Just thought the opening paragraph over at the African American Environmentalist Association’s blog was a bit funny:
What is the first sign of a dictator-in-waiting? He seizes the assets of the multinational corporations. ‘Elected’ president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez just took operational control of such assets from U.S. companies Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and Chevron, Britain’s BP, and Norway’s Statoil. Of course, Chavez is pretending to ‘negotiate’ some sort of shared authority, but these guys have been around the world long enough to know better. It is being reported that Chavez ‘paid’ a fair market value to some of the companies for control. The check is in the mail.
So the first sign of a dictator-in-waiting is the seizure of MNC assets? Hm. I would have thought, perhaps, say, a violent childhood full of animal torture; humorless teenage years spent reading Lenin; a military coup, etc. Is the definition of what constitutes a dictator being stretched just a bit here, and made palatable to neo-conservative/neo-liberal ends?
If you want better evidence for a move on Chavez’s part toward dictatorship, see the “Enabling Law” passed by the Venezuelan National Assembly, apparently unanimously (ok…), giving Chavez broad executive powers. (For an anti-authoritarian critique of Chavez and his loyal Chavistas in general see here.) It may be worth asking: “If it’s so benign, why should we suspend democratic oversight in favor of executive free reign?” Expediency perhaps?
It’s easy to see why the right wouldn’t like Chavez, but fortunately most of the left is more suspicious of hypocritical neo-conservative smearing of Chavez than of Chavez himself and his military-esque government (complete with a rather conservative and nationalist educational program for the countryside – see the “here” link above).
Oh, and this can’t be good:
Another change that Chavez has mentioned in the past is the possibility of getting rid of the two-term limit for presidential terms.
The third “motor” is the launch of a new drive for “Bolivarian popular education,” which would, “deepen the new values and demolish the old values of individualism, capitalism, of egotism,” said Chavez.
That wicked individualism must be stopped! And the war on egotism sounds a bit hypocritical in light of the proposition for extended presidential terms, eh? You don’t have to be a “tool of neo-liberalism” or any such thing to find all this a bit reminiscent of the same old populist demagoguery we got to know so well last century.
(Hat tip: Booker Rising Blog)