In fact, it is too early to still have a complete analysis of the significance of yesterday's meeting which has held public attention today. Besides, I was on the road and still, with all the driving time to think about the events, I could not pull together all the threads. However there is one thing that we can consider tonight, the reactions of folks today as a revealer of our present national psyche.
The opposition: warmly basking in the glow
For the Venezuelan opposition, today was a day of general exhilaration, the first positive day we have had since August 16, 2004. Simply put, the bully has been faced down and the main power in the Americas has recognized that there is something rotten in the Venezuelan electoral system. No solution is offered, no UN coming to hold our elections, no marines landing (not that we want them), but at least our problem is acknowledged (1). If anything the doldrums of the coming elections will be shaken in still unforeseen ways, but shaken they will be. It will take a few weeks to see how this all play out, but it is possible to say without speculation that the political parties will hurriedly be reviewing their strategies.
There are some dissenting voices, though. For example Tal Cual had a discrete coverage and had even its catch line of the day rather negative. Sure enough, Maria Corina Machado, MCM, is not the best representative of the Venezuelan opposition. But, then again, she is not running for office and she is not pretending to speak for all: she is just stating what is obvious for any independent and critical observer of the Venezuelan scene. The real problem with Tal Cual is that it dislikes Bush deeply (which by the way happens with many other folks in the opposition). Now, there are many reasons to hate Bush, but he is still the president of the US, elected this time with a convincing margin. One must be able to separate Bush war role from the –institutional- move of Bush receiving all sorts of people in the interests of HIS country (Insulza, the new OAS secretary was received the same day as Maria Corina Machado and that does not make Insulza the slave of Bush in the news). Certainly being seen with Bush could be counterproductive for MCM on the long run, but where else can SUMATE go to make its case? Havana?
The ruling chavismo: psychotic dissociation
Today's news really comes from that side. In a sentence, all the seams of the chavista ill tailored ideological suit became visible.
The highlight was the reception at the National Assembly of Frank Wolf, congressman from Virginia in a courtesy visit. He had the misfortune (or the direct intention?) to say that if the government keeps pressuring SUMATE on trumped up charges, that would be an incentive for Congress to give even more money to the NED, and through this one to SUMATE. The message was to defend SUMATE; but of course in Venezuela where everything has become so personal the chavista assemblymen went up in hysteria to attack MCM, not getting the advice of Wolf: if you want to get rid of MCM, do not make her a martyr. When Iris Varela rudely interrupted the session to start a long, rude, vulgar, obnoxious and abusive rant (not to mention that she should have been arrested by the Fashion Police lead by Miss Manners) we reached climax. To say that Varela was undone at the hinges is to be charitable. To say that she ridiculed herself and the parliament for letting her say the idiotic things she said is mild. To say that she did not impress Wolf and that she gave him even more reasons to stand by his words is an understatement.
But this was seen everywhere in the chavistas that spoke today, in more or less varying degrees, be it the foreign minister or Varela, through Tascon. And that was very revealing of the frame mind of chavismo. I will not go into the obvious immorality and double standards of chavismo, who frowns that the NED gave 54 000 USD to SUMATE when Chavez spent billions of dollars buying votes (see the running PDVSA stories). No, what is more interesting to observe is that chavismo has repeated to itself the mantra that even after 5 full years in office they were still newcomers, still the victims, still the target of everybody's envy, that we realize today they actually believe all that crap. They actually believe that MCM is a CIA agent receiving millions personally. They have been repeating to themselves so many lies for so long that they have started believing them!!!
There is another much more worrisome thing. We thought that they used character assassination of people like MCM as a strategy to bring down their organizations, the "shoot the messenger" attack. But today we also see that they are unable, UNABLE, to actually differentiate MCM from SUMATE. They have become so obsequious to Chavez, so imbued by him, so servile, that they cannot imagine that everyone at SUMATE is to MCM just as they are to Chavez.
Now, this is very troubling! For example, the Posada Carriles thing is scary as I realize that even deputies to the National Assembly of Venezuela do believe that Bush just needs to say the word to have him sent to Venezuela! They do thing that things overseas are just like at home where Chavez decides on all matters..........
The US ambassador, William Brownfield, was at the meeting where Wolf was all but physically aggressed (and Wolf seemed unflappable through the whole thing, to his credit). I am sure that Brownfield is quite aware on how things work out on Venezuela. But I think I sensed on his diplomatic face that he did not realize how far this had gone, as surprised as I was myself to see chavismo in blatant psychotic collapse!
Justice missing in action
To close this I would like to point out something to any chavista reader that this blog might have left. Let's assume that indeed MCM is a coup monger and that she should be in jail. Why is she not at least on trial by now? How come that if her alleged crimes were made in April 2002 she is still running around 3 years and one month later? Don't you see that in a country where justice sorts of work like in the US, when you only keep accusing people for that long simply makes you lose your credibility?
The slap that Bush sent you yesterday, you have only your inefficiency to blame. You served it to Bush in a silver platter. How many such platters are left in Bush's pantry?
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1) I have translated the first paragraph of the article of Charito Rojas in Notitarde, just to get the reader a feel for the opposition elation:
María Corina Machado does have an
visa! Yes! I must confess that I was prey of a great joy when I saw the director of SUMATE installed in the Oval Office with Gerge W. Bush himself. Bravo for Sumate! They have been steadfast and they have been able to sit down wher eit matters, with the president of the first country in the World, no matter how disgusting one might find this. But what did you expect? Alter calling the president an alcoholic, in need of a man to the secretary of state, coup monger and terrorist to any bureacrat, sh...y capitalists to all of US , then they start screaming like a truck full of pigs when they get their USA visa revoked. Only then do they remember the "majesty" of their positions and they demand respect. US