Tag Archives: Chavizm

Ten tenets of Chavizm

Leaked US diplomatic cable, reproduced in its entirety. This was written June 16, 2009, 12 days before the first major setback of Chavizm: The deposing of his Quisling in Honduras, Manuel Zelaya.

A student of history may find that most of these tenets are not new by any means. They have been used in the past over and over by other dictators, e.g., Adolf Hitler. The repression has continued after this cable was written, by making judge Maria Afiuni and former presidential candidate Alejandro Peña Esclusa the latest political prisoners. How much longer, Venezuela?

DE RUEHCV #0750/01 1671323
P 161323Z JUN 09 ZDK




E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/11/2019


1. This message is the end of tour analysis of the political
situation in Venezuela by Embassy Deputy Political Counselor
Dan Lawton.

2. (C) Summary. Despite President Chavez's professed
allegiance to socialism, his political project lacks any
consistent ideology. Instead, the Venezuelan president
exercises an increasingly authoritarian playbook that ensures
his unquestioned, indefinite leadership and concentrates more
and more power in his hands. The Government of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (GBRV) aggressively defends
its democratic legitimacy at the same time that it targets
key opposition leaders, polarizes society along political and
class lines, and hypes the existence of external and internal
enemies to justify repressive measures. Chavez's preference
for loyalty over competence, creation of parallel Bolivarian
institutions, efforts to forge a one-party state, and
chest-thumping nationalism also smack of creeping
totalitarianism. Overall, Chavismo poses a serious threat to
democracy not just in Venezuela but throughout the region,
and it directly competes against U.S. influence in Latin
America. Moreover, it is becoming ever more difficult to
begin any dialogue with a GBRV increasingly consumed by its
own solipsistic "revolutionary" fervor and outsized ambition.
End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ------
One - There Is Only One Great, Indispensable Leader
--------------------------------------------- ------

3. (C) President Chavez has carefully cultivated his own
personality cult, such that for most Venezuelan voters,
President Chavez embodies Chavismo. Outsized billboards and
posters of Chavez dominate public buildings as well as the
rallies and campaigns of his United Socialist Party of
Venezuela (PSUV). Venezuelans can buy a wide range of Chavez
paraphernalia from Chavez action figures to Chavez watches to
a compact disc of Chavez singing Venezuelan folk songs. He
dominates all state media, which also broadcast his Sunday
"Alo, Presidente" talk show. Chavez regularly requires all
local television and radio networks to carry his speeches
("cadenas"); he has wracked up over 1200 such hours (50 days)
on the air. He has not groomed any successor and he
frequently rebukes even his most trusted advisors publicly.

4. (C) In pursuing the elimination of presidential term
limits, Chavez declared publicly numerous times that he is
indispensable to his Bolivarian Revolution. While voters
rejected his constitutional reform package in December 2007,
he succeeded in winning public approval of the elimination of
term limits for all elected offices in the February 2009
referendum. Chavez has repeatedly stated that he plans to
govern at least until 2020. A corollary to the Venezuelan
president's protagonism is that there can be no Chavismo
without Chavez. No Chavez supporter who has broken with
Chavez has prospered politically. The formerly pro-Chavez
Podemos party is all but broken after opposing Chavez's 2007
constitutional reform package. Former Defense Minister Raul
Baduel also spoke against indefinite reelection; he is
currently sitting in a Caracas military prison awaiting trial
on corruption charges.

Two - Centralize Power

5. (C) Chavez's "Socialism of the 21st Century" exalts the
government's active role in the economy and vilifies
capitalism, but in the minds of most Venezuelans, it remains
a vague notion of a state bearing benefits. The thread that
most consistently ties together Chavez's political project is
the increasing concentration of power in his hands. Chavez
has firm control over all the other branches of government.
The opposition foolishly boycotted National Assembly
elections in 2005, and currently only approximately 15 former
government supporters do not automatically support Chavez in
the 167-seat unicameral legislature. With few exceptions,
the judiciary rules in favor of the executive branch, even in
civil cases bereft of political implications.

6. (C) Chavez is also squeezing state and local governments
from above and below. He recently promulgated a law that
allows the central government to take state control over
ports, airports, and highways. The central government has
done just that in states run by opposition governors.

Moreover, Chavez created an appointed position to take over
virtually all the functions and budget of the opposition
mayor of Caracas. The National Assembly is considering
creating presidentially appointed regional vice presidencies
that would undermine elected governors. The Venezuelan
president also created community councils nationwide which
are registered by and report directly to the Office of the
Presidency. Chavez diverted 30 percent of state and local
discretionary development funds to these community councils.

Three - Hype External and Internal "Enemies"

7. (C) Chavez insists on depicting the United States (which
he habitually refers to as "The Empire") as Venezuela's
enemy. Although most Venezuelans are not anti-American,
Chavez's radical foreign policy plays to his base of firm
supporters and serves as a convenient rallying cry during
Venezuela's frequent elections. Although he holds virtually
absolute power in Venezuela, Chavez tries to reframe public
perceptions by depicting himself as David fighting Goliath,
usually the United States, but also occasionally Spain,
Colombia, or Israel. Chavez and other senior GBRV leaders
have tempered this script somewhat since the election of
President Obama. They tend to praise the President and
Secretary personally, while quickly adding that "imperial"
political power continues to be exercised in the United
States by big business, the military establishment, and the

8. (C) Although domestic opposition to Chavez is weak and
disunited, Chavez and senior GBRV officials regularly accuse
it of plotting to overthrow or assassinate the Venezuelan
president in coordination with the United States. The GBRV
does not produce proof or in most cases actually pursue
charges; such allegations conveniently serve to circle the
wagons within Chavismo, to prevent across-the-aisle political
dialogue, and to discredit the opposition. The GBRV
regularly reminds voters that large sectors of the opposition
participated in the short-lived 2002 coup to give greater
credence to current "threats." Chavez also accuses the
opposition of doing the USG's bidding, calling them
"pitiyanquis." Moreover, government supporters regularly
accuse opposition-oriented press outlets of "media
terrorism," essentially building the case for continued
government harassment of the vestiges of independent media.

Four - Polarize

9. (C) Railing against the "oligarchs," Chavez exploits class
divisions in stratified Venezuela for political gain. By
playing almost exclusively to the over 70% of Venezuelans who
are poor, Chavez has maintained a reliable electoral majority
(with the exception of the 2007 constitutional referendum
vote when many Chavistas abstained). He is not only
channeling government resources to the economically
disadvantaged, but also prioritizing the GBRV's role in the
economy at the expense of the private sector. Such policies
squeeze the middle class and are feeding a growing brain
drain of professionals, sectors of society traditionally
associated with the opposition. They also increase citizens'
economic dependence on the GBRV.

10. (C) Politically, Chavez tolerates no middle ground.
Although increasingly large numbers of voters consider
themselves politically neutral, most Venezuelans still
habitually self-identify themselves as either with "the
process" or against. Moreover, the GBRV has a good idea
where most voters stand. Those that signed the 2004 recall
referendum soon found themselves on the infamous "Tascon
List" by which the GBRV discriminated in terms of government
jobs, contracts, and other benefits. In his speeches, Chavez
frequently cites mentor Fidel Castro, bellowing in stark
terms, "With the revolution, everything; outside, nothing."
After its most recent registration drive, the PSUV claims
over seven million members. Local analysts believe the PSUV
party list is becoming the "reverse Tascon List" -- if your
name is not on it, you cannot expect to get government
services (at least not without paying intermediaries).

Five - Insist on Democratic Credentials

11. (C) Senior GBRV leaders insist that "participatory"

democracy is superior to "representative" democracy. They
contend that real democracies give priority to "social
rights" and argue that concepts such as checks and balances
and institutional autonomy are discredited "bourgeois"
concepts. Chavez also regularly stresses that he has held
national elections almost yearly since he was first elected
in 1998, blurring any distinction between being elected
democratically and governing democratically. Anxious to
preserve their democratic legitimacy at home and abroad,
Chavez and senior GBRV officials lash out immediately and
disproportionately to any criticism of GBRV abuses. They
traditionally dismiss any criticism as interference in
Venezuela's domestic affairs and insult or try to discredit
any government or organization that faults the GBRV (without
ever engaging on the substance of the critique). The GBRV
forcibly expelled a Human Rights Watch leader and a member of
the European Parliament when they publicly took issue with
the GBRV's human rights record while in Caracas.

Six - Reward Loyalty Over Competence

12. (C) The single most important common characteristic of
Chavez's ministers and other senior officials is their
unquestioning loyalty to the Venezuelan president. He tends
to rotate a small coterie of firm supporters through senior
positions, simultaneously rewarding his inner circle while
preventing them from accruing either real expertise or an
independent power base. A substantial portion of Chavez's
appointed officials participated in his failed 1992 military
coup. Moreover, Chavez retains loyalists despite their poor
administrative or electoral track records. He named
Diosadado Cabello, who last year lost his re-election for the
Miranda Governorship, to be Minister of Infrastructure and
Telecommunications. Chavez appointed Jessie Chacon
Information Minister after he lost the mayoral race in the
Sucre borough of Caracas. By contrast, Chavez's PSUV
temporarily expelled Henri Falcon, the then widely hailed
competent mayor of Barquisimeto, only to quickly reinstate
him after it became obvious that Falcon would win the
governorship of Lara State in 2008 with or without the PSUV's

Seven - Repress Selectively

13. (C) The GBRV picks its political victims carefully,
making examples of sector leaders. Such calibrated
repression has so far avoided any significant public backlash
while at the same time created a climate of fear in civil
society and fostered self-censorship in the media. Examples
abound. The GBRV recently pressed corruption charges against
Maracaibo Mayor and 2006 consensus opposition presidential
candidate Manuel Rosales; Rosales fled to Peru where he was
granted asylum. The GBRV jailed Carlos Ortega, the leader of
the largest opposition trade union confederation. He escaped
from military prison in 2006 and was also granted asylum in
Peru. The GBRV closed the only critical free-to-air
television network in 2007 and is threatening to do the same
to opposition-oriented cable news network Globovision.
Prominent electoral NGO Sumate has been subject to numerous
government investigations. Chavez and other senior GBRV
officials have blasted prominent Catholic Church officials
for defending democracy, and pro-Chavez thugs briefly
occupied the Cardinal's residence in downtown Caracas.

Eight - Create Parallel Structures

14. (C) Over the last ten years, the GBRV and its supporters
and allies have created new bodies and institutions in an
effort to undermine and outflank organizations that it could
neither control nor co-opt. Domestically, the GBRV and its
adherents have spawned pro-government NGOs, business groups,
labor unions, television and radio networks, and even a
socialist spin-off of the Catholic Church. Chavez's social
programs ("misiones") generally sidestep and starve long
established government ministries of resources.
Internationally, Chavez is endeavoring to establish
multilateral organizations that both magnify Venezuela's
influence and combat purported "U.S. imperialism." From the
GBRV's perspective, ALBA, Petrocaribe, UNASUR, and the Bank
of the South are tools with which to supplant or weaken the
OAS, IMF, and the World Bank.

Nine - Party Equals State

15. (C) Since creating the United Socialist Party of
Venezuela (PSUV) in 2007, President Chavez has been trying to
forge a one-party state. Chavez uses government resources,
especially state media, and pressures the over two million
government employees to support the Venezuelan president,
PSUV candidates, and his referendum proposals during
elections. The National Electoral Council (CNE) staffs PSUV
registration drives. Chavez demanded that all pro-government
parties join the PSUV, but three parties, the Communist Party
(PCV), Patria Para Todos (PPT), and the Podemos party,
declined. Podemos later joined the opposition in 2007. The
PSUV declined to support any PPT or PCV gubernatorial and
mayoral candidates in the 2008 state and local elections and
neither party now exercises any meaningful local power.
Moreover, the National Assembly is seriously considering an
electoral law that would almost certainly expand the PSUV's
absolute legislative majority and diminish the influence of
the PPT and PCV after the 2010 parliamentary elections.

Ten - Monopolize Nationalism

16. (C) Calling himself the heir to Venezuelan founder Simon
Bolivar, Chavez asserts exclusive claim to Venezuela's
forefathers and national symbols. He regularly cites Bolivar
and other national heroes out of context, insisting that they
were early socialists. One of Chavez's stock stump speech
messages is that his Bolivarian Revolution liberated
Venezuela from being an American colony and will make
Venezuela a world power in coming decades. In contrast,
Chavez and his supporters depict the opposition as
unpatriotic, stateless, or paid U.S. agents. Chavez's own
exaggerated demonstrations of patriotism conveniently
distract public attention from local problems or demonstrate
incontrovertibly that he can do what he wants. In 2006,
Chavez added a star to the Venezuelan flag and flipped the
horse on the national seal to make it run left, not right.
In 2007, he eliminated three zeros from the currency and
changed its name from "bolivars" to "strong bolivars." He
also added the prefix "People's Power" to all ministries and
ordered all Venezuelan clocks changed by thirty minutes to
create a unique Venezuelan time zone. In 2008, he suggested
that he would exhume Bolivar's body to prove that he was
poisoned (He has not done so yet).


17. (C) The increasingly authoritarian nature of Chavismo,
not to mention its habitual and politically convenient
vilification of the United States, pose considerable
challenges to any effort to improve bilateral ties. Chavez
and other senior GBRV officials publicly express interest in
greater dialogue with the USG, but the reality is that to
date, the GBRV has been reluctant to create meaningful and
easily accessible channels of communication, let alone engage
substantively on issues that should be of common interest.
The GBRV also makes it clear that it will not accept or look
past any USG criticism, however well-founded or required by
congressionally-mandated reports or testimony. Facing no
checks on his power at home, Chavez craves international
attention and influence abroad. Whether it is funneling arms
and money to the FARC, sending suitcases of money to the
Kirchner campaign in Argentina, or exporting elements of
Chavismo to ALBA countries, to name just a few prominent
examples, Chavez's outsized ambition backed by petrodollars
makes Venezuela an active and intractable U.S. competitor in
the region.

A Totalitarian Christmas Gift: Merry Chavizm!

Venezuelas’ Hugo Chávez gave his subjects a very special gift on the eve of Christmas: A full-blown totalitarian dictatorship. Just like Hitler’s Nazis blindly followed their leader, so did many in Venezuela wish each other Feliz Chavidad (Merry Chavizm) instead of Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas). So many, in fact, that Chavidad was on the twitter popularity list in Venezuela.

Hugo Chávez, president-turned-dictator of Venezuela
Hugo Chávez, president-turned-dictator of Venezuela

Here is a partial list of the Christmas “gifts” from the former military coupster, elected president turned dictator: An Enabling Law that enables Chávez to create laws on his own, turning the new parliament after New Years into an irrelevant talking club; a law that makes it illegal for parliament members to vote their conscience; a law intended to stop the last independent TV channel, Globovision; a wide-ranging Internet censorship law; and a law that removes the academic freedom from Universities by forcing them to teach communism and gives himself the ultimate power over them. He also sent tanks to confiscate private farms the week before Christmas, he fired some 800 to 1,200 staff in the Finance Ministry the day before Christmas, and violently beat down a peaceful student demonstration two days before Christmas.

With the rule of law suspended since years in Venezuela (judge Maria Fiuni was arrested just before last Christmas for following the law), Venezuela is now a full-blown totalitarian state. All that remains is to round up the remaining dissidents.

At the time of writing this, no country has as yet denounced this power-grab, an autogolpe that has no parallel since Adolf Hitler’s power grab in the Spring of 1933. Just like in Hitler’s case it has a veneer of constitutionality, but a closer examination shows that both are coups d’état that violate the constitution.

The Organization of American States (OAS) is aware of the extreme gravity of the situation, but still hasn’t lifted a finger, although they are the only international organization that has the power to do something – even if it is just to send a commission.

The UN cannot get involved in internal matters in the member states, unless invited, and it is unlikely Chávez will invite them.

The foreign country that has most to lose in the short run is Honduras, whose readmission to OAS is blocked by Chávez and his ilk. However, in order not to make it more difficult to get readmitted they refrain from denouncing this new Hitler. The Lobo administration is basically licking the boots of the dictator.

The United States of America has no ambassador in Venezuela at the moment. The one appointed is not welcome in Caracas. Perhaps that is why USA has not said what needs to be said:

Hugo Chávez is now a totalitarian dictator.

Nor has the European Union spoken up. Perhaps they are busy with Lukashenko’s dictatorial excesses in Belarus, and can’t keep track of more than one despot at a time. Or maybe it is just under their radar.

However, the one person that I really would expect better from is the Pope. He grew up in Germany, he should be no stranger to the methods that Chávez is using, since they are a blue-copy of what Hitler did. Furthermore, to do this at the eve of Christmas is an insult of diabolic proportion to Christianity.

We celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who was received as a saviour for an oppressed people in a dictatorship. Christmas is about hope. By giving the Venezuelan people this blow on the eve of the holiday of hope, Chávez has given the middle finger to Christ himself.

What can you do? Inform! Spread the information to everyone you know, to every editor, to every news outlet, to every politician, Church leader, government, blog, twitter, facebook, and demonstrate – even if it just you with one sign in an intersection saying “Chavez has made a coup d’état in Venezuela!”

Getting global awareness is key for being able to restore democracy and liberty and the rule of law in Venezuela. Let the world know that Chávez has made a coup against the Constitution that he himself created.

Ask every newspaper editor, church leader, and government to make a statement that Chávez has made a coup d’état. It is very important that they explicitly say that he has committed a coup d’état!

Media: New York Times, Wall Street Journal

Chavizm leder till svält, säger Perus president

Perus president Alan Garcia sa till spanska företagare på besök i Lima att den socialistiska modell som Hugo Chávez förordar, kallad chavismo på spanska, leder till “hunger, arbetslöshet, och att man hamnar på teknoligisk efterkälke”. Länderna runt Peru som har infört chavismen – Venezuela, Ecuador och Bolivia – försöker sprida den även till Peru, sa han, men försäkrade att landet kommer att stå emot.

“Vårt land kommer att motstå påtryckningarna och stå upp för demokrati, decentralisering, den fria marknaden, investeringar, privatekonomisk frihet, en balanserad budget, och respekt för de mänskliga rättigheterna”, la han till.

När Zelaya kastades ut som president ur Honduras i somras var det just för att han med grundlagsvidriga metoder försökte införa det systemet i sitt centralamerikanska land. Chávez rödskjortor använder nu våldsmetoder för att försöka förhindra Honduras grundlagsenliga val den 29 november.

Saving Honduras’ Democracy

The supporters of the deposed president Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, self-labeled the “resistance,” have now united around a policy of not acknowledging the constitutionally mandated elections on November 29th. Furthermore, they use thugs to disrupt election meetings and to destroy campaign material. Strangely, they only do so for the candidate of Zelaya’s own Liberal party, his former vice president, Elvin Santos.

Instead of the constitutional elections, they want a new constitution, the very plan for which Zelaya was removed from office by the Supreme Court of Justice.

This means that Zelaya’s supporters are fundamentally opposed to the liberal democracy and to the Rechtsstaat, “el Estado de Ley” in Spanish. Like their financial backer Hugo Chávez, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, they apparently want to replace the existing democratic institutions with new ones.

Furthermore, Chávez, and now Zelaya in his exile, are using language that is sharply critical of the traditional elite (to which Zelaya himself belongs). Rather than focusing on bad policies, they focus on “bad people.” That does not belong in a democracy and Rechtsstaat, and is more reminiscent of the racism of times past.

In an article published in August of 2006, professor Francis Fukuyama said about himself and Hugo Chávez: “Early on in Hugo Chávez’s political career, the Venezuelan president attacked my notion that liberal democracy together with a market economy represents the ultimate evolutionary direction for modern societies — the “end of history.” When asked what lay beyond the end of history, he offered a one-word reply: ‘Chavismo.’ ” The Washington Post, The End of Chávez: History’s Against Him (Francis Fukuyama) Sunday, August 6, 2006 at B01.

Chávez has even said, “Liberal democracy is no good, its time has passed, new models must be invented, new formulas….

Dismissing liberal democracy and market economy is something Chávez has in common with the National Socialists and Adolf Hitler. In fact, in 2007, congressional leaders in Brazil referred to Chávez as a “cheap Hitler and Mussolini,” a “dictator in disguise,” and a threat “to peace on the continent”. The reaction came after Chávez took an opposition TV-station off the air.

Fascist Criticism

Two central tenets of modern society were rejected by the Fascists in the 1930’s: Democracy, and that all people are of equal value and shall have their rights protected under the law. In other words, they rejected liberal democracy.

Democracy was criticized by them for providing some power to small groups seen as outsiders in society. For the National Socialists, those who got power that they should not have had were ethnic groups, such as Jews and Gypsies. For Marxists it is instead the rich, the elite, the privileged that get undue power in a democracy. Civil liberties were criticized for much the same reasons, their opinion being that people are not equal, and that the “others” should not have the same rights as “we”. When Socialists made difference between people and people, George Orwell wrote, “All animals are equal, but pigs are more equal than other animals.”

Note that both Nazis and Communists are Socialists, and both see the world as “we” versus “them”. The difference is just the criteria for dividing people into groups. For Communists the division is along class lines, for National Socialists it is along ethnic lines.

This is why Hitler could cooperate with industrialists such as Thyssen (as long as they were not Jews), creating an alliance between the Nazi state and big capital that actually resembled Fascism. In spite of this ethnic focus, he had no trouble creating alliances with non-Aryan countries, as he saw it, such as Italy and Japan. Apparently the basis for that was the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Hugo Chávez

President Chávez in Venezuela has in common with Hitler that they both were lower military officers. They both made failed attempts at coups before resorting to a “legal” strategy to gain power. They are both “outsiders” in their countries (Hitler was born in Austria-Hungary, not Germany; Chávez ethnical roots places him low down in the unwritten social hierarchy of Venezuela). They were both democratically elected but never with a majority of the votes. They both set up parallel institutions (Chávez’s “new democracy”; Hitler’s party hierarchy) and gradually dismantled the institutions of the liberal democracy.

Thus, neither one undermined the Rule of Law, but instead redefined Law to no longer include the institutions and principles of a liberal democracy. During Hitler’s time the Universal Declaration of Human Rights did not yet exist—it was created in reaction to Hitler—but Chávez is now bound by it, so there is no reason to expect the latter to carry out the same atrocities as the former. Each one is doing what he can get away with within the law, but it is clear that neither one of them has any built-in moral respect for civil liberties, democracy, or even peace. They both engage in open belligerent speech to arouse the emotions of their respective followers.

Manuel Zelaya

Former president Zelaya in Honduras has a sharply different background in that he comes from the elite, a land-owner with a large estate in the cattle-raising highland province of Olancho. His father, by the same name, went to prison for his role in the murder of over a dozen peaceful demonstrators, including several priests during the previous military dictatorship.

From September 13 to November 11, 1827, a José Jerónimo Zelaya was leader of the state of Honduras, assigned by the National Constituting Assembly. This was during the time of the Central American union, which ended around 1839, but the re-establishment of which remained official Honduran policy for almost a century.

Another José Zelaya took power in Nicaragua on July 25, 1893, and held on to it until December 17, 1909. It was also his dream to re-unite Central America. His policy was liberal, not to say neo-liberal, and after 30 years of conservative policies in Nicaragua with stability, his years at the helm ended that stability. The family name is thus as much old-wealth elite as it gets.

Manuel Zelaya was elected president in Honduras on the ticket of the Liberal party. After a few years the global financial crisis led to economical difficulties. The astronomical oil prices in 2007 were especially difficult, since 80% of the electricity is generated using imported diesel. At that time Zelaya started to deal with Chávez, the contact being facilitated by Zelaya’s foreign minister, Patricia Rodas (herself the daughter of a presidential candidate who never became president since a military coup stopped the elections in 1963).

After Zelaya started dealing with Chávez he began using socialist vocabulary, claiming to help the poor (although the costly programs he bragged about were never turned into law or financed, since he neglected the budget process for a long time before being deposed).

Changing the Constitution of Honduras

Importantly, Zelaya also started using the rhetoric that the rich elite, the “oligarchs”, have control over the state through the democratic institutions. For that reason, he argues, the constitution has to be changed. This is very significant, and something that has largely been ignored.

The debate has focused on how he wanted to change the constitution, and the paragraphs cut in stone. Those are five paragraphs that center on not allowing the president to be re-elected. The argument goes that any change to the constitution that does not involve that matter can be initiated by the president himself, so when he suggested a constituting constitutional assembly, the only reasonable reason would be to change the text so that the president can be re-elected—and thus, so that he himself could be re-elected.

However, Zelaya’s counter-argument is that the referendum on creating a constitutional assembly (the so-called quarta urna, forth ballot box) would not be held until together with the next presidential elections, so there is no way he could get re-elected. The counter-argument to this is that Zelaya would not have played by the books, once the forged results of the “opinion poll” were in on the eve of June 28th, but that’s another story.

Let us instead look at what the changes are that he himself hold up as the reason for changing the Constitution: Manuel Zelaya claims that the institutions of the liberal democracy are tools for the rich elite to control the country. That is why a new constitution is needed in Honduras, according to him and according to Hugo Chávez.

Zelaya is in effect, according to himself, aiming to dismantle the liberal democracy—the institutions of the state—and he is singling out a group as the “enemy”: The rich elite, now with the new name “Golpistas,” ‘coupsters’. His followers are implementing his policy by spraying “Golpistas” on the homes and businesses of those they dislike, just like the Nazi brownshirts harassed the Jews.

Suppose he was telling the truth about his justification for changing the constitution; that his intention was not to change the presidential terms, but to do away with the institutions of the liberal democracy, like Chávez has done in Venezuela, and others of his ALBA-partners have done in their countries. Many of the Zelaya-apologists seem to accept this argument, but is it valid?

Logical Flaw

Those who demand Zelaya’s return to the presidency tacitly accept the argument by Chávez and his disciple Zelaya, that…

  1. the institutions of the liberal democracy are undemocratic, which
  2. made it acceptable for Zelaya to use unconstitutional means to change the constitution, since it was done in the name of democracy, and
  3. hence they demand that the “democratically elected” president Zelaya be reinstated.

However, if Zelaya was “democratically elected” then there is democracy, which invalidates point 1 above. There is thus nothing that motivates unconstitutional methods to change the constitution, why also point 2 falls by the wayside.

The argument is thus self-contradictory, the most obvious way in which an argument can be erroneous. If one accepts that Zelaya was “democratically elected,” which everyone does, then one cannot accept that he may legally violate the constitution and the institutions of the liberal democracy. One cannot both have the cake and eat it.

It seems that his basic objection is that he as president cannot do what he wants. Actually, he is not supposed to. It is the whole point of the checks and balances that he wants to do away with, like Chávez already has.

The Future

Although Honduras has saved itself from the immediate threat of having its liberal democracy and democratic institutions destroyed and replaced by a more or less fascistoid or nazistoid state, Chávez with all his other puppet regimes are still there (he bribes them big time with so-called ALBA loans, which is why I call them puppets). Analysis of the fascist states in Europe has shown that the basic dynamics behind such societies is a mob rule, in which the mob must always be kept strongly emotionally engaged in something that upsets them greatly, so that they do not get idle and start complaining about the real problems of their everyday life. There must always be some project, some outer enemy, or both, and the leader will always use hyperbole in his more or less regular diatribes.

Chávez has institutionalized his diatribes in the form of a multi hour TV show every Sunday, called “Aló Presidente” (‘Hello President’). In it he attacks leaders for foreign nations, makes cheap jokes, hires and fires ministers, and orders his subordinates to disobey court orders and laws.

He is encouraging the poor of Colombia to make revolution and to join Venezuela. He is talking about Greater Colombia (the previously united northern South America), and others are talking about a reunited Central America. He is apparently supporting the narco-guerilla FARC in Colombia, providing them with anti-tank missiles from Sweden. He is threatening war against Colombia for accepting US help in fighting the drug lords, and Honduras for deposing his Quisling, Manuel Zelaya.

Chávez’s tone has for years been so exaggerated that it is hard to imagine what else he can do to keep people focused on his agenda. He has already ordered all the stations to air all his appearances. Can he order his citizens to watch TV? Of course, but if he doesn’t have anything to say that will engage them, it will only backfire.

He can also close down opposition media, and he has been working on that for years. There is strong opposition within Venezuela. Perhaps some think that to be a difference to the Third Reich. Actually, it is not. Strong criticism was allowed also against Nazi policies, at least until the start of the war.

PS. Chávez is reportedly interested in buying 100 tanks, 3 subs, 10 war helicopters, and a “large number” of fighting vehicles from Russia. Update: This includes modern 300 mm “Stalin organs,” i.e., rocket launchers.

PS.PS. Russia apparently has agreed to selling those weapons to Venezuela, and furthermore, they will soon deliver missiles with a range of 185 miles (300 km). That is too short to reach major Colombian cities from Venezuela, but far enough to reach Miami from Cuba. By the way, during his recent trip to Iran and Russia, Chávez was pursuing nuclear technology. As he said, his nuclear intentions are every bit as peaceful as those of Ahmedinejad’s Iran. (As I was looking away I did not see if he was winking as he said that.)