Hugo Chávez pledges support to Syria’s Assad against “fascist conspiracy”

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez held a phone conversation with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad on May 22, “to give him a personal message of affection and hope at a time when imperialist forces are violently attacking the Syrian people,” on the words of the official Venezuelan News Agency. The Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed in an official statement that Assad had given Chávez “a thorough report on the real situation affecting the Arab nation, in which a fascist conspiracy is trying to sow chaos and disorder so as to subjugate Syria to Western powers.” The statement reads that “President Hugo Chávez informed his Syrian counterpart of the demonstrations of solidarity made by many Latin American and Caribbean leaders. He also took the opportunity to convey his unconditional political and personal support to President al-Assad, expressing his sincere conviction that the dignity of the Syrian people and government would prevail over imperialist aggressions.” (VenezuelAnalysis, May 22)

The invocation of a “fascist conspiracy” against Assad is rather ironic, given the fascistic ideology and behavior of Assad’s Baath Party. Chávez has similarly weighed in uncritically on behalf of Moammar Qaddafi—although he later posed himself as a potential neutral broker to mediate in the Libyan crisis. Nonetheless, the Honduran opposition movement that Chávez is so closely aligned with had the political acumen and vision to march in solidarity with the Egyptian protesters. Do you think el Presidente is aware of the cognitive dissonance?

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