Saturday, December 08, 2007

Chavez defeated at the polls

People who despise George W. Bush and all his acts sometimes get satisfaction by praising President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela for defying him and the United States. I see this as a big mistake. He's a typical big-mouth, big-ego would-be dictator of a sort that the world, and Latin America in particular, has seen too many times. And he can afford to be brave because Venezuela has won (lost?) the oil-in-the-ground lottery.

In recent months Chavez has been promoting a huge omnibus constitutional referendum that would give him just about all the power he could ever want, for as long as he cared to be president. Millions of people who voted for Chavez for president not so long ago either voted against the constitutional amendents or sat on their hands.

To get an idea of why the bloom seems to be off the Chavez rose, even for people who have approved of many of his policies, or at least his promises, see this article in the Economist. It goes well beyond "the enemy of my enemy" rhetoric and does two more things. It shows that Chavez's "Bolivarian revolution" and socialism are just the same old baloney; and also how oil wealth is a dangerous thing.

Image: An inflatable Hugo Chavez doll, as referred to in the article, but this one's from November 2006. How many of these things are there?

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