Dec 12, 2010

Wikileaks: 10 Tenets of Authoritarianism on the Example of Hugo Chavez

A newly published Wikileaked cable out of Embassy Caracas from June 2009 provides an analysis and overview of the political situation in Venezuela at the time.  The cable states that despite his "professed allegiance to socialism," the country's President, Hugo Chavez, "lacks any consistent ideology" and instead relies on an "authoritarian playbook" to retain and consolidate his hold on power.  The cable delineates "10 Tenets of Chavismo" and, in the process, effectively elaborates the core principles and practices of any authoritarian government:
1) There Is Only One Great, Indispensable Leader
2) Centralize Power
3) Hype External and Internal "Enemies"
4) Polarize: exploit social divisions for political gain
5) Insist on Democratic Credentials: blur any distinction between being elected democratically and governing democratically
6) Reward Loyalty Over Competence
7) Repress Selectively: pick political victims carefully, making examples of sector leaders
8) Create Parallel Structures: develop pro-government NGOs, business groups, labor unions, television and radio networks
9) Party Equals State: assert partisan political control over all state functions
10) Monopolize Nationalism: assert exclusive claim to forefathers and national symbols
Sound familiar?  See a cache copy of the cable at Cable Search.

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