Pat Robertson was right about Chavez. He just should have kept his opinion to himself
The Meltdown Of Hugo ChavezChavez is a clown. Unfortunately, he's a clown with a lot of money and a lot of support from the Left. Compare the treatment he gets from the MSM to that given Pervez Musharraf. Chavez has been given wide latitude in order to serve as a socialist counterbalance to the heretofore unchecked capitalist juggernaut. The problem is that Chavez is a thug. A brute. He's like a Tony Soprano. At times you like the guy but then, all of a sudden, out of the blue he snaps and in an instant someone is dead or brutally maimed. How many times does the world have to witness the outbursts before the allure of Chavez is completely dispelled.
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, November 26, 2007 4:20 PM PT
Latin America: Hugo Chavez's reaction to being fired as mediator between Colombia and his narcoterrorist pals shows the evil game Venezuela's dictator has played against his neighbor. It also signals trouble at home.
Related Topics: Latin America & Caribbean
In telling Chavez that his services would no longer be needed, Colombia President Alvaro Uribe was firm but polite. He thanked Chavez for his "help" in seeking a swap between 500 FARC guerrillas in jail in Colombia and some 45 "high value" hostages being held by the same terrorists who've been at war with Colombia since 1964.
But as a mediator, Chavez proved he could keep neither a promise nor a secret, mainly because it was a fiction to think he could be partial. But the blow to his ego obscured any knowledge of that. "Colombia has spit in our faces," he said.
In theory, a mediator should persuade two sides to each give up something to achieve a common end. The only one who gave up anything, however, was Uribe, who watched Chavez cavort with terrorists before TV cameras, giving them a legitimacy in Caracas they never had known.
Even worse, Chavez proved to be acting as an agent of the terrorists. Uribe's sudden cutoff of the mediation effort at a hastily organized press conference last Wednesday suggested disturbing new information.
On Sunday, Chavez confirmed it: "I think Colombia deserves another president, it deserves a better president," he said.
That followed a discussion in a U.S. prison between extradited FARC terrorist Ricardo Palmera, aka "Simon Trinidad," and another mediator and Chavez ally appointed by Uribe, Senator Piedad Cordoba. They discussed "a transitional government" with the terrorist as a bargaining chip for the hostage swap.
On Monday, Chavez repeated what he had in mind to make sure Uribe understood. "Reconciliation is impossible," he said. "We have to wait for a new government in Colombia we can talk with. I hope it arrives sooner rather than later."
No wonder Uribe lashed out, saying Chavez was less interested in mediating than in overthrowing Colombia's government. That may have sounded far-fetched, but it's what the guerrillas have been fighting for since 1964, and Chavez's admiration for them is no secret. Uribe, who has come down on the guerrillas harder than any other Colombian leader, is the president they want gone.
"You seek continental domination" Uribe said, and "a Marxist FARC government" to replace Colombia's elected one. He also pointed out that it was prime time for Chavez to be trying this, with the Venezuelan's public support at home flagging just one week before a constitutional referendum to grant him absolute power.
What better way to make Venezuelans forget their problems than to whip up populist sentiment against Colombia. It also is noteworthy that he's rousing military support against the neighboring state, something he may really find use for as rebellion grows at home.
Weekend polls showed that ever since the king of Spain publicly told him to "shut up" in Chile two weeks ago, support for Chavez's move to seize absolute power in Venezuela has fallen below 50%.
Student protests have engulfed Caracas and other towns in protest against his dictatorship. Chavez has denounced them as "rich spoiled brats." But in reality, they often are a pivotal political force, particularly since they include young people from Marxist and lower-class backgrounds.
Meanwhile, the shelves at food stores are empty and TV shows run by shuttered station RCTV have been canceled.
For Chavez, this could be a long, hard winter of discontent. Globally, he's become a laughingstock. He's fighting with Chile's socialist leader, Michelle Bachelet, over high oil prices while at home he is facing some of the strongest challenges yet to his iron rule.
To achieve absolute power, he likely will resort to coercion and political-machine tactics. Yet there's growing likelihood he won't be able to cheat his way out of defeat against a sizable margin.
What's left, then, but to jealously whip up sentiment against Uribe, a neighbor who has always paid him undeserved courtesy and whose free market policies have made Colombia a star in the hemisphere. Don't be surprised if he looks to destabilize or confront this nation as testimony to the ruin of his own.