Everything indicates that U.S. president Barack Obama is turning out to be an annoying pebble in the shoe of more than one leader of those who still swarm Our America (our poor America). Apparently, the dictator-in-training, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, is beginning to perceive the dizzying price drop that crude oil is undergoing. The drop, in addition to the commitment to cut oil production agreed to last year in Algeria by 12 members of OPEC in order to stop or mitigate the collapse of such prices, are tough obstacles for the fulfillment of his populist plans and other commitments both inside and outside Venezuela. It is urgent, therefore, to fuel the theory of the powerful and arrogant “external enemy,” scourge of the peoples and of social justice, like the one eternally responsible for the failures of our peoples.
During a whole decade of mass jingoism, Chavez has had at his disposal, by the handful, the natural wealth of the country to promote his political interests. Buying supporters, however, has never been good business practice: the result is that the “fidelities” end when money ends or is just scarce. That is a subject that his elderly mentor did not teach him, perhaps because even he himself never ever learned it, despite so many brown-nosers who ended up urinating on his boots and even barking behind his back.
The fact is that now, faced with the next Americas Summit, the Caracas government is taking up the flag of the members of the claque against the entrails of the monster (Oh, the likable monster that threatens us both!) and attacking the government of the newly minted Barack Obama, this time to complain that the northern president has referred to those situations that Washington cannot control due to “charismatic figures, messianic leaders and to benefits from important natural resources, among them oil, as is the case in Venezuela.” The denouncing of this U.S. attempt to “isolate president Hugo Chávez” is simultaneous with the announcement in Venezuela of a radical social transformation “that excludes any negotiation or compromise with the national oligarchy,” as well as with Chavez’s orders to take the ports of Cabello and Maracaibo, the latter the most important one in the country, which ports “should be controlled by the people and not by mafias.”
Besides the traditional bravado, slogans and songs, it seems that Chavez-the-Red’s political strategy-–as the olive green strategy has been to Havana for decades–will be to analyze each mouthful from each U.S. president, in order to discover the direct or veiled insults towards his illustrious person, and to use those as a basis for the defense of Bolivar’s homeland. Campaigns to discredit Obama as a way to prop up the increasingly discredited Chavez are, not only old, but an inadequate and childish recourse at this point in the game.
It is hopeful, however, that in Venezuela there still exists a civil society, private property and a good segment of the population with the spirit of citizenship who have defended their place at the polls and have managed to maintain the pressure on their vocal and emotional president. By the way, rumors have been circulating in Havana about the alleged (or actual) refusal of the Venezuelan baseball players attending the Classic, to wear on their uniforms the name by which the Chavez constitution calls the country: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. In fact, I have seen players wearing uniforms that simply say: “Venezuela.” Lucky: if they had accepted the very long official name of their country, they surely would have had to attend the sporting tournament wearing cassocks.