Monday, August 14, 2006

Venezuela jailbreak

Some good news from South America this morning. While Venezuela President Hugo Chavez was in Cuba to celebrate Fidel Castro's eightieth birthday; one of Chavez' main rivals, Carlos Ortega, escaped from jail. Ortega was serving a sixteen year sentence for "inciting unrest" during a 2002 strike against the country's oil monopoly. Ortega did nothing other than question Chavez' moves to turn Venezuela from what used to be Latin America's richest country into a Robin Hood basketcase state and a noveau socialist kleptocracy.

Apparently, Ortega and three others who escaped with him got help from the inside. This may indicate that there are some in the highest levels who are just sick and tired of Chavez acting like a clown. There's no doubt that Hugo remains extremely popular with the lower classes -- but we saw what Castro did with that kind of populist sentiment. At least Venezuela, unlike Cuba, is still a democracy, so there may be some hope people will wake up and eventually put in a more pragmatic administration --one that is fair to both the downtrodden as well as the privileged classes.

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