Oct 5/05 - On banter as a predictor of action: Hugo Chávez and Co. vs. Democracy in the region
PMBComments: Hugo Rafael Chávez Frias, the best know member of the upwardly mobile Chávez clan from Sabaneta,
Even so, it becomes clearer everyday that he too aspires to historical prominence and is more than willing to use (misappropriate?) his only differentiator - millions of our country’s bountiful oil wealth - to buy a cozy niche in the wicked pantheon of contemporary tormentors of democracy and freedom. This, and most certainly not the prosperity of the mounting poor of our country (10% more poor since 1999 according to the same Government that has received upwards of US$300 billion in oil revenues during the same period), is what really explains his restless meddling in other countries’ affairs and his frantic “anti-imperialist” banter.
In the Oct. 10, 2005 issue of Newsweek, Chávez responds candidly to Lally Weymouth’s pointed questions on friendships, leaving no doubt as to why Monday’s Washington Post Editorial on "Nicaragua’s creeping coup" is so on the mark (read both below).
For a man that has persecuted and cornered his opponents at home by branding them, among others: coupsters, non-democrats, possessed-by-the-devil, and corrupt, it is quite an act to ignore – and pretend others do also - the irony of the perverse ménage à quatre that links him with the no-need-to-define Fidel Castro, devilish Daniel Ortega and convicted peculator Arnoldo Aleman in a shameless effort to undermine the democratically elected government of President Bolaños. Particularly ironic since the only line Chávez’s apologists have left in their discredited arsenal is that “Hugo Chávez was elected democratically and deserves to be left alone”. So Hugo, keep telling us who your friends are and we will predict what you are up to…and when caught and convicted, please don’t blame others for your demise. PMB
Note: All this brings to mind - once again – the fact that a former U.S. Ambassador to both
October 10, 2005 / Print Edition
Excerpts from Interview with Hugo Chávez by Lally
Reportedly, one of your best friends is
He is one of my best friends.
Why do you admire him?
His valor, his courage, the way he has led the revolution for more than 40 years—in spite of a blockade and an embargo. Fidel is going to be 80 very soon, but this guy is filled with vitality. He is totally devoted to solving people's problems: health, education and work.
Experts in Washington claim you are encouraging radical groups throughout Latin America; that you're helping the FARC in Colombia; Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua; Shafik Handal and the FMLN in El Salvador, and Evo Morales and the MAS in Bolivia. Are you?
Shafik is a great friend. We are together in this same revolutionary effort, of course. Daniel Ortega is a close friend, and I think he will be a candidate in the next election. Evo Morales is my friend, another great guy and an Indian leader. Do you want me to support the extreme right wing? I am a revolutionary.
Nicaragua's Creeping Coup
Monday, October 3, 2005; A16
Mr. Ortega's comeback has been accomplished through a brazenly corrupt alliance with a former right-wing president, Arnoldo Aleman, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003 for looting the national treasury. Mr. Ortega's Sandinista Party supported the prosecution, then abruptly switched sides and formed a pact with Mr. Aleman against President Enrique Bolanos, a member of Mr. Aleman's Liberal Party who bravely chose to tackle government corruption. The left-right alliance has used its majority in the National Assembly to rewrite the constitution and stack the Supreme Court. In the past week it has begun stripping the members of Mr. Bolanos's cabinet of immunity so that they can be prosecuted before Sandinista judges on bogus charges. If this power play succeeds, Mr. Bolanos will be next. Meanwhile, Mr. Aleman, who stole tens of millions from one of
Mr. Ortega's goal is to force Mr. Bolanos to accept his constitutional rewrite, which transfers almost all presidential powers to Congress. That would effectively deliver
Compared with Mr. Chavez's aggressive intervention, attempts by the Bush administration and other outsiders to save Nicaraguan democracy so far look feckless. The new secretary general of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, tried to broker a political compromise but pronounced himself frustrated when Mr. Ortega ignored his appeals to stop undermining Mr. Bolanos's government. The Bush administration managed to win congressional passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement this summer, but Mr. Ortega has blocked its ratification by
Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick is due to visit
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