AP Reporter: Chávez Power Grab Is 'One of the Boldest Moves of His Presidency'

A Christmas Eve report from Ian James at the Associated Press on developments in Venezuela caused me to go to the dictionary to make sure my understanding of the word "bold" is correct.

In context, here are the two most relevant definitions of the word found at dictionary.com:

  • (first listing) "not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring: a bold hero."
  • (third listing) "necessitating courage and daring; challenging: a bold adventure."

One thus has to take the following sentence, the first in James's report, as a virtually explicit expression of admiration for the latest authoritarian moves by the country's "El Presidente," Hugo Chávez:

Flurry of laws boost Chavez's power in Venezuela

 

President Hugo Chavez has given himself the equivalent of a big Christmas present in congress: a package of laws that dramatically expand his powers and allow him to undermine opponents in one of the boldest moves of his presidency.

Someone should ask Ian James and his editors how they can believe that an authoritarian "president" who has created his own street army and who then "persuades" a bunch of lame duck legislating Chavistas to give him more power is demonstrating "courage" and "daring." The better explanation of Chávez's moves is that they represent the actions of a coward who is so afraid of his opponents that he isn't willing to face a new legislature where the opposition will only comprise 40% of its membership. A journalist attempting to be objective would have at least settled for "aggressive" -- or, even better, "controversial," a word the establishment press routinely applies to mainstream sensible conservative ideas -- instead of the clearly complimentary "bold."

Here are a few more paragraphs from Mr. James:

In a single week, he has used an outgoing National Assembly packed with loyalists to gain new abilities to crack down on critics - over the air, on the Internet, in universities and from independent organizations that get foreign funding. He also has obtained broad powers to bypass Venezuela's legislature and enact laws by decree for the next year and a half.

 

Chavez is likely to use the new powers to try to strengthen his political footing as he prepares for the next presidential election in less than two years.

 

Opponents are denouncing the maneuvers as a virtual "coup d'etat" before a new legislature takes office Jan. 5 with enough opposition lawmakers to prevent passage of some types of major laws.

 

"What the outgoing National Assembly is doing is taking advantage of Christmas to legislate behind the country's back," said Julio Borges, an opposition congressman-elect. "They're approving a bunch of laws that are aimed solely at concentrating power."

 

"We are advancing toward a dictatorship," Roman Catholic Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino told Globovision television on Friday. He said officials should consider "the very great responsibility they will have before history and before God if they try to impose a totalitarian dictatorship."

Sadly, James's "bold" report is yet another in a very long list of examples of the establishment press's fascination and nearly explicit support for Latin American dictators and thugs. Current or previous examples include Cuba's Fidel Castro, Chile's Salvador Allende in the 1970s, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. Recently Manuel Zelaya, who "was (justifiably) removed from the Honduran presidency by that country's Supreme Court and Congress on June 28 for violations of the constitution," was supported by Hillary Clinton's State Department and the Obama administration and treated with general sympathy in the U.S. establishment press.

It is reasonable to ask how we can trust the AP or others in the establishment press to perform their alleged watchdog function in the U.S. in the face of authoritarian moves by the Obama administration when their sympathies with Latin American and other thugs are so consistent and obvious. The answer, of course, is that we can't.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.