Down Venezuela way with politicians, celebrities & intellectuals

At the National Review – “Another caudillo, another progressive darling” Kevin Williamson has a no-frills account:

Venezuela had a good run of it for about five minutes there, at least in public-relations terms. When petroleum prices were booming, all it took was a few gallons of heating oil from Hugo Chávez to buy the extravagant praise of House members, with Representative Chaka Fattah (D., Philadelphia) issuing statements praising Venezuela’s state-run oil company “and the Venezuelan people for their benevolence.”

Lest anybody feel creeped out by running political errands for a brutal and repressive caudillo, Joseph Kennedy — son of Senator Robert Kennedy — proclaimed that refusing the strongman’s patronage would be “a crime against humanity.” Kennedy was at the time the director of Citizens Energy, which had a contract to help distribute that Venezuelan heating oil — Boss Hugo was a brute, but he understood American politics.

Celebrities came to sit at his feet, with Sean Penn calling him a “champion” of the world’s poor, Oliver Stone celebrating him as “a great hero,” Antonio Banderas citing his seizure of private businesses as a model to be emulated in the rest of the world, Michael Moore praising his use of oil for political purposes, Danny Glover celebrating him as a “champion of democracy.”

His successor, Nicolás Maduro, continued in the Chávez vein, and even as basics such as food and toilet paper disappeared the American Left hailed him as a hero, with Jesse Myerson, Rolling Stone’s fashionable uptown communist, calling his economic program “basically terrific.”

Some of the more old-fashioned liberals at The New Republic voiced concern about Venezuela’s sham democracy, its unlimited executive authority, political repression, the hunting down of government critics, the stacking of elections and the government’s perpetrating violence inside polling places — but Myerson insisted that Venezuela’s “electoral system’s integrity puts the U.S.’s to abject shame.” Never mind that opposition leaders there are hauled off to military prison after midnight raids…

4 thoughts on “Down Venezuela way with politicians, celebrities & intellectuals

  1. I have a very dear friend who cannot get out of Venezuela and, like the rest of the population, not only waits for hours for basic items but lives in constant fear of being robbed by others who wish to take short-cuts in their own “shopping.” My most sincere wish is that just one of these Hollywood dimwits would agree to take her place in this “workers’ paradise” and allow her to replace them in the US.

    • Many in the “Intellectual/Celebrity” group have thought that way for ages. It´s supposed to be “hip”. I wonder how they would react if the Studio reneged on fat contracts!

  2. Sad. So many ordinary Latin Americans work long hours. But their governments manage to undercut their work.

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