Dancing with the Devil

IF NOTHING ELSE CAME OUT OF YESTERDAY’S SPEECH AT THE UN, we now know what is on Venezuelan proto-fascist Hugo Chavez’s reading table.

Noam Chomsky, and this is one of his most recent books, Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States,” he said, hoisting the tome aloft at the podium. “I will just leave it as a recommendation.”

His Chomsky citation merely proves what we have been saying at FrontPage Magazine for years: there is an Unholy Alliance of American leftists and anti-Americans worldwide – and the influence runs both ways.

Yesterday, Chavez called for “the immediate suppression – and that is something everyone’s calling for – of the anti-democratic mechanism known as the veto, the veto on decisions of the Security Council.” In his book Failed States, Chomsky counseled America to “give up the Security Council veto.” The book was published as part of the American Empire Project, whose blog commented on the Chavez endorsement. (Quite a journalistic “get.” Perhaps his blurb will read, “This is the kind of book I would never burn!”) The blog also asserts, “TERRORISM CAN’T BE DEFEATED – EVER.”

Chomsky’s views are widely shared on the far-Left. His alter ego Howard Zinn has also advocated the “abolition of the Big Power domination of the Security Council, with rotating membership and no veto power.” Both regularly call the veto anti-democratic, and various leftists, quoting their ideological heroes, have parroted the charge.

Now one runs his own country. Chavez’s admiration for MIT’s most conspicuous Marxist is not new; he told ultra-leftist Amy Goodman on her “Democracy Now!” program last September, “I would like very much to shake hands with Chomsky. I’ve been reading him for a while. I admire him enormously.”

The feeling is mutual. Chomsky has professed his “solidarity with your anti-imperialist politics and with the important social transformations that your government is developing for the well being of the majority of Venezuelans.”

…And the death, imprisonment, or harassment of the rest – for those are the outcomes of Chavez’s policies.

Chavez’s literary review drew less coverage than his following lines: “Yesterday the devil came here. Right here.” [Crosses himself.] “And it smells of sulfur still today.” (A speech transcript has been helpfully preserved on Alexander Cockburn’s hate site, Counterpunch.org.)

His use of the sign of the cross was as ironic as it was sacrilegious. After Roman Catholic authorities encouraged the Church Militant to participate in the 2004 election, Mr. Democracy’s response “has been harsh and is designed to intimidate Church officials and sow division within the Church.” Pope Benedict XVI petitioned Chavez to lighten government strictures on Catholic journalists when the two met this June. (Venezuela is more than 90 percent Roman Catholic.)

But Hugo Chavez’s activism goes beyond his humor-impaired UN schtick and his PR stunt of offering low-cost heating oil to the poor and credulous. He may have given $1 million to the Taliban following 9/11; he is believed to be hiding the leader of the revolutionary narcoterrorist gang FARC and providing Venezuelan passports to its members; and he may have allowed Hezbollah activity in the land of Bolivar. The faux populist, who has called himself “very Maoist,” is in or has had alliances with Fidel Castro (who he says is “Christian in the social sense”; he’s certainly made his share of martyrs), the Islamic Republic of Iran, Muammar Qaddafi, and Saddam Hussein. He has also tried to swing a local election for the Nicaraguan Sandinistas.

Like all fascists, he has engaged in a costly militarization, dedicating $3 billion to rearmament. The deal he inked in July with Russia will acquire at least two-dozen Russian fighter planes, 50 assault helicopters, some 100,000 Kalishnikov rifles, and a Kalishnikov manufacturing plant. Additionally, Castro has provided 15,000 “advisors” to train the Great Leader’s “Bolivarian Circles,” a personal military attaché that acts as Chavez’s “Hitler Youth,” private army, and domestic spy agency. (Subjects showing insufficient adoration are denied government services.) North Korean officials visited Caracas more than a year ago, and Pyongyang has but one export (though I’m told its stores rival those of Americus, Georgia).

Internal repression and censorship have followed a report released last month by Freedom House found: “Venezuela’s scores have dropped across the board in all four indicators of good governance addressed in the study: accountability and public voice, civil liberties, rule of law, and anti-corruption and transparency. In fact, only Nepal, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria have experienced a greater net change for the worse.”

He has, in fact, cracked down on “disrespect for government authorities” (a crime expressed in language evoking another Western hero: Cartman from “South Park”) and has created a “blacklist of political opponents.”

We’re gratified to know many of the same left-wingers who denounce us as “McCarthyites” support a modern practitioner of the blacklist, that much of the “peace movement” supports a pro-terror militarist, and that the voices of “dissent” cheer heartily for an advocate of censorship and repression.

Chavez’s Marxist economics have led Venezuela down the well-trod path to poverty. The nation is rated “repressed” and ranked #152 in this year’s “Index of Economic Freedom,” saddling the Venezuelan people with a miserable –9.4 percent GDP contraction. Still, more than half its exports come to the United States.

His rhetoric is a hot-selling import on the Left. Cindy Sheehan and Medea Benjamin have met with him. Benjamin’s Global Exchange takes gullible leftists on pilgrimages to the southern, socialist Shangri-la. Thus, yesterday’s speech garnered unsurprisingly praise on the Left – as did that of Iranian President Ahmadinejad. According to one columnist on The Huffington Post, “It would be a big mistake to dismiss their comments as the ravings of mad men when they are only saying what the rest of the world – China, Russia and France on the Security Council as well as countries from Brazil to South Korea – actually thinks.” No wonder Chavez is so popular on the Left; not only does he allow them to believe the rest of the world shares their pretensions, he even played the race card – declaiming President Bush “looks at your color, and he says, ‘Oh, there’s an extremist.’”

Thus, Chavez and Chomsky made mutual admirations pacts; Osama bin Laden makes allusions to Michael Moore; Whe Huffington Post legitimizes the ravings of a leftist fascist and an Islamofascist; and the Unholy Alliance grows steadily clearer day-by-day.

This article originally appeared as the lead story on Thursday, September 21, 2006, on FrontPage Magazine.