So the Baltimore Sun today publishes an Op-Ed on Venezuela written by an Australian Middle-East expert. Random.
Even more random is the tack of this dude's thesis. In comparing Hugo Chavez to Salvador Allende, Daniel Mandel trots out a number of chestnuts about the life and times of the Chilean president that have been long since debunked by our own government as cold-war-era CIA propaganda. Readers will remember that when military leaders assassinated Allende, they promptly installed the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Ah, the good old days.
Calling Allende’s democratically elected government a “Marxist dictatorship,” Mandel gets into a laundry list of 70’s-era Chilean property expropriation (“often at gunpoint”), and makes a limp comparison to Caracas’ electric company, which was bought out this week with market-value compensation (or, in Mandel’s worlds, was “taken over by stealth and political pressure”).
Insanely, Mandel laments that Venezuela’s military has been “purged” of “anyone who might oppose [Chavez].” Uh, yeah. The officers “purged” had actually planned and carried out a bloody Allende-style coup attempt against Chavez in 2002. But in a sense that’s Mandel’s point: He concludes by complaining that Venezuela’s military is not sufficiently “non-politicized”, a condition “that enabled Chile to extricate itself from Mr. Allende.”
Finally! An “alternative” perspective on Venezuela made it into the dailies. One can only look forward to what’s next, perhaps a nostalgic remembrance of Franco’s Spain, or an intimate profile of Idi Amin by those who loved him most? The mind reels.