Why do the left generally support the Chavistas in Venezuela?

With three principal exceptions — Panamá, Colombia and Chile — Latin American governments are oriented toward the far left. 

An article at Huff & Puff by a self-proclaimed leftist, Carlos González, argues than leftists should not automatically support dictators, even those “democratically elected” (whatever that may mean), when their actions traumatize their slaves citizens massively and unnecessarily. His article, published on February 24th, is titled Venezuela and the hypocrisy of the international left.

As students and the middle class protest for almost two weeks in the streets of Venezuela, the international left remain silent. Why is this wide swath of Venezuelan society protesting? Because of meddling from the United States in preparation of a fascist coup, says Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Certainly lines borrowed from the Cuban/Soviet handbook.

Venezuelans are protesting because of 56 percent inflation, one of the highest in the world. Venezuelans are protesting because they have one of the highest murder rates in the world, 25,000 violent deaths last year, one person killed every twenty minutes. The murder rate in Caracas is 122 per 100,000, numbers not seen in war zones. They are in the streets because they don’t have basic necessities such as bread, meat, toilet paper, electricity… the list is long.

Take former London Mayor Ken Livingston, a long time supporter of the Bolivarian Revolution. Would he violently repress London residents if they were out in the streets protesting a murder rate higher than Baghdad’s such as Caracas’? I don’t think so, he would be forced to resign.

Or Sean Penn and Oliver Stone, also admirers of the “pretty revolution” as Chávez used to call it. What would they do if President Obama shut down newspapers, TV stations, and jailed those that opposed his views, just as President Maduro has done? I think they would call on people in the United States to take to the streets and protest just as Venezuelans have done.

. . . .

It’s time for those us on the left to stop defending the undefendable, to denounce the repressive actions of a government shooting at it’s own citizens for demanding a true democracy and a better life. Socialism without democracy is simply a dictatorship. [Emphasis added.]

President Maduro keeps calling the students and the middle class that are protesting on the streets fascists, perhaps he should look in the mirror.

It’s a long article but the entire piece is well worth reading. However, it does not explain why leftist governments and their friends favor the Venezuelan regime or, for that matter the repression, corruption and government of, by and for the ruling class which have long been common in Latin America.

Argentina is one example of many. An article from the Buenos Aires Herald posted on February 23rd is titled State of the nation and bleeding Venezuela. It seems to explain, perhaps intentionally, the bases for leftist support.  It begins with a photo showing Venezuelan President Maduro handing Argentinian President Fernandez a portrait of the beloved Hugo Chávez. It then continues with this lede:

The situation that Maduro has to handle emerges as a risk for every president in the region.

After listing some of the many problems facing Argentina, it turns to the Venezuelan opposition:

In Venezuela it is evident that that the same old coupmongering impulses which are daily denied are emerging once again (both here and there) which inflame societies long in hock to media captivity with enervated middle classes and ferocious demagoguery — including those opposition leaders who accuse the governments of being demagogues. An all too familiar movie but what makes it even more serious is that some now want to display the Venezuelan tragedy as a trailer of what is supposedly “coming soon to a theatre near you.” [Emphasis added.]

Venezuela? The broadcast media and newspapers there are under Government control. Their managers, reporters and editors are well aware of who is in charge; they manage, report and edit accordingly. Very little damaging to the regime is reported. The media situation in Venezuela is summarized in a February 21st article at Huff & Puff:

Media censorship in Venezuela increased by 87 percent in 2013, according to the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

But this is nothing new. After shutting down RCTV in 2007 and the recent sale of Globovision, the only opposition-friendly TV station left, freedom of speech in Venezuela decreased significantly.

During the protests, Venezuela’s telecommunications regulator, CONATEL, ordered cable providers to drop Colombian broadcaster NTN24. On Thursday, the government revoked CNN’s work permits, kicking them out of the country.

However, the various State Media provide “ferocious demagoguery” whenever they broadcast a Maduro cadena (broadcasting them live is mandatory) or anything else from the regime. There is no longer an opposition media, aside from Tweeter users and a very few internet bloggers.

Returning to the Buenos Aires Herald article,

The basic question, which is as valid for Venezuela as it is for Argentina, is that the socio-economic changes of recent years — almost throughout this 21st century — have become intolerable for the powerful. That is why their “arguments” are of real and enormous weight — perfect cynicism, a media bombardment, an absolute lack of scruples, complete disinterest in the fate of the great majorities and life’s disinherited. [Emphasis added.]

Reverting briefly to the February 24th Huff & Puff article,

Venezuelans are protesting because of 56 percent inflation, one of the highest in the world. Venezuelans are protesting because they have one of the highest murder rates in the world, 25,000 violent deaths last year, one person killed every twenty minutes. The murder rate in Caracas is 122 per 100,000, numbers not seen in war zones. They are in the streets because they don’t have basic necessities such as bread, meat, toilet paper, electricity… the list is long.

Those protesting in the streets are not “powerful” elitists demonstrating “perfect cynicism, a media bombardment, an absolute lack of scruples, complete disinterest in the fate of the great majorities and life’s disinherited.” Members and friends of the Chavista regime are the ones doing that.

The power of the powerful can be bestial and it is showing its teeth with the destabilization of Venezuela. Over and above the clumsiness, corruption and incompetence of the government inspired by Hugo Chávez, what is at stake here is the enormous wealth of this lovable country and a democratic model which has triumphed in 18 out of 19 elections. That is why some fools speak of a “dictatorship.” And that is why when President Barack Obama asks for “peace to be restored” and speaks of the “unacceptable chaos in Venezuela,” it is valid to suspect (God forbid) that he could be pushing for the conversion of Caracas into the Baghdad of the Americas. [Emphasis added.]

That is why the deplorable outburst of picket leader Luis D’Elía calling for the execution by firing-squad of the seditious Venezuelan Leopoldo López must be repudiated in Argentina. Such barbarity is only the other side of the same coin.

What is certain is that the CELAC Latin American economic community is unbearable for the real power — that which yearns to dictate once again the course of a Latin America which parted company with the neo-colonial script a decade ago. Because these Washington “advisers” are almost always ultrarightist Latin Americans, especially Cubans, Venezuelans, Chileans and Colombians ready for anything — people capable of filling their mouths with democratic discourse but who are disposed to any violent action if only to stop and reverse the incipient independence processes, however lukewarm, in what José Martí rightly called “Our America.”

You only have to see and hear the wild shouts of Leopoldo López to understand the degree of hatred, spite and fury which has been unleashed on Venezuela. That is why President Nicolás Maduro has called above all for the violence to be brought under control: “The orders are very clear — keep the peace, build peace, tame these crazy fascists within the law.”

Argentina’s absolute support for the Venezuelan government is thus consistent. Because what happens in Venezuela can happen anywhere. [Emphasis added.]

The words in bold face type immediately above explain why Argentine regime gives its “absolute support” to the Venezuelan regime — despite “the clumsiness, corruption and incompetence of the government inspired by Hugo Chávez . . . .” so harmful to and resented by the protesters.

However, it’s far worse than mere “clumsiness, corruption and incompetence.” Barbaric treatment of peaceful protesters has become both endemic and obvious. Daniel posted the following video with this comment.

One of the horrendous events of past days was the rape at gun barrel of one of the arrested protesters. Her mother declared and the video has been translated by Alex Beech.  Here it is. No comments needed.

Here’s another video, posted by Caracas Gringo on February 24th.

It shows the grief-stricken mother of a boy murdered today by the National Guard challenges the regime to murder her too.

Here’s another video from Caracas Gringo showing the National Guard attacking civilian protesters.

Whom does the Chavista regime try to arrest? Those who raped the boy and murdered other protesters, or those who oppose their excesses?

Here’s more from Daniel on February 23rd:

I will focus on the two events that mesmerized Tweeter attention this Sunday. Tweeter because there is no freedom of expression in the media anymore so such stuff does not make it to the airwaves unless CNN covers it.

Early standoffThe first one illustrates the crucial fact needed to understand this crisis, that no one trusts the government anymore, for nothing, not even the time of day. How can you rule, speak of reconciliation, claim for peace when a majority of the people do not believe a single word you say? And justifiably so, I add.  This morning state security goons went to the home of a retired General, Vivas, to arrest him. The guy refused to allow the goons in and stood on his balcony with a machine gun in hand, ready to be used. He claimed that there was no arrest or search warrant. Then at some point he has said, but I have not confirmed it, that no matter what he will not surrender anyway because he does not recognize the regime and he will not surrender to Cubans. [Emphasis added.]

citizen reporterIn a normal country such a character would have been deemed dangerous and taken down ASAP before he starts a rampage spree. Here? daughter's picThe whole neighborhood went to his defense and eventually the security goons, the Nazional Guard, had to leave. They will surely try some other time but not today, the whole area was about to become a riot area with barricades and all…. [Emphasis added.]

In the three pics you can see it all. The initial stand off shows clearly that they could have taken him down easily with a sharp shooter. But Vivas knew that that would not happen because after all he belongs to the military cast and they are loath to wash their dirty laundry in public. . . .

I cannot think of a better example to illustrate the lawlessness that we have descended into. This is VERY dangerous.

Is the regime finally crumbling, bit by bit?

An article appeared in The Devil’s Excrement on the morning of February 24th titled Tachira Governor Distances Himself From Venezuelan Government. It reports that

pro-Government Chavista Governor Jose Vielma Mora distanced himself sharply from the Government.(audio link to interview included) Tachira is the most radical state in its protests against the Government of the last few weeks.

Among other things Vielma stated:

“I am autonomous… I have asked General Bermudez (who led the repression in his State) to be replaced …to show my intention of peace” “I do not agree with Simonovis and Leopoldo Lopez being kept in jail” “There is a problem of shortages and there is an economic problem, there is a problem with the foreign exchange differential” “I am against censorship of any kind” “I disagree with flying military jets over Tachira, it was an unacceptable excess.” “Students have a right to protest.”

“There was an excess of General Pirela of the National Guard, he was replaced”

There you have it, the first major Chavista political figure to clearly distance himself from the Government. This creates a new problem for an already tangled Nicola Maduro. The only question at tis time is whether Vielma Mora acted alone, knows something or is simply being opportunistic. No matter which, this is a very significant development for Venezuela and the current events taking place in it. But only time will tell why he did it. [Emphasis added.]

A post from Daniel titled Toward insurrection? Do we still know what this is all about?
just appeared:

The country has awakened a mess. A delivery I was sending was returned because it could not pass through the Moron area. I have no details yet, waiting for the driver to return to San Felipe but that area which never voted less than 75% Chavez is able to see a barricade speaks volumes. And this is the problem the regime is facing, even chavista areas are starting to get upset as food is more and more absent. Even PDVAL, the state food distribution system, announced that people will be limited to one day shopping a week. Food ration card surely must be next. [Emphasis added.]

Let’s not be afraid of words: parts of the country are in almost open rebellion, like Tachira, and other parts are getting there. There are already reports of killed in Tachira and the chavista governor, Vielma, has started to take its distances with the regime this morning (1)

The general lack of media coverage, within and outside of Venezuela, allows for little more than speculation by outsiders: not only about what is likely to happen there next but even about what is happening now. However, based on the reports noted above, the protests seem to be continuing and becoming more massive and more widespread. Perhaps beatings by the regime will continue until morale improves. However, the regime is so incredibly clumsy, corrupt and incompetent that its beatings may fail and it may fall — despite or perhaps because of the beatings —  and be replaced by one more appreciative of freedom. I very much hope so, and soon. 


An article at the often leftist Daily Beast titled Venezuela’s Useful Idiots writes about some of them and asks, “why the double standard?” There seem to be many. Here’s a short excerpt:

A pro-Chavez academic writing in The Nation argued that the massive street demonstrations across the country “have far more to do with returning economic and political elites to power than with their downfall.” The Guardian headlined a news story: “Venezuela’s hardliner reappears as Nicolas Maduro expels US officials.” That hardliner wasn’t Maduro, whose government is arresting regime opponents and strangling the free press, but Leopoldo Lopez, the opposition leader currently languishing in jail. Flip over to the Guardian’s editorial for the bizarre excoriation of President Obama for his supposed “support for regime change in Venezuela.”

Please do read the entire thing and skim the comments.


And some more, this time from Daniel — not a leftist blogger —  on the propensity of leftists to see things as they want to see them rather than as they are. It’s from an English language author, Alexandra Beech, formerly living and writing in Venezuela.

“There was a whiff of Ozymandias to it all, but foreign supporters applauded the fantasy. Oliver Stone, visiting Caracas to make a documentary, looked blank when I asked about the distortions and corruption hemorrhaging the economy. Shrewder observers – writers and academics – would visit and confide over rum that, yes, it all seemed a bit chaotic, then return home and publicly laud the revolution’s progress.” – Rory Carroll, The Guardian

Had foreigners who profited from the revolution not ignored signs that Venezuela was in free fall, had they lived and worked there, enduring horrific violence, food shortages, and the sheer exhaustion of listening to a government spew hatred, perhaps their consciences wouldn’t have allowed them to make films and write books that confused the world to this day.

A racist, colonial mentality is one that accepts and condones conditions for Latin Americans that would be untenable for their own children. The defenders of the revolution confused the foreign news media, students, academics, policymakers, intellectuals, think tanks, and those around the world who could have led a healthy discourse on the merits and shortcomings of the Chavez regime. Considering the growing chaos, they could have supported Venezuela’s battered and exhausted opposition. Instead, they applauded the abuse, calling Chavez’s opponents “oligarchs,” and other denigrating terms, borrowed from Chavez’s own vocabulary. [Emphasis added.}

Again, please read the rest.


Caracas Gringo has posted many new photos here. He says,

The regime’s thugs are now using AK-103/104′s, double-ought shotgun rounds and appear to be deploying war tanks against unarmed demonstrators. Two more persons were murdered today and dozens more wounded. Nicolas Maduro the illegitimate Cuban quisling met in Miraflores presidential palace with hundreds of “colectivo” gunmen, thus de facto making them officially institutionalized instruments of regime repression. . . . .

UPDATE: February 25th

Here’s a link to an article by Ron Radosh at PJ Media titled The American Left and Venezuela: The Nation Rallies Its Troops in Support of Maduro. Among other things worth saying, it notes

To the Left, as this article makes clear, repression exists in an actual democratic polity, when people are free to speak their minds, opposition political leaders are allowed to challenge the power of the existing leaders in free elections, and when freedom of the press exists. The closing down of opposition newspapers, the arrest of journalists, and the suppression of TV networks that reported the actual news and not Chavista propaganda? Not repression. That is simply seeing to it that the truth as defined by the Left is the only thing the rulers allow the citizens to hear.

This outlook stems from the philosophical double-talk of the influential Frankfurt School scholar, the late Herbert Marcuse, from whom the New Left learned that there was supposedly something called “repressive tolerance.” According to Marcuse, the people’s forces fighting for socialist revolution had the right and duty to suppress propaganda made by the capitalist ruling class. Once the voice of the right-wing was forbidden — right-wing defined as anyone opposed to leftists — then the people could learn the truth.  Or as The Nation journalist-professor puts it:

For decades, armed guerrillas, peasants and workers, women, Afro- and indigenous Venezuelans, students and the urban poor struggled against a system that — while formally democratic — was far from it in practice.

You know that Lopez is a monster of the ruling class. The proof? He received funding for the building of a democratic civil society in Venezuela from the bipartisan U.S. institution funded by Congress, the National Endowment for Democracy! The NED, as long-time readers of The Nation know, is a decades-long bugaboo of the American Left. After all, it also funded opposition to the dissidents in Eastern Europe during the waning days of the Cold War. What better proof could you want?

About danmillerinpanama

I was graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a B.A. in economics and from the University of Virginia School of law, where I was the notes editor of the Virginia Law Review in 1966. Following four years of active duty with the Army JAG Corps, with two tours in Korea, I entered private practice in Washington, D.C. specializing in communications law. I retired in 1996 to sail with my wife, Jeanie, on our sailboat Namaste to and in the Caribbean. In 2002, we settled in the Republic of Panama and live in a very rural area up in the mountains. I have contributed to Pajamas Media and Pajamas Tatler. In addition to my own blog, Dan Miller in Panama, I an an editor of Warsclerotic and contribute to China Daily Mail when I have something to write about North Korea.
This entry was posted in 2014, Abuse of Power, Brutality, Caracas, Chavez, Civil War, Cuba, Cuban, Death, Democracy, Elections, Fat cats, Free Press, free speech, Freedom, Ideology, Inflation, Left, Leopoldo Lopez, Limitation on Authority, Maduro, Media, Merida, Military, Murder, Protests, Regime change, Twitter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Why do the left generally support the Chavistas in Venezuela?

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