19.1.07

Hugo Chavez: Venezuela's democratically elected dictator

London 19.01.07 | Well folks, it seems I have been proved wrong... Some of you may think "this guy's a joke" and you could be right. However what seemed normal a month ago it no longer is, for for all intents and purposes Venezuela has become, as of yesterday, a de facto dictatorship. No more pretenses, no more posturing, none of that. The all-chavista assembly approved yesterday in first 'discussion' -as if they discussed orders from the dictator- an all-encompasing enabling law, which in practical terms means that Hugo Chavez will govern by decree, ruling on nearly all aspects of the country for the next 18 months. The good thing about this is that from now on, in the literal sense, without hesitation or remorse, we can indulge in calling coupster Chavez as many times as we want a "democratically elected dictator"™, as he always wanted to be. It's official now. Also great to be able to describe Venezuela in its appropriate context as a non democratic country, ruled -by decree- by a militaristic dictator as some of us have maintained for years now.

No wonder why Chavez did not want to debate with Rosales his "proyecto-pais" during the campaign. This time round he was careful enough to conceal the true intentions behind his 'XXI Century Socialism'. Further Chavez's fast moves of late lead me to conclude that he knows something that most of us do not and is acting on it. His rapid actions may have to do with the purported number of votes cast in his favour. Someone high up in Rosales' campaign team said to me in confidence not long ago that an optimistic guess at the number of mesas having been supervised on election day by opposition witnesses pointed at 60%. If the total number of mesas was somewhere around 33,000 the percentage suggests that in 13,200 of them there was no one from the Rosales camp to ensure that the vote was carried out in transparent fashion. What if the race was much closer? What if the margin was not 3 million votes but a few thousands? We will never know, what I am positive about though is that not once during the campaign I heard Chavez saying that he was going to rule by decree come January. Not once. Just imagine this campaign promise:

"compatriots give me your vote and out of love I'll become a dictator, I'll dismiss those upon whom you put your trust in the legislative elections of December 2005 and rule by decree, without consulting you or any of your representatives for that matter, but fear not for this is only for 18 months, until 'XXI Century Socialism' is properly rooted in Venezuela."

Will that have gained him 7 million votes? Most definitely not. Further, why the sudden attack against RCTV? Could it be due to the fact that all official TV channels combined have less than a fifth of RCTV's audience? The dictator needs of communication outlets with reach; no use of having a myriad of grassroot radios, TV channels and Bolivarian 'CNNs' if no one watches, if the message does not reach its target audience, is there? Of greater preoccupation for the hegemon is the social status of RCTV's audience, for although satellite antennas are a common fixture in many ranchos in Caracas, people in that stratum do love their telenovelas, production of which RCTV excels at. The range of personalities depicted in programmes produced by RCTV are part of Venezuelans' idiosyncrasy. Is the dictator bent on changing the fabric and values of our society? You bet, his now public communist persona just proves the point. And I couldn't agree more with sycophant Eva Golinger who, from her ivory tower in Alta Florida, tells the world that this isn't about freedom of expression. It is not, rather it has to do with the dictator's needs of communicating effectively with his alleged constituency.

The radicalization of Chavez's dictatorship will only accelerate his political demise. Let him be, make sure of getting sufficient supplies of popcorn though, for as in Reservoir Dogs the show will end up being rojo, rojito...