Too despondent about Venezuela's current degradation to write about it there is fortunately foreign matters to keep us entertained.
Dominique Strauss-Khan, FMI president, bright star of the French Socialist party and someone for whom I could have possibly voted next year fell from grace this week end. I do not need to go over the sordid aspects of the affair as most readers of this blog have already read on it. But since French readership is low I thought that I would let you know how the scandal is playing in France.
First, considering it was the front runner, the only socialist all but certain to beat Sarkozy, it goes without saying that the socialist party which has been accumulating quite a few electoral victories lately has entered into a funk from which it might never come back on time. See, any winner of the coming socialist primaries will be tainted because the case will be made that s/he only got the nod by default.
Second, it is a humiliation for all French, from right to left. After all, French are so concerned with "La Grandeur" that it was perfectly normal to see Sarkozy promoting a dangerous political rival to the IMF presidency. For the French, almost any French, even a political enemy is better leading an international institution than, say, a Brit or a Kraut or some Spaghetti eater (North American leading are OK when it is about military matters, we have learned our lesson).
And third, something that will be paid dearly by the US. The tasteless treatment of Strauss-Kahn by the New York Police is not taken well by any one in France where the presumption of innocence (innocent until proven guilty as they say in the US) makes that no matter how horrendous the crime is the putative guilty party is shielded from cameras as much as possible until at the very least a formal indictment is issued. That some New York Prosecutor is taking such a godsend opportunity to advance his political career by parading a dishelved Strauss-Kahn, allowing the police to drag him hand cuffed without the minimal decency of at least straightening up his jacket, is an image that French people are not going to forgive and forget, even if the man is found guilty. If my US readers were shocked about the unwillingness of Europe to send back to the US Polanski, well, you mays start forgetting about such cases in the future as Europe is going to be less and less willing to extradite anyone to the US anymore.
True, yours truly who lived long enough in the US to have learned that the treatment of Strauss-Kahn is OK in a country which genuinely believes in second chances (evangelical preachers scandals for example), but this is not known across the Atlantic where US justice is often considered outright barbaric, the more so when death penalty is involved. I am certainly not defending Strauss-Kahn who seems to have a questionable sexual past, but the US might end up losing more than the French on this story.
At least there is a piece of better news: the International Court is getting ready to indict Qaddafi. As we can be pretty sure that the indictment will be coming we can be surprised at the reactions of some that thin k it would hamper a peaceful exit tot he Libyan crisis. Newsflash: there is no possible peaceful exit to the Libyan crisis by now. The West needs to toughen it up and do what needs to be done. It is a little bit like that silly concept that Osama should have been sent to trial: this is not about justice anymore, this is about politics and survival of the West.
Of course this is going to be very unsettling for Chavez. He could well end up someday handcuffed Strauss-Kahn style, or bombed out of some lair Qaddafi style. But the guy does not seem to get the point. Amazingly after all these weeks he is sticking to his thesis that Saudi Arabia and the US are paying sharpshooters who are responsible of all the deaths in Libya and Syria. Apparently the Izarra report that Chavez mentions does not include the huge street protests. For Chavez it is just a plan by the CIA to destabilize all, including anytime soon Venezuela. Himself? Being guilty of something? I suppose that it is kind of a warning tot he Venezuelan opposition, that if we keep our street protests as we do soon he will unleash his Cuban mercenaries on us.
By the way, let's comment for a second on Chavez using for his international news a report of highly incompetent and biased Izarra instead of a more professional report that one would expect from, say, the foreign ministry... Really, the Chavez administration is looking more and more everyday like an "anything goes".... If Chavez must rely for his information on Izarra-Rizarra and his band of sycophantic "journalists" then he is in more trouble than what I thought.