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Hugo Chávez and his rhetoric of hatred and chaos

By Romulo Ortíz

18.08.06 | Hugo Chávez and Manuel Rosales gave their first official speeches as candidates for the presidency last week; I thought it would be interesting to revisit what Hugo Chávez said and analyze its value from the perspective of an undecided/confused voter (assuming there is such a thing).

Hugo Chávez registered his candidacy before the Electoral board authorities last Saturday; then he gave a press conference and addressed the crowds that spontaneously assembled to accompany him.

His speech encompassed three major topics:

a) Disqualify his political adversaries and associate them with widely rejected notions/institutions (US government, IMF, 4th republic, etc)

b) Portray himself as a democrat respectful of the decisions made by the electoral board, and emphasize its independent functioning, this is aimed to target his sympathizers overseas

c) Issue veiled threats aimed to dissuade the oppositionist forces from resorting to extreme measures given the likelihood of rigged elections

I believe the only way to counter his well thought-out and manipulative arguments is by educating the electorate and bluntly point out his lies:

“…The oppositionist candidates represent the counter-revolution, the North
American Empire and the international and domestic right-wing movements…”

This revolution brought us social hatred, fascism, further erosion of our democratic institutions down to the point of complete irrelevance, abject poverty, decline of most economic indicators, destruction of whatever little industrial capacity we had and it subordinated our future and surrender our national sovereignty to the rogue Cuban regime, it sounds to me that being labeled a counter-revolutionary is downright patriotic these days.

I am yet to hear any evidence linking Manuel Rosales to the evil North American empire; I can supply anyone who might be interested in the subject with abundant evidence of Hugo Chávez’s support and encouragement to the silent Cuban invasion taking place in my country.

I fully recommend this website for those who want to further dig on this regime’s history of excesses.

And finally, he accuses some vague international and domestic right-wing movements of directing Manuel Rosales’ candidacy; he is a former Acción Democrática militant, let us remember that this is a center-left, social-democratic party that belongs to the Socialist International League.

By the way Hugo Chávez’s own party, Movimiento Quinta República had its petition for membership to the Socialist International League embarrassingly declined.

“…If any of the oppositionist candidates were to win, they would start off by doing what [former president Pedro] Carmona did, abolish the Bolivarian constitution…”

Isn’t it increasingly obvious that once Hugo Chávez clinches a new 6-year presidential term; his administration, wielding full control of the legislature, will either amend or re-write the constitution? He aims to introduce changes that go from adding “socialist” as yet another adjective to our country’s name to limiting or completely getting rid of the concept of private property and allowing infinite re-elections.

Also, given the fact that all constitutional changes have to be approved in a referendum, I wonder: what is he so scared of?

“… All of the oppositionist candidates endorse the same project that had been applied here for a long time: a 4th republican, capitalistic and social-liberal project. All the candidates I have heard so far follow those master lines; they all defend capitalism, social-liberalism, the Washington consensus and the International Monetary Fund, they simply don’t have the courage to admit it…”

Manuel Rosales presented as one of its pivotal proposals the distribution of the oil wealth as dividends through the use of debit cards, an obvious re-make of Teodoro Petkoff’s Cesta Ticket Petrolero, he promised to build decent residential solutions at a much faster pace, invest the money Hugo Chávez spends on militaristic purchases in the betterment of the people, a comprehensive plan to fight crime and to better the misiones social plans, why is any of this capitalistic and social-liberal?

Ah! It must be because he said he would respect the private property and forge an alliance with the private sector to further his agenda! That ought to be the culprit!

“… I will continue to develop the country, eight years ago Venezuela was in steep decline, and it had been looted and was kneeling before the empire, how much have things changed in eight years!…”

The Venezuelan economy dances, for better or worse, to the rhythm of the international oil markets. It is interesting to see PDVSA’s performance during the last 4th republican years leading to the 2002-2003 collapse under Hugo Chávez.

Things have indeed changed in these past eight years, haven’t they? We are experiencing soaring inflation and a steep increase in our debt, all this with a 70$ oil barrel. We are either squandering our fledging oil wealth or giving it away in hefty donations to other countries in exchange for loyalty to the revolution.

And last but not least, can we objectively state that Venezuela isn’t kneeling before Cuba?

“…those who vote for me on December 3rd know who they are voting for, I have been president for 7 years and I have never lied to anyone. I have always
indicated what our path and program is…”

Do any of you remember hearing him say on his ‘98 campaign that he would eliminate private property? Repress dissidence with fascist tools such as Maisanta software and Tascón list? Politicize education? Give away 16 billion dollars in foreign aid and donations? Shrinking our industrial apparatus from 11,000 companies registered in ’98 to slightly over 4,000 in ’06? Obliterate PDVSA?

What plan is he talking about? I never heard any of these defining issues of his presidency being part of his government plan.

“…the oppositionist candidates all together account for about 20% of the preferences against 70% of support for my candidacy”

I would like to see his scientific method and polling sources, perhaps the heavily discredited North American Opinion Research? Or maybe this comes straight from the all-knowing Vice-president José Vicente Rangel who always produces the most interesting numbers to validate his excesses?

I could argue back that Primero Justicia said that the unity candidate would start off this race with a 33% of popularity among the electorate. It’s totally baseless and unscientific but if Hugo Chávez gets to make up a number, why shouldn’t we?

“…Although nothing prevents me from doing cadenas, I have decided not to do them on the upcoming months leading to the election because it would be abusive and set the wrong example…”

Cadenas are as a general rule abusive in nature, it is not a favor or special consideration to us that he will keep their frequency and length to a minimum; it is downright common sense!

We will see about this, it wouldn’t be the first time he doesn’t keep this promise!

“…Aló, presidente will remain on air, but I will not use it for campaigning purposes, it will be a point of contact with the people in promoting the government’s achievements…”

How is the active promotion of the government’s achievements by a president-candidate not a tacit promotion of his candidacy?

This is illegal in most functional democratic countries where re-election is allowed, just ask president Lula Da Silva in Brazil, he can’t inaugurate public works during his presidential campaign, or even mention them on his speeches.

“…My campaign will be frugal and I guarantee that you will not see an avalanche of publicity ads…”

In light of the board of elections’ recent decision to not limit the publicity expenses on the upcoming presidential campaign. I harbor no doubts that Manuel Rosales has an uphill battle ahead of him.

In a country with the immense cash flow that Venezuela currently enjoys as a direct consequence of impossibly high oil prices, combined with the absolute lack of independence and sycophantic attitude toward the president displayed by the moral, legislative, judicial and electoral branches and a rich history of rampant corruption What guarantees do we get that Hugo Chávez won’t divert state funds to his campaign?

Brazil and Colombia (not to mention the USA) have a strict legislation and solid institutions that would make the above scenario unlikely, we have neither!

“…If the oppositionist candidates that are currently registering [before the electoral board], start to say in October, following the imperial plans and in
anticipation of a resounding defeat, the same things they said eight months ago; we would counter-attack, and be absolutely certain that they will regret it…”

Is this the proper behavior for a head of state? I think it’s pointless to comment on this subject, if you truly believe that Hugo Chávez’ threats are OK and within the rules of democratic play, then nothing I say can convince you otherwise. It’s THAT black-and-white

“… Do not withdraw from the race because you will regret it. I hope you are loyal to the revolution and its followers…”

More of the same, does he think he is scaring anyone?


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