Remember the Sandalistas? These were the malodorous, leftwing, U.S. and European peace creeps who descended down like locusts on the Marxist Sandinista Nicaragua regime to "help" with the "revolution." Armed with Mom's credit card and brand new Birkenstocks, these utterly useless unemployables left the boredom of capitalism and democracy to fly to Nicaragua and smother the locals with compassion, digging wells, teaching in the regime's so—called 'literacy programs', dishing out abortions (too many of you dark—skinned people, dears!), and mostly getting drunk with the new communist elite. It was all very heady — P.J. O'Rourke wrote of their mixing with celebrities like Bianca Jagger. And after that, they returned home they got on with the lecture circuit, as a means of undermining Ronald Reagan's foreign policy toward communism, and to smear Nicaragua's freedom fighters and democratic opposition.
It all came to an end in 1990, when the Sandinistas were given the boot by Nicaragua's angry voters. In no small measure, they despised the sanctimonious Sandalistas telling them how good the revolution was. The Sandinistas have since tried to make comebacks in subsequent elections, but the memory of their disastrous, confiscating government, Sandalista acolytes at their side, is so repulsive to Nicaragua's voters that offered a choice of corrupt guys and Sandinistas, they hold their noses and make themselves vote for the corrupt guys. Never again.
So it's been a long hard drought for the Sandalistas these past 15 years. Until now. Castrophile President Hugo Chavez has turned on the beer spigots again. Today's, modern—day Sandalistas are now reborn as Chavistas, descending in droves to the shantytowns of Caracas, to "educate" Venezuela's disgusted locals, and then return back to assail President Bush's foreign policy to annoy the rest of us. Danny Glover is frequently down there with them, and Michael Moore is planning to join the leftist keg party. The recent despicable Columbus Day pulldown of the statue of Colombus was their proud handiwork Medea Benjamin of San Francisco's Global Exchange is one of the worst of them — on her Web site, you can sign up right there with the "Bolivarian Circles" and go down and make a nuisance of yourself in Caracas.
There's one problem, though. The Venezuelans saw the Nicaraguan party show 15 years ago, too. They see the new wave of Sandalistas rolling in, and they know what's happening. And they're fighting back. Notice the local academics quoted in this excellent Houston Chronicle story :
These people are like 19th century anthropologists who travel the world looking for primitive cultures," said Amalio Belmonte, a sociologist. "Then they return to their comfortable lives in the First World and repeat Chavez's revolutionary discourse but with no interest in finding out the other side of the story."
In fact, he said, even some of the poorest Venezuelans oppose Chavez, who has bitterly divided the country into those who support his reform programs and those who believe he is taking Venezuela toward Cuba—style communism.
Newspapers are fighting back, too — El Universal has a faithfully translated, open—archive, news record of exposing all the depredations of the Chavez regime for English speakers. There is even a good left—leaning newspaper in Spanish, Tal Cual, which does excellent work of exposing the corruption, inefficiency and incompetence of this regime and its acolytes.
More importantly, Venezuelans are fighting the kultursmog directly — through blogosphere. Writing in fluent English, Venezuela's bloggers and their local posters of comments are exposing the atrocities of their emerging communist regime, and repeatedly driving home the point to the angloworld that they don't care to host another Sandalista punk party in the name of "compassion." Among Venezuelan bloggers, it is astonishing the array of perspectives — professionals and working class people, retired oil men, students and exiles who are trying to get the truth out. Venezuelans in the cities and in the countryside are blogging away. Here are some of the best . It's a different world now with the Internet, and one can only hope that it shows its true force in exposing these new Sandalistas before they can rise to a swarm to do the damage they did in Nicaragua.