After a long battle with cancer, Barack Obama's less media-savvy comrade Hugo Chavez is finally dead.
Venezuela's Vice President, Nicolas Maduro, announced that the communist tyrant died yesterday after seeking medical treatment from the quacks and bunglers laughingly referred to as the Cuban health care system. Hidden away from the public for months, Chavez, whose election in 1999 sparked a leftist revival throughout Latin America, may have actually died some time ago.
Chavez will be remembered not only for his fanaticism and brutality but also for his effective use of the same Saul Alinsky-inspired community organizing techniques now relied on by President Barack Obama.
Both men hate capitalism. Chavez called capitalism "savagery," while the smoother Obama tries to be more upbeat, speaking of the need to spread wealth. Both men are champions of gun control, social engineering, and unlimited governmental power.
Both hate America (to varying degrees) and both utilize mobs to harass and intimidate their enemies.
Obama has used union goons, ACORN members, and his personal tax-exempt Alinskyite army, Organizing for Action (formerly Organizing for America), against his adversaries.
Chavez, who habitually used the rhetoric of class warfare, funded a network of violent, 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. Like Hitler's Sturmabteilung (SA), these groups broke up opposition meetings by force.
Chavez intimidated the private media by openly threatening and harassing independent media outlets. He also introduced a requirement that journalists be licensed. Obama doesn't need to keep the media in line because they already worship him.
While Obama has been busy installing senior government officials such as Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel who lack the ability to understand the Islamofascist threat, Chavez allowed America's terrorist enemies to set up shop in his country.
A big supporter of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Chavez permitted Iran-funded Hezbollah and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas to open offices in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas.
Chavez also ran what political scientists call a “public diplomacy” campaign in the U.S. to help bolster American support for his regime. The propaganda effort consisted of using CITGO to funnel discounted home heating oil to the nonprofit group Citizens Energy Corp., which is run by former Congressman Joe Kennedy II (D-Mass.). CITGO operates a chain of gas stations in the U.S. and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA). PDVSA is owned by the government of Venezuela and has been described as a “black box” because it also funded Chavez’s overseas political ambitions.
Kennedy's nonprofit distributed Venezuelan oil to poor people, and the former lawmaker went on TV to berate then-President George W. Bush, whom he said “cut fuel assistance.” Kennedy boosted Chavez, boasting about how Venezuela’s socialism had helped to ease suffering in America. In a commercial he said that “CITGO, owned by the Venezuelan people,” had helped poor Americans while their own government stood idly by doing nothing. (Chavez may even have funded ACORN, a possibility I raised in my 2011 book, Subversion Inc.)
As a statement made by Venezuela's Maduro illustrates, Chavez, unlike Obama, had a tenuous grip on reality. Echoing Chavez, Maduro said the regime suspects the late dictator's enemies somehow gave him cancer.
Such craziness was par for the course for Chavez.
Chavez said he doubted the existence of al-Qaeda, accusing the U.S. of inventing the terrorist group. At the United Nations General Assembly in 2006 he said that he could smell sulfur from the Devil at the podium because George W. Bush had been there. He accused the U.S. of using a mysterious machine to cause the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Chavez had "an idiotic weakness for spells and incantations, as well as many of the symptoms of paranoia and megalomania," the late Christopher Hitchens wrote.
The dictator presided over the exhumation of the remains of Simon Bolivar, leader of Latin America's uprising against Spain. What was left of Bolivar, who died in 1830, was placed in a casket bearing the Chavez government's seal. To link himself with Bolivar, Chavez asked Jesus Christ to raise the late revolutionary from the dead.
"Not since North Korean media declared Kim Jong-il to be the reincarnation of Kim Il Sung has there been such a blatant attempt to create a necrocracy, or perhaps mausolocracy, in which a living claimant assumes the fleshly mantle of the departed," wrote Hitchens.
The Cult of Obama still has almost four years left to outdo Chavez.
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