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Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez Dies at 58

The controversial leader had a terrible record with the Jews

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Hugo Chavez.(AP)

Venezuela’s mercurial, prickish, defiant, and brutal leader Hugo Chávez shuffled off the mortal coil this afternoon at age 58, following a long struggle with cancer. The 9/11 truther, strongman, and moon landing denier led Venezuela since 1999, suppressing free speech and remaining surprisingly successful at minimizing his country’s extreme poverty.

He was not popular with Jewish communities at home or abroad. Writing in Tablet last year, Matthew Fishbane covered Chávez’s reign, during which roughly half of the Jewish population of Venezuela fled the country.

In 2004, Chávez made his first official visit to Tehran and struck up a personal friendship and diplomatic alliance with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, whom he welcomed to Venezuela this month. This came after decades of political tutelage from another Holocaust denier, the Argentine ultra-nationalist Norberto Ceresole, who died in 2003 but who managed to instill a conspiratorial, amalgamated view of Jews in his pupil. Chávez has seemed to find in anti-Zionism, and later anti-Semitism, a valuable political tool, one that enhances, or makes more precise, his love of straw-man rhetoric and open hostility toward the United States, first against the bellicosity of George W. Bush and then against President Barack Obama, who remains an avatar of “imperialismo yanqui,” which has abetted “las oligarquias” in Latin America.

Taking over for Chávez will be Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro, who doesn’t sound like a very nice guy either.

In his December profile of Maduro for FP, Peter Wilson quotes a professor of Latin American history arguing that it’s “impossible to expect Maduro to be another Chávez.” Instead, the professor explained, “he represents continuity with the policies and programs that the president has promoted.” …Maduro is planning to cloak himself in the more conspiratorial dimensions of Chavismo as well. What’ll be interesting to watch is whether he succeeds — or comes across as an inferior imitation of the Bolivarian Revolution’s original steward.


Related: The Dispossessed
Nicolas Maduro Wants To Be Chavez 2.0 [FP]

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JohnDahodi says:

Hugo Chavez was the real HERO of the poor people not only in Venezuela but in many Latin American countries and even hundreds of thousands Americans too. He was not a democratic leader but very strong will power Messiah of poor people. God knows he was aware of his short life span, did not follow democracy but used democracy to remain in power and help utmost to the poor and down graded human beings. Millions will cry for his demise and may be others capitalists and reactionary foes will celebrate his departure. I salute to this great soul, who had guts to stand-up to the world powers and rather than bow down to their dictates, HE DICTATED HIS OWN SOCIALIST PLANS. GOD BLESS HIM AND REST HIS SOUL IN PEACE.

    Habbgun says:

    Great job. Best satire I’ve read in a while.

    Mark says:

    Sure, he was a HERO of the poor people, and so were Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Ho Chi Minh, North Korea’s what’s his face, Castro still is, Chavez now was, unfortunately the list can continue …

Scott Tennis says:

He was a scumbag under whose leadership the Jewish community was persecuted and half of Venezuela’s Jews left the country.

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Yechiel Gordon says:

After a century of US intervention on behalf of dictators, murder of democratically elected leaders — such as on September 11, 1973 in Chile — and destruction of health and education systems — such as in Nicaragua, it has been a pleasure to observe a leader who has been able to stand up to US-sponsored terror and, largely, to help his own people, rather than send the profits of their labors to US-based multinationals.

Yes, he worked with Ahmedinejad, whose record of hate pales in comparison to that of, say, Israel, which has supplied weapons and torture equipment to death squads and dictators throughout the world — 1 million killed by Israel’s friend Amin, 1 million killed by Israel’s client Savimbi, 250,000 killed by Israeli-armed Suharto, thousands tortured by Israel’s friend the Shah of Iran. When no US oil companies would come forward to provide low-cost oil to the poor of the east coast, Chavez provided oil where the friends of liar and mass murderer George Bush would not.

So, in sum, not such a bad record. Certainly better than any of the dozens of US-imposed choices over the years.

    brian2907 says:

    So, when did you say you’re making aliyah?

    Wow! You lefties always think that as long as the haves get shafted, it’s ok to destroy the national economy and support terrorism and drug cartels!

Miles Whitlock says:

Good reddens …. The world is now a better place than it was yesterday or last week or whenever he actually kicked the bucket. He has probably been dead for a month !! And the Venezuelans and Castro’s regime have been covering it for whatever reason they like covering up news like this. Maybe now a healing process may begin between the three countries now that the “Venezuelan Hate Monger” is now pushing the daisies. After all ….. I love Cuban cigars !!

    The irony is that had he sought medical treatment in the USA (or other western nation) he’ld probably have been cured and thus still be inflicting his evil upon the world.

Like most of his leftist fellow travelers, he was an anti-semite. No surprise there.

I cannot think of anything good to say about him. My condolences to his family. I only wish I could have offered them my condolences years ago.
I’m sure Maduro will ride a sympathy vote into office but he has not the charisma of Chavez. Perhaps Venezuela will have a proper government in our lifetime.

oaklandj says:

I’m of a mixed mind on him. Obviously, I detest his stoking of populist anti-Semitic tropes. He intentionally caused a lot of pain to his own country’s Jewish population, half of whom apparently emigrated rather than see where his pattern of scapegoating would leave them.

At the same time, he improved the lot of Venezuela’s poorest. Poverty and unemployment dropped dramatically, and educational levels improved.

In this respect, he kind of reminds me of Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia.

Mark says:

Good riddance.

“The controversial leader ..” Really? Let’s call a spade a spade. What’s so controversial about a populist anti-Semitic thug?


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Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez Dies at 58

The controversial leader had a terrible record with the Jews

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