The decision, announced before thousands of supporters in the city of Puerto Cabello, signals that Chavez is willing to escalate his long confrontation with the United States to solidify support before mayoral and gubernatorial elections in November.
"Go to hell, Yankees,"
Readers of this blog got the real thing wording, video included :)
At the New York Times Romero is a little bit more general, which might indicate he was at some airport somewhere and could not have access to Chavez actual words. Never mind, he adds more to the list of Chavez troubles I wrote last night by bringing in the failing drug wars and the decision by Venezuela to reduce flights to the US because he does not want security inspectors to visit Venezuelan airports. You know, a little bit like closing the Merida cable car before the Swiss Security pronounced it unfit. Or that famous story in France where Maxim a few years ago asking not to be listed at all in the Michelin prestigious guide when they learned this one was to remove a star. The maître d' was quoted as saying that they did not need the Michelin stars as the stars were already sitting in the room. As silly as Chavez arguments but certainly way more classy. No? Romero coup de grace nevertheless is great:
Mr. Chavez has claimed at least 26 times in the last six years that there were plots to kill him, according to counts in the local media.Showing that the foreign press is way, way over Chavez permanent B.S.
Blogs are in too and we can read the chilling comment from my pal Val at Babalu. He notes, duly, that Chavez expels an US ambassador on September 11. With Chavez we can always wonder whether he is unaware of the meaning of the date, if he did it on purpose, or if his plans go above any sensitivity at home or abroad.
Miguel did go into the details of yet another fake coup. I must admire his patience on that as I confess that whenever I read any chavista accusation of coup mongering my mind goes blank.
Rightly most people see this as just a show to try to stir any discussion away form the real problems. Already many in the opposition have announced they are not going to waste time on that and just keep with their local elections campaign. They term this a cheap provocation and they refuse to take part of it. It is to be noted that the people that are been sought for the alleged conspiracy are military characters which might indicate that Chavez is using this excuse as yet another purge within the army. The other names thrown out such as El Nacional editor are just for show and the price to pay by Chavez would be too high to make it worth jailing them.
Foreign press is also clear, reporting it as an antic rather than any real decision. Thus touching the press or other civilian organization campaigning against Chavez would not even benefit from a temporary silence as journalists do some digging: Romero and Forero, to name two, know very well what is going on and the devastating editorials would hit their papers in a few hours. And I am not even bothering listing people like Oppenheimer at the Herald whose position has been established years ago as to what Chavez is: narcissistic-Leninist.
No, it is all clear, this is a show for internal consumption as Chavez will not do anything to damage his source of income: he needs money too much to be an austere revolutionary. And there resides the reply of the US: ignore him. Well, you cannot, but you can write the following Communique:
Dear President Chavez
We are surprised by you expelling Patrick last night. Could you tell us what did he do so we can investigate him and punish him for any grief he gave you?
Worry not about Alvarez, he really does not bother us in Washington and you can send him back, we have no reason to expel him. We expelled the one from Bolivia but that was different. But if you want us to expel him for your campaign, please give us an oil discount as you gave the Spanish King and we can officially remove him. Because, of course, we can count on you to keep sending all the oil we need, can we? Worry not, campaign or not here or in Venezuela, we will keep paying you cash.
As for the flights reduction. We are OK with it, if you want to stop them altogether, fine. Less and less US citizens are traveling to your country. You know, too much crime and with a higher dollar they can travel elsewhere now. Those that need to travel to Venezuela will have to go through Bogota where they will be better controlled for drug trafficking back home.
Now, such a letter, worded in diplomatic style, is sure to have Chavez blow a gasket, hitting him harder than any military raid the US might do.