Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Extremes of Hugo Chavez's ideology

This article comes from a Russian. They know a little bit about propaganda, communism, and Marx, Lenin and Engels. Although is not right to say that the opposition say Chavez is tossing money without purpose, it is widely know in Venezuela by everybody that Chavez is funding his revolution mainly abroad. He needs that support, dugh.

Also, the mainstream opposition opinion is they love European socialism... not too many critics of Europe inside the Venezuelan opposition, as a matter of fact, I wish we can have a parliament system like many in Europe in Venezuela... so I don't know where this author got that the Venezuelans oppos compare extreme communism with European socialism. Indeed, it is the Venezuelan Chavismo who praise some Europeans countries like if they are somehow closer with them in terms of policy... nothing further from the truth.

Interesting reading though. Enjoy it.

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Romanov) - As any decent revolutionary, Hugo Chavez has started with state symbols - Venezuela's Coat of Arms.

Foreigners may not have even noticed the change, but for Chavez it is crucial - at his will a horse that was racing from left to right for many years has made an about face and is now galloping in the opposite direction.

Indeed, the Coat of Arms cannot lead the Venezuelans to the right now that the state has been resolutely moving to the left, towards 21st century socialism.

Europeans are used to more or less chaste ideologies, and for them Chavizm is a total mess. At one time, the Soviet Union glorified Marx, Engels and Lenin (plus Stalin for some time). Venezuela is praying to Christ, Bolivar and Marx. If need be, Chavez appeals to the shadows of Lenin, Mao, Che Guevara, Rosa Luxemburg with the inevitable Clara Tsetkin, not to mention the immortal Fidel Castro.

Comandante Chavez is not indifferent to Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, alias Carlos the Jackal, a notorious terrorist that was once the best friend of the Palestinian people. A Venezuelan, he graduated from the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. Now Ilich is serving a term in a French prison and is again suing the French government - in one of his interviews the Jackal said that there are no innocent people among the victims of terrorism. Incidentally, Ilich was one of Chavez's buddies when he was fighting for power. Now that he has become president, he prefers not to show off his friendly correspondence with the terrorist.

The first threesome - Marx-Engels-Lenin - shares an ideology, whereas the second - Christ-Bolivar-Marx - seems truly incompatible. As a Catholic hierarch noted, saying that Christ was a socialist and politician is the same as asserting that Christ was an air pilot. In other words, it is an utter absurdity. Likewise, Bolivar was still a liberal although he fought for Latin America's independence. Marx, an atheist and communist, has nothing to do with the first or the second - but this is so only in Europe, whereas in Latin America everything goes.

Even the attempt to combine the New Testament with Marx's Das Kapital is nothing new. The so-called theology of liberation gained momentum in the New World. Hugo Chavez has skillfully made use of the old idea.

Absurd as it sounds, but de facto the New Testament has given Chavez priceless moral support. I was fascinated by his hours-long speech before the first group of campaigners that are to establish the united Socialist Party of Venezuela by the end of this year. These Marxists took an oath that started with an address to the Lord.

The church was furious but there is nothing it can do about Chavez. The entranced Venezuela is hanging on to his every word. In order to enliven his long speeches, the Comandante stops to reminisce how he played football, fought for his life in a violent river, tried to escape justice by wearing a wig, prepared an armed uprising, served time in prison, and talked with the dying Castro who is still alive. His audience is in ruptures when he hums his favorite tunes from time to time. This is socialism Caribbean style. It is hard to imagine Lenin or Stalin singing about the beautiful Carmen from the rostrum, but Chavez can do it easily, and his prestige only goes up as a result.

Chavez is a brilliant speaker, demagogue and populist. He skillfully manipulates the minds of his compatriots. One of his favorite topics is anti-imperialism or rather anti-Americanism. It is the latter than guarantees him solidarity in the region and far beyond. Some of his friends are rather dubious like Ahmadinejad or Hamas, but Venezuela's international contacts and influence are going up with amazing speed. Recent public opinion polls in Latin America show that in terms of influence Venezuela has surpassed Mexico and is only second to Brazil. The nation started its race for influence from zero, and owes its success exclusively to Chavez.

The money that the Comandante is continuously drawing from the coffers of state-run oil company PDVSA is certainly helpful. It is being spent not only on the current social programs, like the literacy drive or construction of housing for the poor, which is commendable, but also on friendly assistance. Chavez is funding Cuba and Bolivia, Argentina and Nicaragua, some African and Asian nations, establishing a most-favored-nation treatment to Beijing, and planning to set up a fund with Iran to support countries with anti-American attitudes.

The opposition believes that Chavez is simply tossing money to the wind. But his policy may be interpreted as funding his regime's international support - Chavez does not want to face America single-handed.

The Venezuelan opposition is increasingly often comparing radical socialism with European social democracy - Stalinism, Mao's Cultural Revolution and Cuba's meager social basket versus routine and modest social democratic efforts devoid of revolutionary rhetoric, which have eventually produced Europe's high living standards and stability. A heroic and comfortable life is an oxymoron. The Venezuelan opposition often recalls Bertolt Brecht, who remarked once that happy are those nations that do not have heroes.

Venezuela has a hero. Per Brecht, its citizens should not count on happiness in the near future.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

hat tip to Maria for the link :)

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