Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bachelet and Chávez

In response to a Chilean senate criticism of his government’s decision not to renew the Radio Caracas Televisión broadcasting license, Hugo Chávez pretty harshly criticized the senate, saying it was full of the same people who supported the coup that overthrew Salvador Allende and then later also Operation Condor. In response, Michelle Bachelet has fired back, saying the Senate deserved respect and that it could vote on any declaration it wanted. She also sent an official note to the Venezuelan government.

From a political perspective, this doesn’t seem a very shrewd move by Chávez. Bachelet could easily be in his corner at times (obviously not all times, but at least sometimes). This affair complicates her own position at home precisely at a time when she is looking weak politically, all of which could potentially strengthen the Chilean right, which is currently still quite divided.


Justin Delacour 1:48 PM  

Bachelet strikes me as quite a weak president right now. If she had any sense, she'd just shut up about the feud between Chile's Senate and Chavez.

The Chilean Senate has no business telling the Venezuelan government that it has to renew the broadcast license of a Miami-based group of filthy rich businessmen who used a television channel to actively assist a failed coup against Venezuela's democratically-elected government. What RCTV has done would be considered illegal in any democratic country the world over.

It's a shame that the Chilean "left" --embodied by Bachelet and OAS Secretary General Insulza-- has chosen the road of coddling and appeasing the Chilean right.

Greg Weeks 1:51 PM  

So you think it helps Chávez to go public and weaken her further?

Justin Delacour 2:04 PM  

Bachelet makes herself weaker by coddling the Chilean right. In so doing, she just further emboldens them to make ridiculous demands upon her government.

Greg Weeks 2:10 PM  

So you think it helps Chávez to go public and weaken her further?

Justin Delacour 2:41 PM  

Let's see. The Chilean Senate attacks Venezuela's government, but, according to you, Venezuela's government is supposed to just sit back and shut up in the face of the attack, thereby sacrificing its honor for a "socialist" Chilean president who gives Venezuela virtually nothing in return.

If the Bachelet government was worth two cents in terms of the regional balance of power, it might make sense for Chavez to bite his lip, but since Bachelet does essentially nothing for the region's left, she can hardly expect Chavez to make sacrifices for her.

Greg Weeks 2:49 PM  

So does it help Chávez to go public?

Justin Delacour 3:47 PM  

In the long term, I suspect this feud will help Chavez because it further exposes how Chilean capital controls almost the entire state apparatus in Chile (including Bachelet's government, unfortunately).

Moreover, if a government is attacked publicly, it usually defends itself publicly. That's usually how it goes.

It's really absurd to place blame on Chavez for this. Notice how you turn the whole fiasco into Chavez's fault simply because he responds to a public attack. No mention of Chile's Christian Democrats supporting a stupid initiative like this one in the first place. No critical assessment of how Bachelet should have responded. If all else fails, blame Chavez.

Pretty silly argument, Greg.

Greg Weeks 5:52 PM  

Then your answer is yes. I disagree, for the reasons I gave.

Anonymous,  8:40 PM  

"If it's Chavez it's good."

Justin Delacour 9:10 PM  

Actually, anonymous, that's not my position. I've criticized Chavez before. For example, I criticized his early handling of the feud with Alan Garcia (which has fortunately been resolved).

Unfortunately, though, criticisms of the Chavez government are often ideologically-driven rants rather than truly balanced assessments of the facts.

Anonymous,  10:27 PM  

Most people holding anti Chavez opinions are "ideologically-driven rants" = bad.

Most opinions supporting Chavez are: "truly balanced assessments of the facts" = good.

For Delacour, most of the time, If it’s Chavez it’s good.

That would be all of the time, if it weren’t for that occasion when Chavez had an argument with Alan Garcia.

Since we are talking about rants, and for the sake of other blog visitors I propose we change subjects and discuss the following:

Who is more of a rant, Chavez or García?

I vote Chavez, but not for much.

Greg Weeks 6:35 AM  

For my sake, let's not have anonymous debates on stupid subjects.

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