How can Latin America’s ‘revolutionary’ leaders support Gaddafi?

Mike Gonzalez writes:

It was undoubtedly a mischievous rumour, but William Hague accepted it without demur: Hugo Chávez had offered asylum to Colonel Gaddafi. It was vigorously denied by the Venezuelan government, and as yet it seems to be founded on nothing but a rightwing sleight of hand that elides Chávez and Gaddafi into a single, caricatured military dictator. But Chávez was elected, and re-elected, to the presidency of his country, unlike Gaddafi, and he has not tortured and murdered thousands of his political opponents as Gaddafi has – on the contrary his detractors continue to vilify him daily in the media with impunity.

Yet the response to the Libyan events from Latin America’s radicals has been perplexing and disturbing. Chávez himself has praised Gaddafi and echoed directly the views on the Libyan revolution offered by Fidel Castro. Castro has counselled caution and patience, warning that since the US media are consistently reporting the insurrection and denouncing Gaddafi’s brutal repression it must clearly be suspect. Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua, rushed to present himself to the press as a fervent supporter of the Libyan leader in his sterling defence of his nation.

It is worth remembering that the Sandinista National Liberation Front, of which Ortega was and remains a leader, took power on the basis of a mass rising of the Nicaraguan people against a dictatorship at least as vicious as Gaddafi’s. In the final month of the Sandinista Revolution, from June to July 1979, the Somoza dictatorship (a dynasty actively sustained by Washington for more than 40 years) used napalm against the country’s impoverished population. Chávez freely acknowledges that the Bolivarian movement, which gave its name to the new Venezuelan Republic, was born in the great urban insurrection of February 1989, the “Caracazo” in which the poor barrios of the cities, and principally of Caracas, emptied into the city centres in three Days of Rage after President Carlos Andres Perez broke his promise not to implement neo-liberal economic measures. There were several thousand victims of the repression of the movement. The same people mobilised to defeat an attempted coup against Chávez in 2002 and saved the Bolivarian revolution.

These two very different leaders cannot support an oppressive regime that now faces a mass democratic movement from below. For despite attempts to deny and silence the movement, tyrants have been toppled across the Middle East – not by the mass use of Twitter alone, of course, but through strikes, mass protests, and face-to-face battles with a repressive machinery in which people have been willing to put their lives on the line in the struggle for freedom. There is still much ground to be covered before that is achieved, but there have been glimpses of a very different world in the course of these struggles.

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7 thoughts on “How can Latin America’s ‘revolutionary’ leaders support Gaddafi?

  1. arias

    What do you mean “These two very different leaders cannot support an oppressive regime that now faces a mass democratic movement from below.”. They can and THEY ARE.

    Has Mike Gonzalez even seen the latest Chavez video where he’s wholly endorsing his friend Gadaffi?

    After watching it, it doesn’t seem a stretch at all to think Chavez has offered Gadaffi asylum. Right wing sleight-of-hand? Uh, I don’t think so. Not this time at least.

    Furthermore, what Mike Gonzalez doesn’t seem to grasp is that of COURSE guys like Chavez can support Gadaffi despite his government being borne of revolution and Chavez being democratically elected. Because what Mike Gonzalez fails to realize is that, although a lot of Chavez’s gripes of US imperialism do have merit, it doesn’t mean Chavez has not evolved into a tyrant himself. He has, and one need look no further than his numerous raw power grabs he’s made while in office. Passing referendum, voted down by the public the first time, to run for re-election indefinitely, packing the courts, rife unchecked nepotism in his government, overriding the growing opposition in his parliament by having his MP’s grant him unlimited powers for 18 months to deal with the state of “emergency’ caused by flooding. These are the acts of a tyrant who will do whatever it takes to remain in power. So why is Mike Gonzalez surprised of his support of Gadaffi when the two men are birds of a feather?

  2. Norman

    How can they support him? The can’t. Except perhaps offer him refuge from the storm. But Qaddafi vowed to stay even die in Libya. Looks as though he’s going to get his wish.

  3. delia ruhe

    If Chavez were NOT suspicious of US motives vis-a-vis Ghaddafi, I would be surprised. Chavez is so pilloried in the Western press that he’s become paranoid.

  4. Mustafa

    The fact is that “leftists” are as anti-Islamic as “rightists.” At the time I became a Muslim I was a confirmed supporter of the American left. One of the biggest shocks I had is when I discovered that my socialist “brothers” hated Islam as much as the right-wing Republicans. Remember that Castro fully supported the Soviet Union in its war against Afghanistan in the 1980s, so don’t be surprised by anything he or those who try to emulate him say. I still support the socialist governments in the Americas against their rightist opponents, but I fully understand they are no friend of Islam.

  5. David Brouillette

    I will have to buy other than Citgo, I already try to avoid Middle East Oil and BP,
    Whats left?

  6. David Brouillette

    Remember Lochabee Flight where mostly innocent college students got blowen out of the sky, and Gaddafi and the other middle east leaders are anything except progressives, What do south american woman have to say about nicaragua and venezuala, bolivia supporting the middle eastern countries, over there woman are property, can’t even leave the house without a male escort– Girls night out? prepare for a stoning!

  7. JoeAstroturf

    Just do what Obama’s friends Louie Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright who only have had good things to say about Gaddafi and Sharia law . Their hoping after the next election to invite him and set up a beer summit with Obama and knows he’ll like it better than having to sit down with a cop pig like the last time. They’ll probably invite Bill Ayers to make sure they don’t look prejudiced. Besides Jeremiah always had a soft spot for Bill after he tried to blow up the Fort Dix soldiers and their girlfriends in the 70’s. Some say this is where his famous “Chickens coming home to Roost” speech came from. Obama is hoping Mummy (Muammar this is what his friends call him) can help him find an Imam with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood to help set up the Mosque at Ground Zero. Now he wants the Muslim Brotherhood to takeover Egypt and the Suez canal and see what they can do about that pesky Israel (Louie don’t like their Gutter Religion). This crew will be taking bets on how long it will take to exterminate the poor Coptic Christians. Obama’s told Mummy he’s going to look the other way like he did when beautiful Neda was killed.

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