Dictator by Michael Rowan in El Universal
Dear President Chavez, with all respect, you can’t dictate
that people can’t call you a dictator. The old saying goes:
if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like
a duck, it’s probably a duck. This is why people call you
a dictator. You have taken absolute control over Venezuela’s
institutions, which is the chief characteristic of a dictator.
You admit proudly to indoctrinating Venezuelans in the ideology
of your revolution, which is a dictionary definition of a
dictator. You have made media criticism that you deem to be
disrespectful of your authority a crime, which is exactly
what dictators do. So in all fairness to those who are free
to form their opinions of you from what they perceive in everyday
life, you should admit that it is not specious for a person
to call you a dictator.
While whether you are a dictator or not is a matter of opinion,
whether a person can say you are a dictator in Venezuela or
anywhere else is their fundamental human right. You do not
have the power nor should you seek it to prevent anyone who
believes you are a dictator from saying it. You say you are
going to expel people who call you a dictator from the country.
Sir, you have no right from God or man to do any such thing
and in your heart of hearts you know it. But if you do expel
a person for calling you a dictator, recognize that everyone
you face from that point thereafter may be thinking you are
a dictator and knowing you are a dictator but not saying it
to your face for fear of being punished.
Last week the Democratic candidates for US president were
asked in debate if they would meet with the world’s worst
dictators – you and four others were named. Barack Obama said
maybe he would. Hillary Clinton said maybe she would not.
But none of those candidates said: “Hugo Chavez is not a dictator
and does not belong in that group of dictators from Iran,
North Korea, Cuba, Syria and Venezuela.” Now if that debate
had been held in Venezuela, would you expel the YouTube person
who asked the question and all the candidates who answered
it? Venezuela will become the country with the smallest population
in the world if you continue with the fantasy that people
cannot say the truth — you are a dictator.