Chavez Falls Off The Edge of the World
Published on: December 30, 2011
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  • Kris

    “Machiavelli would have counseled an enigmatic smile”

    Just before reading this sentence, I was imagining Rumsfeld responding with nothing more than a grim grin.

    “Latin America matters hugely to the US”

    How important can they be if they use a dead language?

    “Even so, Via Meadia wishes him well with his health.”

    I’ll consider joining you in your generosity if he retires. Until then, all I’ll concede is that he’s lower on my striking-down list than Kim Jong-il. Oh…

  • Excellent observations and commentary, sir!

    During my military career I spent several years in various Latin American countries. You’ve done an excellent job giving us a thumbnail sketch of the Latin American left (who despite fiery rhetoric against Tio Sam, can be quite gracious and garrulous hosts to the iterate gringo who wanders through.)

    Years ago I did plain clothes military adviser duty in a South American capital and had to go our embassy to pick something up. I had to wade through a throng of sign-wielding locals to get in. I ran into our Ambassador on the third floor.

    As we looked out the window at the crowd, I made some comment wondering why they hate us.

    That engaging, funny woman responded that if she were to go down there right now with visas and plane tickets to the US, the sidewalk in front of the embassy would be cleared in an instant and the street to the airport would look like the Israeli exodus from Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments.

    For those who want to get a deeper understanding of the Latin American mindset, Rodo’s Ariel is a good start.

  • Jbird

    Chavez is right! It was produced in the same CIA lab as AIDS and Crack! /sarcasm

  • David from Boston

    “Aspiring anklebiter”

    Best insult I’ve seen in a while.

  • Jonathan Silber

    I wonder why Mr. Mead wishes good health to a left-wing brute like Mr. Chavez.

    As for the problems of the poor of Latin America, or the aspirations of the populace there, they will continue unsolved, and unfulfilled, so long as the likes of Hugo Chavez are elected to office.

  • jkl

    When Chavez talk about his political “enemies” ( his advisers follow Carl Schmitt and he is an army man)he use to sya: Aguilas no cazan moscas, eagles dont hunt flies.
    You need an updated photo . Until last month ,when his hair growed again, he looked like Uncle Lucas or Jabba the Hut ( for the younger readers)

  • teapartydoc

    Next thing you know, he’ll be requiring citizens to change their underwear eight times a day, and making them wear it on the outside of their clothes, “So we can check.”

  • The use of cancer as a political tool is actually fairly well documented in the Soviet bloc. Pacepa’s article in National Review from 2006 gives a review:

  • SDN

    Funny, Ron Paul exhibits many of the same symptoms: only he sees the Illuminati at work, so they are desperate to silence him / marginalize him / etc.

    Gnosticism is an evergreen delusion in many faith based ideologies…

  • AD-RtR/OS!

    “…He has decided instead to become a buffoon and a thug…”

    Leopards can’t change their spots;
    he was always a buffoon and a thug!

  • SeanR64

    There are no doubt many Venezuelans who believe this nonsense. And many of them would probably give anything to leave and come to America where, like leftists fleeing NY and California, they would be upset that their new country (or state) isn’t like the socialist paradise they just left.

    After leftism has utterly failed they somehow continue their voting patterns and don’t make the connection that voting for the leftist or, in our case Democrats, is simply more of the same sort of thinking that forced them to leave their corrupt and broken country or state.

    Leftists! Stay home! We don’t want you to do to our state and country what you did to the place you left.

  • Mikey NTH

    The Paranoid Style isn’t restricted to just American politics. It actually seems to be the norm for most of the world.

  • Willis

    “Hugo Chavez has a new theory: that the US has developed a secret technology and is using it to give cancer to left wing Latin American rulers that we don’t like.”

    If this administration had that technology they would be giving cancer to right wing Latin American rulers. Chavez doesn’t even know who our president is.

  • Realist

    “people like President Chavez are bad news. They perpetrate the cycle of Latin impotence, corruption and failure.”

    The [characterization deleted — ed], tribally-organized people of Latin America create these leaders and the maladies listed. They are the ultimate problem.

  • Ed

    Chavez, like Obama, does not care in thes lightest what you or I think about his propaganda.

    It plays very well with the mental and moral defectives who make up the socialist/”progressive”/democrat party base.

  • “. . . more interest in getting the copper/bananas/tin/whatever out on the cheapest possible terms than in doing anything constructive to help the people . . .”

    Superb summation – whether intended or not – of the aims of what I like to call America’s global-trade-and-business-driven “isolationists” throughout the 20th century. Folks who could be, as I read them, wondrously righteous and sanctimonious about non-interference in just about every OTHER part of the world (“We have no business soiling our hands with the sordid and corrupt affairs of old Europe,” etc – so just leave ’em to the tyrants, I guess, and then resume full trade once things have stabilized with the Right People in charge). Whose motto, the best I can make it out, seems to have been “Never pick on someone your own size.” And who could at times give the strangest impression of having never met a master race they didn’t like.

    Anyhow, here’s what I’m not clear about. Suppose I were, say, one or two of a certain type of corporation (they’re persons TOO, you know – besides being one HELLUVA lot more productive than of most of you slackers of the mere human kind). In that case, might I not PREFER a Chavez-type “radical” in the short run – at least in lieu of a full-blown Pinochet-style alternative – to modernization of the WRONG KIND? I.e., to the sort of economic diversification that might seriously offset a country’s dependence on a single resource or handful of raw materials? Just let some obnoxious tinhorn populist make a big enough shambles of everything – in the process crippling or delaying indefinitely the emergence of a native entrepreneurial class – and, why, in “no time at all” they’ll be back knocking at the doors of the familiar resource-extractors. Or am I being again (as is my besetting vice) way too simplistic?

    “There is nothing trivial or contemptible about the problems of Latin America’s poor. And there is nothing wrong with the aspirations of many Latin Americans for their countries and their region to enjoy more global respect and to wield more global clout. The record of US foreign and economic policy in the region is nothing that many informed US citizens feel particularly proud about. The western hemisphere will need new approaches in the 21st century. That is why people like President Chavez are bad news. They perpetuate the cycle of Latin impotence, corruption and failure.”

    Couldn’t have said it better. OTOH, who knows but that certain parties both foreign and domestic – I sincerely hope they’re not numerous – may have a vested interest (stronger than even they themselves realize?) in perpetuating the cycle of Latin impotence, corruption and failure? As for the kinds of domestic regimes that maintain it, the mere longevity of Mr Qadhafi alone might quiet any doubts about our Western ability to live semi-amicably with buffoons and thugs.

    Thanks for a timely, well-argued (IMO) and badly needed essay.

  • Marty

    Chavez accusing the US of this is a dog-bites-man story–nothing surprising or newsworthy… except he forgot to mention Jews or Israel. Usually this level of paranoid accusation also encompasses them.

  • J H Colter

    Chavez is sick with cancer, probably near death, and Marty criticizes him for forgetting a couple of the usual perpetrators. Jeez Marty, you are a tough audience.

  • Mike Bergsma

    Nobody tell Ron Paul about this.

  • j lindsey

    The only sensible response to Chavez’ gibberish is — as you say — a reminder to eat your vegetables. It’s so sad and typical that the State Dept felt the need to wring its hands over this, rather than answer in kind — with theatre (of the comedic sort.)

  • Patrick Moffitt

    “Maybe we would give Chavez the flu.”
    Thanks! that was the first time I laughed today.

  • moderateGuy

    Is there any way to suggest people onto this CIA list of people to be infected with cancer?

  • Andrew P

    Actually, the notion that we could have given at least one of them cancer is not so farfetched. The USSR used all kinds of chemical and radiological agents to induce cancer in its enemies. They did this stuff for decades. The KGB had untraceable radioactive gases that induced brain cancer with certainty within a year of placing a small button in a person’s suit or in his vicinity. This was on 60 minutes back after the USSR fell. Undoubtedly, there are more such chemical agents known today than there were in the heyday of the USSR. I’m sure most of the people on that list got cancer naturally, after all 30% of the population dies of some sort of cancer. And some of them (like Castro) are very old. But when I heard that Chavez had cancer, my immediate thought was to wonder whether the CIA did it.

  • crosspatch

    When cancer becomes metastatic (spreads) it generally spreads to the places in the body with the greatest blood supply such as the liver, lungs, and brain. In my experience with terminal cancer of a family member, delirium is not uncommon as the disease progresses in its final stages as the cancer spreads to the central nervous system.

    If he does, indeed, have terminal cancer, I would place little weight on what he has to say. Now might be a good time for people in Venezuela to somehow quietly remove his hands from the levers of government has his competence to make serious decisions is likely to fail or be failing.

  • Gary L

    Regarding the South American Left’s self-importance, I was reminded of Noel Coward’s “Nina From Argentina” (from his 1945 revue “Sigh No More”), which is a parody of all those romantic moonlit “south-of-the-border” popular tunes. The heroine of the title is an utterly prosaic young Argentine woman who sees nothing that’s the least romantic about her native climes:

    She said, ‘I’ve seen too many movies
    And all they prove is
    Too idiotic,
    They all insist that South America’s exotic
    Whereas it couldn’t be more boring if it tried.

    Noel Coward’s very amusing rendition of Nina can be viewed here:

  • What awesome power is ours!

    Oderint dum metuant.

  • valwayne

    You would think that Venezuela would get tired of such a clown. LOL! The U.S. and its magic cancer weapons! Give us a break!

  • Cucukacho

    Recently a friend from Venezuela was telling me if he could vote in our election he would vote for Obama. I kindly responded that I hope Chavez recovers and continues his revolution. I added Viva Chavez! for good measure. He was appalled. I explained that if he supports socialism in my country I can support it in his.

    Viva Chavez!

  • don

    Yeah, an I suppose this secret cancer weapon is a plot concocted by Jewish American doctors; you know, like those Moscow mad Jewish doctor plots and purges, circa 1952, under Stalin. If the Jews would just give up Jerusalem everything would be peachy keen in the world. Viva the Arab Spring!

  • Jim

    A little off the thread, but the unusually close ties between Iran and Venezuela long predate either Chavez or Ahmedinejad and probably have little to do with terrorism. As the only major non-Arab oil exporting countries in the first half of the Twentieth Century, they developed as close a relationship as one can imagine between two very disparate cultures based on their common economic interests, leading to the organization of OPEC.

  • lon meier

    the U.S. also possesses the tecnology top induce strokes in Asians

  • Charly

    Even if Chavez were to be replaced with a Lula or common sense equivalent, that would do very little good to Venezuela. Venezuela is a rent seeking country and its curse is called oil. Believe me, I live there.

  • Richard Whitney

    Hugo Chavez shows great insight with his “…just sayin’…” speculation on his cancer. And I would love to hear his musings on probability.
    But his time is short, not due to his disease, but because we are aiming our earthquake gun at him right now.

  • Toni

    “The record of US foreign and economic policy in the region is nothing that many informed US citizens feel particularly proud about.”

    We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t, aren’t we?

    The Truman Doctrine was a good one, if only we’d lived up to it. Reagan tried very hard to help anti-communist rebels in Latin America, only to be stonewalled by the Democratic Congress, which chose instead to fund a multi-billion-dollar CIA war in Afghanistan. (“Charlie Wilson’s War” is a fabulous read.)

    Of course, Chinese aggression in Korea and Vietnam was bigger and bloodier than Soviet-funded efforts in Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. And now I think most Americans know we must choose carefully where to spend our treasure and our military forces’ blood.

    Who knows. If 1980s funds had defeated the Sandinistas, we’d be blamed for that, too. Blame America First is a policy adhered to by some homegrown lefties as well.

  • mgray38

    Yes, Hugo can be a cuckoo pie in the extreme, but let’s not forget amid our withering sarcasm at his often foolish remarks, the man has tried to do something for his country’s poor and desperate people. A rather novel approach for a leader of Venezuela.

  • David

    Actually the US intelligence agencies do have electromagnetic weapons that can induce cancer in the victim after extended use. For instance, when Dr Greer was investigating the government UFO coverup, three of his colleagues including he, himself developed cancer. However, I don’t think the White House or the State Department is aware of such weapons. Read Dr Greer’s book ‘Hidden Truth: Forbidden Knowledge’ for more info or see

  • Johnny

    “Unfortunately, the US Department of State has felt it necessary to respond…”

    Hmmmmm. why respond at all? Why not let them have a tiny shred of doubt that maybe we really could give cancer to whichever world leaders [annoy us] the most?

  • lets be hnseot either have to be an ardent communist or Islamic Jihadist to WANT to attend that conference…mind you being a total uneducated moron might just get you through the door.

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