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How do you think Hugo would react to this?
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It would certainly be interesting:
The head of an opposition-aligned Venezuelan television station that was forced off the air by that nation's government said he has received offers to co-produce and transmit programming from Mexico.

Marcel Granier, whose Radio Caracas Television went off the air May 27 after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez decided not to renew its broadcast license, vowed Tuesday to keep trying to reach Venezuelan audiences by any means possible.

He said he had "good friends" in Mexico's two major TV networks.

"Our commitment ... is to re-establish that contact [with Venezuelans], either from Venezuela or from abroad, by any means possible, by cable, by satellite, by Internet," Granier told reporters.
Of course, a few decades ago, this sort of "opportunity" wouldn't have been possible. Dictators, such as Chavez, are finding it harder and harder to keep opposition voices stifled. The fact, however, that RCTV might become available regardless of whether Chavez wants it or not may also have the effect of defusing some of the popular discontent its shut down prompted.

On a more general note:
Granier spoke after a meeting in which former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar railed against what he called an "alarming" increase in populist governments and said they would condemn Latin America to tyranny and irrelevance.
And that's precisely right. It seems Latin America, in many instances, goes from one extreme pendulum swing to the other. Hard right to hard left, always dressed in populist clothes. That's why some of the most resource rich states in the hemisphere are poor and torn with internal strife.

Elections do not a democracy make, as the Palestinians and Venezuelans have recently learned.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

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this post seems somehow inconsistent with an earlier theme of this blog, one example of which is this post, about the importance of elections in Iraq.

I could swear that I’ve read comments from the more pro-Administration participants on this blog that one of the defining characteristics of the American success in Iraq was the three elections held since Saddam was deposed.

Skeptics like myself have long argued that liberty and democracy are not necessarily related, so truly democratic elections in Iraq could easily result in enfranchising an anti-West, anti-civil liberties, theocratic government.

now you’re agreeing with us skeptics? you took your d*mn time.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
this post seems somehow inconsistent with an earlier theme of this blog, one example of which is this post, about the importance of elections in Iraq.
How’s that? Where did anyone say that having an election made you a democracy?
I could swear that I’ve read comments from the more pro-Administration participants on this blog that one of the defining characteristics of the American success in Iraq was the three elections held since Saddam was deposed.
Elections are one of the institutions which help build democracies. The fact that Iraqis were given an oppotunity to do that is obviously important. But I certainly don’t remember anyone trying to frame it as you are now.
Skeptics like myself have long argued that liberty and democracy are not necessarily related, so truly democratic elections in Iraq could easily result in enfranchising an anti-West, anti-civil liberties, theocratic government.
LOL! Really? Well so have the skeptics here. All of that has zip to do with the point of the post though. Building a democracy means putting in place many institutions, one of which is free and fair elections. But without the other institutions, such as a legal and judicial system which is fair, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc. elections in and of themselves don’t make the place a democracy. You can’t pack a Supreme Court or rule by decree or shut down opposition press and call yourself a democracy regardless of how many "free and fair elections" you claim.

And that answers the last part of your point above. Yes it could result in all of that if the institutions mentioned aren’t in place and functioning properly. That’s the fight in Iraq ... not elections.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
"How do you think Hugo would react to this?"

What a silly question, McQ. He would denounce it as an imperialist plot by the U.S., of course.
 
Written By: TallDave
URL: http://www.deanesmay.com
"Skeptics like myself have long argued that liberty and democracy are not necessarily related, so truly democratic elections in Iraq could easily result in enfranchising an anti-West, anti-civil liberties, theocratic government."

True, but since they already had an anti-West, anti-civil liberties, militaristic, sectarian, mass-grave-filling government that was unalterably opposed to free press, demonstrations, women’s rights groups, and damn near everything else that liberal democracies embody, it’s hard to argue we haven’t traded up given that Iraq at least has some freedoms now, such as the hundreds of independent media, nascent rights groups, protests, etc.

It’s a fair point to make in principle, though. I tried to elucidate the overall "liberal democracy versus elections" problem here.
 
Written By: TallDave
URL: http://www.deanesmay.com
let’s try the following as a quick rebuttal:

1. the power to define the word "democracy" is not vested only in Americans. the core idea of democracy is, to me, that the government is an expression of the desire of a majority of the population. If the majority expresses a desire for an illiberal, theocratic and repressive government, we can say that the voters made a poor choice, but the government is a democratic one. for example, until the recent coup in Gaza, the Palestinian government was a democratic government, unless one contorts the meaning of the word democracy out of all proportion.

2. Many conservatives, this blog included, touted the existence of elections as proof of America’s success in Iraq. When skeptics like myself suggested that elections alone did not demonstrate that the Iraqi people had agreed to a political consensus, we were shouted down.

3. One part of the Bush Doctrine was to spread democracy, by point of the gun if necessary. Many conservatives, like those posting at Winds Of Change among other places, wanted the US to spread democracy to Iran, Syria, Eygpt and Saudi Arabia immediately after deposing Saddam. When skeptics like myself questioned whether the US was in a position to apply the lessons learned from the small number of successes and large number of failures in global historical attempts spreading democracy by force, we were banned from RedState.

So, now that we are seeing anti-American, illiberal and theocratic democracies taking root in the Middle East and South America, all of a sudden smart conservatives, like those who post here, appear to be revising and extending (as they say in the Senate) their prior statements about the importance of elections. Now we are reading about the importance of building the institutions we deem necessary for the existence of a civil society in conjunction with elections.

this is called nation-building, and the idea has been treated with contempt by conservatives for years. thanks for finally giving the idea the respect it deserves. but we may be too late to apply it in Iraq.

(out of curiosity, how many contemporaneous posts were written here about the disaster being wrought by the CPA on Iraq?)
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Sure, hence the distinction between "democracy" (which the Greeks actually gave a pretty bad name to) and "liberal democracy," or more properly "liberal constitutional democratic republic operating under the rule of law."

WI don’t think it’s at all accurate to say conservatives had "contempt" for the idea of building liberal institutions; there was quite a bit of support for doing so in Eastern Europe both before and after the Berlin Wall fell. What the right objected to was the idea we would sent troops into places in which no American interests were at stake (i.e. Somalia) with vague notions of creating liberal states out of collections of warlords.

The CPA’s decisions really weren’t any worse than the normal bureaucratic bungling and idealistic politically-driven myopia that all government endeavours are prone to. For instance, we refused to deal with the Anbar tribes on the basis that we should only deal with democratically elected leaders. They responded by joining the insurgency. Hindsight is 20/20, but at the time there was tremendous pressure for the U.S. to be seen as doing the right (i.e. democratic) thing in Iraq; critics were questioning U.S. motives and commitement to freedom, claiming we would just set up another Saddam-like thug who would be friendlier to us.
 
Written By: TallDave
URL: http://semirandomramblings.blogspot.com/
Probably worth pointing out: most people don’t realize Iraq did once have something like a parliamentary democracy, and a leader elected by plebiscite. They actually devolved to a sectarian military dictatorship.
 
Written By: TallDave
URL: http://www.deanesmay.com
What I find amusing is how quickly the Spanish Prime Minister, a Socialist, goes on the attack to Chavez while making every attempt to cozy up to Fidel Castro.

It’s like another Jimmy Carter episode.
 
Written By: Joel
URL: http://
The implication that Venezuela is poor (yet resource-rich) due to any actions by Chavez is in serious error. In 1997, 55.6% of households lived below the poverty line. By the second half of 2005, this had decreased to 37.9%. Furthermore, since 2003 Chavez has introduced health care, subsidized food and educational initiatives for the poor.

The television station (RCT) in question was not granted an extension of their license because it was one of the sponsors of the 2002 coup against Chavez.

Fair enough.

RCT is owned by the former ruling class. My understanding is that they are seriously peeved because they are no longer able to plunder the Venezuelan economy as they once were. It’s getting downright impossible to find servants at the previous rate of pay, and dammit, they have to pay income taxes of as high as 15%!
 
Written By: elissaF
URL: http://
The implication that Venezuela is poor (yet resource-rich) due to any actions by Chavez is in serious error. In 1997, 55.6% of households lived below the poverty line. By the second half of 2005, this had decreased to 37.9%. Furthermore, since 2003 Chavez has introduced health care, subsidized food and educational initiatives for the poor.

The television station (RCT) in question was not granted an extension of their license because it was one of the sponsors of the 2002 coup against Chavez.

Fair enough.

RCT is owned by the former ruling class. My understanding is that they are seriously peeved because they are no longer able to plunder the Venezuelan economy as they once were. It’s getting downright impossible to find servants at the previous rate of pay, and darn it, they have to pay income taxes of as high as 15%!
 
Written By: elissaF
URL: http://
Elissa,

Oil prices had much more to do with that than Chavez, though I agree Chavez’s policies haven’t had time to destroy the economy yet.

The television station (RCT) in question was not granted an extension of their license because it was one of the sponsors of the 2002 coup against Chavez.

Fair enough.


I’m sure you’d say the same thing if Bush denied NBC a license after they publicized forged National Guard documents in an attempt to swing the 2004 election.
 
Written By: TallDave
URL: http://www.deanesmay.com

 
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