A bitterly divided Venezuela is Chavez' legacy

You may have seen the video of legislators punching each other in Caracas.  Normally, this is the kind of scene that inspires a Saturday Night Live segment.  However, no one is laughing down in Caracas.There is nothing hilarious about the tragedy unfolding down in Venezuela. 

The wonderful nation of Venezuela, a country known until recently for its kind people and amazing shortstops like Luis Aparicio and Omar Vizquel, is literally on the brink of a civil war.

It is the tragic consequence of Hugo Chavez' policies and the rhetoric of class warfare.

Venezuela's latest problems started in October when Hugo Chavez was reelected.  No one told the Venezuelan people that their leader was a dead man walking.  Soon after the election, Chavez hid in Cuba and all we got were vague cancer reports.

To make matters worse, no one has seen a video of Chavez' inaguaration.  We believe that he raised his hand but no one saw it.  Maybe it was the hand from The Adams Family taking the oath on behalf of Hugo Chavez.

My friends in Venezuela speak of a country collapsing from the corruption and arrogance of the Chavez era.  There are unfinished construction projects everywhere.  Crime is rampant.  Years of "class warfare" have made the gentle people of Venezuela hate each other in every way imaginable.  It is tragic, specially for those of us with Venezuelan friends who are watching their land fall apart in front of their eyes.

Last, but not least, the "Cubanization of Venezuela" is alive and well.  It's obvious that Cuba is calling the shots as The Washington Post told us:

"ANY DOUBT that new Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro is taking his cues from Cuba should have been dispelled by events over the weekend. As Mr. Maduro huddled with the Castro brothers in Havana and recommitted Venezuela to the heavy subsidies that keep the Cuban economy afloat, his functionaries back in Caracas made two announcements: first, that a promised audit of the questionable election that ratified Mr. Maduro as the successor to Hugo Chavez would be perfunctory, excluding the materials that the opposition says would show evidence of fraud; and second, that a 35-year-oldU.S. filmmaker arrested last week on ludicrous accusations of espionage had been criminally charged.

The dog-eared Castro playbook calls for distracting the public at times of crisis with crude anti-Americanism -- and taking hostages who can be used for leverage with Washington. For more than three years, Cuba has been holding Alan P. Gross, a Bethesda-based contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, on patently false espionage charges, in the hope that he can swapped for five confessed Cuban spies imprisoned or paroled in the United States."

A big mess in Venezuela.

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