If it were not so bizarre it may even have been funny to see the extreme left of the anti-globalization crowd in Caracas, celebrating the first year anniversary of the failed coup against Chavez in an event called “World encounter of solidarity with the Bolivarian revolution” . No mention was made of the deaths or the fact that after one year not a single one of those suspected of shooting against the peaceful opposition crowd has been jailed. In fact, only two weeks earlier the shooters of Puente El Llaguno, who everybody saw shooting on tape, were freed supposedly for lack of evidence. But here they were in Caracas, hailing Hugo Chavez and his return to power on the shoulders of the “people” without anyone mentioning that he was brought back by some of the same Generals that sent him away after seeing Pedro Carmona act the way he did that day.
And Venezuelan could not help but worry at the crowd. They had all come to pay their respects to Chavez, from the European left of Ignacio Ramonet of Le Monde Diplomatique to the leader of Bolivian coca growers Evo Romero, who certainly did not endear himself to most Venezuelans by expressing his happiness at seeing Venezuela becoming a second Cuba. And they cheered Hugo Chavez as he told the crowd that his revolution was armed and ready to defend itself, as much as they cheered Cuba’s Vice-President on the same day that three Cubans faced death by firing squad for their part on the bloodless hijacking of a ferry less than two weeks ago. Or their cheers for Daniel Ortega who now sides with those that commit the same horrors that Somoza used to commit in Nicaragua and allowed him and his Sandinistas, however briefly, to reach power there.
But it was real and it was all here. Hundreds of guests invited and paid by a State from funds of unknown origin to hail the man that wants to become their leader thanks to the oil money that he so efficiently uses for everything but the good of his people. And they simply cheered his failed revolution and the failed models of the sixties. And we were all shaken up by the threat of an armed revolution and the fact that democracy and human rights were simply not mentioned. Bizarre? Yes, but very real.