Via The Egonomist, on twitter, the news that Venezuelan president Hugo ChÃ¡vez has apparently expressed support, on twitter, for Muammar Gaddafi, whose mercenaries and loyalists are presently butchering Libya’s citizens.
The tweet, in Spanish, is as follows:
Vamos Canciller NicolÃ¡s: dales otra lecciÃ³n a esa ultraderecha pitiyanqui! Viva Libia y su Independencia! Kadafi enfrenta una guerra civil!!
My Spanish is no good (Pablo can no doubt translate), but it seems to largely match the following, from the Al Jazeera English live-blog:
4:27am: Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, has backed Muammar Gaddafi on Twitter.
“Gaddafi is facing a civil war. Long live Libya. Long live the independence of Libya.”
Without an understanding of the context this looks like a plain statement of fact: after all, Gaddafi is facing what looks very much like a civil war. But in light of Gaddafi’s recent speeches (and that of his son), which framed the uprising as a civil war started by malcontents, rather than as an expression of the Libyan peoples’ will; and urged loyalists to defend Libya from its internal enemies, the implication of ChÃ¡vez’ message is pretty clear. He accepts Gaddafi’s framing wholesale; equates Gaddafi with his country and action against Gaddafi as action against Libya, just as the dictator himself did.
Gaddafi’s deep links to and close relationship with the Venezuelan leadership are well-documented. But one other factor suggests that the Venezuelan leadership buys the line that the unrest is not a response to Gaddafi’s oppression and the uprisings in nearby countries, but the work of foreign imperialists. ChÃ¡vez’ reference to “Canciller NicolÃ¡s” presumably refers to NicolÃ¡s Maduro, mentioned shortly afterwards in the AJE thread:
5:01am: Venezuela’s top diplomat on Thursday echoed Fidel Castro’s accusation that Washington is fomenting unrest in Libya to justify an invasion to seize North African nation’s oil reserves.
Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister said:
They are creating conditions to justify an invasion of Libya.
All this is pretty speculative. It’s sourced from twitter, a medium not well known for its clarity, and being hours old it’s still yet to be properly analysed or verified. So it may all be a great misunderstanding. No doubt ChÃ¡vez will explain himself in due course. But the information does emerge from ChÃ¡vez’ verified, official twitter account; it does echo previous anti-imperialist positions taken by the Venezuelan leader, and it generally seems to ring true.
It seems — and I think — that Hugo ChÃ¡vez, the modern, popular, democratic socialist leader who was supposed to be different to all the murderous authoritarians who preceded him, has just come out in solidarity with one of the most murderous authoritarians yet left, defending the slaughter of his people for having the temerity to demand control of their nation.
I will be happy to be proven wrong. But if that’s revealed to be true in coming days, it’ll be your move, ChÃ¡vez apologists.