06 November 2007


Pakistan has been a source of great unrest for sometime, but the problems have intensified since President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency last week. The media has been following the story closely, which is appropriate given Pakistan's strategic importance and their status as an ally in the war on terror. Musharraf came to power via a military coup. His recent election may not have been free or fair. There is rightful concern about the decisions that he has made. I don't do dispute any of that.

What does concern me is the point addressed in this Investor's Business Daily editorial:

As Pakistan's tightening dictatorship draws global opprobrium, a curious double standard is emerging in Venezuela as democracy gasps its last and celebrities continue to file in. Where's the decency?
That's what was seen in the message sent by the latest visitor to Miraflores Palace, supermodel Naomi Campbell, who gushed "amazement" at the "love and encouragement" in the Venezuelan dictatorship as students battled riot police in the streets below.

...With a lousy record on holding free and fair elections, there's little doubt that by Dec. 2, the day of the vote, Chavez will have sealed his grip by permanently disenfranchising the opposition. There's also little doubt that if he doesn't get what he wants, he'll declare himself dictator.

Venezuela is not strictly related to the war on terror, but Hugo Chavez is a major potential source of instability in our hemisphere. He also continues a sad trend of oppressive leaders in Latin America, and that is unfortunate. Also unfortunate is the failure of luminaries to call Chavez out for who he is.

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