Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Fictional truths

Can you imagine the scene in Havana?

An airy, comfortable room somewhere on the first floor of the Palace of the Revolution, with big windows overlooking a lush inside patio. A big bed in the middle of the room, surrounded by modern medical equipment. A brand new, barely used exercise treadmill in one corner. Dozens of books litter the floor. The small desk against the window is covered with papers, more books, newspaper clippings … A television on the wall is tuned to CNN, with the sound turned off.

There, to the side of the desk, an old man sitting in his favourite rocking chair, wearing a pair of fine Italian silk pyjamas and hand-made Bally leather slippers. He is speaking on the phone, as he rocks back and forth.

“I warned you, chico,” the old man says, his voice raspy and almost inaudible but still recognisable. “I warned you that all this democracy business is shit, even when you think you control the numbers. Una mierda.

“I never made that mistake. Never. No elections. No referendum. No opposition. No nothing. Why do you think I am still here, Hugito?” the old man says, raising his voice, stabbing the air with his index finger.

A male nurse in white uniform rushes in and takes the phone away from the old man’s hands.

“No, no, Comandante,” the nurse says. “You know the rules: you cannot get too excited. I am sorry … come on, back to bed. Your brother is coming to visit this afternoon …”


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2:42 pm  
Anonymous Zoologist said...

You've got it just about perfectly, Luis. However, Chavez is only a very crude would-be Castro; he's got plenty of ego and thuggish energy but little real skill or imagination of his own. He largely copies his mentor, monkey-like, and of course throws vast amounts of money around.

The oil money is critical; without it he'd be a mere laughingstock. Obviously, it's not HIS money, but he squanders it freely to promote himself as a major figure abroad and buy support at home. Basically, he has to buy success; that's the only way he can get it.

3:06 am  
Blogger Apa said...

That... was an interesting thought. A note on Zoologist comment. Chavez has nothing on Castro's genius. Say what you will about the man but Castro is a brain. Chavez, on the other hand, and like you said, is only paid attention to because of the oil money.

3:46 am  
Blogger Il Mango said...

Hola amigo. Un cubano cerca de mi.
Must agree with the other comments. Chavez is a burro, ignorant. Castro is unfortunately the one pulling the strings. Not for long I hope, not for long, I am sure...
Great blog.
Ciao from un italiano de Singapur
Il Mango

6:02 pm  
Blogger Walter Lippmann said...

Chavez Defeat or Blessing?

Much coverage of the recent constitutional amendment referendum in Venezuela has called the results a defeat for Chavez.

But is it really?

Chavez is still in office until 2013. He has plenty of time to implement his proposals through different channels or even revise them and try another referendum. He responded to the results by saying, “for now were unable to do it.”

But more importantly what makes this actually a positive outcome for Chavez is that it proves once and for all that he is NOT a dictator and does not control all branches of government.

It also demonstrates the legitimacy of his mandate and the validity of the many referendums that have turned out in his favor over the past near decade and projects legitimacy onto future electoral contests.

Moreover, it proves that the opposition DOES have peaceful avenues for change. They can no longer justify their violence and sabotage. In fact, Chavez stated that he preferred to concede loss with a “photo finish” than to win by a tiny margin. (49.3% voted with Chavez vs. 51.7% against his proposals).

For Venezuela as a whole it shows that the electorate is sophisticated enough to not just vote on popularity. Chavistas who did not agree with the entire reform package for whatever reason did not just vote yes because of their loyalty to Chavez. This crushes the image concocted by pundits that Chavistas are just mindless fans of the populist superstar. This demonstration further validates his mandate.

Democracy, and Chavez, continues to thrive in Venezuela.

3:06 am  

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