The Nov. 21 New York Times includes a profile of Venezuela’s recently retired army commander-in-chief Gen. Raul Isaias Baduel, a longtime confidant of Hugo Chavez who led the paratrooper raid that restored him to power following the abortive 2002 coup d’etat, but has now publicly broken with the president and spoken out against his proposed constitutional reform. Apart from chavista calls to send Baduel to the “paredón” (execution wall), some of the rhetorical reaction against the general will recall the firestorm sparked on this blog last year over accusations of anti-Semitism in Bolivarian Venezuela:
Since going public with his criticism, General Baduel has been denied his government-supplied bodyguards and has found his personal life scrutinized. A Roman Catholic, he has been criticized, for instance, over his close friendships with members of this country’s small Jewish community, many of whom are increasingly concerned about Mr. Chávez’s growing alliance with Iran and the government’s tense diplomatic relations with Israel.
General Baduel described his outreach to Jews as part of his “ecumenical” beliefs, but some people here have a different view. “He has been captured by the international ultra right wing, by international Zionism,” Tarek William Saab, the governor of Anzoátegui State and an ally of the president, said in an interview this month with the daily newspaper El Nacional.
We don’t like Zionism, but since when did it become synonymous with the “international ultra right wing”? Seems to us the “international ultra right wing” hates Zionsim at least as much as it hates the Venezuelan revolution…