This month I watched with Chávez as thousands of soldiers, French and British tanks, Russian helicopters and brand new Mirage and Sukhoi fighter bombers passed by: the soldiers chanting "patria, socialismo o muerte" - enough to make any US president blanch. Chávez answered the salute with the words: "the Bolivarian revolution is a peaceful revolution but it is not unarmed".Once again, Galloway reveals his fascination violence and strength, with men in uniforms. He swills in luxury here, while calling for the muerte, in the name of patria and socialismo, of ordinary working class brown-skinned people in other countries - Venezuela, Lebanon, wherever a strong-jawed demagogue calls for their sacrifice.
And once again, his obsession with patriotism, his volkish racial nationalism.
And, of course, his ridiculously pretentious language: the atmosphere in Caracas is "fervid", propoganda is "mendacious", and so on. (Admittedly, the "travesty" in the headline is the sub-editor's.)
Galloway says Tony Blair "only last year declared Venezuela to be in breach of international democratic norms - though when I pressed him in parliament he was unable to list them." Whatever the situation then, of course, Chavez has now suspended the rule of law in Venezuela ("been given enabling powers for 18 months" is how George euphemistically glosses it), pretty clear cut evidence for Chavez's disregard for democracy.
"Chávez's decision not to renew an expired licence for an opposition television station involved in a coup attempt - there are plenty of others - is being portrayed as the beginning of the death of democracy. It's as if Country Life's diatribes against the fox hunting ban were taken as irrefutable proof of totalitarianism in Britain."Er, no it's not George. Banning a TV station for opposing the Bolivarian revolution is akin to Blair banning Country Life for opposing the hunting ban.
Anyone who thinks Chaviz is totalitarian is an idiot. (That old Cold War distinction between authoritarianism and totalitarianism actually does work.) And many of Chavez's social reforms are good. But Chavez is the worst possible model of a socialist world.
Previous: Democrators and dying dictators, A penchant for uniforms; Chavismo and lefty sectariana; Tropical fascism; Ken and Hugo; Libertarian take; Chavez anti-semitic?; Galloway the racial nationalist.