For starters, he really needs to be waterboarded again. Or something that will sober him the fuck up. He’s drinking so much, it’s embarrassing to watch his brain deteriorate like this…
Okay. That’s a lot of fucking crazy to pack into just one introductory paragraph, but let’s have at it.“Recent accounts of Hugo Chávez’s politicized necrophilia may seem almost too lurid to believe…”That’s because they ARE. They are too lurid to be called anything other than rank speculation. There is no “politicized necrophilia”. This was a scientific invesitigation, attended (among other august international scientific institutions) by the Smithsonian and the National Geographic Society. Its purpose is twofold: to determine if it is indeed the Liberator in Bolívar’s crypt (and not the bones of some random impostor), and, if it is he, what he died of, since historical accounts are troublingly vague. The general consensus seems to be that he died of tuberculosis, but it was strangely sudden; it happened before he could journey into the exile imposed on him by the oligarchy. Therefore, there is reasonable grounds for suspicion that Bolívar may have been murdered. It is by no means settled fact that he died of natural causes. Hence, the need for an investigation. The samples were taken so that two sets of tests could be run on them: one for the DNA markers found in the blood of the descendants of Bolívar’s sister (the Liberator himself had no children), and the other, for evidence of disease, and possibly the presence of arsenic and other poisons in abnormally high quantities.This is “politicized necrophilia”?“I can testify from personal experience that they may well be an understatement.”No, you bloody fucking can’t. You don’t understand Spanish, so you had to rely on the burblings of Thor Halvorssen…an oligarch and fascist putschist posing as a human-rights advocate and freedom-loving concern troll. Bad mistake there, Hitch. LSD hallucinations have more veracity than anything Thor dreams up. The poor widdle rich boy is a disociado who can’t do an honest day’s work for the life of him, so he has to make clumsy, obscure crapaganda films and run a bogus foundation dedicated to preserving the privilege of the least deserving. And its work is to provide a pretext for future coups against democratically elected leaders whom the Latin American and Washington elites can’t stand.“In the early hours of July 16–just at the midnight hour, to be precise–Venezuela’s capo officiated at a grisly ceremony.”“Capo”??? You make him sound like a fucking mafia boss, Hitch. He’s precisely the opposite. Unlike your little pal Thor, whose technicolor hallucinations you take for gospel…And no, he did not “officiate” at a “grisly ceremony”. The opening of the Liberator’s tomb was conducted by scientists, working with the utmost care. It took about 24 hours to complete, so there was not only a “midnight hour”, but a noon hour, a sunrise hour and a sunset hour, too. Chávez was not present by the graveside. He was respectfully out of the way, to allow the scientists to do their work. There’s a video here, if you’re interested. The pictures speak for themselves: Chávez is not even in the room. There are only the scientists, opening the sarcophagus and cutting the metal casing around the Liberator’s bones before carefully opening it up. You’ll see nothing grisly, other than maybe the respectful removal of an old seven-star Venezuelan flag. But you’ll have to learn Spanish if you really want to understand what’s going on.“According to a vividly written article by Thor Halvorssen in the July 25 Washington Post, the skeleton was picked apart…”No, it was not. And shame on you for mediumistically relying on such blatant crapaganda instead of bothering to see and learn the facts for yourself, you pathetic drunken ass. A camera placed directly above the work area where the scientists cut open the metal casing reveals that the skeleton was left–very respectfully–almost entirely intact, other than the removal of a few small, unobtrusive samples. “The residual pieces were placed in a coffin stamped with the Chávez government’s seal.”Uh, that would be the official coat of arms of Venezuela, you fuckwit. And those “residual pieces” comprised almost the entire skeleton.“Chávez appealed to Jesus Christ to restage the raising of Lazarus and reanimate Bolívar’s constituent parts.”Hitch, do you know what metaphor is? If not, now would be a good time to learn. Chavecito was NOT praying for Bolívar to literally rise from his grave. He was, rather, reciting a famous poem by Pablo Neruda whose most famous line, uttered by Neruda’s imagined Bolívar, is “I awaken every hundred years, when the people awaken.” THAT is what Chavecito was so mystically reciting over a compilation of key snippets from the exhumation! He was appealing to the spirit of Bolívar, not the flesh. And the spirit is very much alive in the revolution; it was invoked, in fact, long before Chavecito staged his first rebellion against the puppet-democracy of Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1992. During the Caracazo of 1989, protesters didn’t merely loot the shops when everything shot up in price and became unaffordable; they did so waving the flag, singing the national anthem, and chanting verses glorifying Bolívar, signifying that their struggle was patriotic in nature.This is something that the idiots who screamed about the “sacrilege” of the exhumation obviously didn’t grasp. Given that Hitchens positions himself as an iconoclastic atheist, he ought to at least understand that this was not religious literalism here, but the language of poetry, recited to honor the memory of Bolívar most fittingly, in the words and cadences of Latin America’s best loved poet. But of course, he chooses deliberately not to, going instead for the superstition-and-mumbo-jumbo angle. An easy, ugly, and breathtakingly stupid smear.Of course, Hitchens doesn’t let his loopy stupidities end there; he goes on:
Recent accounts of Hugo Chávez’s politicized necrophilia may seem almost too lurid to believe, but I can testify from personal experience that they may well be an understatement. In the early hours of July 16–just at the midnight hour, to be precise–Venezuela’s capo officiated at a grisly ceremony. This involved the exhumation of the mortal remains of Simón Bolívar, leader of Latin America’s rebellion against Spain, who died in 1830. According to a vividly written article by Thor Halvorssen in the July 25 Washington Post, the skeleton was picked apart–even as Chávez tweeted the proceedings for his audience–and some teeth and bone fragments were taken away for testing. The residual pieces were placed in a coffin stamped with the Chávez government’s seal. In one of the rather free-associating speeches for which he has become celebrated, Chávez appealed to Jesus Christ to restage the raising of Lazarus and reanimate Bolívar’s constituent parts.
Again, very cheap, very easy, very stupid, very smeary. Hitchens is reduced here practically to babble–to inventing words for what doesn’t exist. Chavecito could not be further removed from Kim Jong Mentally Il, whether geographically or politically. Hitchens obviously needs a fat slap up the head to remind him that this man is democratically elected and re-elected, and more popular than any of his predecessors since…well, since Bolívar himself. And of course the national anthem would be played–it was the exhumation of the national hero of not one, but half a dozen Latin American nations! Duh!There follows a paragraph in which Hitchens pays a sop to the Liberator–one that he doesn’t have the moral right to, since he just spent all the foregoing slamming the respectful, scientific exhumation of Bolívar’s bones. I’m gonna skip that–it’s boilerplate anyway–and go on to the next bit of sleazy slamming and smearing:
As if “channeling” this none-too-subtle identification of Chávez with the national hero, Venezuelan television was compelled to run images of Bolívar, followed by footage of the remains, and then pictures of the boss. The national anthem
provided the soundtrack. Not since North Korean media declared Kim Jong-il to be the reincarnation of Kim Il Sung has there been such a blatant attempt to create a necrocracy, or perhaps mausolocracy, in which a living claimant assumes the fleshly mantle of the departed.
Actually, it sounds like Hitchens is very close to the climactic moment when he will announce that he is a baked cowflop, and that he needs another gin and tonic before he can pass the fuck out. This is really scraping around the barrel for evidence of nonexistent insanity on the part of Chavecito, and deserves no further dignification, other than to note that Hitchens really is a pathetic old drink-soaked twat who will stoop to anything, including willful misinterpretation, or even putting words in someone’s mouth that he obviously never said. Projecting, are we?
In the fall of 2008, I went to Venezuela as a guest of Sean Penn’s, whose friendship with Chávez is warm. The third member of our party was the excellent historian Douglas Brinkley, and we spent some quality time flying around the country on Chávez’s presidential jet and bouncing with him from rally to rally at ground level, as well. The boss loves to talk and has clocked up speeches of Castro-like length. Bolívar is the theme of which he never tires. His early uniformed movement of mutineers–which failed to bring off a military coup in 1992–was named for Bolívar. Turning belatedly but successfully to electoral politics, he called his followers the Bolivarian Movement. Since he became president, the country’s official name has been the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. (Chávez must sometimes wish that he had been born in Bolivia in the first place.) At Cabinet meetings, he has been known to leave an empty chair, in case the shade of Bolívar might choose to attend the otherwise rather Chávez-dominated proceedings.It did not take long for this hero-obsession to disclose itself in bizarre forms. One evening, as we were jetting through the skies, Brinkley mildly asked whether Chávez’s large purchases of Russian warships might not be interpreted by Washington as a violation of the Monroe Doctrine. The boss’s response was impressively immediate. He did not know for sure, he said, but he very much hoped so. “The United States was born with an imperialist impulse. There has been a long confrontation between Monroe and Bolívar. … It is necessary that the Monroe Doctrine be broken.” As his tirade against evil America mounted, Penn broke in to say that surely Chávez would be happy to see the arrest of Osama Bin Laden.I was hugely impressed by the way that the boss scorned this overture. He essentially doubted the existence of al-Qaida, let alone reports of its attacks on the enemy to the north. “I don’t know anything about Osama Bin Laden that doesn’t come to me through the filter of the West and its propaganda.” To this, Penn replied that surely Bin Laden had provided quite a number of his very own broadcasts and videos. I was again impressed by the way that Chávez rejected this proffered lucid-interval lifeline. All of this so-called evidence, too, was a mere product of imperialist television. After all, “there is film of the Americans landing on the moon,” he scoffed. “Does that mean the moon shot really happened? In the film, the Yanqui flag is flying straight out. So, is there wind on the moon?” As Chávez beamed with triumph at this logic, an awkwardness descended on my comrades, and on the conversation.Chávez, in other words, is very close to the climactic moment when he will announce that he is a poached egg and that he requires a very large piece of buttered toast so that he can lie down and take a soothing nap. Even his macabre foraging in the coffin of Simón Bolívar was initially prompted by his theory that an autopsy would prove that The Liberator had been poisoned–most probably by dastardly Colombians. This would perhaps provide a posthumous license for Venezuela’s continuing hospitality to the narco-criminal gang FARC, a cross-border activity that does little to foster regional brotherhood.
No, Hitch, there is NO “evidence” that Chavecito has anything of the sort. I’ve been watching his broadcasts almost daily since well before he made that joke at the UN (and I have pictures of the laughing audience to prove that it WAS a joke, intended and received as such.) He is most emphatically NOT a mumbo-jumbo man. He is more lucid when out of coffee than you are when stone sober (which I’m guessing is not very often, by what you’ve written.)But thanks, all the same, for including that bit by William Henry Harrison. It’s proof of one thing that Chavecito, and every other leftist in Latin America, has long said: that the US is out to undermine them, and make sure that they never have true, full self-rule. Yes, the conspiracy against Latin America is that old. And no, its form hasn’t changed a hair in 200 years. Bolívar may be a skeleton now, but the ghosts of the past are alive and well, and they are still chasing his successor to this day. Just remember how often a moan arises in Washington about the latest imaginary way in which Chávez is “investing himself with arbitrary power”–strangely, always involving a popular vote, which can always go against him (and on occasion, has done just that. In which case Washington gleefully rubbed its collective hands, predicting a downfall that never came. Venezuelan democracy is more resilient than that, and so is Chavecito’s leadership.)And if anyone is being a necromancer, it’s Hitch, chasing the spirits in the bottle to persuade himself that he heard something he did not. I hope Sean Penn punches his lights out for this load of pseudo-intellectual drivel–assuming Hitch hasn’t fallen face down in a puddle of his own piss already, mumbling something incoherent about voodoo and necrocracy and mausolocracy.
Many people laughed when Chávez appeared at the podium of the United Nations in September 2006 and declared that he smelled sulfur from the devil himself because of the presence of George W. Bush. But the evidence is that he does have an idiotic weakness for spells and incantations, as well as many of the symptoms of paranoia and megalomania. After the failure of Bolívar’s attempted Gran Colombia federation–which briefly united Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and other nations–the U.S. minister in Bogotá, future president William Henry Harrison, said of him that “[u]nder the mask of patriotism and attachment to liberty, he has really been preparing the means of investing himself with arbitrary power.” The first time was tragedy; this time is also tragedy but mixed with a strong element of farce.