basically free and active economy and society.”

  89. “I just think it’s weird for a butch of people to be so vocal in their denunciation of another country’s leader when their own country’s are guilty of far worse. And I’m not talking about history here. I mean right now, today.”

    Who told you all of us are Americans?
    Haven’t you seen the comment threads, anyway, here and in a lot of places else asking for Cheney’s head?

    Again, you assume that Americans are all there is. FAIL.

  90. It’s the old Communist ideal of equality for all people under the apparat. As George Orwell put it, all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

    That said, the world economy just died and all the money went… poof? No, not exactly. It went into somebody’s pocket, and it’s not anybody here. So, can I have ketchup with that?

  91. And btw, can some of you actually quote some dehumanizing in modern American politics?

    When they said “n…. are animals” there used to be a lot of lynchings. Am I wrong? So far, I have no seen “xxx are animals, they are not human” a lot lately.

    Dehumanizing is a serious issue.

  92. Sparky005:

    “They live in a country where the get to enjoy the benefits of a flawed but basically free and active economy and society, and then wring their hands and piss and moan about their horrible greedy fellow Americans.

    I’ll do more than just piss and moan about my greedy fellow Americans who deregulated the finance sector and then looted it, then socialized the costs while they took the private gain and put it in a bank in the Cayman Islands.

    How about my fellow Americans who are insurance executives and defend tooth and claw a private for-profit health care system that leaves tens of millions without health care while we spend a higher percentage of GDP on the “health” system than any country in the world?

    Screw them. Chávez and I have one thing in common: Our worst enemies are wealthy Americans.

    Chavez hates America and Americans. Do you get that??? Has it sunk in yet?? If you are an American, look at your family members, your neighbors. Chavez HATES THEM and wishes them ill.”

    Chávez doesn’t hate all Americans, you rube. If he hates all Americans why does he provide the poor of Massachusetts and Vermont and other States with bellow-market cost heating oil through Citgo (a subsidiary of the Venezuelan national oil company, PDVSA)?

    He seems to get along just fine with Danny Glover, Sean Penn, Amy Goodman and other Americans of good will whom he hosts at Miraflores.

  93. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to see the source of this:
    “Inequality, as measured by the Gini index, has also fallen substantially. The index has fallen to 41 in 2008, from 48.1 in 2003 and 47 in 1999. This represents a large reduction in inequality.”

    I provided a link to the report. Do I have to hold your hand?

    As for your assertion that Chávez supports the FARC where is your proof? There is none. The Bush Administration made that assertion often, as if that alone made it true. They provided no proof. It was a mirror of their “Saddam was in on 9/11” innuendo strategy.

  94. Just to get an alternative view on Chavez from what you may be receiving in the US, please have a look at this film, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5832390545689805144

    Two Irish Documentary makers happened to be in the palace when there was an attempted coup against Chavez, and the morons who attempted to overthrow Chavez allowed them to keep filming. It also provides an overview of events running up to the coup, and it must be said that the American Government and News Providers don’t come out smelling of roses.
    I used to know a Venezuelan in Dublin, nice fella. Not short of money himself, he said he didn’t like Chavez but recognised what he was doing was probably necessary in terms of rebalancing the society over there. There can be no doubt that an oligarchy existed there that kept all the riches for themselves and are now reaping the whirlwind. Chavez may be a buffoon, or corrupt, but its hard to feel sympathy for people he’s turned on.

  95. >> What part of ‘rise to totalitarian dictatorship’ are you unclear on?

    Um.

    The evidence part.

    Chavez makes a remark about rich people being analogous to animals and this precipitates a cascade of Hitlerian metaphors. It’s not supported. It’s shallow. It doesn’t address the issue. And this “story” *IS* straight BS (as was mentioned in another remark). How is this a story? This is just another useless he-said/she-said gotcha blow-up. Hardly more relevant than Nipplegate or Bush falling off a segway.

    Also, to the one guy who is Venezuelan and who has taken it upon himself, as sole arbiter on all things Chavez, to shout down the rest of the commenters, there are 26,000,000 people in Venezuela and let’s just say Chavez mostly speaks for the percentage of that group who don’t have access to BoingBoing which caters primarily to a wealthier, more highly educated demographic.

    In other words, the supporters of Chavez (also Venezuelan) don’t have the luxury of representing themselves on this thread on a blog about do-it-yourself fiber broadband and heavy wool costumes. When you hear from Venezuelans online, I suspect it will skewer toward the more affluent and therefore anti-Chavez.

  96. The report you linked has numbers from yhe Venezuelan govt. I asked for independent confirmation.
    “Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE), 2009; República Bolivariana de Venezuela and Fundación Escuela
    de Gerencia Social (FEGS), 2009.”

    Chavez does not support the FARC:
    http://www.noticias24.com/actualidad/noticia/12469/video-el-minuto-de-silencio-por-raul-reyes/

    Yeah, right. A minute of silence in national TV, live and almost starting a war with Colombia because a FARC high level agent was dead. But he does not supports the FARC, he only moved Venezuelan troops to the border with Colombia.

    “They provided no proof. It was a mirror of their “Saddam was in on 9/11″ innuendo strategy.”

    Pure bullshit. You just have to watch the fucker on TV and see his support.

    Comicoloco:

    The Revolution won’t be televised is completely full of shit:

    http://translate.google.co.ve/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://bitacoradelfin.blogspot.com/2004/01/bitcora-de-fin-de-mundo-7-omisiones-de.html&ei=e1kJSue9ApPhtgfE9PjZCw&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%2522Omisiones%2Bde%2Bun%2Bvideo%2Birland%25C3%25A9s%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3DAFq%26num%3D30

    A review that appeared in Anarchist publications.

  97. Also, the vast, vast majority of individuals who reference Hitler and the National Socialists understand (or misunderstand) him only in terms of blockbuster celluloid escapism and cartoon stereotypes.

    The Reichstag fire took place on February 27, 1933 and Dachau was opened weeks later in March, 1933. The NSDAP (Nazis) intended and implemented their holocaust even before they took political power.

    Chavez is eleven years into his tenure and the best his opponents can do is claim he called rich people “animals?” Comparing a remark like that to Hitler is an obscene slur against the victims of true genocide and state sponsored slaughter.

    And one more thing… at present, we are witnessing the cloak being torn off decades of corruption, theft, murder in the form of this trillion dollar meltdown. I’d say the ridiculously wealthy perpetrators of this global theft deserve far worse than being called animals. They deserve incarceration and the maximum penalty allowed for their crimes.

    In the eyes of some, I guess that makes me a communist. Which just goes to show how truly mind-focked so many people are in 2009.

  98. There are Venezuelans here.
    Not the ones you think. And having broadband does not means I am rich, only that I can access to it at college.

    Do you want to see clueless rich people supporting Chávez? Go to Venezuelanalysis. Yes, a lot of the poor people is with Chávez, but many of them not.

    For fuck’s sake he lost in PETARE! What a coincidence that Globovision, the TV channel he wants to close (so much for free press) because it is opposing to him and broadcasting inconvenient news (and a lot of crap too, I must say) can be seen only in Caracas metropolitan area in open signal. In the rest of the country, you need cable to get it. but in Caracas the poor can watch it if they want.

    http://cne.gov.ve/divulgacion_regionales_2008/index.php?e=13&m=09&p=01&c=130901018&t=00&ca=03&v=02

    Official results of elections in a Petare poll station (one of many). If things would be as clear cut as you said, that’d never had happened. But you are wrong.

    “But despite the adoration from activists, the future of the Chavez “Bolivarian revolution” remains uncertain, even in Petare.

    The opposition recently won control of Sucre municipality which includes Petare, amid reported accusations of mismanagement, as well as making other key gains in local elections. ”

    http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/02/20092152236343189.html

    And the opposition won in much of Caracas. But when the opposition wins, suddenly democracy is not good anymore. Democracy is good for Chavez as long as his puppets win and he can boast about how democratic he is while ignoring more than half of the population that did not vote for him.

    “This is just another useless he-said/she-said gotcha blow-up. Hardly more relevant than Nipplegate or Bush falling off a segway.”

    Of course it is, for you. Not for us, who live here and watch as things get much worse for the last 6 months. Certainly there was a lot of people crying “the wolf, the wolf!” for years and it was not true. But now the wolf is coming finally and not a lot of people believes it.

    He said it clearly, rich people are not human. He is sending a message. A message some of us have seen in other times and places, a message that NEVER has ended in peace and prosperity. Or do you know an instance where such rhetoric has actually solved something?

    And you are rich compared to me. Are you human?

  99. “And one more thing… at present, we are witnessing the cloak being torn off decades of corruption, theft, murder in the form of this trillion dollar meltdown. I’d say the ridiculously wealthy perpetrators of this global theft deserve far worse than being called animals. They deserve incarceration and the maximum penalty allowed for their crimes.”

    Indeed, they deserve that. But they are still human. Neither they or Saddam, Al Bashir,Chávez, Kim Yong Il or Bush deserves to be stripped from their humanity.

    Chavez is eleven years into his tenure and the best his opponents can do is claim he called rich people “animals?”

    Bullshit. You are ignoring deliberately everything else, little things like we are being killed in mass by huge crime and the government is too busy doing pathetic shit to prevent it. You are ignoring that since he won the term limits elections he is moving faster to a complete control, even creating laws to prevent political rivals, that won the elections to rule. You are acting as if this is the only instance of criticism. And you are being completely dishonest.

  100. For those keeping score at home,

    Chavez: “Rich people are not human.”
    Some commenters: “What a great guy.”
    Everyone else: “WTF?”

  101. Should I, Venezuelan, living on a lot less than a dollar daily (considering the black market rate, that I shall not name here), hate Tom Shale and claim he is not human?

    He is certainly wealthy to my standards, and I really doubt Chavez was speaking about the super rich. He didn’t say “bankers” or something like that. He just said “rich”, which is of course ironic considering how much people has become wealthy with corruption around him.

    So, Tom Shale, should I, poor Venezuela, hate you?

  102. >> Shld , Vnzln, lvng n lt lss thn dllr dly…

    Y r nt tht Vnzln. Dn’t prtnd y r.

    Shld tht Vnzln mgclly ppr n ths thrd, sspct ths cnvrstn wll mrclsly bcm whl lt mr blncd nd rlvnt.

  103. So, I am not because you claim I am not. Despite the fact that I am writing here with my full name available and connected to my blog.

    Classy, classy. No wonder why you like so much those declarations, its imposing a viewpoint over others, decreeing they are such thing, just the same way you want to decree who I am or who I am not.

  104. And yes, of course I am not among the poorest, but I live with a lot less than a dollar daily.

    So, you are the rich here. Are you human?, again I ask.

  105. Thn lt’s stp plyng gm.

    s yr nm, n fct, Gd Dvd, nd d y, n fct, mk lss thn dllr dy? nd d y d s n Vnzl s ntv Vnzln?

    Rght nw t s 8:15 M n Tsdy n Crcs. nd y’r pstng n BngBng. n nglsh.

    cll b#llsh#t.

    Prv m wrng.

  106. Google is your friend.
    Hyperlinks are your friends.

    You are the one bullshitting here.

    “Right now it is 8:15 AM on a Tuesday in Caracas. And you’re posting on BoingBoing. In English.”

    So, now poor Venezuelans should not know how to write proper English, neither have access to college?

    My, my, I smell a lot of nasty stereotypes coming from you.

  107. Of course, your stereotypes about how should we behave and your total and utter blindness, besides your inability/lack of interest to use Google and really prove your point.

    There is a lot of info there, enough for you to call my bluff. The fact you are not doing it means you cannot, because there is no fucking bluff. You, as many others, know next to nothing about what’s going on here, yet you try to pull tricks on people who does not fit in your preconceived notions of reality. No wonder you like Chavez so much.

  108. And you, Mr. Shale, you are rich compared to me. Are you human? Aren’t you an animal disguised as human?

    Tough when that card is used on you, isn’t it?

    And it is very scary that a so ill-defined word, when wealth is so relative, can be used to dehumanize. Who is rich here in Venezuela? College professors? bankers? anybody with more money than the poorest person?

  109. was this a thread debating whether or not a certain class of people were comparable to animals?

    and did it really just degenerate into a loud, uncivil slapfight?

    amusing

  110. Oh, I know how to use Google like few others, and I have already performed due diligence as you requested. Believe me. Also know that on a personal level I find using Google to ferret out data to embarrass or coerce to be vaguely stalkerish and scummy and so I will not post information here, since those who wish to know what you have posted can just as readily Google the data as I have.

    What I do note is that you created your blog (which I have read. It is brief) and have sent a number of posts to BoingBoing (like this one: (http://boingboing.net/2009/02/02/holiday-in-venezuela.html) which Xeni Jardin (for reasons not clear to me) seems willing to print.

    That thread, as with this one, strains to stretch extraordinarily flimsy events into a case for impending Kristallnacht in Venezuela.

    Further, you infer, but will not explicitly state that you are living on, as you say, “a lot less than a dollar daily.”

    A university student skimping by with potatoes and ramen is not what I was referring to when I made reference to the type of Venezuelans who support Chavez, and you well know that. In fact, you are cynically playing off of that stereotype.

    I called b#llsh#t and I think it stands.

  111. Well, Chavez lost in Petare, the biggest slum in Latin America, and lost the Mayorship in Caracas (note, I am not talking about Chacao, the wealthy area). So, according to you those people are not behaving as real Venezuelans? Are real Venezuelans (real humans?) only Chavez supporters?

    And I state that now I live with less than a dollar daily. Once I start working, next month, I will be making 1750 bolivares, still under a dollar daily, but much closer, at a exchange rate that is illegal for me to say. And I have no children or spouse.

    Bullshit? Mr. Shale, you are the rich here. Are you human or not?

  112. American conservatives dehumanize the poor, not to mention gays, immigrants, and Muslims, among other family and friends, but that is acceptable, because they have merely “failed at times to show our better nature,” but when Chavez dehumanizes the rich, well, that’s indefensible.

    May I see a show of hands of anyone who finds dehumanization by American conservatives acceptable?

    Come on people, don’t be shy! Put your hands up! People? People? Quit kidding around — put your hands up!

  113. But I think I start seeing your intentions. Real Venezuelans cannot speak English, so you can talk for them and dismiss my arguments.

    But you are a rich guy, Mr. Shale. How can you speak for them?

  114. >> Rl Vnzlns cnnt spk nglsh

    Th syst.

    Nt m.

    Bt strtchng flmsy dt t mk n xtrm pnt sms t b yr frt.

  115. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

    Yes, I’ve seen it already. For a guy who led a coup himself, Chavez gets really offended by the idea of somebody having the gall to lead a coup against him. Way to have respect for democratic processes there, bud.

  116. tom shale. not that he needs my defense, but i know guido. he is the real deal, living in the venezuelan andes. he is a far better barometer of what’s happening there than you will ever be. why does his opinion grind on you? can you not read? f y r s fckng gnrnt bt th stt f ffrs n vnzl, thn sht th fck p nd gt t f th cnvrstn. y’r mrn nd y’r mbrrssng yrslf. s qrs, l scrbré n spñl pr q l crés, mbcl.

  117. “Well, Chavez lost in Petare, the biggest slum in Latin America, and lost the Mayorship in Caracas (note, I am not talking about Chacao, the wealthy area). So, according to you those people are not behaving as real Venezuelans? Are real Venezuelans (real humans?) only Chavez supporters?”

    Why don’t you reply to that?

    adamnvillani:
    That is not a documentary, it’s mere propaganda.

  118. I just want to point out something to anyone bringing up the “democratically elected” argument: Voting alone does not make a democracy. Please, think about it, honestly. While I won’t call Chavez a dictator, he has been moving towards a totalitarian regime for quite a long time. Chew on these recent facts for a while: in the last elections, on December, Antonio Ledezma, the opposition candidate, was elected as Mayor of Caracas. The day after, his offices were invaded by chavista squaters, denying him access. About a month ago, Chavez ordered the National Assembly to pass a law, creating the figure of “Capital Chief”, which takes essentially all the attributes from the Mayor, and is assigned personally by the President. The law was passed almost unanimously and without discussion. Of course, some chavista was put in charge. Now, explain to me how do you consider that democratic behavior?

    Now, something I’ll never get my head around is, how the people of this country could’ve ever believe that a guy who threw a motherfucking coup d’etat, could have ANY notion of what it means to live in democracy.

  119. Gato:
    “While I won’t call Chavez a dictator, he has been moving towards a totalitarian regime for quite a long time. ”

    Exactly what I think.

  120. Prerequisite for all civil discourse:

    The people you don’t like are human beings. You may not refer to them as “subhuman” or “animals” no matter how repugnant you find their positions or actions. That goes for fascists, murderers, rapists, religious fundamentalists, terrorists and lawyers alike. (I’m looking at YOU for that last one, Aulduron.)

    Some human beings are very bad and should be treated as such, but that does not mean they are not human beings.

  121. #88, read #85. The anti-rich statement by Chavez shows him to be evil, but the anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-poor statements, among others, by American conservatives, well, they have merely “failed at times to show our better nature.”

    Clearly, some eliminationist rhetoric is more worrisome than others.

    Otherwise, no, not all Chavez critics are conservative. I’m not. But from the wide-eyed outrage to this comment, it’s obvious that most are.

  122. He’s your average 80’s film southamerican dictator, in a postmodernist version :)

    Except that those 80’s dictators were installed and backed by the U.S. government. Those dictators were backed by U.S. tax dollars and tortured and killed thousands of poor people, families, priests, nuns and so on. It’s funny to watch the righteous indignation when Chavez makes a quip about the rich. The rich are sacred, poor…..well not so much..

  123. Sorry for becoming boiling mad, but I get like that when somebody makes unsupported assumptions about my life, circumstances and honesty without even clicking on my profile.

    And I stand for every thing I have said so far.

  124. @22

    Thank you for thinking I am that rich! Yes, I am american, yes I could be considered rich by the rest of the world’s standards, and…

    I was refering to the “super elite.” I’m sure you could be considered rich as well, even if you live in a developing nation (judging by your education level). I am not guilty of consciously making decisions that destroy lives.

    I live in a system where these choices are made for me. Even most of those who could be considered rich in this country aren’t in control. I’m sorry, but even if you have a million dollars and make $350,000 a year, you aren’t at the top of the food chain.

  125. ll f my rmrks wr spprtd. dd my hmwrk. Ys, n Ggl. Ys, n Fcbk. vn wtchd th ntr vd f yr stdnt prsnttn. Y r n th bbbl nd dsrvdly s, fr YR nspprtd ssrtns bt gncd.

    Y kckd ths ntr thrd ff wth yr chc f th wrd “gncd” nd nw y’r stndng n pddl f blwbck. Dn’t pn ths n m.

  126. t s nt ctd n th ntl pst, bt Gd Dvd s th Vnzln wh snt Xn Jrdn th rmrks whch (flsly, n my vw) chrctrz th vd.

  127. newe1344:

    That is the scary thing. What is a rich? Who are they? Obviously he is not talking about the crooks that support him that have gotten very rich the last ten years.

    Being rich, like being a witch, or a communist, is something nebulous, that is more on the eye of the beholder than on any objective trait. You are rich compared with me, but I am rich compared to some people here, so where do we draw the arbitrary line? who draws it? does it matter that you are wearing a red t-shirt? It obviously matters, otherwise our Vuiton wearing ministers would be included in that lot, but they are not.

    Do you see where I am going? It does not matter what color, religion or social class you are. If you get annoying, you always will be richer than somebody else, and therefore, not human, period. To me that is the point of all this crap. This is sinister. I know, I might be over reacting, but I do not know a single instance where this subhuman thing has not lead to murder (please, for my peace of mind, post one), and we already live in an extremely violent society, where his word is law for many.

    I wanted to stay because I want to help, to use what I know to improve the living conditions here. But when you have a divided society, an unstable system, saying this kind of things is completely irresponsible. And therefore, I must stay out, because I do not share dehumanizing any kind people. Those riches, he speaks about, I do not think the average Venezuelan is going to think about Walton, Gates and Buffet or Swiss bankers. Store owners, doctors, college professors, anybody with a house and car, what for you is middle class, for many Venezuelan is the definition of a rich. Is that the kind of people so many of you hate and despise? Is becoming a home owner an admission to subhumanity?

    Tom Shale:

    I have never claimed there is genocide going on here, even if we have one of the highest murder rates in the planet. But when you start watching this kind of language getting more common, when the little bit of democracy that was left is being dismantled if the results do not please the government (like in Caracas, again), is it really far fetched to think that in the future there will be genocide or purges?

    I never believed he dared to do some of the things he already has done. Slowly (not so slowly the last three months) Chavez has done exactly what he said he would do, so I do not take his words lightly anymore.

    Funny thing that according to American standards, I am a “Welfare Queen”. Obviously the first time you tried character assassination you were aiming in the dark, you implied clearly that I was not a Venezuelan or a native.

    And I ask you again. Do you have enough wealth to qualify as non human? Do you agree with those declarations? Do you condemn them?

  128. Yeah, I’d like to see this translated by somebody who doesn’t have such an obvious axe to grind with Chavez.

  129. Tom Shale:
    What is exactly false about the post? Isn’t dehumanizing people a strategy that has been used by genocidal maniacs to make people murder others?
    Didn’t he say that the rich are not human? Didn’t he repeated twice more, even saying he took responsibility for those remarks?So, what is false about it?

    Neon Toot: The translation has been posted here and you could check elsewhere. The meaning is clear and inescapable, unless you only hear with your left ear, of course.

  130. Nervous U.S. power brokers/oligarchs/their paid pawns in government:

    Look at this Chavez guy! He hates the rich! That’s un-American! Why, everyone of you has the chance to be rich!

    Closes the curtain back in place….

    Whew, guys…do you think they almost noticed that they were living in a collapsing plutocracy? I almost resorted to mentioning Oprah and Bill Gates again.. That was close!

  131. Again, the mirror image of a Republican, a complete ignorant judging everything in American terms.

    It’s only about America and Americans, such worldviews have not space for anything else.

  132. >> The meaning is clear and inescapable, unless you only hear with your left ear, of course.

    Are you really going to play the Liberal Card when the Genocide Card and the Hitler Card have already failed so spectacularly?

  133. Translation is there and if you have even basic Spanish you can hear very clearly what he says. Bitching on translation is denying reality

    Genocide Card? I wish I am wrong and paranoid. But I cannot be sure. Can you?

  134. Guido,
    This is an American blog with mostly (I’d wager) USA-ian users. So yes the comments do get considered from a U.S. POV particulary since most of the media demonization of Chavez has U.S. origins. Would love to hear the opinions of average Venezuelans.

    1. This is an American blog with mostly (I’d wager) USA-ian users.

      Outside of Guido David, most of the comments in this thread are from Europe. Please stick to discussing Chavez, Venezuela, political systems, etc. rather than each other’s imaginary demographics.

  135. Well, here is a video of himself speaking, about subhumans, animals and religion. This is not Fox News demonizing. This is his TV own show, every Sunday, three to five hours.

    Average Venezuelans? Certainly I am not one of them. I cannot claim to be even an average human being. But watching poll results you get a very good idea 30% never votes and the remaining 70% split 55/45 +/- 5%. And many Average Venezuelans in Caracas voted against his candidates, so the opposition won. And you see the result. After that happened, I think democracy is a meaningless word here. Dictatorship? not quite yet. Then what? I have no words for this bizarre thing.

    Only time will tell if I am just a paranoid geek, freaking out on some obscure remarks. Right now, we cannot know, but, according to the way seems to be going, it might happen. Believe me, I do not wish ill to this beautiful land, even if I am not a patriot. I wish I could stay and work here, but this kind of remarks, not made by some minor rat (like these: http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:I4azRpADzQ0J:www.thestar.com/News/World/article/583819+jews+aporrea+emilio+silva&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ve&client=firefox-a) but by the Supreme Leader Himself is just way too much. Even if I am not harmed personally for political reasons (which is indeed very unlikely), this is too disgusting.

    And I disagree. This might be an American blog, but the Internet is global. You should get used to that.

  136. Hvng dn my hmwrk n y, Gd, (s y sggstd) knw n thng… y r vry, vry smrt. mst dmt, m mprssd. n n s yng, f y r nt mkng mch, mch mr thn n dllr dy pn grdtn, t wll b crm. RL crm (s ppsd t Chvz’s nm cllng). nd ‘m sr y hv th ptn f cmng r gng frm Vnzl t mk yr frtn nd fm s th whm strks y.

    Hvng sd tht, ‘m bsltly CRTN y knw th dffrnc btwn crtczng srl nd nt-smtsm. Frthr, ‘m sr th cncpt f cs nd ffct s sy fr y t grsp.

    Snc y r cnfltng th ctns f sm Vnzlns wth th rmrks Chvz md gnst th ntnl plcs f srl, m frcd t cncld tht y r bng ntntnlly dshnst.

    Why?

    My hnch s tht th plcs f Chvz n sm wy hndr th lcrtv crr pth y hv chsn n th r f btchnlgy r ptrlm.

    Y my b lvng ff rmn tdy, bt tht wll chng qt sn nd qt drmtclly.

  137. Frankly, I am honored by the suggestion.

    But I have not such a bright future. And I was willing to work here for very little money. I am still doing it for some time.

    If I quoted that piece, is not because the policy of Venezuela towards Israel. It was because this kind of crap, that has been appearing here more frequently:

    “_. Emplazar públicamente a todo judío que se encuentre en cualquier calle, centro comercial, plaza, etc., a que tome posición vociferándole consignas a favor de Palestina y en contra del estado-aborto de israel. No es un gesto inmaduro de agresión psicológica, sino un acto de cuestionamiento contra la indiferencia, complicidad, simpatía o apoyo que esas personas sientan hacia ese estado-monstruo de Israel.

    _. Take publicly to task any Jew that is in any street, shopping center, square, etc.., to take position screaming slogans in favor of Palestine and against the aborted-state [??] of israel [sic]. It is not an immature gesture of psychological agression, but an action to question the indifference, complicity, sympathy or support that these people feel toward this monster-state of Israel [sic].”

    This is a textbook example of the worst antisemitism. And it was published in a Chavista website and in some leaflets.

    The translation is not mine. And the article was withdrawn because of complaints, but it was posted at Aporrea.org, the main Chavista website. Similar crap on foreigners, people of European descent and Holocaust denial are getting increasingly common. For a quick taste:
    http://rafaeluzcategui.wordpress.com/2008/12/04/fascismo-de-izquierda-anverso-del-fascismo-de-derecha/

    Sorry, no automated translation it’s a JPG. Ask somebody you trust to translate it for you. And the source is an Anarchist blog, before you ask. For the record, I am an Anarchist. And that is the main reason I support some of Israel policies, because I support the kibbutzim. But there is a lot of madness too, along the kibbutzim.

    Add all this to the “they are not human” rhetoric and you will see why I am truly scared shitless. You can claim that Chavez thing is only name calling, and certainly you might be right on the long term. But adding all the pieces in the puzzle is a long task and the picture is fucking ugly. The name calling of any group to be subhuman is playing with fire, even more so in a society like ours. And that is something that is not acceptable to me. If you’d be my guest and you’d say such things about any human group, I’d ask you to leave my place. If you saw my blog, I am not tolerant at all of Human Right abuses, wherever they come from.

    “My hunch is that the policies of Chavez in some way hinder the lucrative career path you have chosen in the area of biotechnology or petroleum.”

    Nothing could be further from the truth. If I wanted money and luxury, I’d have studied oil engineering, if I had wanted to go abroad as quickly as possible, I would not have picked up two extra years of Physics and a damn complex thesis. I am an idealist and I pursue knowledge and social improvement. My biggest beef with Chavez is that he uses the language of the left, but he is not supporting unions or applying progressive taxes, or preventing corruption and crime, he is restricting civil liberties while claiming to be a democratic person. And sooner or later this will go to hell and all those ideas will be tarnished and taboo for who know how long. He will become the new bogeyman for preventing social change. Fuck, our model should be Finland, not Belarus or Cuba!

    Finally, I am only a Venezuelan citizen, I have no other nationality neither I am or have been permanent resident of other country. If I do not get an invitation to a conference, I cannot travel by myself, so I do not have the means to come and go as I please, as you said in your slander.

    Anyway, thanks for the good wishes mixed with the slander.

  138. But your silence about Chavez declarations and downplaying them certainly speak volumes about you. Plus your ad hominem attempts.

    Despite my request, you have not condemned them.

    And, after all this, are you human?

  139. Speaking as an American who has been following Chavez, and the news about Chavez, closely for years, all I can really say is this:

    a) I absolutely do not trust anything I read about him in the American media.
    b) He seems like a nice guy. His heart is definitely in the right place; if he is as evil as some say he is, at least he seems sincere in his concern for his nation, and the poor of the world.
    c) Americans do not have a lot of space to be condemning anybody right now.

    Is he evil? I dunno. I don’t think Castro is evil either, and for every horrible thing Castro has done I will cheerfully match you something horrible that the American government has done, one-for-one. I am a cautious Chavez fan, and willing to change my mind if he does something horrible.

    1. I’m fine with Evo Morales, Rafael Correa and those nice Castro boys over in Cuba. I’m fine with socialism, communism, nationalizing industries and redistributing wealth. I’m not at all fine with Chavez using the apparatus of the state to push through a seizure of power that was rejected last year, his use of funds meant for infrastructure maintenance to buy votes, or his dehumanization of his enemies.

  140. I sincerely apologize for a gross mistake.
    My salary would be closer to 4-5 dollars a day.

    Never post again so early, so mad and without coffee after a night at lab.

  141. Geoff Sebesta:
    Can you match awful things made by the Icelandic, Swedish and Finnish governments?

  142. GuidoDavid:

    No, why should I? My entire point is that, as an American, Americans need to spend a lot less time interfering with other people’s governments and spend more time on ours.

    Now, one way to interfere less, it seems to me, is to not try to orchestrate coups in other countries.

    After a coup is staged, and fails, it is reasonable that the target would have strong feelings about the event, and the people who caused it. It’s reasonable for Chavez to be angry and to say angry things — he absolutely has something to be angry about.

    Another way to interfere less, I assume, is to not have strong feelings about events that I do not truly understand and cannot get unbiased information about. If Chavez is not actively causing problems for other people (and I’m not at all sure that FARC is his fault, or even that FARC is a necessarily illegitimate organization), and he IS doing hilarious things like calling Bush the devil (very perceptive, that) and giving Obama really good books, then I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  143. “mostly from Europe”

    Wow, that’s why the commenters on this blog form their sentences so well. Honestly. For a while I’ve just assumed this blog was read by predominantly educated Americans.

    Thanks for the eye opener ANTINOUS.

  144. My whole point is that no matter where I am from, no matter where you are from, bigotry should not remain uncalled and atrocities against Human Rights should never go unchallenged.

    According to your argument, maybe only Andorra and Malta would be the only countries (maybe not even them) able to criticize Al Bashir and Ahmahdinejad.

    I, as a Venezuelan, could not criticize Teodoro Obiang or Robert Mugabe, Neither Lukashenko or that sheik whose name I forgot that tortures people.

    I do not have weapons, nor power, I only have words and ideas. My words won’t change anything, they do not mean military intervention or anything like that, neither yours. So, according to your argument, should we give a free pass to all kind of murderers, tyrants, corrupt and abusers because our respective national governments are not perfect? Why? The power of words is small, and that means giving your government, no matter if you agree with it or not, authority over your opinions. And the worse your govt. is, the more authority it has, because you can criticize even less things.

    “After a coup is staged, and fails, it is reasonable that the target would have strong feelings about the event, and the people who caused it. It’s reasonable for Chavez to be angry and to say angry things — he absolutely has something to be angry about.”

    Part of Chavez’s speech a week after the “coup” attempt.

    http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:w_H6WGC5HdAJ:www.analitica.com/Bitblio/hchavez/consejo_federal.asp+envainar+la+espada+uniforme+chavez&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ve&client=firefox-a

    “yo lo que quiero definitivamente y pido que se me ayude, que se me permita hacerlo es envainar la espada. Y mucho más que envainarla, mucho más que envainarla guardarla en el baúl de los recuerdos.

    What I want definitely and I ask to be helped to it, to be allowed to, is to get the sword in its sheath. And more than taking it back to its sheath, bury it in the chest of memories

    Meek lamb. A week later after all the madness. Look at him now, after he won the term lifting, drunk with power, rabid, despot, hubristic, deciding who is human and who is not. And you are not among the humans.

    Are you willing to give the benefit of doubt to somebody that claims you are not human?

    “Another way to interfere less, I assume, is to not have strong feelings about events that I do not truly understand and cannot get unbiased information about. If Chavez is not actively causing problems for other people”

    You mean like ordering compiling names of the people who signed the petition to oust him? You mean like doing nothing while thousands of us die each quarter because of crime, but he cares a lot of speaking about who is human and who is not and is certain TV channel should be closed rather than doing his real job? You mean like actively opposing unions and looking to the other side while the cats around him get fatter each day?

    “(and I’m not at all sure that FARC is his fault, or even that FARC is a necessarily illegitimate organization),”

    Oh, boy. Thousands of Colombians have been killed for the FARC. It is not Chavez fault, the FARC exist since long time ago, since the 60’s and the circumstances that lead to its birth are very complex, Colombian politics are hell. But Chavez supports these murderers (and Uribe supports the Paras, damn, poor Colombians) and leave them get into our borders. I cannot offer any proof of that, but that is the hereasay and they have indeed kidnapped people inside Venezuela.

    From Wikipedia:
    “Human Rights Watch considers that “the FARC-EPs continued use of gas cylinder mortars shows this armed group’s flagrant disregard for lives of civilians…gas cylinder bombs are impossible to aim with accuracy and, as a result, frequently strike civilian objects and cause avoidable civilian casualties.”

    I really think you should read a lot more before stating such things. Of course, opinion is free. But if you really care about people, showing a bit of empathy really helps, rather than choosing a side because the guys seem cool.

    ” and he IS doing hilarious things like calling Bush the devil (very perceptive, that) and giving Obama really good books, then I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.”

    So, the ticket to your show is being paid in blood by my brothers and sisters. Is being paid in distress and in stifling Freedom of Speech and impairing democracy. I guess I should just tell you to better enjoy such a damn expensive comedy, as you can go home safe and roam around at nigh, laughing at it, while we cannot, for fear of being killed. Laugh while we make lines to buy milk.

  145. If I’ve offended you I’m sorry — perhaps I overexplained. My point is that I am unwilling to judge Chavez because I see things that I like a lot as well as things that disturb me. Unknown people shouting at me on the internet are an even less reliable source of information than Wikipedia — I am afraid that I learned very little from your post.

  146. Nowhere in the video does Chavez say “eat the rich” neither implicitly or explicitly.

    S thnks gn t Ms Jrdn fr mkng mss t f t ( fndly rmmbr hr pst bt th mbl phn krnn mrdrrs).

    Now, Chavez is certainly no saint, but to paint the opposition as the best hope for Venezuela is laughable to say the least.

    Those same people (mostly white, mostly of Spanish descent) ruined the country while protecting an oligarchy that became corrupt.

    Chavez may not be the ideal response to that problem, but certainly is a response to a real issue: the horrific inequality that existed in Venezuela prior to his ascension to power.

    Chavez may be crass and a fake, but he has an uncanny ability to put the finger in the wound, where it hurts the most, which is why so many poor Venezuelans genuinely support him (and no, they are not stupid as someone above suggested, in the typical, patronizing, Venezuelan middle-upper class Venezuelan way, simply put Venezuelan poor people know that the alternative didn’t work, at least this guy makes some gestures on their direction, unlike the rich elite of oligarchs that ruled the country before)

    To keep painting Chavez out of this context is disingenuous to say the least.

  147. “Now, Chavez is certainly no saint, but to paint the opposition as the best hope for Venezuela is laughable to say the least.”

    Lasciate ogni speranza

    But what you call the opposition is made by a lot of different sectors, many who have never been in power. You are poisoning the well here. But yes, many of the visible heads are still Ctulhu’s relatives.

    And yes, Chavez still has a lot of support. That is undeniable. But that does not justify in the slightest the crap he is doing and the general inaction of his government to our real problems rather than doing long tv shows every week. Venezuela is still mono producer of oil, we still have no diversified our economy, 11 years after he is in power. Eventually, the Green Energy is going to leave us very sore, very broken.

    Geoff Sebesta:

    As I said before, enjoy your precious show. It is costing us dearly and we cannot do nothing to change it, so you better have fun with the tropical mad clown while complaining about Wikipedia.

  148. Here, have some more laughs:
    http://www.therawfeed.com/2009/05/if-you-dont-have-penis-phone-youre.html

    Penis Phone! Vergatario!
    Hilarious, indeed! So full of joy and sarcasm!
    (But a more proper translation would be something like Dickular or something like that, in Venezuelan slang if you call somebody a dick it is meant to be a compliment, he or she is a Maestro of his or her craft, dickhead is an insult, OTOH)

    Meanwhile, in other news, we had 45 dead people this weekend only in Caracas:

    http://translate.google.com.pe/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.el-carabobeno.com%2Fp_pag_not.aspx%3Fart%3Da120509f01%26id%3Dt120509-f01&sl=es&tl=en&hl=es&ie=UTF-8

    ROFL!

  149. Thank you so much for posting this, there are still people out there that don’t believe Chavez is that bad. What you see in this video is only a taste of the crazy we in Venezuela have to put up with from Chavez on a daily basis. I hope this opens up some eyes, although it’s hard to change misinformed people’s minds.

    @MrJM: Are you serious? If there were another way for the people who are fleeing the country don’t you think they would be doing it? They’re not leaving because they stopped caring, they’re leaving beause their rights are being taken away little by little and they’re scared for their lives, and their children’s futures.

  150. Some more laughs:


    “Estamos actuando en el marco de una lucha de clases con un enemigo muy poderoso que una lucha y confrontación la tendencia es, vamos a decir, aniquilar al enemigo”.

    “We are acting within the framework of a class struggle with a very powerful enemy that a confrontation and fight the tendency is, let’s say, liquidate the enemy.”

    Douglas Bravo, Parliament Member of the Venezuelan Communist Party

    http://translate.google.co.ve/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.eluniversal.com/2009/05/11/pol_ava_pcv:-globovision-es_11A2325167.shtml&ei=k18LSsvwIYOMtgeavNyjAQ&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=7&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dnacional%2B%2522douglas%2Bgomez%2522%2Benemigo%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dcom.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial%26hs%3DnPj%26sa%3DG%26num%3D30

    LOL!

  151. Outside of Guido David, most of the comments in this thread are from Europe. Please stick to discussing Chavez, Venezuela, political systems, etc. rather than each other’s imaginary demographics.

    Sorry to generate such false concern. I’ll stick to Hitler references. That seems to go over well with the goo-goo liberals.

  152. Sounds like there’s a lot of nervous rich people out there. Stop exploiting the poor and you might sleep better at night. Or do nothing and let your children deal with consequences.

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