Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On Hugo "Huggy Bear" Chavez

I remember when Hugo Chavez was coming onto the scene (at least in the U.S.). It was the middle of the Bush years and "W" hate was suffocatingly all around you, like the stench of a Waffle House bathroom.
Then Chavez jumped up with a lion's roar and started speaking truth to power.
Then he kept doing it.
Then he called Bush "the devil."
Then... things seemed to get weird. First he tried to make himself ruler for life. Now, he's trying to suppress the media.
The strangest thing, for me, is that his obvious shift towards authoritarianism doesn't seem to be an issue for the Left in the U.S. They are willing to look the other way, either because he's the lesser of a few evils or, more likely, they are willing to put up with indiscretions from a leader... as long as he's from their side. Where is the outrage from Commondreams and The Nation?
During the Bush years I was stopped by a young man outside the Providence Place Mall, asking me if I wanted to know how the president was taking away my civil liberties.
OK, it's an important issue, so let's be consistent, people.


shesthesheriff said...

Bait Taken

I don't condone Chavez treatment of the press.

Lets put this into context first. Harrassment, and murder of journalists is very common in Latin America, especially in Mexico. ABC news reported earlier this year most attacks on journalists there were perpetrated by government workers and police. Much of this violence goes unpunished, according to Reporters Without Borders none of the 20 murders of journalists under former Mexican president Vicente Fox were investigated at all. However you hear very little from the American punditry blaming Fox or current prez Calderon for the plight of reporters in their country. For more check out Reporters without borders website.

Venezuela, unlike Mexico, is an unfriendly place for US corporations and foreign investors, and this is why the right is constantly taking pot shots at Chavez, not other Latin American countries like Honduras who's president has stocked his cabinet with former death squad commanders. By nationalizing everything he can get his hands on, Chavez has made enemies of Exxon Mobil, Cargill, Verizon, not to mention numerous other large corporations based in Latin America. These are very powerful entities with even more powerful friends/PR machinery, and this is why Chavez is beloved by the left-he has basically spit in these guys faces. (although its broadly reported that he always pays fair market price for the property he 'confiscates')

To put it into the simplest terms possible, the far left is not assaulting Chavez for the same reason mainstream left sources like thenation.com is giving Obama the benefit of the doubt. They know that he is already getting heat from the right, and more importantly from the business interests that the right represents. For as long as possible, the idea seems to be to encourage the good and sort of silently condemn the bad.

Its realpolitik being put into play by the left basically, you can agree or disagree with it, but thats what we're doing.

However in your name Rubin I'm going to write to the Venezuealan embassy in protest.

Jonathan Rubin said...

Nice response. I can understand your negative press point given his hostility towards the Big Oil Bunch and some others, but I still feel he's dangerous independent of media spin. I guess we'll wait and see...

shesthesheriff said...

100 points for innovation Rubin-according to google you are the first to call him 'Huggy bear'. Hannity will be jealous.

shesthesheriff said...

Or he will want the name for himself.