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We can haz REAL Venezuelan oppo intellectuals, pls?

foolish-venezuelans.jpg

"Foolish Venezuelans! It's Chávez's fault that you've lost the freedom to suffer from the global crisis of capitalism!"

I don't think I need to translate the rest of this banner (drawn by El Tano) from Aporrea.org, do you?

So, I guess you heard all about the debate-that-didn't-happen recently in Venezuela, eh? You probably heard that brave Mario Vargas Llosa, ex-Peruvian writer self-exiled to Spain after a spectacularly failed presidential bid of his own, challenged Chavecito to a duel of wits, and the latter took one look at the dropped gauntlet, screamed like a little girl, and ran.

Well, that's the mainstream media version. Which, of course, is bullshit. The real version goes more like this...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, while celebrating 10 years of his weekly TV show, 'Hello President', invited participants from a right wing conference taking place in Caracas, four times, to a live debate on the show. After initially accepting, the right wing intellectuals then proposed different conditions for the debate and finally refused to participate.

Chavez made the proposal on Thursday, the first day of what was to be a four day marathon of his national issues discussion show following its 10 year anniversary.

He proposed a debate about the crisis of capitalism and "any other issues" between pro-capitalist intellectuals and pro-socialist intellectuals, specifically between those invited by the Ministry of Culture to attend a conference on the crisis of capitalism, and those attending the "International Conference for Freedom and Democracy: The Latin American Challenge" organised by the Centre for the Dissemination of Economic Knowledge for Freedom (CEDICE).

Chavez had proposed the debate for Saturday, but it did not happen, and on Sunday 'Hello President' was cancelled. The Ministry of Communications and Information press release said it had been cancelled "for technical reasons".

So, turns out it was the right-wingers who all screamed like someone had poured hot sauce down their pants, and refused to debate some very capable, genuine, for-realz left-wing intellectuals, with Chavecito generously offering to sit in as moderator. Big surprise there! Now, what were those "technical reasons"?

Well, for one, Chavecito found out from a reliable source (his own justice minister, that is) that there was an assassination plot afoot in El Salvador, where right-wing terrorists were waiting to shoot down the Cuban plane he and Evo were due to arrive on together for the inauguration of their compañero, the newly elected Salvadoran president Mauricio Funes.

The other "technical reasons" were as follows:

On Friday morning, following Chavez's proposal, three of the right wing intellectuals from the CEDICE conference, Mexican writer Enrique Krauze, Mario Vargas and Mexican intellectual Jorge Castaneda publicly announced that they were available to attend the debate. However they asked to debate the president.

That day at 5pm Chavez formally called for the debate for 11pm on Saturday in the presidential palace, to be broadcast live on Hello President. He said, "Even though I said I'd step aside and let [the intellectuals] debate, I accept, with those who want to accompany me...Without avoiding any topic, any topic is valid."

At 6.40 pm the president of CEDICE, Rafael Alfonzo responded in a press conference saying they accepted the debate but they proposed, "that for greater efficiency and clarity that it be carried out between two people, the president Hugo Chavez Frias and the writer Mario Vargas Llosa."

And 7.40 pm, Chavez commented on his show that it was "regrettable...they don't want to discuss, what they want is a show," said they were still invited. He confirmed he could help moderate but that the conditions stayed the same.

"What they want is to personalise it and they ask for fairness, if it's as an intellectual, I'm a soldier. [Vargas] is a laureate intellectual," he said.

Vargas responded on CNN accusing Chavez of being dishonest, confused, and uncertain of his ideas, and said "[Chavez's] proposal to debate wasn't serious, it was just a gesture or an ambush."

Here, we can see that the vice-regal Vargas is projecting his pompous ass off. In fact, it was the oppos whose proposal wasn't serious. If it had been, they would have attended the debate, regardless of conditions. That didn't happen. They wanted a made-for-TV faux-forum in which to "challenge" an "uneducated" man* they're openly calling a "dictator"--the better to win brownie points from all their fellow "intellectuals" (notice the quotation marks; there for a reason, kiddies.) It was they who were being dishonest, confused, and uncertain of their ideas.

Now, why do you suppose that is?

Well, as usual, Your Humble One has her thoughts. Vargas Llosa & Co. were all obviously there to try to prop up an economic theory that is crumbling all over the globe right now. They're still defending neoliberal capitalism, even though it failed more than twenty years ago in Latin America, has failed steadily in Africa during the same time span, and is now playing catch-up in the Northern Hemisphere as well.

It's very touching to see how tenaciously they cling to this outmoded idea, which Venezuelans decided to dump most unceremoniously during the Caracazo of February and early March, 1989. But it's also sad, because it tells you something about all these right-wing "intellectuals"--namely, that they have not had ONE new idea in more than twenty years.

Maybe that's why they're so reluctant to debate actual leftist intellectuals, and why they'd rather just stage a show in which they bombard their favorite non-white whipping boy with bullshit and see how much of it sticks.

Of course, even if Chavecito had agreed to be on that show, which he was wise enough not to do, he would still have pwned them all--including that foul-tempered, hair-triggered, overrated Mario Vargas Sore-Loser. And he would have done it armed with nothing but the plain old facts. One of which, inconveniently for the oppos, is that Venezuela has been doing exceedingly well for almost as long as he's been in office, and that the global economic crisis probably won't hurt it as badly as it will all the other countries who have not been as quick to decouple from that miserable, fraudulent "market" economy that Vargas Llosa is still so devoted to defending.

Not bad for a guy with, supposedly, no education.*

*Chavecito is, in fact, PLENTY educated. Besides his military-academy officer training, which is equal to that of any patrician white guy from the "democratic" high military command of the ancien régime, he has university degrees in engineering and political science. He is also a voracious reader and an autodidact to beat them all. Which no oppo "journalist" or "intellectual" will dare to accurately note; to hear them tell it, he was only ever a barefoot, illiterate grunt, who learned nothing in the army except how to shoot. (Wow, the oppos lied to you again, people of the white Anglo world. Who knew they were capable of such a thing?)