Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Raúl Baduel

Former Defense Minister (and retired general) Raúl Baduel, who played a key role in bringing Chávez back to power in 2002, came out against the constitutional reforms, calling them the equivalent of a coup (and consequently has been labeled a traitor by Chávez).

This is major news, but there is something even more interesting—he just started a blog. As you might guess, the comments are intense.


Anonymous,  10:22 PM  

I saw the press conference. Very impressive. The government is already vilifying him with all the power of the state controlled media.

Anonymous,  5:58 AM  

Mr. Baduel. You are a breath of fresh air in Venezuela. I support president Chavez's policies for the poor, for the oppressed and the respect he has earned in the international community. On the same token, the country has to develop a strong economy and make more Venezuelan involved in this process of change rather than deepening the divisions. Mr. Baduel has defended the principles of the revolution when he had a lot to lose and is a genuine leader of people at his command. However, it is sad that as things stand in Venezuela you cannot defend the revolution and at the same time tell the president where he is wrong without avoiding being called traitor, rat, pawn of the imperialism and so forth. Venezuela was building something unique, a humanistic socialism in an open democracy. Even if you are convinced of socialism it is better to accept that others can think differently and even convince the people to vote for them if they can. It is quite hard to tell Venezuela's people to renounce to what they have gained in this process. However, by forcing them to wear a strait jacket you can only alienate more the ones who don't know what socialism really means and the people who have been opposing the process either by misinformation or by conviction.
I believe it is necessary that you Mr. Baduel continue fighting for your convictions as you are one of the few with the moral stature to have his voice heard by Venezuelans.

Justin Delacour 12:11 PM  

Looks to me that Baduel is trying to position himself for a future run against Chavez. Under such a scenario, he would lose and Chavismo would emerge stronger than ever because a Chavez/Baduel rivalry would shift the political spectrum leftward (just as the Chavez/Arias rivalry did). From a purely political standpoint, it would make perfect sense for the government to villainize Baduel not only to inoculate its followers against Baduel's position on the constitutional reforms but also to improve Baduel's standing among the political opposition.

Greg Weeks 4:00 PM  

My impression is that the Chávez reaction was a gut one and not necessarily so strategic, but let's see how it progresses.

Anonymous,  4:10 PM  

Manipulation is convenient to the government I see

Justin Delacour 4:22 PM  

My impression is that the Chávez reaction was a gut one and not necessarily so strategic, but let's see how it progresses.

Well, maybe, but in domestic politics, Chavez's gut is usually pretty astute politically; he wouldn't be able to run circles around the opposition if that weren't the case.

Justin Delacour 4:32 PM  

Manipulation is convenient to the government I see

What's convenient to the government is that the opposition is so discredited that, no matter what it does, it usually plays into the government's hands.

Justin Delacour 5:10 PM  

Oh, I missed this bit from the Venezuelan historian Alberto Garrido, yet another wishful thinker that the press loves to quote:

"it [Baduel's criticism] could be the tip of an iceberg in uniform."

The other day, Bloomberg reported that Venezuela has now undergone fifteen straight quarters of robust economic expansion. Now, I hate to break this to Alberto Garrido, but the military is never going to revolt over something as abstract (to the average soldier) as constitutional reform in the midst of an economic boom.

Garrido is a historian who hasn't seriously studied history.

Anonymous,  7:03 PM  

Vilifying Baduel using all the power of the government sponsored media is manipulation and it is illegal.

Anonymous,  7:07 PM  

You also missed the bit from ABN (English version aimed at foreigns so you don't come with your non interventionist excuses):

"Baduel is the new face of the extreme right"

Justin Delacour 10:24 AM  

"Baduel is the new face of the extreme right"

Well, I don't agree with that.

Anonymous,  7:23 AM  

Now we enters into the quick sands of misinformation. Something either sides of political life in Venezuela take when they think it is convenient to them but more, withouth any doubt the extreme right. That smearing of Baduel as member of the extreme right cannot come but from the extreme right itself. Actions, not words, ladies and gentlemen. If you were extreme right you could have accommodated yourself with Carmona and its servile parasites on 11/04/2002. Please do not insult people's inteliigence with such ridiculous statement!

Greg Weeks 7:29 AM  

To anonymous: it was Chávez himself who labeled Baduel "extreme right."

Anonymous,  1:04 AM  

Greg I accept that Chavez said Baduel was extreme right. However, Chavez is not a person who thinks what he is saying before he says it. As he is starting to lose the plot he could have called Marx to be an agent of the imperialism if he had refused to budge to him. In short, he takes the first epithet and throws it away. He had even confessed he was not a "prudent" man.

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