"Calling Chavez "El Comandante" makes him sound authoritarian," the unnamed reader emailed in protest. "People don't usually call him that (unless they are in the army already) ... they call him "presidente" or Chavez!"
The fact however is that President Hugo Chavez Frias is indeed a military man with a military rank to prove it; and, indeed, he is the commander of Venezuela's democratic destiny by virtue of a series of popular elections which he won majoritarily ... no question about that!
To suppress or censor the fact of Chavez' military background or his current position as the supreme leader of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela would, of course, be an anathema to everything that Venezuela stands for ... truthfulness, honor and the democratic destiny of all of the Venezuelan people!
Our reader continues that "saying that the government agencies have become 'pig troughs' is simply slanderous..." Well is it?
Even the pro-government media, albeit reluctantly, is forced to admit that the government apparatus is littered with examples of blatant indolence, malfeasance and outright corruption ... one only has to point to ONIDEX (the Passport & Identification Office), the Housing Institute ... even the nation's various police forces ... to understand that government agencies have indeed become 'pig troughs' ... the reader may perceive the truth as slanderous/libelous but it remains the truth nonetheless.
S/he even goes on to admit that "there is no doubt there is corruption, but why don't you talk about the fight AGAINST corruption, which is alive and well!" Well ... yes, indeed, we do! But whether we like it or not (and we don't!) the fight against corruption in Venezuela appears to be waging a losing battle. Sure enough, President Chavez and some of his Ministers hold forth from time to time about the dire necessity to deal conclusively with corruption but, to take only one example, when a diplomatic "Elliot Nass" was appointed to conclusively purge corruption in Venezuela's Consular service, he was soon sidelined to the extent that he was officially denied access to the Foreign Ministry (MRE) offices in Caracas because he had only just begun to step on a series of delicately-placed corrupt administration toes.
What, indeed, is strenuously needed is the re-instatement of the MRE's ousted "Elliot Nass" with Chavez' fullest authority to REALLY get to grips with the corruption that everyone sees and recognizes as endemic throughout the administration, but nobody dares to tackle.
An anti-corruption commissioner was indeed appointed under the preceding Caldera government, but the incumbent lacked the teeth and the determination to get the job done and ended up, himself, being cited for requisitioning Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) executive jets to take him and his family on shopping trips to Florida and joyrides to Disney World et.al.
"Saying that Chavez puts his foot in his mouth is just stupid," our reader complains. "He talks like the man in the street and Venezuelans eat it up ... he knows exactly what he is doing. The only people who don't like it are the Venezuelan bourgeoisie who whisper in shocked tones about how "vulgar" he is (sounds like your article). When he said it smelled like sulphur at the UN, people applauded."
"Chavez has 'cojones' and people respond to that ... he is a force larger than life ... he has unified large portions of South America and is welcomed around the world in the epicenters of power -- Russia, China, Iran ... you can be sure people take him VERY seriously then!"
Without a doubt, Hugo Chavez has the necessary 'cojones' to unequivocally stand up to the Bush administration and the assorted Beltway Bullies in Washington D.C. And, without a shred of doubt, as witness his most recent foreign forays, Chavez is welcomed around the world ... maybe NOT in Washington or New York ... but Wall Street and the White House are basket cases of their own making and are very obviously in terminal decline with the value of the US dollar.
Without a doubt, Venezuela is "the most democratic and has the most free press of just about any country anywhere" and our reader writes "the standard of living has been raised dramatically!" While, naturally there are those in the up-scale suburbs of the Caracas Country Club, Lagunita and Los Palos Grandes who might disagree, yes, the standard of living for millions of Venezuelans has been "raised dramatically" and millions are receiving primary health care and free education for the very first time ... even if there is still a long way to go to achieve Valhalla.
Controversially our reader writes "last time I arrived in Caracas, we had to wait in the plane and a bunch of upper class bitches, after gossiping about all the dreamy clothes they bought in Miami, were complaining that they were back to "mi Comandante" with all the sarcasm they could muster ... they were unable to see that their 'totalitarian, despotic, vulgar' Chavez has NOT prevented a single dyed-blonde from traveling to their beloved Miami so they can visit all the other 'gusanos' (Spanish for worms or slugs) as often as they like..."
Oh! How I wish people would just pause awhile and think! Just the same as the gringos and disenfranchised 'rich upper class bitches' throw adjectives like 'totalitarian,' 'despotic,' 'vulgar' etc., to the wind, wouldn't it be absolutely wonderful if Venezuelans could stop up and end the childish slagging matches! Why is is seemingly necessary to describe an opposition diehard as an 'escualido' (squalid) or some equally depreciative word for a pro-government supporter. All the moreso when the excoriation is mostly based on what one wears, mannerisms and assumptions of lifestyle?
What is to be achieved in the long run, other than further destructive sectarian divisions that are wrecking President Chavez' best ambitions for a truly democratic future for Venezuela.
Rather a recognition that in ANY revolution there are wrongs that must be righted, assumptions that must be revised and corrected and general acceptances that must be countered ... such as ingrained corruption at every level of Venezuela's society!
To hang oneself up on labeling President Chavez as 'El Comandante' is to turn a blinder on the essential process of what is really happening in Venezuela and, without first recognizing the things that are currently wrong, President Chavez' personal commitment to his famous three Rs -- Revision, Rectification, Reimpulse (a fresh start) -- simply goes out the window, down the tube or otherwise into oblivion.
Roy S. Carson
Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.HELP US TO KEEP BRINGING YOU THE TRUTH