Monday, 28 June 2010

The Axis of the Personality Cult Promotors

Chávez and Syria's president for life, Bashar al-Assad, have declared an "Axis of the Courageous", as Spanish El País and CBS report here and here. I assume the big mouth phrasing came once more from Chávez himself, who has become Venezuela's version of a bad will Cantinflas.

Chávez has met Assad several times before. He has expressed support for the Syrian dictator many times.

Syria's regime has been trying on different occassions to get back some clout in Libanon, they have been trying to become less of a pariah state by hinting they could "help" the US in their fight against terrorism.

So: what is in for Syria here? I guess Assad is just playing along with Chávez as long as he gets what he really wants. He wants first and foremost to show to the West "he is not alone" in case things became less warm again, he also wants Syria to profit from commercial trades with Venezuela - unfortunately, Chávez only signs deals that are good for other countries' exports - and strengthen the intelligence sources Syria has thanks to an important amount of Syrian immigrants in Venezuela.

Chávez gave a copy of his favourite little toy, a gold-plated replica of Simón Bolívar's sword, to the Syrian líder máximo. The Sabaneta-born lieutenant had previously given copies of that toy to such figures as Mugabe, Gaddafi, Lukashenko and Akhmadinejad. Chávez uses the historical sword - the real one - as his personal possession and lightsaber.

Meanwhile, the regime strengthens its hold on Venezuela: new laws are passed to circumvent the National Assembly in view of the September Parliamentary elections, more Communal Councils are formed with members of the Chávez party and exclusion of the rest, Chávez's nieces and nephews use state money and bodyguards to visit "the Empire"

Meanwhile Venezuela's health sector deteriorates further, there is a dengue and Chagas crisis and children go to bad schools without books.

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