November 14, 2005

Illiberal Democracy

Ibsen Martínez has a lovely - if typically pedantic - article in yesterday's El Nacional. The gist? Venezuela has become the "most perverse and polimorphous, evanescent and changing example of Illiberal Democracy", as conceived by Fareed Zakaria. Ibsen is too hard to translate, so I'll just point to it for the Spanish readers.

One bit, though, is too lovely to pass up:

"This is a country where, in just one recent day, Chavez can hold a friendly meeting with Felipe González, prince of the modern European social democrats, at the same time as the police raids and closes down the newspaper El Impulso on a flimsy tax pretext. A country whose Public Prosecutors openly intimidate opponents, and whose head of government, at the same time, spends its time designing continental integration strategies based on oil diplomacy; where the prison overcrowding crisis and extrajudicial executions, which today have reached their highest level in decades, coincide with acts revindicating the human rights of afrovenezuelans and indigenous peoples; where the electoral registry has been used to call almost a dozen elections in the last seven years and to institute, in parallel, a political apartheid that violates the right to work...To combat this diabolical complexity we will need a politics that is more realistic and assertive than the sifrino hissyfit of staying home on election day 'because Jorge Rodriguez sold out,' hoping perhaps to see Oswaldo Alvarez Paz and Cardinal Castillo Lara announce, around 7 p.m. on Globovision, the definitive 'endogenous delegitimation' of the regime."