Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tigerhawk Blog Comments on Hugo Chavez
As Tigerhawk correctly observes, there is precious little commentary regarding important developments in our own backyard. The destruction of Venezuela, a potentially prosperous nation, and its current course are bad for its people, the rest of Latin America, and bad for the US. Chavez hangs out with bad people (Cuba and Iran, most recently), is making trouble in Bolivia, and is likely to become a friend and protector to other transient bad actors (like terrorists). He likely already has done so.

Those few who have commented on him suggest he is the new Castro. Actually, in my view, he is far worse. He is an oil-financed Peron. Now many Americans view Peron in a benign light, thanks to Broadway and this rather bizarre heroine treatment his Evita gets. Actually, he destroyed Argentina and set it on the course which today has bankrupted the country, impoverished its people and made it a global financial pariah. Between Peron's direct rule and today, the country experienced genocidal military rule, went to war with Great Britain, and went broke. Oddly, I am lucky enough to have been born in America because of Peron. His rule convinced my Argentine parents to emigrate to the US in 1954. Phew.

Why is he worse than Castro? At least Castro is generally accepted by everybody but the most ardent knucklehead as a very bad guy, a revanchist tyrannical holdout who oppresses and impoverishes his people. Chavez is sneakier. He is a National Socialist (I specifically don't use the loaded term Nazi here because I don't want to instantly suggest he is behind a holocaust, or anti semitic, or anything like that. He could become all those things, but that's not the point). I mean it in the political sense. He merges a number of ugly extreme elements of both the left and right in a highly centralized way. He portrays himself in Robin Hood fashion as the defender of the worker by bribing the unions which represent them. He utterly guts the middle class, and either destroys the wealthy, runs them out of the country, or selectively aligns with certain ones. As a result, he will eventually destroy the productive capacity of the country -- but thanks to oil, it will take many years.

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