In Hollywood, it all comes down to how well you can deliver a line, which is perhaps why so many in the land of make-believe adore the dictatorial drama queen Hugo Chavez. The whole world truly is a stage. The man is a compelling orator to those whose ideological cataracts prevent them from seeing through Chavez’s persuasive rhetoric to the underlying persecution complex that directs his every move.
Hollywood is flooded with such visually-impaired, self-proclaimed foreign policy experts who believe Chavez just wants to hold hands with everyone and sing We Are the World. Socialist-dictator groupie Sean Penn spent some quality time with Chavez in 2007 and again in 2008, calling him “a fascinating guy.” In Penn’s defense, I will admit I find documentaries about serial killers fascinating – though I don’t think I’d care to spend time cozying up with one and waxing intellectual about the politics of their brutality.
Then we have everyone’s favorite conspiracy-theory movie director, Oliver Stone, who undoubtedly steps up the controversial aspect of his projects as he feels the limelight fading on him. (By the way, Oliver – Girl Scout cookie sales funding coup to oust Castro? Could be.)
Stone recently premiered his poor-misunderstood-dictator commumentary about Chavez, remarking of the Venezuelan dictator, “[he] is an extremely dynamic and charismatic figure. He’s open and warmhearted and big, and a fascinating character.”
Yes. Fascinating. Got that.
It gets better/worse. Rumor has it former rocker and former(?) drug addict Courtney Love has a crush on the big, cuddly socialist dictator. She thinks he’s a “sexy dawg.” Now THAT is your brain on drugs.
Beyond the bizarro adoration of the Hollywood subculture, Chavez made an appearance on Larry King Live while in New York City for last month’s meeting of the U.N. General Assembly – kicking off King’s dictator trifecta that included interviews with Chavez’s BSFs (Best Socialist Friends) Muammar Qadhafi and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Once again, Chavez performed his dictator Two-Step, answering every question with a jab at U.S. foreign policy. He accuses the United States of backing a coup d’état to oust him, apparently having forgotten that he had organized and attempted a military coup to overthrow the Venezuelan government in 1992.
Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends?
There is no doubt – Chavez is a shrewd strategist. He understands that more power and influence are gained by appealing to the poor, restless masses and celebrities. And he knows just how to manipulate them into unquestioning devotion to him. As for world leaders, Chavez has extended his unwavering loyalty and support to every dictator and despot who presents any sort of threat to the United States.
And to the rest of the world, the peace-loving Chavez slings insults, openly calling George W. Bush a “donkey” and “the devil,” Condoleezza Rice an “illiterate,” former Mexican President Vicente Fox a “lapdog of imperialism,” Peruvian President Alan Garcia a “rotten thief” and a “crybaby.” More recently, he called President Obama an “ignoramus” and said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is “just lost.” My six-year-old could explain to him why he’s not making many friends.
Of his frequent verbal attacks against the United States, Jerrold M. Post, Director of the Political Psychology Program at George Washington University, says “his [Chavez’s] outrageous and confrontational rhetoric” increases in frequency and rancor “during times of internal instability” in his home country, and when he feels he’s put on the defensive.
Post wrote of Chavez in a 2007 analytical report for the U.S. Air Force Counterproliferation Center:
“Chavez is an authoritarian narcissistic leader who has dreams of glory, and can be overly sensitive to criticism. The arrogant certainty conveyed in his public pronouncements is very appealing to his followers. But under this grandiose facade, as is typical with narcissistic personalities, is extreme insecurity. When under stress, his defiance becomes more pronounced, as does his tendency to blame others for his own shortcomings.”
Chavez is like the boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse you just couldn’t confront, because as soon as you questioned or expressed negative feelings about something they did or said, they turned it back on you – questioning, in that defensive, incredulous tone, something you did x number of years ago that they didn’t like.
Despite his appeal to the impoverished of Venezuela, his fiscal policy has had a devastating effect on his country’s economy – though he finds ways to blame the United States for that as well, citing the North American Free Trade Agreement or some other policy of which he was not key in devising.
If failing economic policy doesn’t bring about his fall from power, his attempts to squash dissent may. Chavez recently ordered the permanent closing of 29 more radio stations that have been critical of his administration. And in response to a student protest/hunger strike, Chavez ordered the imprisonment of a 22-year-old college student for “attempting to incite civil war.”
In an editorial last month for The Huffington Post, Robert Amsterdam (an international Lawyer on emerging markets, politics of business, and rule of law) wrote:
“…the existence of more than 50 hunger striking students on the steps of the OAS [Organization of American States] headquarters [in Caracas] blows the smoke off the myth that Chávez is still some sort of social democrat who cares about his people.”
The question is, how long will it take for his base supporters to see Hugo Chavez for what he is – a malignant narcissist clinging to power?