The best definition of Venezuelan politics…

… comes from an article in the The Times about Zimbabwe:

Mugabe is not unpopular in Zimbabwe today because his Government has been autocratic and brutal. He is not unpopular because the minority (but substantial) Matabele tribe have been persecuted, killed and dispossessed by a governing party whose power base is among the Mashona majority. He is not unpopular because he and his wife are greedy and flaunt their wealth, or because corruption in his Government is widespread. He is unpopular because his administration is broken and there is nothing for ordinary people to eat.

Many Zimbabweans hunger not for liberal democracy, but for food. By corollary, much of Morgan Tsvangirai’s power base is either an urban minority or among the minority tribes who have received a raw deal from the distribution of resources by Zanu (PF). They too, many of them, hunger not for liberal democracy but a turning of the tables. Unless we are careful, today’s TV pictures may tomorrow be thrown into reverse, and we may watch those who were once in flight, now in pursuit; and those who were once in pursuit, now in flight; the iron bars having changed hands.

Change a few names and, voilá, the perfect definition of Venezuelan politics.

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