July 26, 2005


Venezuela's Chavez lashes back at cardinal (AP, 7/19/05)

President Hugo Chavez has denied an outspoken cardinal's allegation that he is leading Venezuela toward a dictatorship as tensions mounted between the leftist leader and the Roman Catholic Church.

Chavez said anyone who thinks his "revolutionary" government is gradually turning into a dictatorial regime "is crazy enough to be tied up or just ignorant (and) doesn't know what's happening in Venezuela."

The statements made by Chavez in Lima, Peru, where he was attending an Andean summit meeting, were released by his press office in Caracas on Monday. A day earlier, Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara said Chavez's administration "has seized control of all the branches of government" in Venezuela.

The cardinal warned that "true democracy" does not exist in Venezuela, and said the president is steering the world's fifth largest oil exporter toward a Cuba-style dictatorship.

"The only solution is democratic, which must involve the resistance of all the people," Castillo Lara said.

The church has been one of the loudest critics of Chavez, a former paratroop commander and self-styled revolutionary. Chavez, in turn, has described the church leadership as a "tumor."

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 26, 2005 7:13 PM

Chavez is not "leading Venezuela toward a dictatorship"...it already is a dictatorship...

Posted by: Foos at July 26, 2005 7:26 PM

by cardinal castillo lara's description, the u.s. is also being led toward a dictatorship.

foos: chavez, like our putative dictator, is a popularly elected leader.

Posted by: lonbud at July 26, 2005 8:03 PM


The Church seems quite happy with W and W with the Church, as wiotness his giving them another Supreme Court seat.

Posted by: oj at July 26, 2005 9:17 PM


Did Chavez win 58% of the vote last time, or 42%?

Is he a democratic leader?

Are you claiming that Bush will dissolve the Court and Congress, and hold a plebiscite to remain President?

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 26, 2005 9:21 PM

oj: so the catholic church is the global arbiter of what constitutes a dictatorship?

jim: no, but i am asking if siezing "control of all the branches of government" constitutes leading the country toward dictatorship in venezuela, why oughtn't it mean the same thing here?

Posted by: lonbud at July 26, 2005 9:50 PM

It's the voters who have seized control of the various branches of the US government - from the hands of the treasonous socialist Democrats who a la Chamberlain would be happy to ignore the Islamofascists and declare "peace in our time".

Posted by: obc at July 26, 2005 9:58 PM

lonbud - If "winning elections" and "seizing control" are the same thing, then I guess all democracies are dictatorships.

Posted by: pj at July 26, 2005 10:16 PM

Was Bill Clinton a dictator? LBJ a dictator? JFK? Eisenhower? Truman? FDR? Coolidge? And so on. They were duly elected, and their party controlled the legislature (for a time).

Just like today.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 26, 2005 10:18 PM

you guys are mighty touchy about the whole dictatorship thing; i believe that says something in and of itself.

to begin with, venezuela and america are very different kettles of fish. i was just pointing out the absurdity of an official of the catholic church (of all institutions) complaining that a democratically elected leader is leading his country toward dictatorship because he's trying to control all the branches of his government.

clearly the corruption and oppressive control of the former oligarchy in venezuela gave rise to the popularity of a leader like chavez, and just as clearly he has had to resort to some dirty pool in order to pursue his vision and the expressed will of the people of his nation for change. no matter how you slice it, it can't be tidy business.

in one sense, i give our government credit for not having the cia arrange to off him early on in his presidency -it's certainly out of character given our previous approach to left-leaning democratically elected leaders in that part of the world.

i never said bush (by implication) is a dictator, but you can't have it both ways, boys.

Posted by: lonbud at July 26, 2005 11:39 PM


Of course the dictatorship is coming, we just want it kept quiet for now so rounding enemies of the state up is easier.

Posted by: oj at July 26, 2005 11:53 PM


Actually it was you who chose to use the Cardinal standard.

Posted by: oj at July 26, 2005 11:56 PM

oj: no, it was the cardinal himself.

by cardinal castillo lara's description...

Posted by: lonbud at July 26, 2005 08:03 PM

Posted by: lonbud at July 27, 2005 12:38 AM

Yes, I'm willing to live by the Cardinal's standards.

Posted by: oj at July 27, 2005 12:44 AM

. . . clearly [Chavez] has had to resort to some dirty pool in order to pursue his vision and the expressed will of the people of his nation for change. no matter how you slice it, it can't be tidy business. . . .

Break a few eggs to make the omlette, eh?

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 27, 2005 6:46 AM

Funny, lonbud, I don't recall when Cardinal Lara gave up his rights to speak as a citizen of Venezuela.

Also, if Chavez's bullyboys shoot the Cardinal, I sincerely doubt we will see a Hollywood movie made about it.

But one other thing about Chavez, he's been a real boost for South Florida real estate, as middle to upper middle class Venezuelans flee by the thousands taking their money and expertise with them.

Posted by: bart at July 27, 2005 7:11 AM

The Left is moronic. Now Bush=Chavez? Lonbud knows that the Church has no coercive power, only the power of suasion. Are opinions that frightening to you guys?

Posted by: at July 27, 2005 11:39 AM

The left made the moral calculation a very long time ago that it is morally superior to the right. Now that it is being challenged on all fronts (with regards to that self-referant decision), it is going bonkers.

Chavez is standing up for the little guy. Bush is Nero. I just know that has to be true, because my psyche (indeed, my life) depends on it.

Posted by: ratbert at July 27, 2005 1:16 PM

lonbud is right. That's why they want to confiscate our guns, so we won't be able fight back.

Posted by: erp at July 27, 2005 2:06 PM
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