Violence in Venezuela Tonight

Tonight violence erupted in Venezuela as police opened fire on a large crowd of people protesting the increasingly dictatorial rule of Hugo Chavez. CNN reports that at least 12 people were killed and 96 wounded. Chavez ordered private television stations shut down.

Chavez is a socialist who hobnobs with Fidel Castro, and like Castro he talked a big game about the poor and the workers until they started talking back. Chavez refuses to recognize the leader of the largest labor group in Venezuela, for example.

The kicker, though, is that Chavez has been relatively popular with not only Leftists but also with some anti-war Right wingers such as AntiWar.Com’s Justin Raimondo.

That Chavez had a dictatorial bent (he had previously led a failed military coup against the elected government of Venezuela) was apparent to many people a long time ago, but Raimondo chose to see Chavez through rose-colored glasses, dismissing critics who predicted exactly the sort of thing that happened tonight. Back on January 5, 2001, for example, Raimondo wrote,

The recent elections to the National Assembly returned followers of Chavez by a resounding 90 percent-plus. Chavez isn’t dreaming about the
dictatorship of the proletariat, in spite of the ultra-left sympathies of
some of his followers: instead, he dreams of “a confederation of Latin
American states for the new century,” one “joining the Caribbean basin
though railways and linking them with the great rivers such as the Orinoco,
the Amazon and the Plata,” which he calls “the arteries of our continent.” Like Bolivar, he dreams of a sovereign, independent, and prosperous South
America: to the US State Department, this is a crime. To the people of
Venezuela, and beyond, it is an ambition that may be worth fighting for.

Yeah, and apparently worth opening fire with snipers on a crowd of protesters.

I certainly hope that we can now expect to see Raimondo chastise himself in one of his extended rants about how sick he is of pseudo-libertarians singing the praises of a socialist dictator-wannabes.

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