Corporate media’s depiction of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is often cartoonish, but the lead from David Frum’s piece from CNN.com (10/9/12) takes the cake:
Venezuela’s authoritarian president Hugo Chavez is a villain out of a Batman movie: buffoonish and sinister in equal measure.
You want to be careful about throwing around words like “buffoonish,” though, when you’re making arguments like “Hugo Chavez has laid Venezuela’s economy to waste.” Here’s a chart of Venezuela’s per capita GDP since 1999, when Chavez was first elected; since 2003, when Chavez took control of the national oil company from its self-enriching management, the purchasing power of the average Venezuelan has increased more than two and a half times. We should all be so wasted!
These numbers come from the CIA World Factbook, by the way, not exactly a source known for its Bolivarian sympathies.
What really seems to rankle Frum, though, is not how well Venezuela’s economy is doing but who it’s benefiting, characterizing the channeling of the country’s oil wealth to the poor as “massive government vote-buying.” As an example, he cites a program “that aims to build 200,000 housing units for Venezuela’s poor.”
Only a supervillain could conceive of so dastardly a plot.