Friday, September 14, 2007

Chávez set to jettison allies

When Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chávez described Cuban strongman Fidel Castro as his "mentor", he really wasn't kidding. Like Castro, and other communist dictators before him, Chávez has already begun to jettison the political allies that brought him to power and accused them being "counter-revolutionaries". The party in question is PODEMOS, a party which uncritically helped elevate Chávez to power in 1998. This is also the party that provided Chávez with crucial support for his efforts to pack the Venezuelan Supreme Court with Chávez's political cronies, issued threats against Chávez's political enemies, and in general, did anything the caudillo wanted them to do. Even better, they almost always anticipated his desires in advance. Well, that was then, and this is now, and as Janet Jackson once famously inquired, "what have you done for me lately?"

"If any of you has shame, this is the right time. You have time to join us sincerily and build the revolution. Stop talking nonsense, saying you are revolutionary"
- Hugo Chavez

So what terrible thing has PODEMOS done to transform them into dyed in the wool chavistas to treacherous counterrevolutionaries? PODEMOS leaders expressed reservations about Chávez's proposal to alter the Venezuelan constitution to allow himself to be re-elected in perpetuity. PODEMOS is not alone there, as the proposal is widely unpopular, even among voters who strongly support Chávez. So what gives?

Daniel astutely notes that this is part of the dictator dynamic. Now that Chávez has packed the legislature and the courts with his cronies, PODEMOS is no longer very important in maintaining his grip on power. What's more, one of the key personality traits of the authoritarian leader is the overweening desire to occupy the spotlight of attention. Not sometimes. Not most of the time. All the time. Any "ally" who attaches importance to themselves by virtue of boasting how close they are to Chávez is, by extension, taking some credit for his glorious tasks, and therefore, diminishes the volume of praise and attention that Chávez recognizes as his, and his alone.

Sorry, PODEMOS, you're 99.9% on board with the Chávez agenda, but for an autocrat, that's just not high enough. Enjoy your trip to counterrevolutionary limbo, PODEMOS, and count yourselves lucky that Chávez apparently hasn't gotten around to asking Castro how Cuba got rid of their "counterrevolutionaries".


beakerkin said...

Great Post

mah29001 said...

Chavez going the way of Mao, Stalin and the rest of the horrible bunch. Disturbing that Chavez has a lot of apologists in the U.S. radical Left. Notabley the likes of some of those who protested in D.C. this weekend.