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Dick Tater II

I posted last week about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez being given “decree powers” by a lame duck legislature — just in time to circumvent the newly elected legislature where Chavez lost seats. Ron Radosh over at Pajamas Media provides an even more accurate historical analog for the self-styled “Bolivarian revolutionary”:

There is one good historical precedent for what Chavez is attempting, and it does not come from the history of Communist countries now long gone. Rather, it comes from the policies established by Adolf Hitler after the burning of the Reichstag by an arsonist in 1933. Arguing that the Communists were trying to subvert the German government (Chavez, of course, says the anti-Communists are doing the same in Venezuela), Hitler asked President von Hindenburg to pass an “emergency decree” to allow the Nazi government to have full emergency powers. All civil liberties were suspended, and mass arrests followed of Communists, socialists, trade unionists and other opponents of the regime. Opposition delegates were removed from the Reichstag, giving the Nazis a legislative majority that did not exist before.

New elections were set for March 5, 1933. By passing the Enabling Act — the same term used by Chavez today — Hitler sought to abolish democracy by formally democratic means. According to the Act, Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution allowed the chancellor to rule by decree in times of a national emergency, without the participation of the Reichstag. But the Nazi Party had only 32 per cent of the seats in the Reichstag, and to pass the Enabling Act there had to be a two-thirds majority. By banning opposition Communist delegates who had all been arrested, and preventing Social-Democrats from taking seats to which they were elected after the Reichstag fire, the Nazis now had the necessary votes to pass the Act. Clearly, Hugo Chavez must have studied Hitler’s tactics before commencing upon a similar road.

All this brings to mind the appropriate term we might consider using to describe Hugo Chavez. I suggest an old one from the days of the Cold War: CommuNazi. An adherent of Communist ideology, Chavez has much more in common with the activities of the Nazis under Hitler than the Communists led by Stalin, who, in Eastern Europe after WW II, used so-called “salami tactics” to gain control of the parliament, and who created phony Social-Democratic groups aligned with the Communists to maintain the façade of democracy in the new so-called “People’s Democracies.”

“CommuNazi”. I like it. It’s pithy and accurate. This is going to turn out badly if we don’t get serious about this — and a lot of things. If he is following the Nazi model… we know what comes after internal power consolidation.

Also, here’s a link Radosh provides to a Council on Foreign Relations report on Chavez’s constitutional changes and their aims.

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