July 24, 2009

Chavismo's Deep Roots

Quico says: This video speaks so powerfully to the roots of the Chávez phenomenon, it really should be required viewing to people who think chavismo just sort of happened, out of nowhere. We see a 60s-era Caldera talking about the housing problem in Caracas. The guy seems well-intentioned enough - but then you see his constituents, and you feel just how desperately out of touch he was. Talking in turgid, bureaucratic gobbledygood about "topographic circumstances" and "habitability conditions" and "sanitary installations" while people's ranchos fall about around them, Caldera was from Mars, the voters were from Venus.

What's great about this video - well, at least the first few minutes, before it goes all conceptual and incomprehensible - is how strongly the sense of social distance comes across, how clearly that comes through. It's almost tribal. Caldera belongs to one tribe. His constituents belonged to another. He seems genuinely interested in doing something for their tribe...just as long as that "something" isn't understand them. Or - heavens - empathize with their problems. Couldn't have that.

Even now, so much of Chávez's popularity is, in the end, about tribe. About who he is rather than what he does.

Post 81 of 100. Gotta love YouTube.