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The Saddamisation of Hugo Chavez

By Aleksander Boyd

London 10.02.06 | The MSM, for the most part, has chosen to ignore, for the time being, few events related to the Venezuelan populist caudillo that merit much attention. It is clear to this observer that Hugo Chavez has gone in recent weeks from beacon of the Left to, in fact, persona non grata. The most notorious example of this hypothesis is the rejection that his purportedly socialist political party (Movimiento Quinta Republica or MVR) suffered recently in the annual meeting of the Socialist International. It has a especial significance, for the decision, of the organization that gathers pretty much all socialist leaning parties of the planet, means that Hugo Chavez is not welcomed among socialists. It is a tremendous blow to his pseudo revolution and project of 'XXI century socialism.' But more important are the reasons that could have prompted such consensus among the world's socialists.

Chavez and Ahmadinejad

It is quite evident that no respected leader in this day and age would go around boasting about relations with rogue states. Hugo Chavez not only has done it, but has made sufficiently clear that he will back Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Mullahs in any demented adventure they may wish to embark, read nuclear weapons development. His 'diplomats' have been ordered to follow through. The international community has a penchant for ignoring small issues -such as human rights abuses, electoral chicanery and so on, and concentrating on the big ones. Uranium enrichment programmes, by deranged Islamofundamentalists, has got the required pedigree to belong to the category of big issues, and Chavez and Ahmadinejad are but birds of a feather. It follows that the international community has already started the process of Saddamisation of Hugo Chavez.

First step: hint the incumbent's illegitimacy

The reports produced by the electoral observation missions of both the OAS and the European Union, albeit lenient in certain aspects, have laid a stable ground upon which to build the case of illegitimacy of Venezuela's entire government apparatus. Even though grave issues were left out -such as the compromised secrecy of the vote, conceivably for future reference, the observer's accounts left no room for doubt as to the illegal manner in which elections are conducted in Venezuela. It also throws into disrepute the alleged electoral victories obtained to date, under the current e-voting scheme, by Hugo Chavez. Having had the extraordinary opportunity to silence critics for good, immediately after the recall referendum of August 2004 -which Chavez supposedly won with a 20% spread, his electoral minions -in cohorts with the OAS and the Carter Center- did everything in their power to block a meaningful and transparent audit of the results. Ergo no one can ascertain that the reported results indeed reflected the will of the electorate.

Second step: shun the incumbent

Governing a resources-rich banana republic is not enough; measures to establish a friendly investment climate must top the agenda. Not in Venezuela though, where Fidel Castro's apprentice not only breaks contractual obligations but unilaterally forces draconian contracts upon the country's partners. Expropriating private land and assets does not help either. Internationally, some of those partners have got some pull, the increasing shunning of Chavez is but clear message that he can screw others only for so long, before being slapped in his 'nationalistic' pride. Furthermore, after the rejection of the Socialist International (SI), are there any doubts about Chavez's pariah status? If the scorn wasn't enough, his political opponents (Accion Democratica and Movimiento al Socialismo) were warmly welcomed in Athens by SI.

Third step: ostracise the incumbent

Tony Blair's message came like a thunder. It is not everyday that one of the most respected political leaders of the industrialised world "advices" tinpot dictators to behave. In private most European polticians comment that Chavez has lost the plot, mocking his irrational behaviour. Only a few days ago, whilst conversing with European officials, I learned that it is highly unlikely that the EU will send an observation mission to the presidential race this year. The reasons are manifold; recommendations made to electoral authorities have not been taken on board, criticism is not welcomed, insulting language to refer to international observers is considered "unfortunate" and "immature." It follows that no internationally reputed entity is willing to take part in the fraudulent electoral processes of Venezuela. Who will believe in December that Chavez got 10 million votes? Him and his sycophants, of course.

Fourth step: let the media do the job

International news conglomerates just can't have enough of Chavez. Every single utterance is replicated thousands of times, all around the world. Hence it is no secret that Venezuela was the only country to vote in favour of Iran's nuclear programme at the IAEA last year and then, just to reconfirm, rallying behind Cuba and Syria to block the remission of Iran to the UN's security council. To top it all off publicise HAMAS support-begging trip to Venezuela and the country's active uranium exploration activities under watchful Cuban and Iranian counterparts. It is no secret that Venezuela wants to purchase a nuclear reactor from Argentina. Neither it is unknown that comrade Lula will help comrade Kirchner in seeing the successful completion of the project. References to the menage between the world's longest running dictator, the world's largest coca union leader-cum-president and Chavez are plentiful. Evidence of the links between one of the world's ruthless guerrilla movements and Chavez are, equally, irrefutable. All reported, all in the public domain.

Fifth step: were all goes wrong

By this time the Saddamisation of Hugo Chavez is near completion. Outside Venezuela, apart from the token fundamentalists of the religious or political type, most intelligent people have figured Hugo Chavez and his retrograde political project out. But when the "sitting it out" time comes, read support the locals and wait for their actions, the whole thing goes haywire, for it is almost impossible to corner someone who controls the country's institutions, monies, resources, army, militia and is adviced and looked after by experienced criminals. Opponents, for the most part, found themselves baffled before such scenario. It is comforting to see that the battle for international disdain towards Chavez has been won, however international condemnation or disproval will not dent in the slighest Hugo Chavez's armour within Venezuela. Thus what to do in Venezuela? Leave him alone, paint him into a corner, let him compete against his own utterly useless self and turn the presidential race into another plebiscite (as the one on December 4). For under the current electoral circumstances not even Ricky Martin with an award winning government plan will beat Chavez. However what Hugo Chavez has in mind for this year is clearly spelt out right here [pdf document]. Hopefully if other Venezuelans feel half as disgusted, and insulted, as I felt after reading MVR's campaign 'strategy' Chavez will get 1.500 votes.

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