After more than a week's absence Chavez came back on TV for, what else, a cadena. And an illustrative one it was. I will not go into the details on how Chavez held for two hours ALL of TV and radio networks of Venezuela. For that you could, if you read Spanish, read some of my tweets of May 22 as in a masochistic exercise I followed the whole thing. But there are two aspects I would like to share.
The first one is the clear abuse of power that these cadenas have become and how dangerous to let this thing go unreported as the electoral campaign progresses. The whole two hours in which Chavez held hostage all the radio-electric emissions of Venezuela (you can escape it only if you have cable TV or turn off your TV/radio) were for self promotion, to have his proteges speak in Orwellian terms of the glory of Chavez and his pseudo revolution, and to insult at will the opposition candidate for October. And grossly insult him in ways that no civilized democracy would allow. Obama versus Romney, or Sarkozy versus Hollande are mere floral games compared to the vulgarity of Chavez last Tuesday.
I think it is time to take to task foreign media to report on such abuse and how much that is tainting the electoral process under way in Venezuela. In fact the Unidad should start attacking frontally such abuse of Chavez and hold specific press conference on the matter to foreign media. Let the reader remember that Henrique Capriles has no platform from which to reply to Chavez massive 2 hours attack. Let's just say that about half of the country rarely hears on TV news about the opposition campaign because of the lack of access, and certainly not about the specific replies of Capriles (who last night, by the way, gave an excellent and spirited retort to Chavez, but on Globovision only as I am sure that neither VV or Televen will dare to pass in full his speech, even in the 11 PM news).
The second aspect I wanted to underscore is that Chavez everyday is more delirious, less in touch with the reality not only of Venezuela, but of the the world. I am not talking here of his disease or on how much morphine they set him up before starting the cadena (which, by the way, reeked of early taping and not of live transmission as there were many inconsistencies between the time of day, passing Barinas state updates in broad daylight when in fact it was already night time).
The thing is that Chavez more than ever thinks that money grows on trees. For example at one moment he criticized the Spanish government for increasing subway fares which in Venezuela was not done (though it happened recently but Chavez forgets such inconvenient details). He ridicules the crisis of others while he forgets that none has access to the oil spigot he has. And certainly not admitting that his oil spigot has ruined the production capacities of Venezuela.
But the best was for the end of the cadena. At some point a flicker of reality entered Chavez and he justified state subsidies by implying that other state sectors that could make money should do so to compensate. The effort would have been noteworthy if it were for the example he chose: tourism. Besides not wanting to gauge tourists, he said that during the next 6 year bolivarian plan for the country tourism should be top priority so that Los Roques and Canaima should earn enough to subsidize the rest. Besides this being impossible in Venezuela as long as crime, infrastructure and supplies are not solved problems for tourism, it is a non solution. Countries like Greece that rely heavily on tourism are bankrupt. Is he not aware of that? Has he not been ever told that inasmuch as tourism is essential for the economies of France, Italy and Spain, these are constantly making efforts to depend the least possible on such a fickle industry?
Tuesday night cadena made the perfect case on why alternation in office is a must for democracy. What we had in front of us was a totally disconnected guy, living in his own la-la land of revolution from the past where nearly illiterate milkmaids are supposed to provide the safe milk for the coffee of generous tourists, as a sure sign of development. Meanwhile the real world is leaving us behind.