It looks like it’s been a good month for Venezulan President Hugo Chavez.
Viva Hugo Chavez!
This blog has taken a pro-Chavez editorial line from the outset – and sees no need for change on that front. Viva Chavez!
I put Hugo Chavez’ lucky run down to good karma – that and the truly dreadful karma of his enemies. But a man may be known by his foes as much as by his friends – and that’s another reason Chavez has my respect.
During Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza, President Chavez led the world by breaking diplomatic ties with the rogue Apartheid State.
Then came an attack on a synagogue in Caracas. Hugo Chavez was widely blamed in the western press for fermenting an ‘anti-Semitic’ attack, although no real evidence was given to support the claim. For example, David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, said “The total disrespect of a Jewish house of worship reflects the escalating climate of hostility towards Jews in Venezuela”
However, it seems the Venezuelan police may be able to clear up mysteries like the Caracas synagogue attack quite promptly. It must make the FBI green with envy. Within a few days of the desecration, there were 11 arrests. Guess what – seven were policemen – and one of the arrestees was a security guard at the synagogue! The local Jewish community quitely thanked Chavez for prompt action in solving the crime. The rest of the world shut up.
Next came the referendum over electoral terms. The position supported by Chavez won this time, rather clearly. It did not stop the western mass media from churlishly reporting Hugo Chavez scores a hollow victory.
We are warned that Chavez could be President until mid-century, under the new law. Of course, there’s a small matter of winning elections until then, but clearly the naysayers are nervous. They look at Fidel Castro, they look at the excellent public health systems these independently-minded latins can build – and they worry. Good, I say! Let them be worried! Here’s an example of them worrying aloud:
Using a long and nearly incomprehensible referendum question, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela won the right Sunday to remove constitutional limits on terms of office. As long as Venezuela’s voters continue to elect him, Chavez could now stay in office until 2049, as he once said he wants to do.Even if we don’t take that literally, it is still unsettling to hear Chavez, the head of Venezuela’s government since 1998, say he needs to remain in power until at least 2019 to realize his goal of revolutionizing the oil-rich country’s economic and social structure.
Today comes the latest twist in President Chavez’ lucky run. No-one else that I’ve noticed is scoring this as a victory for Chavez – and to my knowledge, he hasn’t commented. But somehow, I can’t imagine he’s too devastated…
It turns out that a significant slice of Venuzuela’s wealthiest citizens entrusted their fortunes to a Texan banker and entrepreneur called Allen Stanford. He seemed such a nice and trustworthy guy – and the Antiguan dual national has a knighthood as well.
But now the proprietor if Stanford International Bank (SIB) has done a runner. Reuters informs us that Stanford had billions from Venezuela wealthy:
Venezuelan clients of SIB include professionals with a few thousand dollars on deposit and others who had invested as much as tens of millions of dollars, said the industry source, who asked not to be named.
Wealthy Venezuelans often keep their money overseas, fearful of the political instability under socialist President Hugo Chavez who draws most his support from the poor.
'Sir' Allen Stanford - who'd have thought a billionaire Texan cricket fan and Basil Fawlty lookalike might double as a swindler?
“We put our money overseas because in Venezuela there is no security for investors,” said a retiree, who stood in line at SIB with her husband and whose savings had come from home rentals.
When will Venezuela’s wealthiest folk figure out there is no security in Texan conmen? You’d think – after eight years of George W. Bush – they might have worked that out by now…
Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez may gain a reprieve from the incessant battering he’s copped from the Venezuelan elite since he first came to power.
For a while, they may focus more on rebuilding their finances and less on tormenting a fine President who works courageously for the majority of his people – not just for the privileged few.