History has shown that female fanatics on the left can be every bit as bloodthirsty and nihilistic as their male counterparts.
Elena Ceausescu was keen on political murder and repression. She helped to steal from the Romanian people in order to feed her megalomaniacal husband’s edifice complex. During China’s grotesquely brutal Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong’s homicidal wife Jiang Qing did her bit to ideologically purify the People’s Republic. She aspired to obliterate all art and literature that deviated from official policy.
Stateside, the relentless anti-American zealotry of Lynne Stewart, Bernardine Dohrn, Angela Davis, and the alleged ladies of Code Pink is well-known among those who study politics.
Not surprisingly, socialist Venezuela has more than a few of its own homegrown Madame Defarges cheering on state-sanctioned terrorism.
Until a heart attack silenced the middle-aged Lina Ron on March 5, she served Hugo Chavez as a chavista storm trooper in the oil-rich Bolivarian Republic. Upon her death the leftist caudillo hailed his favorite paramilitary leader as a “true soldier of the people” and tweeted that she was “A Complete Revolutionary. Let’s follow her example!”
And, dressed in a red, appropriately ACORN-like tee shirt, what an example she set.
Ron’s reaction to the 9⁄11 terrorist attacks differed only slightly from that of self-described “communist” Van Jones whose Maoist group held a vigil on Sept. 12, 2001, “mourning the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world.” She burned an American flag at a rally in Caracas and cheered on al-Qaeda, saying the attacks gave “Americans a taste of their own medicine.”
Comandante Lina, as some supporters called her, periodically vowed to drown her nation in blood. She summed up her philosophy as “With Chavez, everything, without Chavez, bullets.”
“There were battles between the forces of the revolution and the counterrevolution, and there will continue to be,” she said, adding that violence would grow unless Venezuela undertook a program of massive redistribution of wealth. Ron denounced her country’s elite as selfish: “So we are saying to them, if that’s the way things are, I am preparing for war.”
Ron founded a small political party, the Venezuelan Popular Union, which later merged with Chavez’s United Socialist Party. Remarkably honest in her self-assessment, she called herself the “ugly part” of the revolutionary process because she got “the disagreeable part confronting” Chavez’s adversaries.
Ron controlled a once-powerful network of violent, government-funded, government-armed “Bolivarian Circles,” similar to Cuba’s Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. In order to identify citizens worthy of governmental persecution, the neighborhood-based militias reported on Venezuelans deemed to lack the requisite enthusiasm for Marxism. In true Sturmabteilung fashion, these groups also broke up opposition meetings by force.
Such groups are useful to Chavez because they “do the government’s dirty work without having formal ties,” according to Luis Christiansen of the Venezuelan polling firm Consultores 21. “They use violence to spread fear and intimidate. The government needs these types of activities from time to time but doesn’t want to have responsibility.”
Ron was perfectly happy to play the role of freelance revolutionary enforcer but she sometimes went so far that even her desperado of a boss could get a tad squeamish.
Drunk on her own power, Ron –whose surname happens to be the Spanish word for _rum_— led a reportedly unauthorized 2009 gas bomb attack on Globovision, an opposition TV station detested by the regime. Sounding like a less eloquent version of President Barack Obama discussing Fox News, Chavez had said Globovision “poisons the mind.” The channel’s sin was daring to show the civil unrest produced by his socialist policies.
But because Chavez didn’t think this particular attack was strategically sound, Ron was jailed briefly. Chavez gently scolded his biggest fan, calling her “a good woman, but she tends toward anarchy.”
Ron could be excused for jumping the gun because the regime had been bashing Globovision for some time.
It was no coincidence that before the assault, government officials had blasted Globovision for generating “panic and anxiety” by covering an earthquake and criticizing rescue authorities for their bureaucratic dawdling.
El Presidente himself had called television executives “white-collar terrorists” and threatened the media. Sounding like a more articulate version of George Soros discussing Fox News, Chavez told the fourth estate, “You are playing with fire, manipulating, inciting hatred and much more.”
Ron’s raid could easily be attributed to gangster miscommunication.
Ron, who is surely now surrounded by the smell of sulfur, also led a group that forcibly occupied the Caracas offices of the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See. The reason why the papal legate’s workplace was invaded? Because someone in the Roman Catholic Church apparently said something critical of the regime.
In another moment of honest self-reflection, Ron embraced her inner harpy. “If I’m a monster, then it’s because I believe firmly that the poor should have the same rights as everyone else.”
Ron was indeed a monster, but that’s not why.
Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative reporter. Vadum’s book, Subversion Inc., on ACORN and its infiltration of the Obama administration, will be published in mid-2011.