THE IDEAL BBC APPROVED STATE – VENEZUELA

. I reckon that the BBC’s idea of the dream nation state is Venezuela under the guiding fist of Hugo Chavez. The communist thug Chavez has earned his brownie points by nationalising anything that moves, oppressing private enterprise – and you can read all about it on various approving BBC posts. Just select through the sidebar menu of this latest story expressing Venezuelan outrage that there has been an alleged violation of its airspace by an American military aircraft. Defence Minister Gustavo Rangel said the jet had been tracked by country’s air defences over the Venezuelan-owned island of La Orchila on Saturday. You can just tell how in sympathy the BBC writer of this report was in the admiring tone that Chavez “is a fierce critic of Washington.” It strikes me that the BBC admires those thuggocracies like Venezuela who delight in attacking the USA and this seeps through to the tone of the reports it files.

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178 Responses to THE IDEAL BBC APPROVED STATE – VENEZUELA

  1. gunnar says:

    Hi David

    Glad to read that. Sadly, it did not last long.

    Your post above has phrases like: “The communist thug Chavez” and “thuggocracies like Venezuela”.

    Do you seriously consider this “civil” language.

    Beides that, are you seriously suggesting that Venezuela is nationalising anything that moves and that the BBC is a fan of Chavez?

    Is a “fierce critic of Washington” really a sympathetic phrase?

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  2. amimissingsomething says:

    tenure? tenor?

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  3. jeremy al-bowen says:

    david vance you have destroyed this once-fine blog

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  4. Nachman says:

    Exchange of emails with the BBC enuff said – no response received even tho posted on their website.
    Dear Ms Hunter
    This response is with respect pitiful and unacceptable. The attack on the Ashkelon Mall was major escalation in terrorist tactics and the victims were babies and children in a clinic. One can well imagine the screaming BBC headlines if Israel had by some unfortunate occurrence hit a clinic in Gaza.
    On your current Middle East site http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/default.stm there are numerous stories supportive of the so-called Palestinians about the so-called “Nakba” for example “Press marks Palestine Nakba” “Far From Palestine” “Shatila People” “Characters of Shatila Camp” an anti-Israel piece about Daniel Barenboim “Personal Pain” a “story” (unsubstantiated) which has been on the site since April see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7345025.stm claiming Israeli Psychological torture which seems to show that the Israelis employ the same sort of tactics the British police force employs in its attempts to thwart terrorist attacks but the BBC strangely is unable to find space for any stories celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the rebirth of the sovereign Jewish state. That is other than for “Israelis reflect on Israel’s 60th” which attempts to show Israelis in a bad light by allowing an Israeli Arab to make some outrageous and unsubstantiated assertions.
    This is a total negation by the BBC of its basic principles of neutrality. You are now promoting the Arab nihilistic narrative to the exclusion of the Jewish narrative and in the process conducting a campaign of delegitimizing the sole sovereign Jewish democracy. In the circumstances I believe I am entitled to receive a full response from your editor explaining why this state of affairs exists.
    Regards
    —–Original Message—–
    From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: 18 May 2008 09:28
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: BBC Complaints [T20080515009DS010Z3586257]
    Dear
    Thank you for your e-mail.
    I understand you believe the rocket attack on Ashkelon should have been covered on the news.
    The choice of news stories to report in our programmes is frequently very difficult. Editorial staff always have more news reports than can be fitted into the time available, and their choice has to be selective. No matter how carefully such decisions are made, they are always aware that some people may disagree with them.
    I realise you feel strongly about this so I’ve registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers. The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content. All feedback we receive, whether positive or negative, is always appreciated.
    Thanks again for contacting us.
    Regards
    Elaine Hunter
    BBC Complaints
    {Comments:}
    At 4 pm UK time 67 people were injured, 3 seriously, when a Grad rocket slammed into the second floor of the Hutzot shopping mall in Ashkelon, partially collapsing the structure. Some of the injured were for a time the debris. The attack occurred just before 6 o’clock
    Israel time after a meeting between US President George Bush and PM Ehud
    Olmert. The Palestinian Popular Resistance Commitees terror group
    claimed credit Total silence from the BBC – disgusting!

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  5. David Vance says:

    Cheers Jeremy!

    Gunnar – 1. Chavez is a communist thug and 2. He runs a tyranny,ask those who dare oppose him. Next question?

    amimissingsomething – you say potato, I say potatoe. Strong point there.

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  6. gunnar says:

    Hi David

    Many thanks for your response.

    Chavez is in your words a “thug” and runs a “tyranny”.

    Here the meanings of those words according to the Cambridge online dictionary

    thug – noun [C]
    a man who acts violently, especially to commit a crime

    tyranny – noun [U]
    1 government by a ruler or small group of people who have unlimited power over the people in their country or state and use it unfairly and cruelly
    2 when a situation or person controls how you are able to live, in an unfair way:
    Women, the play seems to suggest, must resist the tyranny of domesticity.

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=85806&dict=CALD

    Is this what you mean by your words? Perhaps I have got the wrong dictionary? Which one are you using?

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  7. Bob says:

    Is “Gunnar” the genius who was arguing about definitions of ‘terrorist’, ‘militant’ and ‘extremist’ not so long ago?

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  8. David Vance says:

    Gunnar,

    Forget about your precious Cambridge online dictionary and try real life. I stand by what I said about Chavez though accept it may have too mild.

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  9. thud says:

    David..it seems to be trolls thay mainly get excised at what is said here but we don’t have to get too graphic with them as they know just where they stand in respect to decent people…it is fun to bait them though and soooooo easy.

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  10. David Vance says:

    Baiting them is fine, Thud – I just want us to be reasonably courteous to each other! That said, it feels surreal to be debating whether Chavez is a thug or not. Maybe I should have said a Jew-hating US-loathing Islamo=fascist loving Nazi thug so Gunnar could be really clear on where I stand!

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  11. gunnar says:

    Hi David

    Again, many thanks for responding.

    I am a bit confused. You seem to be happy to call chavez a “communist thug” and to state that he runs a “tyranny”. You are even suggeting that you are being polite.

    Since you seem to have your own ideas about the use of language, I may have to re-adjust to the meaning of the words “civil”, “moderation”, “substance”, “argument” and “debate”. Since you do not rate the Cambridge dictionary, could you please point to the one you are using.

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  12. David Vance says:

    Gunnar,

    You say you are a bit confused, I agree with you.

    I think it perfectly valid to call Chavez as I see him, my desire to be polite extends to B-BBC posters, including yourself but the remit ends with communist thugs, Islamofascist dictators, terrorist scum and the rest. It’s from the dictionary of moral clarity. Get a copy.

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  13. gunnar says:

    Hi David

    Thanks again for getting back to me.

    Could you please let me know where I could buy/borrow a copy of the “dictionary of moral clarity”. To me it still all seems confusing especially seeing the language you use under the post asking others for moderation. Fascinating!

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  14. Grimer says:

    When is a despot, not a despot? When he hates America.

    (although I can never work out exactly why these ‘liberals’ hate America so much)

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  15. thud says:

    gunnar…as a liberal moral clarity is something you and fellow fanboys of communist thugs can’t even possibly imagine….now leave us grownups alone and try on your new che tshirt.

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  16. David Vance says:

    Gunnar,

    That you ask says it all. There are none so blind…

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  17. gunnar says:

    Hi thud

    I am still not sure whether this is a blog sporting dark humour or not.

    “gunnar…as a liberal moral clarity is something you and fellow fanboys of communist thugs can’t even possibly imagine….now leave us grownups alone and try on your new che tshirt.”

    I mean I appreciate the irony in your comments and I assume that there are a lot of plays on words I simply don’t get. “Communist thug” is for ever re-occuring and must be a code word for something else. The word “grownups” seems also a bit out of context. But once I lay my hands on the “dictionary of moral clarity” all will be more transparent.

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  18. Greencoat says:

    Aaaargh!

    All this quibbling and dibbling reminds me of those looney-toon blogs they have in the Guardian.

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  19. gunnar says:

    Hi David

    Now you are getting even more cryptic. I am not blind. I can read your words perfectly.

    Unfortunately, do we use different meanings of words. Could you please define the meaning of blind. Preferably the one stated in the “dictionary of moral clarity”.

    Good night and sweet dreams (whatever this may mean in your language).

    Gunnar

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  20. thud says:

    gunnar..it isn’t to be found in a book..you have it or you do not…you have answered for me…but don’t worry,occasionaly even the most benighted leftie sometimes sees the light.

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  21. Peter says:

    “I am a bit confused.”

    Yes you are Gunnar,it has been evident for some time.
    In this case,David Vance merely asked for commenters here to be civil to each other,nothing was said about insulting communist thugs in Venezuela.Unless you are a sock puppet for Chavez,or indeed Chavez himself.He is known to be somewhat of a Richard.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Golly, Gunnar’s quick, isn’t he? Talk about the right stuff. Thanks for sharing.

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  23. Bryan says:

    When is a despot, not a despot? When he hates America.

    (although I can never work out exactly why these ‘liberals’ hate America so much)
    Grimer | 19.05.08 – 10:34 pm

    ‘Liberals’, including the BBC hate America because:

    *America’s president is a God-fearing Christian who doesn’t use drugs, has overcome alcohol addiction and is conducting a war on Islamic terror.

    *America is a successful, capitalist country.

    *America supports Israel and vetoes anti-Israel UN resolutions.

    *America ploughs billions of dollars into aid projects worldwide while others make pledges they don’t honour.

    *America sends rescue workers to countries affected by disasters, including those unfriendly to America, while others sit and talk about how terrible it all is.

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  24. Bryan says:

    Nachman | 19.05.08 – 9:20 pm

    I realise you feel strongly about this so I’ve registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers. The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content. All feedback we receive, whether positive or negative, is always appreciated.

    The first BBC response to a complaint is to ignore it. And when they do react, the above is the standard response people get.

    But it seems they have changed the wording of the part I’ve highlighted in bold. Usually they tell us that registering the complaint on the audience log is an automatic process. I suppose Elaine Hunter thinks it will make you feel better if she pretends that your complaint is receiving special attention. And once you have this warm, rosy feeling you’ll be less likely to take the complaint further.

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  25. gharqad tree says:

    Mr Vance, while I share absolutely your loathing of Mr Chavez (on the basis of his closeness to the despicable Ahmadinejad alone), and while it is obvious to any sensible person that your call for civility was aimed at those who comment here and cannot sometimes disagree without dredging up vocabulary from the gutter, I’m nevertheless slightly baffled by your approach.

    Surely the quickest, most effective, and most unanswerable response to gunnar would’ve been to furnish a couple of factual examples of Chavez’s thuggishness? This, dare I say, might have impressed a visitor to the site somewhat more than your repeated insistence that you are right to call him a thug and a tyrant because he is a thug and a tyrant and you have moral clarity about that. Moral clarity is admirable – as long as it has a basis in demonstrable fact. Otherwise it is a fancy description for bigotry.

    Someone who has only the BBC’s reports to go by may not know that Chavez is a thug. I think it a shame that a door was repeatedly opened for you and you refused to accept the invitation to demonstrate your case.

    This silly bickering about dictionaries and moral clarity sounded inane. Would it hurt for either side to actually produce some facts?

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  26. gharqad tree says:

    Otherwise, thanks for the call to moderate the tenor. Agree 100%. Keep up the good work.

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  27. aviv says:

    Gunnar-links below might provide illumination as to why the use of the words “thug” and “tyranny” may be appropriate in the context of Chavez.

    http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/Regions/Americas/Venezuela

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3571383.stm

    http://hrw.org/doc/?t=americas&c=venezu

    http://infovenezuela.org/prensa/Venezuela's%20Fake%20Democrat-%20The%20New%20York%20Times.html

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  28. gunnar says:

    Hi aviv

    Many thanks for the link. I agree, Venezuela is not a model state, like many other states in the region.

    Chavez should be critised and his actions should be discussed. No problem with that.

    Using the words David is using are not helpful. Besides this, I have now learned that being civil only applies to posters on this board. Calling people thug who do not post here is completely fine. Would David stop calling Chavez a thug if the later started posting here. Afterall, rules are rules.

    Just checked the amnesty link of the USA. Amnesty seems to think all is not well in the USA either. Will David now call the president of the USA a “thug” too?

    http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/Regions/Americas/United-States-of-America

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  29. gharqad tree says:

    aviv – that’s the business, thanks for those. Note especially the studiously non-judgemental description under the photo of Chavez which graces the sidebar: “Brave face”. Exactly the same sort of non-judgemental bonhomie the BBC would use when dealing, for example, with – ooh, let’s say… an Israeli or American leader who had passed an “enabling law” allowing him to dictate law without recourse to democratically-elected chambers of government.

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  30. gharqad tree says:

    gunnar: the people who post here are not known, usually anonymous, and are entitled to a presumption of good character. If for some bizarre reason Mr Chavez began commenting here under his on name, he would be owed no similar courtesy. He has his armies torture, beat up, and sometimes kill those countrymen of his who oppose him, and makes law without recourse to democratic checks and balances. To the best of my knowledge no commenters here, yourself included, have indulged in that kind of thuggish behaviour. So you are owed courtesy unless it can be demonstrated that you are indeed a fascist, a thug, an anti-Semite, or whatever else might disqualify you from being owed civility.

    Is it really so outlandish or novel an idea to you that those running a website should ask commenters to behave in a civil fashion to one another? Your confusion over this very simple matter seems somewhat synthetic and fussy to be frank. You’re making yourself look rather silly.

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  31. only me says:

    jeremy al-bowen:
    david vance you have destroyed this once-fine blog
    jeremy al-bowen | 19.05.08 – 9:18 pm | #

    Indeed.

    When is a thug not a thug,- when David Vance says so.

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  32. only me says:

    Not only has he destroyed it, but completely taken it over, and treating it as if it were his own.

    Flogging his wares and using it to flag up his own agenda, which not all of us subscribe to, and then using the very language he is supposed to moderate.

    Telling posters whom he disagrees with that they should crawl away under a rock etc etc – really does show how janus faced David Vance really is.

    As they used to say in Northern Ireland ‘time to go’.

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  33. aviv says:

    Gunnar-

    I disagree that using the word “thug” and “tyrant” is unhelpful. If someone is a thug or tyrant then they should be labled as such. History has provided many precedents of thuggery and tyranny (Stalin, Mao, National Socialism etc.) and no doubt will continue to do so. We should continue to use words that accurately describe the nature of such regimes and leaders.

    As for the rather predictable moral equivalence you draw between Venezuala and the USA, and the implications this has for the use of “tyranny” and “thug” I would suggest that the equivalence you draw is false (I suspect that even Amnesty International in its saner moments would concede this). Whatever its shortcomings and failings, the USA under Bush is in a different category than Venzuala under Chavez and therefore the use of thug and tyranny in the context of Venezuala is accurate but in the case of the USA would be inaccurate.

    But you knew I would say that.

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  34. Piot-Kettle-Black says:

    “only me”

    your first few posts on the blog ever and yet somehow you ‘know’ David Vance has ‘destroyed’ the blog.

    You are a blatant BBC stooge.

    You are either a BBC employee, in which case don’t you think you should stop lying and identify yourself, or you are one of the usual suspect trolls masquerading under another name and you have been found out.

    Trolling time over, straight past all “only me” posts in future.

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  35. BaggieJonathan says:

    welcome to the gunnar threads – and some have the cheek to accuse David Vance of a takeover bid…

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  36. only me says:

    ‘masquerading under another name’

    And your name is??????

    Is it any wonder people post under a different name when they have something to say, have you seen some of the comments to dissenters here? Especially from David Vance, or Nearly Oxfordian? Calling posters ‘turd’ et all. David Vance cannot moderate such language and then use it toward others. Either he realises that, or continues to make a fool of himself.

    Nice display of civility from you pot-kettle black. But considering the content of most of your posts this drivel is no surprise.

    ‘Trolling time over, straight past all “only me” posts in future.’

    Civility is over straight past all
    ‘Pot-kettle-black’ posts in future.

    Either engage in the argument or go away.

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  37. Hugh says:

    There’s a difference between posting anonymously under a single name and adopting multiple identities, which would seem to me to show a lack both integrity and courage.

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  38. GCooper says:

    The very phrase “..the words… are not helpful” speaks volumes.

    This is the BBCspeak of moral relativism, which the writer then goes on to demonstrate by attempting to establish moral equivalence between Venezuela and the USA.

    Words do not have to be ‘helpful’, Gunnar – that is not their primary function. I realise Chomsky might not agree, but he would be wrong.

    The problem here is bone-deep – conceptual. It’s why arguing with liberals is so difficult.

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  39. Andy says:

    Only Me

    You personally don’t some of the postings here. Big deal.

    You sound way too sensitive to be reading blogs.

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  40. Andy says:

    gunnar

    What do YOU think would be an appropriate label for Chavez, given his background.

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  41. simonetta vespucci says:

    Andy | 20.05.08 – 11:56 am |

    What do YOU think would be an appropriate label for Chavez, given his background?

    Bolivarian populist.

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  42. GCooper says:

    ‘Populist’? At risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, so was Hitler!

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  43. max says:

    Is it OK to call Mugabe a thug, or would Gukurahundian populist be more appropriate?

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  44. only me says:

    Andy:
    Only Me

    You personally don’t some of the postings here. Big deal.

    Andy – vance is the cause of division here. It wasn’t as bad as this before he came. The threads of the other writers are more in tune with bias on the bbc, and are more moderate in tone. How can you call for moderation in the tone of debate when you do not abide by such a thing yourself.

    If this were a pub he’d be in breach of the rules and barred.

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  45. gunnar says:

    Hi gharqad tree,

    Not entirely sure what you are saying. If Chavez came to post here it would civil to call him thug, etc. Do you think this would enhance debate? You seem to apply that no courtesy should be shown to someone you believe to be a thug. Is this correct?

    You write:

    “Is it really so outlandish or novel an idea to you that those running a website should ask commenters to behave in a civil fashion to one another? Your confusion over this very simple matter seems somewhat synthetic and fussy to be frank. You’re making yourself look rather silly.”

    Sorry, this is a misunderstanding. I was just trying to point out that theory is one thing and what happens here something very differnt.

    @aviv

    If there is proof that someone is a “tyrant” or a “thug”, then it makes sense to call them that way. Not so sure, whether “thug” is still the best word and whether there would be not a better one. But this is a different matter.

    I presented to David last night, what I believe “thug” and “tyrant” mean (“Cambridge Dictionary”) and he waved this of and referred me to the one in his head. Here is the definition again:

    thug – noun [C]
    a man who acts violently, especially to commit a crime

    tyranny – noun [U]
    1 government by a ruler or small group of people who have unlimited power over the people in their country or state and use it unfairly and cruelly
    2 when a situation or person controls how you are able to live, in an unfair way:
    Women, the play seems to suggest, must resist the tyranny of domesticity.

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/…85806& dict=CALD

    I was not drawing any moral equivalence between the president of Venezuala and the USA. I was just pointing out that Amnesty had issues with both countries (Accusation of torture, etc.). Personally, I would not use the “t” words to describe either, Bush nor Chavez, or do you really believe either of those countries is a tyranny?

    @GCooper

    I am not sure I understand what you are writing.

    “Words do not have to be ‘helpful’, Gunnar – that is not their primary function. I realise Chomsky might not agree, but he would be wrong.”

    Could you please explain. If my understanding of a word is different to yours, then our communication breaks down or not? You appear to say that words can me whatever the speaker wants them to mean. Is my understanding correct?

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  46. simonetta vespucci says:

    aviv | 20.05.08 – 12:19 pm

    Thanks for the links – both the Economist article and the Heritage have interesting things to say about the true nature of the Liberator.

    That said, I still maintain Chavez is more a Bolivarian (in the sense of pan-SA nationalist) than he is a commie.

    By Latin American standards, he isn’t particularly Marxist. He doesn’t nationalize by expropriation, for instance, he takes a strategic stake (28% in one case) by paying market rate for the shares.

    And let’s not forget this ‘thug’ or ‘tyrant’ won elections with 53% and 60% of the vote – not the 99% tyrants are used to!

    He’s also won one referendum, but lost another.

    Given the US role in the abortive 2002 coup, is it any wonder he’s anti-Bush?

    The acid test will be if his anti-Americanism stretches to an Obama administration.

    ‘commie thug tyrant’ and other hyperbolic terms say more about the speaker than the subject.

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  47. Biodegradable says:

    There’s a difference between posting anonymously under a single name and adopting multiple identities, which would seem to me to show a lack both integrity and courage.
    Hugh | 20.05.08 – 11:39 am

    Indeed, it’s called “sock-puppeting”:

    The key difference between a sockpuppet and a regular pseudonym (sometimes termed an “alt”) is the pretense that the puppet is a third party who is not affiliated with the puppeteer.

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  48. Sue says:

    Gunnar etc.
    Move along now, plenty of room upstairs. Chavez thread above.

    Mr. Vance, are you just thanking us and requesting better manners, or asking for comments on the tenor of your tenure?

    Hope you won’t get shirty, but re: ‘trolls’

    I said this once before, but I think the site is better when BBC spokespersons do participate. They keep us focused rather than arguing with each other which makes us look congenitally argumentative and robs us of credibility.
    Can’t help the feeling that they’re out there hoping we’ll implode.

    You didn’t seem to like it when I said something similar before, so apologies in advance.

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