October 17, 2008

¡Abajo cadenas!

I've written about Venezuela before in this space, specifically to defend the Venezuelan music-education program popularly known as El Sistema for their marriage of convenience with the administration of Hugo Chávez. But, like I said then, this lefty has always cringed at Chávez's tendency to sully his populism with heavy-handed demagoguery and repression. So I direct your eye to this report in the latest New York Review of Books, detailing Venezuelan expulsion of a pair of representatives from Human Rights Watch. One hopes this is just another example of Chávez's penchant for embodying both sides of the good cop/bad cop divide in one person, rather than what it truly seems to be: a revealing move towards further authoritarian consolidation. But either way, it's a reminder that, regardless of how you judge Dudamel et al., the Venezuelan government remains a worthy target of critical attention.

1 comment:

daland said...

All dictatorships make use of arts and sports as propaganda tools. This may even do good (Machiavelli docet...) to arts and sports!

The question, as always, is: to which extent can we tolerate bad means in front of the quality of the ends?

With Chavez, are we perhaps reaching the break-even?