Weeping For the Dictator: Hollywood and Chavez

in Politics/World

It was more than fitting that Hugo Chavez died in 2013 on the 60th anniversary of Josef Stalin’s death. Although Chavez, with his relatively meager police apparatus, could not match the 20th-century leading mass murderer in body counts, he nevertheless emulated the Soviet leader.

Both made themselves leaders for life, outlawed opposition, created a state-run media, and transformed formerly independent government branches into their yes men. Both manufactured trumped up charges against opponents.

Both had a penchant for conspiracy theory. Stalin’s was that Old Bolsheviks were in league with Adolf Hitler to overthrow him and re-establish capitalist corruption; Chavez’s was that the “Yanquis” were trying to poison him to re-establish the “imperialist” Monroe Doctrine (small wonder that Oliver Stone was a fan of Chavez). Even in the circumstances of their deaths, their conspiracy motif lived on. Stalin’s true believers stated that a cabal of personally attending Jewish physicians murdered the dictator in his bed. Today, Chavez’s state-run media accuses the United States of injecting their beloved leader with cancer.

Both subscribed to bizarro theories. Stalin spent untold amounts of money pursuing research on ESP and UFOs. Chavez asserted that the US moon landings occurred in a TV station.

But the most apt comparison regarding his hated foe, the United States, lies in both men’s celebrity supporters. Stalin commanded the robotic respect of Dashiell Hammett, Lillian Hellman (who to her dying day believed that “Stalin was right”), and Dorothy Parker, to name a few. Chavez was the darling of Hollywood leftists, whose numbers included Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, and Danny Glover, again, to name just a few.

Knowing Chavez’s record, it was not surprising that he was warmly eulogized by leftist Hollywood. He was their fantasy, the dictator that Woody Allen wanted Obama to become until the former President’s policies were firmly in place. They called George W. Bush “a fascist”–Chavez went them one better by likening him to Satan. They want the “fairness doctrine”–Chavez puts their secret wishes into policy by forcing opposition broadcasters (Venezuela’s equivalent of the alternative media) off the air. They denounced the United States as “imperialist” in much the same manner as Chavez. They attacked the “fetish” of those who apply the US Constitution against opponents–he rewrites his first day in office.

Perhaps most identifiable of all, Chavez shared with Hollywood a one-percenter status while being a “progressive.”. Experts at the time discovered that he amassed a private fortune of 2 million dollars, and we all know how much Hollywood lefties make.

This may explain why uber-leftists like Oliver Stone excuse away Chavez’s jailing of dissident journalists. When confronted with this fact, Stone stayed on task and said, even though Chavez was not perfect, he was trying to create a new economy.

Ron Capshaw is a Senior Contributor to The Liberty Conservative from Midlothian, Va. His work has appeared in National Review, The Weekly Standard, and the American Spectator.