Monday, February 16, 2009

21st century Chavism

While the Chavez referendum victory may place too much emphasis on the importance of the Venezuelan leader, it's worth bearing in mind that it was a referendum victory. One can debate the merits of term limits; presumably, Venezuelans already have. But absent any evidence of electoral fraud, it is highly presumptuous for North Americans to claim to know what is best for any country that is not their own.

I'm sympathetic to the claim that Hugo Chavez is something of an autocrat. And yet, coming from the country that most recently distinguished itself with the reign of George Bush, this preoccupation seems misplaced. The sad truth is that every national leader is an autocrat. That is the point of having national leaders: they take upon themselves the tasks that might otherwise be administered by the people themselves.

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