Sorry, Bob, but I believe your assumptions are ill-founded. I can speak with a a little authority on this, having lived in the country for almost 8 years and am still in weekly contact with many people there. Chavez is a bad egg. The middle and upper classes despise him. The educated despise him. He was elected because he appealed to the poor, which is the larger amount of the population and has been for as long as I can remember, going back to the early 60's, in my case. Even the poor are against him now because he has not delivered on promises to them. He has shut down radio stations opposing him. He has had university students march against him. When he tried to rewrite the constitution to stay in office, it was defeated. Believe me when I tell you that many Venezuelans anxiously await the day his term is over. Venezuelans on the whole are wonderful people. They believe in freedom and individual rights. They have always been U.S. friends. He does not sit well with them. He jumped into the fray in this fiasco to deter the facts that the country is in dire straits under his control. Now, that he sees that didn't work and the Venezuelan population isn't buying it, he is backing off. He is offering to drop the whole thing if Columbia drops filing charges against him in the world court. I can assure you he is losing sleep over the computer documents linking him to being a FARC supporter to the tune of over 300 million dollars in aid.
Always interesting to talk politics. I'm not sure how far apart we are here, though, if you look. I said that Chavez was freely elected and continues to be legitimate
leader of his country. After telling me that Chavez is a bad egg and that the upper classes and the educated don't like him ("upper classes" makes sense of course, because of the different economic points of view. "The educated" not liking him doesn't make sense because it suggests that everybody who's educated has the same point of view, and that simply doesn't happen anyplace. Even here, you have right wing and left wing intellectuals, and South America is, as I understand it, much the same way. My assumption here is that if somebody agrees with Chavez, you are unwilling to credit him or her with being an intellectual. I may be selling you short here, as I have done on more than one other occasion, and if so, I'm sorry, but on the face of it, without something more solid , your account simply doesn't compute for me.
Even so, you do say that Chavez was put into office by the poor, who are and who have been the majority of voters in that country. Why an appeal to the actual interests of the poor should be anything other than useful for a man who is trying to be elected is a puzzle to me.
If I recall my newspaper reading over the last several years, the poor have kept him in office because they though he was doing a decent if imperfect job and have refused to put aside a perfectly useful time limit on length of time in office wisely placed in their constitution. They're not stupid. If many anxiously await the day he leaves office, I say terrific, it's their privilege. It's their country, after all.
If I can put my own annoying rhetoric aside, Chavez is imperfect. Depending on where you come from politically, his qualities may range from a minion of Satan to a serious crimp in your plans for Venezuela to to salvation of the people from the upper class oligarchy. There is nothing in this mix, however, that hasn't been said about any important American president from at Least Lincoln onward, both for good and ill. What I think this says is that Venezuela has produced a leader worth discussing who is willing to stand up for his constituency.
I dislike our current president here, but would have to grant him the same distinction. I think actually Chavez was more likely to have been democratically elected than Bush, given the brouhaha here in Florida and Ohio over the last two cycles, and the way that many of us feel things were handled.
If indeed Chavez did support FARC as you say and it can be proved in world court, where, by the way, I would imagine some of the decisions WE have been making over the past eight or so years might be interestingly evaluated, then he ought to be tried after he finishes his term and appropriate jail time should be served. I think that seems fair. I also think that war crimes trials for some of our own people should be considered, as we thought about for President Pinochet. "Disappearing,"
torture, and execution are all against international law,
Most are against the Geneva convention, and most of them are instruments of terror. Terror, if you remember, is what we are supposed to be fighting.
I think, after leaving office, if it is appropriate then to bring charges, charges should be brought in world court— same as with officials in our own government for any sort of similar offenses, right? Being honest, democratically elected leaders of a democratic people, our own leaders would certainly demand the same treatment, knowing that it was a just and honest course to be taken in all situations when such charges might honestly be levied. And that a fair and evenhanded resolution might be expected by all.
Bob; neither Hitler
or Stalin or any the likes of either
get or have ever gotten a free pass
Dear Huan Yi,
Nor would I have expected otherwise. I have never given them a pass either.
My problem is a tendency to be blinded by my own high beams.
[This message has been edited by Bob K (03-11-2008 05:59 PM).]