So how long did it take Hugo Chavez to embarrass his supporters this time? 36 hours, maybe? After shutting the doors on RCTV—for the crime, ultimately, of failing to help defend him from a "coup d'état" that technically took place after he submitted his resignation and then decided his position was strong enough to hold onto the presidency—Chavez turned viciously on Globovision, the last opposition broadcaster in the country, for using "subliminal messages" to advocate his assassination. The motives and common sense of those who wrote about how the Chavez-RCTV fight is really so much more complex than it looks could not possibly have been impeached more suddenly or with more ruthlessness. Chuck Liddell didn't get hit in the face this hard.
I find it interesting that Chavez's "social production" philosophy is so seductive to the red-diaper crowd that they can apparently no longer just read Chavez's own words and tell that he's completely out of control. Perhaps Anglo-Saxon newspapers aren't printing enough of them to help with the judgment. Choice Chavisms from today's edition of El Universal of Caracas:
"You, brother, up there in the hills on Caracas, in (low-income areas) Petare, Catia, 23 de enero, and even here in (coastal) Vargas state, listen up! If we had to launch another April 13, I will command it myself to defend our revolution from this renewed fascist assault! I am warning the people and the enemies of the motherland -those who are behind the scenes-, and I want to say their full name: Globovisión!
"Greetings, Globovisión, you will see where you will go... You may move forward, and you may continue to call people to disobedience and encouraging my assassination, like you did openly late Sunday (May 27), if you want to. But I am warning you in front of the country, take my advice, take a sedative and cool down. Otherwise, I will take care of Globovisión myself."
Chávez said he did care if the media reported that "the lieutenant colonel or the tyrant once again is attacking freedom of expression, Globovisión, these poor innocent people," adding he was ready to die "in order to defend dignity." He asked the Army Chiefs of Staff, intelligence bodies and his followers "not to disregard the enemy." Chávez instructed Minister of Telecommunications and IT Jesse Chacón to "monitor the media second by second. No State can accept calls to disregard the laws." He added that under such circumstances, "the institutions have an obligation to take actions, and I want to tell the people who are behind this conspiracy: 'do not say I did not warn you.'"
Regarding university students' demonstrations to support RCTV, Chávez declared. "Let us believe they are students. I cannot say they are not students, but they are so few they do not represent all of the Venezuelan students." He warned the protesting students: "Be careful, you are being used as a tool by some people who want you to get killed."
Er, threaten protesters with death much, Hugo?