Saturday, June 09, 2007


It’s one thing that Hugo Chávez has yet to figure out. Lula just chided him for calling the Brazilian Senate “parrots” of Washington, because Chávez needs that very same senate to approve Venezuela’s membership in Mercosur. Earlier in the year, Chávez apologized after an identical incident where he criticized the Chilean senate, which put Bachelet in a difficult position.

Calling people parrots, stooges, puppets, pawns, lackeys, etc. may play well to an internal audience, but can actually have an adverse effect on achieving policy goals and cultivating alliances. Interestingly, the Bush administration has become more muted in recent months—no references to Hitler, Stalin et al.


Camilo Pino 2:20 PM  

On the other hand Chavez got what he wanted in the short term from Lula: an endorment for RCTV's closure.

Chavez seems to be more focused on the ALBA than Mercosur. Note his latest comments* calling for the establishment of a federation with Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua just a day ago.

Also, perhaps Chavez doesn't mind to further isolate Venezuela. Castro's insults have closed a lot of international doors for Cuba, but haven't affected his regime at all. Indeed, after all these years it's just natural to think that Cuba's isolation has actually strenghtened Castro's power. What is that Chavez actually want? A developed, socialist nation, or a Cuba style regime? His mimicking of Castro in circumstances like this are telling.

Venezuela's radicalization is just starting.


Greg Weeks 4:53 PM  

Comparing Venezuela now to Cuba 30, 40 or 50ish years ago is very tricky. The political context is so different, both domestically and internationally. The means of ascent are different, the dynamics in the region are different, especially since the governments are elected. I don’t think Chávez’s view of his hemispheric role is the same as Castro’s was, and I tend to think that he would prefer not to become isolated regionally, though obviously we could debate that endlessly.

Justin Delacour 12:49 AM  

Lula didn't "endorse" the non-renewal of RCTV's broadcast license, but his government has repeatedly clarified that it considers the RCTV case to be Venezuela's business.

The problem here is twofold. Yes, Chavez didn't do himself any favors by denouncing the Brazilian Senate. At the very least, he should have consulted Lula's administration before making any statement.

The other problem is that the center and right dominate Brazil's Senate, which causes real problems for the South American left and South American integration in general. This is not just a problem of Chavez's loose tongue. It is also a problem of the Brazilian Senate's hostility to the South American left in general.

Boli-Nica 10:18 AM  

Chavez is a trip, his style has always been coldly calculating one moment, off the cuff the other. But with all the oil money, lack of internal brakes, and being surrounded by sycophants, he is getting worse..overreaching internally and externally. The man was born on third base, but thinks he hit a home run.

Gotta hand it to Castro, while he is an evil Marxist-Leninist tyrant, he never would have said something like that in public. He had good relations with Brazil when it was under military rule.

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