February 14, 2009

WHAT IS YOUR SUFFERING TO ME?:

Closing In On Hugo Chávez (Edward Schumacher-Matos, February 14, 2009, Washington Post)

Barring an oil miracle, the former army paratrooper is slowly being undone by his economic mismanagement and corruption, like any of a number of populist strongmen before him.

Oil prices may recover somewhat from their current lows of around $40 a barrel, but not soon and not anywhere near the more than $80 a barrel that Chávez needs to stave off a major currency devaluation that would stoke rampaging inflation and food shortages. His is a chronicle of a political death foretold, an old story that ended in most of Latin America in the 1980s but that Chávez and too many Venezuelans chose to revisit.

There is a lesson here for the new Obama administration. It should not engage Chávez in public quarreling and certainly should not work privately against him inside Venezuela. Both approaches are a fool's errands, ones that leftover Cold War warriors foisted on George W. Bush during his first term. The clever Chávez verbally made Bush into a laughingstock south of the border and badly damaged hemispheric trust in the United States when the Bush administration seemed to endorse a 2002 coup against Chávez that failed.

Obama should merely ignore Chávez and let Venezuelans take care of him.


Or at least that;'s the lesson if you don't care about the lives of Venezuelans. If you believe they deserve better then the lesson is we should have stepped in and made the coup work.


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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 14, 2009 11:12 AM
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