In a recent article in the New York Times, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, or “Chavistas,” claim that Michael Moore, the documentary and filmmaker, acted cowardly during an appearance on the late-night program “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” During the show, Mr. Moore claimed to have shared a bottle-and-a-half of tequila at the Venice film festival in September with Mr. Chavez and helped him with his recent United Nations speech.
Eva Golinger, a professional Chavez apologist, went ballistic calling Moore a vulgar liar and egomaniac. Ms. Golinger counts Chavez as one of the world’s most “brilliant” speakers, who speaks from the heart, not from texts written by others. Ms. Golinger praised Mr. Chavez as one of Latin America’s “greatest and most influential leaders,” and rejected assertions made by Mr. Moore as “fairy-tale” lies and altogether insulting towards a head of state.
Like all good apologists, Ms. Golinger wants people to look at the good things her idol has accomplished in the same way people praised Joseph Stalin for the Moscow subway or Benito Mussolini for making Italian trains run on time.
Of course, Ms. Golinger doesn’t like to talk about Chavez’s strong relationship with Iran, about his backing of terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, and Hezbollah, his anti-Semitism, and or his stance on helping Iran’s nuclear ambitions. She ignores how Mr. Chavez has violated human rights in Venezuela through means such as limiting freedom of expression and his unfulfilled promises to eradicate corruption. She doesn’t often mention soaring crime and violence rates or Chavez’s relations with Colombian terrorist organization the FARC.
Yet, for these reasons, and many more, President Chavez’s popularity among the Venezuelan population has declined.
When Michael Moore libels the U.S. and its basic beliefs and institutions in his pseudo-documentaries it’s just fine with the Ms. Golingers of the world. But when Moore leads us to believe that Hugo Chavez may not be the embodiment of all that is good, noble, and true in humanity, the likes of Ms. Golinger cry foul.
Yet, for one who was not there in Venice, the image of the populist, narcissistic, egotistical Chavez partying it up at the expense of the Venezuelan people while celebrating Oliver Stone’s adulatory movie about his career actually fits the character.
Kristen Grimsland currently is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. Her views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm