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Hugo Chavez: a democrat?

By Aleksander Boyd

Marbella 06.12.07 - Only 3 days ago I was apologetic about my erred perception about my country, after all Hugo Chavez had allowed the NO option to win the constitutional referendum. But has he really? Beyond the canard about the failed coupsterīs democratic credentials his words and behaviour of late seem to confirm, yet again, what I have been saying all along. Let us look at some unrelated facts that sprang from Sundayīs events. Heinz Dietrich, erstwhile ideologue of chavismo, publishes in Aporrea -officially funded website- an introspective article, laying blame on a number factors among which the crowd of sycophants that make up the entourage of the caudillo that quite effectively block the natural flow of truthful information that the president should be getting. Another issue is the leaderīs inability to deal with criticism, which, by the very same reason previously commented, is not forthcoming due to the nature of those who surround him. Then we have one of the most prominent chavista bloggers -connected to Aporrea- that works for the government admitting that the regime has built quite the media platform and that it is unforgivable that the leaderīs message had not permeated sufficiently to the public and that the official information hegemon has been unable to expose the `lies and manipulationsī of the remaining media. He reinforces Dietrichīs observations about the absence of healthy criticism and debate within chavismo while condemning extremism as another fault of the Bolivarian revolution. But he goes further, by candidly admitting that the director of Venezolana de Television gave a defeatist speech -apparently under the influence- one and a half hours before electoral authorities announced results, which means that, Jesus Romero Anselmi, as head of an official propaganda outlet, knew that Chavezīs reform was going to lose. But how could he have known? Or are we to believe the alleged rumours that the entire official apparatus, including Chavez, knew the results much before these were announced and the military had to force the caudillo to accept defeat after massaging the numbers?

And what to make of the statements of the same military yesterday? By specifically denying any back room negotiations they have given wings to the gossip. Such senseless reaction, coupled with Chavezīs own declarations about how shitty the oppositionīs victory has been, only serve as confirmation that he is no democrat. On the contrary heīs already said that come rain or shine his reform will be put to the vote again, and his rubber stamp congress concurred, thus shitting all over his own democratic credentials by refusing to accept the will of the people. Borrowing from his latest rant Iīd say Hugo Chavez es un democrata de mierda!

In my humble opinion a mixture of betrayal, ignorance, personal interests and inefficiency played in Chavezīs decision and subsequent behaviour. He knows heīs been lied to but he also knows that one man does not a revolution make. At the time of realisation that 3 million of his supporters decided to abstain he has to tread very carefully indeed. Paranoia should be reaching estratospheric levels. Chavez is facing a huge dilemma, probably the most complicated one ever. If I were leading the opposition Iīd take his "for now" very seriously, in the absolute certitude that heīs no democrat.

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