Venezuela's Hugo Chavez easily won election to a new term as president of earlier this month. On December 3 Chavez won 63% of the popular vote. He now has six years he says "to deepen and extend the revolution", whose aim is "21st century socialism".
Cuba's Fidel Castro is said to be near death, if not already there, which leaves Chavez as the heir apparent to Latin American revolutionaries. Venezuela does not want a Communist form of socialism so don't look for Chavez to run the economy into the ground like Castro did for more than forty years.
But Chavez's power looks to be limitless at this time since his party controls the National Assembly and government controls the judiciary and all other state institutions. We have an article in the latest WNP that gives more detail to this important story.
Chavez is not the only Latin American leader taking verbal shots at America. Bolivia's Evo Morales and Mexico's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have joined Chavez in chiding America for it's so-called imperialist actions through the years. The world is ripe at this moment for demagogues to seize power and gain an measure of influence.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the most notable in the Middle East. This week he hosted a conference on the Holocaust which was a thinly disguised opportunity to flaunt Islamic anti-Semitism. Historian Niall Ferguson has some perspective on what this means in a recent piece in the Washington Post. Here is part of his article:
We have been here before, and it wasn't pretty. When an elected president expresses skepticism about the Holocaust and threatens to wipe the state of Israel from the map, it is not hyperbole to draw comparisons with that most disastrous of demagogues, Adolf Hitler. Like Hitler, Ahmadinejad knows that anti-Semitism is one of the aces in the demagogue's deck, a tried-and-true means of inspiring hatred and suspicion of others -- and of staying in power himself.
You can read his entire article here.