We have just had another installment of the Caracas edition of Looney Tunes, with John Pilger hailing Hugo Chavez as the embodiment of freedom and democracy and detractors denouncing Venezuela’s president as a bloodthirsty tyrant. It’s depressing.
Instead of a serious and open-minded discussion about the complex changes unfolding in Venezuela and Latin America there has been, with a few notable exceptions, pompous polemic and scornful abuse.
The notion that Chavez is doing both good and bad things, and that the destination of his revolution is far from clear, is alien to this discourse.
Each side comes out swinging anecdotes and statistics supposedly proving that a new Jerusalem of universal education, social inclusion and grass roots empowerment has been established. Or that an ogre with ruinous economics is gutting democracy.
The pseudo-scientific certitude is all the more puzzling when it comes from armchairs far from the Caribbean. The Islington Chavista is as didactic as the Connecticut neocon.