The Chavez within

David Soler

¿Porque no te callas?

Why don’t you shut up? Those are the words Spain’s king spat to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez recently after he called Spain’s former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, a fascist at a South American summit in Chile. They have become the number one ringtone download over the Internet.

Besides, Chavez also proved his sulphur-detection capabilities in the 2006 U.N. General Assembly and called President Bush “the Devil.” Why in the world is Hugo Chavez so enraged? Maybe because of the failed U.S.-backed coup that nearly ousted him in 2002? Maybe because Spanish corporations are allegedly strangling South America? Or maybe because the economy of his country is fueling him with the required bravado to take the stage. Bill Clinton famously remarked “it’s the economy, stupid,” and now Chavez seems to be the walking fact of what happens when nations get economically relevant for the first time. Having turned all media outlets in his country into a smarmy knot of poltroons, and left the opposition without the ability to retake power for a decade, — Chavez is changing the constitution so he can get elected ad absurdum — Chavez now feels his macho within.

Following Clinton’s precept, Venezuela starts behaving in a U.S.-like fashion but without its sophisticated savoir fair and touch WASPs otherwise display. Don’t blame him. Chavez doesn’t have the required tools America does — CIA, NSA, FBI — so he’s left with its only trick of the trade, the Mussolini-like tirades. Even 50 years later, the media still loves them.

But with time we will face a sad reality: History will absolve Chavez. Every country behaved despotically when it had the opportunity and the resources to do so. Spain, England, France, and now the United States. Incidentally, the main difference with the United States is that it has a penchant to leave a tray of strong economies behind. Take Japan, Germany, Europe — not just colonialism and sacking. The Smithsonian has the Indian Hope Diamond but Harry Winston paid for it!

Meanwhile, the irony is seeing how Venezuela pays tribute to its main benefactor with bitter hypocrisy — Venezuela is the fourth largest oil supplier to the United States. We all know that without CITGO’s oil revenues that Venezuela now boasts, the country would be left struggling between monkey business and cocaine dealers.

Unfortunately, Chavez is not alone. Nowadays he has a partner in Iran’s president Ahmadinejad — the enemy of my enemy is my ally? — who leaves Chavez like a pro-coup buffoon next to him. Don’t think Amadinejad is more imaginative. He is au pair to Chavez, humming statements that couldn’t be sustained with camels and pistachios, but oil. I didn’t believe it at first, but after checking out CNN’s October 27, 2005 news, Amadinejad indeed seems to have called for a world without the United States and Zionism while meeting with protesting students at Iran’s Interior Ministry. Did he really mean it or he was just rabble rousing? Can we really take his claims about building a nuclear reaction for peaceful purposes seriously? Go figure.

The bottom-line here is America is being criticized for monopolizing the world’s affairs, but what we now behold is that some countries on Earth seem to be awaiting their turn to act likewise. The reason why the rest of the countries don’t is not because their culture, nor their religion, but that $11 trillion U.S. gross domestic product has but no one else.

In the face of the prospective alternatives available out there, I check into the world’s status quo. Any other outcourse remains bleak.

David Soler is a biomedical sciences graduate and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].