Admiring Hugo Chavez; the Left Celebrates the Usual Rhetoric of Socialism without Results
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The death of Hugo Chavez evoked an outpouring of sympathy and even admiration from many on the left, who can't decide whether fidelity to socialism, as Mr. Chavez defined it, is more important than human rights, freedom and democracy.
The Chavez legacy merits neither admiration nor praise. Soon after he was elected president of Venezuela in 1999, he ruthlessly cracked down on opposition movements, censored the media, sneered at human rights and, in the words of Human Rights Watch, a liberal organization, seized control of the Supreme Court and undercut the ability of journalists, human rights defenders, and other Venezuelans to exercise fundamental rights.
The Center for American Progress, another liberal voice, warned Democrats on its Think Progress blog not to wrap their arms around the Chavez coffin, observing that Chavez's state-run media hounded Venezuela's small, beleaguered Jewish population - Mr. Chavez himself once told Venezuelans, 'Don't let yourselves be poisoned by those wandering Jews.' Tel Aviv University's Kantor Center was cited for reporting an increase in anti-Semitic manifestations, including vandalism, media attacks, caricatures and physical attacks on Venezuelan Jewish institutions.
Such advice was spurned by less thoughtful voices on the left. The body was still cooling when Rep. Jose E. Serrano, New York Democrat, delivered himself of a doleful tweet: Hugo Chavez was a leader that understood the needs of the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless. …