I saw in a New York Times report (along with about four or five others) all in Yahoo News, that President Hugo Chavez was heaping praise on Carlos “the Jackal” for being a great revolutionary fighter, and that he’s just misunderstood by other nations.
Have any other Dopers seen this, and could President Chavez have been mis-quoted?
I’m wondering why you’d be surprised? This is the guy who has wonderful things to say about the leaders of Iran, Russia, and Cuba. He’s a totalitarian-wannabe thug. I simply cannot fathom the liking some people seem to have for this clown.
He (Carlos) was a Venezuelan, and if you remember his notoriousness in the day, he was thought to be a mastermind of terror, responsible for many terrorist events. Turns out we only have evidence of his guilt in some bungled bombings and the 1975 attack on OPEC in which three people died. He got the name Jackal after Fredric Forsythe’s novel *Day of the Jackal *was published, not before. Less there than meets the reputation, but apparently not for Hugo.
Actually, given that Venezuela is a member of OPEC, Chavez’ ignorance but political smarts are equally on display. He’s got a constituency in Venezuela that loves this stuff, mostly because it pisses off the rest of us so much.
There’s a difference between ‘liking’ Chavez, and failing to understand why the right wing lavishes so much attention on the guy. One would think he was as bad as Pinochet or D’Aubuisson or someone like that.
He is playing to his audience. We have cultivated a lot of animosity throughout South America ,and he has voters who hate the damage capitalism has done to them. What do you expect a S.Amer. politician to say, America cares about the citizens of South America? That would not play well.
Because he’s well into the process of taking a modern, developed, democratic country and not-that-slowly turning into another third-world run by power-mad tyrants grabbing all the wealth he can. It’s slower than in Zimbabwe, but largely the same process. Venezuela commands a bit mroe attention in some ways because it is closer to the United States (in more ways than one).
Twenty years ago, our support of power-mad tyrants was everyday stuff, and conservatives were all for it. We’d seemed to move away from that in the interregnum between the Cold War and the GWOT, but there seem to once again be a number of far worse tyrants around the globe than Chavez that receive almost no attention from the right.
And if he’s taking Venezuela down the same road as Zimbabwe, only slower, time’s on everyone’s side. Mugabe’s been running Venezuela since 1980.
Ramsay Clark’s International Action Center
The Working Family
And there are a whole lot of people on the left who will not come right out and say they like or support Chavez, but who seem to reflexively run to his defense every time he is criticized. You know, like gonzomax a couple of messages up from this one.
Chavez is far more dangerous than your garden variety corrupt Latin American dictator, because he’s an ideologue. Pinochet was happy to stay home, oppress his people, and rake in the money. Chavez is actively trying to destabilize the entire region, is attempting to be a conduit for Russian weaponry into the region, and is willing to support every despotic thug on the planet so long as it serves his personal ego and helps him grow in stature and power. He looks and acts like a thuggish clown, but he’s a dangerous man.
With the exception of Jimmy Carter (and I’d like a cite), a bunch of people/organizations that even the lefty blogosphere ignores as irrelevant. Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, and Danny Glover are movie actors. Gimme a break.
Tends to be because the criticisms are way overblown, like the following:
I mean, there’s a serious bunch of armwaving for you. He’s an ideologue - big whoop: so are you. He’s actively trying to destabilize the entire region - that’s gonna be a bit tough. Haven’t seen much evidence of success. Dunno about the Russian weaponry, but I assume no nukes are involved, so yawn. He’s willing to support every despotic thug on the planet, and the effect of this is…yawn. But he’s a dangerous man. Whatever.
Methinks the right’s main problem with him isn’t that he’s a left-wing dictator, but that he’s a left-wing dictator. If he were a right-wing dictator, they wouldn’t even notice him.
I agree that Chavez’s left-wingness makes him especially distasteful to conservatives. But I disagree that the American right wouldn’t notice him if he were a right-wing dictator. The American right doesn’t particularly care for any anti-American dictator, be he left-wing or right. Saddam Hussein and Manuel Noriega were right-wing dictators; the American right was largely fine with them so long as they were pro-American, then got rather displeased with them when they turned against American interests.
And American liberals have often tolerated pro-American righty dictators too. When Anastasio Somoza, right-wing dictator, was running Nicaragua, Franklin Roosevelt said that he was a a son of a bitch, but at least he was our son of a bitch. Lyndon Johnson willingly propped up Thieu in Vietnam, for another example. So it’s not just the American right that will accomodate right wing dictators, so long as they’re pro-American.
(Have there been any pro-American left-wing dictators? I can’t think of any.)