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Venezuela's Chavez should be left alone

By Alek Boyd

London 27.02.07 | When I started this business of reporting what goes on in my country at the end of 2002, we were few and utterly discredited. The stigma had been successfully thrust upon us on the wake of the opposition-led coup d'etat that took place on 11 April 2002. That, coupled with a masterfully edited movie made by a couple of Irish film makers that made the rounds in the film festival circuit and was distributed through Venezuelan embassies around the world, sealed our fate in circles of people with half baked interest in Venezuela. We, opponents of Chavez the thuggish dictator, were the outcasts, the coup mongers, the radicals, representatives of a deranged group of people, hell bent in undermining Chavez's 'benign' revolution. At first it was impossible to find accurate sources of information on Venezuela on the internet, and the big news conglomerates kept publishing and broadcasting stories about how great the social experiment undergoing in Venezuela was. "Chavez is teaching people how to read and write... for the first time education and health is free in Venezuela... Chavez is nationalising the oil industry..." and right they were, about the latter.

Juan Forero's NYT articles used to get us all worked up; the Beeb's and Reuter's coverage prompted some of us to initiate formal claims before broadcasting watchdogs. In sum no one gave any importance nor consideration to our warnings. Worldwide-held rallies condemning the rise of authoritarianism in our country went unnoticed. Like Primo Levy, our accounts just could not be true, mind you a regime in modern day Venezuela building databases to prosecute its political foes? A Venezuelan administration in bed with Colombia's narcoguerrilla? A Venezuelan president halting commercial and diplomatic relations with Colombia over the capture of a wanted terrorist and assassin? "Nah, it can not be, this Chavez chap was democratically elected..." or so went the reasoning of the imperturbed citizens of the world.

However the weather has turned and, quite frankly, I am extremely happy by the recent developments in Venezuela. I honestly wish for Chavez to carry on confiscating, nationalising, indebting PDVSA, building up his arsenal, shutting media, curtailing freedom, buying out entire countries, associating himself with notorious pariahs and spreading poverty and misery far and wide. All of us opponents of communism, totalitarianism, militarism and fascism ought to send a big thank you to the man that, single handedly, has proved all of our claims right. This man, the first 21st century democratically elected dictator; this pacifist, straight out from leading military coups, is on a very important crusade of global reach and should be left alone. We need him alive and in charge. We need him on TV, 24/7 if possible. We need him commanding Latin America's armies, we need him expanding his ascendancy over the world's resentful fanatics. We need him forging alliances with deranged Muslims. We need him providing sanctuary, logistics and support to Latin America's narcoguerrillas. For the day when the whole hatred thing explodes and turns against him will come quicker. Let him be, bearing in mind that night's darkest hour is that which precedes sunrise.

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