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December 04, 2005


mark safranski

If Chavez is covertly funding groups ( political or guerilla)in Bolivia and Colombia as is often alleged, this might be a warning from players other than the U.S. to Chavez that destabilization can be a two way street.

A few such bombs might also be a
" Reichstag Fire" excuse to set up a more muscular dictatorship in Venezuela on the Castro model than the current populist authoritarian democracy that Chavez presides over.

A wave of bombings (in apartment buildings) blamed on Chechen rebels preceded the centralization of all Russian security and intelligence agencies under Putin's control and the crackdown on civil liberties in Russia.


Well, there was a military coup attempt, an attempt to shut down the oil industry, and a recall election in the 2002-2003 period. All of this severely disrupted Venezuela's oil production for a time; however, they seem to have got their production back up to the pre-2002 3.2 million bpd level.

I suspect that it really reflects the reduced circumstances of the opposition in Venezuela - trying to knock out a refinery feed is one thing, denting oil supplies to the US would elicit a dim view from their Washington patrons.

As regards the Reichstag fire scenario - why bother? Chavez has more than enough domestic political support to maintain his power base and push on with his programme, the country is the fastest growing economy in the Western hemisphere, and leaving the opposition free to discredit themselves by their lack of any coherent political programme leads to political dividends - and legitimacy - that repression could never bring - they seem to be operating on the Homer Simpson principles of if you don't succeed then complain, cheat and give up; even after 8 years in power, Chavez has never approached anything remotely dictatorial - I can't remember the last time that failed Latin American coup plotters got off so lightly.

phil jones

"If Chavez is covertly funding groups ( political or guerilla)in Bolivia and Colombia"

Just as a matter of interest, what *is* the general ethical opinion on funding political groups in other countries? (Not talking about guerrillas, just political groups.)

I know most country's governments don't like foreigners supporting opposition groups. But don't we all do it? Eg. in Ukrain? So what if Chavez funds political parties in Bolivia?


Rob - what is the "democratic opposition" if they bomb pipelines.

Those parties that pulled back from taking part in yesterdays election even after their requests were fullfilled and this fact certified by the OAS?

mark safranski

Well Chavez got off rather lightly too for his putsch attempt, considering, you know, he's the president of Venezuela now instead of doing hard time or dead.

Why bother moving toward a dictatorship ? Because that's clearly where the man wants to go by his public statements. Might it be smarter not to do so ? Yes. Where does the political dynamic of his power base take him though ?


When does a power base become the will of the people...

mark safranski

" When does a power base become the will of the people... "

I really don't take the second part very seriously as since it amounts to invoking a political " magic cloud" to justify whatever a " vanguard" already wants to do.

The idea that an electorate can *legitimately* abolish the rights of the minority or of future generations is specious. Or for that matter, that the electorate *intended* to do so based on the *subsequent* actions of the government months or years later.


The bazaar is bizarre...

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