86 thoughts on “GoogleHangout with David Frum

  1. Any association with AIPAC, one of the ugliest and most dangerous political lobby groups ever, is not a good look for Caracas Chronicles, in my opinion. I suppose that neo-nazis also have a right to free speech, but I find Frum’s politics deeply disturbing. At least he has been upfront and consistent. This does not make his politics any more palatable. This reminds me, however, of to the point response made to a journalist once about Chavez being a threat to regional democracy. Bush said (paraphrasing) ‘Chavez poses no threat to anyone but the Venezuelan people’.

      • I’d hardly call Frum a heretic. It would be easier to discount his thought if he were, unfortunately.

    • Solid line of argument there, man. The stuff is “not good looking,” the guy is “a neo-nazi,” you’re “disturbed” and of course a reference to The Dubya because even though he’s been out of power for five years he’s still Literally Hitler. QED.

      In all seriousness, these Google hangouts are actually a great thing and this one was particularly interesting. This man had a lot of good insights, and dismissing him just because of his association with the GOP or whatever only servers to display that stereotypical insularity of contemporary liberals — which, by the way, is another reason reason why political cynicism and extremism are on the rise.

  2. Most big time US opinion makers pay no attention or only cursory attention to Venezuela’s plight, Frum is one of the few that really appears to care !! This puts him in a category apart , Kudos to you for making it possible for him to appear in the CC hang out.

  3. uuumm, how do I plug into google hangouts. I forgot. or is there some sort of youtube-like-arrow to click on, say, at 9:29 pm EST.

  4. I’ve always love Frum’s insights (even when I disagree with him) on American politics. I’m not too keen on his foreign policy or on Venezuela for that matter (the few articles I have read by him). Still should be an interesting and entertaining discussion.

  5. David is right that CC is important! And I think he is also right to refer to the experience of Eastern Europe: “Insist on treating the law as if it is real.” Good show!

    • Follow the rules (i.e., don’t buck the system, stand your ground). Wise counsel. When these governments crack, they crack quickly.

  6. “People know. People know,” David said to cap his joke about the little old lady, the secret police, and Mussolini. But were Italians in Italy”s 1930s as poorly educated and as poor, as are the poor in Venezuela? I don’t think so.

  7. I think he did miss the main difference between the ex-Soviet bloc and Venezuela; the former had a much larger educated class, and a much smaller percentage of campesinos.

    • you’re right, JH. There are a vast number of other differences, as well.

      Little by little, I hope the CC book and future tomes (!) help Frum understand the political landscape, not only of Venezuela, but also, to an extent, of the region. At the moment, the language barrier has Frum focusing too much on physical appearances. (“Castro is sexy; Chávez is not” — like the owner of a donated Haier washing machine is going to care what Castro looks like.)

      • On the other hand, focussing on 5-7 hours of rambling nonsense via cadena may distract us, the spanish-speaking audience, from Chavez’s essential, buffoon-like qualities. He was, with his track suit and his tiny cups of espresso, ridiculous, even when he was causing people harm. And though I think Chavez was something of a sociopath, he lacked, as DF argued, the sort of concentrated, calculated and organized malevolence that you get in Putin. He just didn’t have the organizational skills of a world-historical despot.

        • Chavez in his guts lacked the cold calculating cruel inhumane ruthleness of a Castro , of a Putin, of a Lenin . also he didnt have the sharp cold intellect of these monsters , he could be cunning but not really brilliant , also he was kind of mushy , loud , disorganized blatant, histrionic , full of bluster and overblown self regard which made him a buffon to outside observers but charming to many of our countrymans more primitive minds.

  8. Great hangout!. Mr. Frum seems (to me) much more nuanced when he talks than when he writes (admittedly, I haven’t read his articles that much), he made very interesting points. One that stuck with me particularly was the need for us in the opposition to prepare for “the long game”. I’m not optimistic about our chances for the upcoming elections, so we are going to have to start to think about ways to be more effective. However tiresome is for example, fighting about fair electoral conditions, or about judge Afiuni, or in general the respect for the rule of law, it is a fight worth fighting. I think this kind of fight will harden our determination, and weed out those who are only for “the short game”. If we lose the upcoming elections, what do you guys think should be our course of action?. For example, I think we should start thinking about ways to combat the “communicational hegemony” of the government.

    • “ways to combat the “communicational hegemony” of the government.”

      But we already have it: Twitter, U-Tube Videos, and the entire panoply of social media. It’s already there. Use it.

  9. I find it interesting that Frum refers to Chávez in the present tense. LIke he´s still around. He totally is.

  10. One thing one can gather from FT discussion with From is that the Oppo should prepare to handle two fronts , one the open air front , protesting unlawful decisions , abuses etc calling attention to the regimes failures and crazynes but also a kind of clandestine front for keeping lines of communication and action open if the regime does opt for more repressive controls , Frum doesnt realize how you can be so discriminate and selective in its repression that its doenst really catch the worlds eye in a any compelling way , that the regime can engage in a kind of muffled but effective repression of the opposition so that it becomes totally marginalized from public spaces . This two front approach has to work in tandem so that the opposition never loses its cohesion and capacity for action . May be we need a second CC but in spanish , to carry the message to the many who are not fluently bilingual !! just a few thoughts to consider!!

  11. I was gladly impressed by how humble David Frum comes across and how he calmly admitted that he doesn’t know everything about the situation and how carefully he listened to your opinions. The guy is surprisingly nice and a very interesting man. I loved the anecdotes and the joke about Mrs. Mussolini. By the way, I agree with his analysis. People in Venezuela know how incompetent and dishonest Maduro and his cronies are, but the still prevalent handouts, the promise of a new home and the threat of taking people off of the list for discounted Chinese appliances if they don’t vote for Maduro and the spirit of Chavez are still strong deterrents. But, as DF said, those types of regimes crack quickly. It is a very unstable equilibrium. As for the great job you are doing for the Venezuelan democracy, take it as a nice compliment from a much respected person, but please don’t let it go to your head. You are doing a great job and this conversation with DF was a milestone in your career as a political analyst and an author (although I am sure that more and more serious media exposure will come), but you are no Vaclav Havel, not yet anyway. Congratulations on a job well done.

    • My feelings exactly. There was a lot to think about in that discussion. Excellent.

      Two points to CC:
      1) put Charter 77 by your bed and when you have bad dreams about Venezuela, read it. I am in favour of the Havel therapy approach.

      2) where is my edition of Blogging the Revolution which I ordered, along with Rory’s book, from Amazon, two weeks ago? Are they printing them one at a time, or what? How come Mr. Frum got his so quickly? And me?
      ;)

    • Important last sentence from virtok. If I may add one other small observation, Quico, I hope that in time you lose the star-struck quality. It’s a nice touch. But you risk coming across as a groupie. And you have just as much to offer as the “rock stars” of journalism. Oyó?

  12. Enjoyed the Google Hangout. Mr. Frum’s Italian story was interesting. As someone who follows from Mexico, I really don’t know if it is a good comparision. There appears to be so much adoration (also disagreed with the charisma comparation with Castro). Just try and not support the party that gives substantial stuff when you are way below middle class. Mr. Frum is very smart when he indicates things can change rather quickly — even if not this month. Everyone has seen Caracas just land at #3 most violent city in Western hemisphere so maybe Frum is thinking voters won’t take the crumbling forever. Smart, too, in his recognition of Caracas Chronicles.

  13. That was fascinating. I have often tried to explain to Venezuelans on this and other blogs (and in person) why the U.S. doesn’t get involved to the degree that many here would like them to. Mr. Frum did an excellent job of explaining that. Furthermore, I found his subtle advice and encouragement about how the Opposition should proceed to be right on target.

    Francisco, well done and congratulations.

  14. Watched this morning from Dundee, Scotland. The serious, indeed existential, situation that is the state of democracy in Venezuela (and the diminished quality of life and civil liberties for its citizens) demands continued exposure (and CC exposes). Thank you CC for a comprehensive documentation. As it pertains to humour, one might take another 31 minutes to watch a Scottish MSP offer her perspective in Dec 2012 on the state of democracy in Venezuela and Cuba… and what an aspirational Scotland might learn from these two bastions (relatively speaking, of course) of liberty, human rights and the rule of law. Take particular note of ‘Minute 26′ onwards… http://www.scottishvenezuelasolidarity.org.uk/videos/3-videos/33-video-learning-from-latin-america-conference-2012.

  15. I would be interested in peoples’ thoughts about the observation that there has been something of a paradigm shift in Latin America with regional and political integration. The USA is not so much ‘ignoring’ Latam, as acting in synchrony with the region which no longer presents real or perceived threats to US interests.

    And has this made the rise of a full on despotism in Venezuela improbable?

    • Great question and lead-up, Canuckle. Yes to a paradigm shift having already occurred in Latam, insofar as regional and political integration is concerned. The responsibility for that shift was Hugo Chávez, his idea having been guided from the grave of Simón Bolívar. (Ok, I jest.) The Latam integration follows the common markets that have formed elsewhere (US-Can-Mex, Eurozone) and the economic partnerships, such as that of the US and Colombia.

      As regional integration gains strength, and this could take a few more years, economics will play a stronger part. The currencies of Brazil and Chile will set the tone. Vzla and its economic mono-dependence will be left pretty much in 3rd world territory, particularly as fracking (and alternative energies) gains further grounds in the US, Vzla’s primary market.

      The US has much bigger fish to fry, economically, through its relationships with China et al — productive markets that are backed by governments that may not be wholly democratic but that have their act together, that know how to plan. A lot of Latam is simply a joke in comparison.

      For all the above reasons, the region no longer presents a threat to US interests.

      As for full-on despotism in Venezuela, I think it’s improbable. As I see it, despotism begets a kind of leprosy, whereby other markets aren’t as open to the despotic government. Maduro, at least, has honed his skills in helping to open, rather than close markets. Dare I say it, Vzla to Cuba is an inverse banana republic version of what Hong Kong is to China.

      • Syd, reading your opening comment on my phone I almost walked into a telephone pole. Don’t do that!

        But yes, the vision of Simon Bolivar is perhaps alive, just not where the Chavernment thinks it is. When DF made that comment about Chile maybe looking like France in the not so distant future, it struck me that it was not so long ago that Spain looked like many Latin American countries, like Mexico. (maybe it will again, but I don’t think so). I would like to think that the troubles in Venezuela are a sideshow on what is, in sum, a happy story slowly unfolding in Latin America and that in fact, full regional integration (north to south)- and I’m not just talking about free trade agreements and the free flow of JUST capital- is on the way. I would like to think that. Or maybe I just drank too much coffee…

      • I don’t think latam has ever represented a threat to USA interests except as a spawning ground for commie regimes during the cold war which the USA proceeded to stomp on mercilessly. Latam is clearly more trade partner, source of natural resources. Granted China/Asia is far more important for trade but Mexico/Brazil are being promoted as the new new significant partners, Mexico in particular for its strategic location and surplus of engineers. The fact that there are 50 million latino/hispanics in the USA is probably the most significant future driver of integration in the region.

  16. Dear David Frum ( if you are reading this thread),

    For an outsider it is hard to imagine the distorted reality that exists in Venezuela.I loved your analogy with ‘Ubu Roi ‘, one that also occurred to me many years ago, because the regime is quite absurd and incomprehensible.

    Many Venezuelans keep on their televisions all day long while doing chores around the house, and as people come and go.Even when not focused on it, the government propaganda drones continually in the background. Reality is seen through the prism designed by the true believers and objective comparisons with other countries like Chile or Brazil can not really be made by a large group of Venezuelans who do not have access to or are not even interested in the International media.

    The strategies of the government are designed by the Cubans and have been very effective among a whole class of people who have all along been open to Chavez’s world view.

    Even though the US has tried to lay low and not offer a target to Chavista propaganda, the Venezuelan revolution is seen as a continuation of what Castro started years ago.The whole victimization that the Castros have successfully promoted, not only in Cuba and LA but also in the International media of how the US is to blame for all their hardships,is easily transplanted to the Venezuelan reality .Thus we can understand how the Chavistas take it as a fact that the US is to blame for Chavez’s death by contaminating him with Cancer, although it is absurd to any impartial observer.The worsening condition of the economy can also be explained away like that.

    Seen in this light Ubu Roi is only absurd to those living in a certain context.Violent oppression becomes unnecessary in this context of Venezuela where perception of reality is tenuous at best.

    • People in Venezuela love conspiracy theories , the more extravagant and dramatically juicy the better ,this is true both of Chavistas and Oppos., People writing in this blog are no exception , The CC team has had to exercise a careful monitoring task too avoid these excesses , the problem is that Chavistas not only love believing them but inventing wild plots lines as well , so drawing the line for oppos is difficult. The credulity of chavez followers however is almost boundless, Had someone ( a cousin) tell me months ago that all the then devaluation ‘rumours’ were a plot of the rich speculators to raise the value of the dollar to profit from the consequences . He is not an uneducated person so it caught me by surprise how gullible he had become, the effect I m sure of the constant propaganda filling the airwaves and which presence you note so accurately . .

  17. I have been observing Latin America since the 1960s, and certainly think that it is far harder to maintain full-on repression than once was the case. Latin America is so much nearer now; the internet, but also Latin American immigrant populations make events there much more visible. Imagine the impact the Chilean coup would have had, with 100,000 cell phone users uploading everything in real time.

    So I think “despotism” has to adopt more sophisticated tactics; making nearly it impossible to make a living without supporting the revolution is one such way. Generating emigration through lawlessness is another. These tend to pass under the “human rights” radar, which concern themselves with (mainly) procedural rights.

  18. Great conversation. On regards to the long game, I’ll say to fellow CC followers as I tell to my Chavistas relatives and friends: Si, si volveremos, We might not all move back physically to Venezuela, but most of us will keep an open link to our homeland, and with us, we will bring capital, ideas, networks and a liberal worldview that will revitalize in the long run, the stale nature of the contemporary Venezuelan society.

  19. Good hang out, don’t know much about David Frum but he had some interesting things to say (as did Francisco). Congratulations to Francisco and the CC crew!

    There were a few curious points. As pointed out by others, I found Frum’s emphasis on appearances somewhat odd. Chavez was not a man of high fashion and clearly he kept the look of a man of the people, and this should not be confused with carelessness. By extension, the assumption that Chavez was not as calculating or villainous as Putin misses the point that he was politically very crafty. How many democratically elected presidents can claim to have completely overhauled the law of the land and have gained his level of control over its institutions (Hitler anyone?). He’s left a large opposition hoping for the equivalent of economic chemo as its best bet for survival. Good politicians are opportunistic, suffice it to say, and Chavez was no exception.

    There was also too much emphasis on Frum’s part on Chavez the person and too little on the Chavez government. Undoubtedly because opponents have repeatedly decried Chavez’s style of self-centric management. And here lies another potential danger in Frum’s quick analysis. Think now of the opinion surrounding Maduro as another slob. Maduro may be a figurehead and no Chavez, but it may not matter. If you listen to accomplices such as Cabello speak you realize they do not lack cunning minds (can’t help but think of Bush/Cheney).

    As for Cuba, Frum ignored its historical and continuing influence in latam. Cuba may not be taken seriously in the USA (except by cubans there) but it has undeservedly regained clout and respectability if not economic significance other than as proselytizer of bad ideas.

    The comparison with eastern Europe is somewhat annoying for the obvious reason that it took over 50 years for the iron curtain to come down. Relations with the Eastern Block were also, shall we say, somewhat colder than they are with Venezuela, and the USA had a much greater interest in seeing the soviet empire collapse. Cuba/Venezuela do not represent a military or economic threat but the Caribbean region generally continues to pose a humanitarian problem. You can’t ignore the humanitarian costs of bad governance. But with the ideological wars apparently over, the flare of “socialism” in Venezuela simply isn’t taken too seriously. Apparently, only Venezuela turned into something akin to Syria would attract attention. Frum is presumably right that there just isn’t much to be gained from a more “active” role for the USA in Venezuela. The prognosticators presumably see a collapse of chavismo as imminent, or that it just doesn’t matter. Chavez was no Saddam after all, just one of his pals.

  20. “One day is going to be, inescapably apparent, that Chile is as rich as France, and Venezuela is a third world country.” I had the same reaction as you, Quico, but it’s the sad, plain truth. No, worse: it’s our reality…

    • After more than three decades of economic, political and social decline, I don’t express a wounded pride anymore when told mine is a third world country. I’d realized where I stand already, and in fact it’s reassuring. Henrique and I might be sharing mindset perhaps.

  21. Clearly US has not only lost most of its capacity to influence Latam political development but it has ceased to care , Maybe its still concerned about Brasil and Mexico but not about the others except in a very desolutory way. Its got its own deep internal problems to sort out , any attempt to actively oppose Cuba or Chavez Venezuela is bound to backfire so why try , US Public opinion has lost much of its past missionary zeal for protecting democracy , human rights etc around the world, (Bush’s missionary excesses took care of that). Its fighting a reaguard action to see how much of its past importance it can hold on to , The rethoric is there but the spirit has gone out of it. We who saw the US as the champion of a model of life we could aspire to achieve must understand that the Uncle Sam we knew is gone , What a Joke that Chavez made him out to be a great mighty wicked enemy when he is turned into a constipated middled aged man looking for its viagra pills , The question for us is only one , if push comes to shove and the regime decides to take the next totalitarian step and dispense with real elections and rule through the kind of coercion practiced in Cuba will the US have the guts and interest to do anything about it ?

    • Probably not. It might complain but now a days even if Venezuela takes another step to quash the opposition it will be just a step…never anything rash.A country like Brazil will always still say we have elections and some sort of democracy.Most people do not have the powers of observation to see what is really happening.

      The US has always been a reluctant empire.The most it might do is make some kind of declaration that Venezuela is heading toward dictatorship.Also Obama wants to block the oil pipeline from Canada which is the only way we can gradually replace Venezuelan oil.That together with fracking.

      More importantly if the US were to project itself against Venezuela , the whole of LA would back Chavismo.Why do you suppose that is?( I say it with tongue in cheek)

    • Makes you miss the good ol’ Reagan/Bush Sr years don’t it? Invasion of Panama and Grenada at the least provocation. Yep, 20 years sure has made the world more complicated.

      The USA hasn’t many options as far as I can see other than weak hand-slapping. Change will have to come from the inside…

      • Funny isnt it how the fate of 4 million Israelis matter much more to US public Opinion than the fate of 28 million Venezuelans , Enough that the US is willing to incurr the wrath and undying hatred of a whole civilization ( Islam) with hundreds of millions of fanatical devotees , with all the consequences attendant upon such Posture ( including Sept 11, The war in Aghfanistan , the thousand of victims of wantom terrorist attacks , the threat of an Iranian nuclear war shutting off oil supplies from the Persian Gulf, The huge cost of battling Islamic fundamentalists ) , that at least hasnt changed in US political opinion !!

        • The 4 million Israeli’s have an economy not far behind in size to Venezuelas and far more technologically diversified and sophisticated. But I’d still like to know how they compute ROI’s at the state department. They missed the boat on Chavez in any case and now there’s little they can do.

          • Im not sure Israels economic importance has anything to do with the US’s stance vis a vis Israel , its just that they symbolically represent something that Venezuela doesnt represent to the average american , not as human beings but as the embodiment of certain highly regarded romantic or religious values, The effect of that unequal estimation of two different people is that the US will not run the risk of facing a disgruntled Latam to help 28 million Venezuelans retain their freedom but will face the wrath of hundred of millions of fanatical Muslims, including the costs and devastating consequences of a nuclear war affecting the Worlds crude supply to defend the freedom of those 4 million Israelis. This reflects a lop sided double standard in the way US political opinion works.
            Still you are right that they missed the boat on Chavez and now there is little they dare do that doesnt disturb the complacency of a mayority of US political opinion.

            • Sure, you can ask how much is the land of Israel worth, and that has as much to do with history, religion and politics as with economics. The US-Israel relationship has evolved over the years, and the importance and influence of Israel as well, Israel having become a cornerstone of US foreign policy and a key ally in the middle east. The alliance with Israel is valuable and not just due to romantic or religious foundations. And don’t forget that there are nearly as many jewish people in the USA as in Israel! The 9/11 attacks didn’t occur in NYC by accident, they were targeting the large jewish population in NY state (> 1 million).

              But that shouldn’t affect the relation with Venezuela. If the USA can be accused of negligence in its relationship with Venezuela it is due to misconceptions regarding its economic and political stability. But even Venezuelans were caught off guard by Chavez.

        • Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and is a steadfast friend of the U.S. Venezuela ain’t a democracy and Chavez-Maduro ain’t friends of the U.S.

          • Please dont confuse Maduro or Chavez with the Venezuelan People who want to to preserve their democracy and be friends with the US , those are the people we are talking about, Your confusion of Maduro and those who have always admired and wanted the friendship of the US is offensive , Turkey is in the Middle East , is a democracy and a steadfast friend to the US so Israel isnt the only one with those traits. Saudi Arabia isnt a democracy but is a steadfast friend of the US , Would the US sit passively while a fundamentalist group attempts to take over S.Arabia , doubt very much that it would !! but of course they are not a democracy so maybe that would be ok!!

            • The US-saudi relationship is queer at best and many think it might come to haunt them, much like that with Iran, another mayor f-up.

              • Feo: I dont oppose by any means US special relationship with Israel , whatever ‘historical’ reasons there are for it , What lenghts the US is will to go in defense of Israel however underlines how little Venezuela’s fate weights in US Political Opinion that the US is willing to do virtually nothing to defend its people from tyranny because other Latam countries possible opposition !! This is a real put down for us Venezuelan’s who see the US as a model to follow and the embodiment of Fairness and Justice all over the world . It is dissapointing that from now on (unles you are Israel) its every country for itself!!

              • Bill Blass,

                I think in great part it has to do with the fact that in LA the separate countries identify more with each other than with the US.and form a kind of emotional /political block against the US whenever the US is interferes in any way, even under circumstances that go against ideology.

                The US cannot limit itself to having alliances only with democracies, as it would practically isolate it from the third world including the strategically important Middle East.To have an alliance the US needs a stable partner.This can either be a dictatorship which shares strategic interests with the US like Saudi Arabia, or preferably a democratic country where there is a bipartisan commitment to the alliance.

                For example in Colombia,the major democratic parties have committed to a long term alliance with the US regardless of its ups and downs.In Venezuela, we have approximately half the country caught in a frenzy of hatred against the US.

              • The USA still imports more than twice as much oil from the Persian gulf as from Venezuela, explaining for instance why Saudi Arabia despite being so politically regressive remains a mayor ally. But Israel has far more economic clout in the region than any country but Saudi Arabia (including Egypt with 10 times the population).

                I think Frum reflects popular opinion but not the US government when saying the US has become more introspective. I don’t think he has the inside scoop on latam policy at the state dept. The USA has much to gain from a stable and open Caribbean/American market and I don’t think the USA is happy with chinese meddling in latam. On the other hand current terms of trade with Venezuela favor the US and Venezuela needs the income so, aside from possible disruptions due to mismanagement, the US has little to worry about. It will be interesting to see how the oil trade with the USA evolves. The USA relies on steady imports of Venezuelan oil but the overall OPEC share has dropped (although presumably not due to deliberate gov policy) as have refined imports.

                On the matter of principled foreign affairs I think Frum was right on the money that after listening to bitching about US interventionism for ages the US gov has gotten the message and is trying to be more subtle. Perpetuating their values remains a goal but they have less means to do so now. Welcome to the postmodern age.

  22. A great interview Francisco! Well done!

    Now when listening to it and reading some comments it came to my mind to suggest to all of you reading Stephen Kotkin´s extraordinary “Uncivil society – 1989 and the implosion of the Communist establishment”.

    In it Kotkin explains how the eastern communist countries that did not have Solidarity type movements, broke down much faster, like in Ceausescu´s Romania, perhaps because, unwittingly, Solidarity had served to vent some of the frustrations.

    Friends, where would Venezuela been without 14 years of Globovisión?

    http://www.eluniversal.com/2010/11/25/opi_art_rindanos-cuenta-com_25A4770293.shtml

    • It strikes me also that the opposition suffers from an international image problem due precisely to its pacifist and integrationist approach, working as it does with the institutions that Chavez erected. The bloodshed in Venezuela is slow and perpetual, not punctuated and dramatic. The consequence is an absence of international attention, and more importantly, the assumption that the populace just isn’t suffering ENOUGH to motivate any type of meaningful diplomatic condemnation.

        • There is plenty of bloodshed in Venezuela , in fact among the highest levels of bloodshed in the world , except that it is not caused by the governments actions but by its neglect of law enforcement . Its certainly true that to catch the worlds attention a country needs to go through some dramatic masacres , examples abound : Rwanda , Lebanon , Bosnia , Libia , and now Siria. and yet the massacres in Rwanda never drew notice until it was too late , those in Lebanon ultimately had to be handled by a heavy handed Sirian intervention , those in Bosnia had to continue several years before the world took any effective action , only that in Libia was succesful in attracting effective international attention ending the regime , while that in Siria seems no have no ending as no one is willing to intervene . The overlooked possibility is an internal response by ‘the powers that be’ , Suspect that there are plenty of people just waiting for something awful to happen in order to justify to the world ( and arouse themselves) to drastic action against the regime . Understand Cubans are not particularly popular and draw a lot of repressed anger, they would be the first to go!! Our hope is that we never get to that !! ,

    • The UN human rights charter should add a clause dealing with incompetent governance… communist aspirations should be outlawed!

  23. Firepiggette : thank you for your comment re the little we can expect from the US in the case the regime opts for a full fledged liquidation of democracy , yours as often happens is the voice of reason , The US has become the bogeyman of many Latam governments and must weight carefully whatever measures it can take without bringing all of latam against it . Your take on the US needing to have allies it can count on (whether democratic or authoritarian) is convincing . I suspect that if the regime does take final action to liquidate democracy there might be more willingness on the part of most latam countries to oppose such measure which might allow the US to be more proactive !! I now realize that the comparison with Israel was distracting in that it took away attention from what was my real point . The rabid response resembles the response a chavista may make if the relationship between cuba and Venezuela’s regime is mentioned !! Definitely a taboo subject !!

    • Quite true BB.

      Must say also that I always appreciate your original input, which often provoke a response and further discussion.

    • Ah good. I was wondering if Toro was going to put up an extra tent for the Convention of Village Idiots. Evidently, one has arrived.

    • Too mainstream. You gotta go with the hip ones. Sadly, those only provoke moderate amounts of lib outrage.

      Next week we’ll have Pat… Buchanan, of course.

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