Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Dead Tyrants Day
Chavez started in the military. He thought of himself as a natural successor to Simon Bolivar but his model of rise to power and governance was a lot more like Stalin. At the end of his life Stalin obsessed about plots to poison him - as recently as a week ago Chavez's VP expelled two US diplomats and claimed that the US was trying to poison the President. That was he same VP who claimed that Chavez had held a four hour cabinet meeting a couple of weeks before.
Stalin, you may remember, once said "It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." Chavez tried at least two attempts a coups before he was elected. But once elected he used the Stalin principle with vigor. But as his reign continued he expanded his powers, fomented a couple of petty tyrants in other South American countries and generally tried to repress those who opposed him.
Venezuela was once a thriving country, but like his most admired regime (besides his own of course there was Cuba) he made quick work of turning the country into a basket case economically. I heard a lot about Chavez in Mexico when he tried in the 2006 election to change the outcome. Fortunately for Mexico, Chavez and his candidate failed.
Stalin had one other aphorism that might be appropriate. Stalin said "Death is the solution to all problems. No man - no problem." Unfortunately, even with Chavez's passing the problems facing Venezuela will be hard to eliminate quickly.