I guess it's too late for him to get a clue.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Wednesday that a recession in his Latin American country marked the death of capitalism and had nothing to do with his government's socialist revolution.Huh? If he were any more clueless he'd qualify an an Obama economic advisor.
The OPEC member's economy is bucking the global recovery trend, with the central bank posting a 5.8 percent contraction for the first quarter of 2010 on Tuesday.
The increasingly grim macroeconomic environment -- which economists call "stagflation" because the slump has not cooled runaway inflation -- is now a major challenge for Chavez with a legislative election looming in September.
"GDP shrank in the first quarter and the bourgeoisie are having a party," Chavez said, referring to political opponents who blame his policies for the recession.
"They don't realise that the party they are attending is the wake of capitalism ... because the economy that is shrinking is the capitalist economy," he said in a televised speech.
"We are going to bury Venezuelan capitalism," Chavez said, adding that his administration would "take from the bourgeoisie control of the money which belongs to all Venezuelans."Meanwhile, apparently unhappy with controlling state media, he's now taken up blogging. Must be a great read.
After 11 years in power, he blames the economic woes on a global crisis in capitalism and the impact of a traditional elite who he says are determined to drive him from office.
Critics, however, say his socialist economic policies -- including widespread nationalizations, currency controls and pressure on the private sector -- are ruining what should be one of the continent's richest nations, given its oil wealth.
The guy who locks up political enemies is also joining forces with the Obama administration, Mexico and a small number of American malcontents in attacking Arizona. He might want to clean up his own house before flapping his gums.
Meanwhile, in Venezuela, Chavez's human rights record has been criticized by watchdog groups in several areas, including political discrimination, lack of freedom of expression and freedom of association. The U.S. Department of State's 2009 Human Rights Report on Venezuela also identified other human rights problems in the country of roughly 27 million, including summary executions of criminal suspects, widespread criminal kidnappings for ransom, political prisoners and selective prosecution for political purposes, "considerable corruption" in all levels of government and many others.
The report also notes that Venezuelan law makes "insulting" the president a crime punishable by up to 30 months in prison without bail, with lesser penalties for insulting lower-ranking officials.
Jonah Goldberg, a visiting fellow at American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based conservative think tank, said the recent comments are "standard operating procedure" for politicians in Cuba, as well as Chavez.
"The denunciation of the United States' human rights record comes from the people who have had the most brutal human rights record," he said. "It's the playbook they always go back to. Taking denunciations seriously from places like Cuba and Venezuela is just a colossal waste of time."