Chavez invokes Christ, Castro in his inaugural

Our good friend President Chavez is making it very clear who he really is. Here are a couple of highlights from his inaugural address:

Invoking Christ and Castro as his socialist models, President Hugo Chavez began his third term yesterday by declaring that socialism, not capitalism, is the only way forward for Venezuela and the world.

At the apex of a resurgent Latin American left, Chavez has been emboldened to make more radical changes at home after winning re-election with 63 percent of the vote. Chavez can now count on remaining president until 2013 or later if he gets his way with a constitutional amendment allowing him to run again.

He said his next moves include nationalizing electrical and telecommunications companies, forming a commission to oversee constitutional reforms and asking the National Assembly, now entirely controlled by his supporters, to allow him to enact “revolutionary laws” by presidential decree. Spooked investors rushed to sell off Venezuelan stocks in companies subject to his nationalization plans.

His right hand raised yesterday, Chavez declared in words reminiscent of Castro’s famous call-to-arms: “Fatherland, socialism or death – I swear it.” He also alluded to Jesus: “I swear by Christ – the greatest socialist in history.”

Translation: “I’m a raving Communist, but I’ll hide behind religion for a little while because you guys will fall for that.”

{Times of India} Chavez said a commission was being assembled to consider constitutional reforms to be decided in a popular consultation, including one allowing “indefinite re-election”by doing away with presidential term limits that bar him from running again in 2012.

“The important thing is that the people will make the decision, because nothing can be done without that here,”Chavez said.

Translation: “I’m declaring myself President for life, so get used to me. The cool thing is it’ll be the people’s fault because it’s going to be through referendum”

{Washington Times} He scolded leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the Organization of American States for criticizing his decision not to renew the license of an opposition-aligned television station.
Addressing Venezuela’s top Catholic prelate, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, Mr. Chavez said he could not understand why the church supported Radio Caracas Television, which Mr. Chavez accuses of subversive activities aimed at ousting him.

“Mr. Cardinal,” Mr. Chavez said, “the state respects the church. The church should respect the state. I wouldn’t like to return to the times of confrontation with Venezuelan bishops, but it’s not up to me. It’s up to the Venezuelan bishops.”

Translation: “Dissent will not be tolerated, even by the Church that I supposedly revere. And if I have to take you out, it’s your fault. “

The last one is by far the most chilling. The next time someone is tempted to scream, “national referendum” because of our corrupt legislature, please look to Venezuala. The purpose of this national referendum is to rally the masses together so they feel that they have the power, and then when they vote to give away that power, it’s supposed to be “their responsibility” that they were manipulated so skillfully. – International


Chilean ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet dies at 91 |

OK, so here’s one case where we probably should have been a little more careful what coup we supported. The interesting part of the Reuters take is the “dilemma” that the current “center-left” President, Michelle Bachelet had in deciding how to manage the funeral. Her father had been captured and tortured by Pinochet and she had actually been exiled. Here’s what they came up with:

The government decided on a middle road — military honors without a state funeral for Pinochet — so as not to anger his supporters or his victims.

Government spokesman Ricardo Lagos Weber said Pinochet would be cremated and Bachelet’s defense minister would attend the funeral.

Since Pinochet had adjusted the Constitution to make himself “Senator for life” maybe that would have made it awkward to just ignore his death, but I think that would have been a better way to go.

Chilean ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet dies at 91 |