Sunday, November 11, 2007

King to Chavez: Drop Dead

Who knows, maybe now all the Spaniards are personae non grata in Venezuela since King Juan Carlos I of Spain told Hugo Chavez to zip it. The circumstances are not really important. Okay: a summit of socialist-leaning Latin American countries (something that was hard to believe could actually happen not too long ago, when the continent was peppered by horrendous fascist military dictatorships; but this is in no small part thanks to the idiotic American policy in the region).
Chavez has achieved the monumental task of making the already impoverished, inane and immature political discourse in Latin America hit even lower standards with his ridiculous rhetoric (the alliteration is unintentional). I think he is a hoot, but he is certainly no laughing matter to his countrymen, who excepting the poor who adore him, just die of shame every time he opens his yap.
In this respect, he is like our own clown at the White House, fishing for sympathy among the non-articulate, fiercely proud of seeming (in the case of Chavez) or being (in the case of Bush) ignorant.
For the life of me, I don't understand how people in Latin America haven't tired yet of the stale, moldy lefty demagoguery which is as immutable as the effigy of Che on any t-shirt. The wholesale adoration of a petty bastard like Fidel and the clichéd anti-US rhetoric are so anachronistic that I wonder how people in Latin America can still swallow it without gagging. It hasn't changed since I was in college a century ago, and even then it hadn't changed since the sixties. Yawwwwwnnnnn....
As for Hugo's response to the shushing, of course he took it in the broadest possible way:
"The one who looked bad there was the one who lost control, who told us to shut up as if we were still subjects from the 17th, 18th centuries," he told reporters".
To Chavez, those "who looked bad" (as in a schoolyard brawl) were the former Colonial empire (meaning Spain), like they are sore losers for having lost the gift to the world that is Latin America. Latin America is indeed a gift to the world in terms of culture and natural riches and history, but not in terms of civic life or politics. It is rife with poverty, ignorance, injustice, and rampant corruption. Meanwhile, Spain has become a better country than it's ever been, a real democracy with an enviable standard of living (and of course, the problems endemic to all other European countries). Instead, here you have Chavez extolling horrible regimes like Iran and Cuba.
But Chavez understands the frustration his more elitist political colleagues feel when dealing with him and he plays them like a violin: he is an upstart, a scrappy soldier; yet he has been able to wreak a certain amount of interesting havoc by his cunning and his chutzpah. That's what the poor love about him: he is one of them, finally having the balls (the oil) to tell the master off, whether it's Bush or the King of Spain.

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