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Hugo Chavez: Goose and Gander

David Paulin takes another look at the world according to Hugo Chavez, and it's worth a look. From his blog, The Big Carnival...

In Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela it’s a crime to “insult” the president. The offence became part of the penal code in March and mandates prison terms of up to two and one-half years.

How fortunate for Venezuela’s president that no such laws exist in America, and that President Bush never fomented the kind of political violence and polarization here that Chavez has introduced into his country.

David continues at considerable length and with much personal insight, including having personally conducted exit polling in Caracas, and it is well worth your read.

So long as Hugo Chavez has control of Venezuela, stopping at a Citgo station remains akin to investing in the Crips or Bloods. I would not accept free fuel. I will sooner run out of gasoline and walk.

5 Comments

I guess last week's repeal of habeas corpus, giving the president the sole authority to hold any US citizen in indefinite detention without trial, is ok in your book, then? Whatever its faults, Venezuela, like the rest of the civilized world, still honors habeas corpus.

YOu comments are nothing more then opinions of your own backed with no concrete facts. Read 9-11 by Noam Chomsky and open up your eyes to real facts.

Mr. Jones,

You are fortunately wrong.

The President did not suspend habeas corpus, nor did he take "sole authority to hold any US citizen in indefinite detention without trial" - and had he done so, we (ThreatsWatch) would have made it clear that we disagreed with such a move.

What we don't do is subscribe to the nearly hysterical flaws of logic found in coverage of the Military Commissions Act (MCA).

The handling of 'unlawful enemy combatants' as defined by the MCA is far from what you've described. Specifically stating that it is used to address alien unlawful enemy combatants whether here in the US or in another nation other than that of their origin.

Those held under such circumstances will not receive the benefits of habeaus corpus, and the reasoning for that should be clear to anyone interested in winning this war. Additionally - you might want to note that the verdicts of any military commission may be appealed to the Convening Authority, the Court of Military Commissions Review, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Are you suggesting that Venezuela under Hugo Chavez would afford the same to enemy combatants? Or even citizens of Venezuela protesting the Chavez government?

"In Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela it’s a crime to “insult” the president. The offence became part of the penal code in March and mandates prison terms of up to two and one-half years.

You're either attempting to spin or you are too lazy to research -or both.

The Venezuelan laws that you decry were a response to private television networks for broadcasting hours of pro-strike propaganda free of charge during a strike in 2002 as well as openly supporting undemocratic methods to oust President Chavez, including a coup d'etat in 2002.

Does it seem heavy-handed?, compared to let's say:

US Code, Title 18, Section 871, which covers "threats against the President and presidential successors," and prohibits any offense or threat made against the President of the United States.

Goose and Gander? You gonna feel better not buying Venezuelan fuel in exchange for Saudi fuel?

MPG - perhaps you didn't notice but the text you quoted is a quote from a piece by David Paulin. Not that Steve doesn't agree fully.

As to the laws being in response to 'propaganda' broadcast on networks in Venezuela or coup attempts - the central theme remains the same. Chavez restricts the liberty of his subjects as he attempts to further his reign in Venezuela. The makings of a dictator in chief.

As to US law you reference - it is specifically aimed at threats against the holder of the office. Certainly rational observers can recognize the difference between threats against the life of a President and 'insults' aimed at Chavez. Attempts to paint them as morally equivalent or political similar are doomed to failure. Chavez is - in the words of Nancy Pelosi - an everyday thug. And like bullies around the world do, he is attempting to squelch dissent within his nation.

Further, the laws of the US protect the rights of citizens to 'insult' office holders and, as evidenced daily, our citizens do so. Likewise for the spread of both truthful and false propaganda.