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Venezuela's Hugo Chavez Triumphal Speech

By Sol Maria Castro

During three and a half hours, President Chavez addressed ruling party lawmakers (the opposition legislators refrained from attending), the State-owned television (the private media were banned from the Floor), and Venezuelans in a mandatory radio and television simultaneous broadcast that felt more like his folksy radio and television Sunday show than a president’s State of the Union address to parliament.

Chavez started his speech with an invocation to Christ, “the teacher of teachers”, then glossed over the already known anecdotes of his great-grandfather and his 48 hour “resignation” in 2002. He then threatened the electoral authorities by saying that their headquarters could be seized like the Supreme Court was following its decision on the fate of the military officers who participated in the events of April 2002. He then expressed his opinions of neoliberalism and an International Monetary Fund “on Mars”.

Chavez then ordered his followers to stay on the offensive, and praised actor Danny Glover and the Trans-Africa Group who recently visited Venezuela. In addition, he promised to spread “the truth, to the globophobics of the world”, about Cuba and especially about Fidel Castro.

For almost four hours, Venezuelans listened as he insisted on the “political illiteracy” of Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and a non-existent, but highly desired split of American policy towards Venezuela and the recall referendum.

He then returned to the subject of taking a swim in a Bolivian beach (Bolivia lacks a coastline), adding promises to build roads to the seaway, and whatever else is required. From time to time, he offered nebulous statements concerning a positive balance, and vague figures of how there are now fewer poor, fewer sick without medical attention, and fewer illiterates. He claimed that in 2004, with the $6 billion in international reserves that the Venezuelan Central Bank will grant the government, (this is illegal), Venezuelans would be able to meet their nutritional needs.

Throughout his rambling speech, Chavez repeated how the “coup-mongering, terrorist, fascist” opposition and its echoes in Washington would boycott his initiatives and pretend to have him gone this year.

For nearly four hours, Chavez tried to convince the audience that Venezuela is among the top countries of the world - admired, and respected worldwide.

Many characterized his speech as the usual incoherent, delusional, apologetic, Manichean empty address. Someone should have reminded him that - as his last address to Parliament during this administration - he should have seized the opportunity to impress friends and foes. Instead, he donned an expensive Italian suit with the presidential band and all its symbols just to broadcast another weekly spectacle.

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