Thursday, March 07, 2013

Hugo Chavez: Zorro He Wasn't

The flags are flying at half staff at the Citgo headquarters in Corpus Christ, Texas and tearful eulogies are being sung by Oliver Stone and Sean Penn. But, make no mistake about it, Hugo Chavez was just another dictatorial thug, a self-centered hypocrite who, like others of his brutal breed, posed as a left-wing revolutionary while actually living the life of a reactionary despot.

Chavez wasn't Zorro. He was the exact opposite -- a vindictive tyrant who exploited and persecuted his people while amassing as much personal wealth, power and coerced adulation as possible. He will not be missed.

To counter the praises being pronounced by so much of the liberal press, I offer links to a couple of excellent articles in the latest online edition of National Review: "Don’t Cry for Hugo" by John Fund; "Cry for Me Venezuela" by Ray Walser; "Chávez, ThinkProgress, and the Usual Suspects" by Charles C. W. Cooke; and from "Death of a Caudillo" by the NR editors themselves comes this...

Hugo Chávez, the late president of Venezuela, liked to present himself as a revolutionary, a socialist for the 21st century. Many members of the American Left presented him this way too. In reality he was the latest in the long line of caudillos, the strongmen who have been the scourge of Spanish America; “throwback” and “reactionary” are therefore more fitting ways to describe him.

Violence was his medium. A junior army officer, he did not hesitate to mount a coup, and once in power to devise a constitution that made him leader for life. He drove thousands into exile, expropriating their land and property. Venezuela depends on its oil, and nationalization of the oil companies gave him funds with which to buy popularity. Nobody knows the scale of the ensuing corruption, but rumor has it that Chávez and his family have amassed a fortune of $2 billion. Every week, he raised the political temperature with Alo Presidente, his very own television program, unscripted, the humor and the menace interchangeable. He militarized his supporters, putting them into red shirts and red berets. Opponents had to get the point, or face arrest if they didn’t.

Years may have to pass before the dire consequences of such misrule can be righted…Like other caudillos before him, Chávez has left the world a more brutal place than he found it.