Dictators may pay lip service to constitutions, but they don’t give a damn on them. One could argue that the ongoing (and alarmingly mounting) neo-authoritarian wave started in Venezuela with colonel Hugo Chavez and his disastrous experiment in “Bolivarian socialism.” All the “redemptve” populist cocktail was there: mystical nationalism, cult of the leader, myth-making, irresponsible fiscal policies, anti-Americanism and, of course, anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism. Vladimir Putin and Chavez inspired each other. Unexpectedly for many, Viktor Orban, a self-proclaimed conservative, has resorted to Chavez-style rhetoric in his onslaught on liberal values.
This is why the Sunday elections in Venezuela are so important. Chavez’s successor, the crackpot Nicolas Maduro, speaks of “revolution,” but in fact he wants to preserve, even by using violence, a thuggish despotism. A victory for the opposition could be a turning point not only for Venezuela. De-democratization could be followed by re-democratization…
PS I wrote this text on December 5. This was the Constitution Day in the USSR celebrating the hollow document written by Nikolai Bukharin and Karl Radek and atributted to the genialissimo generalissimo. The two framers perished in the Great Terror.
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