Hugo Chávez 2011 annual address:
Yes, el Señor Hugo Chávez did show us fantastically rendered charts of GDP figures and percent debt. But the overwhelming impression of watching the entire address was his penchant for internal reflexion and habits similar to those of an annoying uncle at a family reunion: he talks too loudly, he tells boring stories of ancient and recent history, keeps nagging you to read some crazy old books and even sings to you songs you’ve never heard (or are completely over). He laughs loudly at his own jokes. He’s your crazy uncle. He’s unstoppable and does not tire. And he won’t shut up!
Chávez dedicated nearly an hour to a play-by-play of his rise to power, from his failed coup, his pardon and release from prison by former president Caldera, political rise to power, conquering of the Supreme Court and the new Constitution. The large (he detailed that he had gone from 76 to 98 kg in the past month to demonstrate the importance of remembering history) and loud president neither spared attention paid to opposition candidates nor to the 2012 presidential elections. Chávez mocked, attacked and defined opposition candidates and parties as he wished.
But one enemy was not enough for the Comandante. The United States Empire was also lambasted on multiple occasions. Chávez attacked Obama, Republican candidates, CNN, FOX and their representatives of attacking and destroying Venezuela in the past present and into the future. This is convenient, since the opposition are merely US peons. Stating that, “Some of them have the Empire in their heads,” Chávez implied that some Venezuelans just don’t get it when it comes to his undeniable success and the improved well-being of the nation.
As for the issue plaguing all Venezuelans (the most important for 71 percent), el Señor Presidente had a very interesting explanation. After accusing private media of distorting the facts, he bent over backwards to apologize and express how terrible it is that mother’s lose their children in Venezuela at such a high rate (higher than damn near anywhere). The solution, however, was the identification of an even more important and threatened value: Independence.
Chávez spent half and hour detailing how the Evil Empire and the opposition had taken Venezuela’s independence and that only his revolution had enabled Venezuelans to reclaim it. Thanks to Chávez, Venezuela is independent again. It appears that independence and personal safety are mutually exclusive in Venezuela, according to President Chávez.
However, three hours into yet another epic address, opposition Deputy Marquina did steal the focus for a moment, revealing another of the many successful signs in last year’s National Assembly session, with red letters on a white sheet:
33% FOOD INFLATION
Chávez stopped for a moment to say that he would respond. Paused. And continued his Powerpoint presentation. He did return to consumer prices and explained how previous administrations (13 years ago) were at fault for current inflation woes. Although also making time to do some math equations for the anxious audience, the impression left by repeated mentions of his illness and recovery in the first two hours on stage.
An hour later (now four hours in), opposition Deputy Julio Borges interrupted Chávez for a second time. Standing until called upon, Borges challenged statistics presented by the president and asked how they could be right when some many are still homeless from last year’s floods?
[Address still in progress. More commentary coming soon…]
- Venezuela’s Chavez predicts ‘year of tests’ (sfgate.com)
- South American Nation Sees Huge Inflation (huffingtonpost.com)
- Henry Rangel Silva, Chavez Ally, Named Venezuela Defense Minister (huffingtonpost.com)