No shit–this really happened!
An opposition student leader named Stalin Gonzalez (I’m not making this up–that is his real name!) accuses Hugo Chavez of being a “right-wing military”. He also thinks his infamous namesake was a “leftist”. Um, that would come as a considerable shock to the original Left Communists, whose democratic stance Chavecito greatly admires (and often cites), and who would probably see that Stalin quite differently, especially in light of his supplying the Nazi war machine in the early days of WWII. (His famous purges and blatant nationalism would only have confirmed his identity as being of the far right wing of the Communist Party.)
But the fun doesn’t end there. An aggressive, clearly pro-opposition “journalist” attacks the interviewer (who is from Avila TV, a local community channel), telling him he sounds foreign and should leave the country, blah blah blah. Basically, she makes herself look bad; doesn’t make the case for her side any better than Stalin Gonzalez does. Both are, however, absolutely great for a laugh-and-a-half.
This all happened on Thursday the 7th, after a special session of the Venezuelan National Assembly, in which students from the opposition were, in response to their own demands, invited to engage in a debate with the elected officials and pro-Chavez students. The oppo students, rather than seizing the opportunity to act in a democratic manner and hold a back-and-forth exchange of ideas with their opponents, simply addressed the assembly and then walked out! And then, just to add insult to injury, they lied about having asked to address and debate the assembly in the first place!
This was an act of the utmost disrespect for both the assembly and the people of Venezuela, according to assembly president Cilia Flores. Every national TV station had to carry water for these punks while they pissed on democracy–it was covered in a nationwide simulcast. They had ample freedom of speech, and this is how they chose to use it–to lie about RCTV (whose expired licence, by the way, was granted by an actual right-wing military dictator back in the Good Old Days.) And to claim that their freedom of speech had been trampled–another lie. And then they have the gall to lie again, and say they never demanded this? I call BULLSHIT!
Why were they afraid of an open debate? Why just unilaterally give a blatantly political spiel and then claim to be “non-political” (as one of them did) before walking out in a snit? Were they afraid of their Bolivarian counterparts, who held up their end of the bargain just fine? How better to undermine oneself than to behave as dictatorially as one is accusing the government of doing–in the face of the same government very democratically giving one the opportunity to address a special session of the legislature?
I have some idea as to what these “democratic” student oppos are really about. And it isn’t democracy. This sort of thing has been tried before. Luckily, its proponents are all hopelessly inept. And unpopular for many a damn good reason.
Chavecito’s essential leniency is a great strategy. There is no need to hang these people. Give ’em enough rope, and they’ll fashion a noose and stick their little heads through it, all by themselves.