Are Socialist Worker Militias Coming to a City Near You?

On February 2, Chávez announced that Ramiro Valdes would come from Cuba to deal with Venezuela's electricity crisis:

[Valdes] has been with the Castro brothers from the beginning of the revolution and today is arguably the No. 3 man in the Cuban hierarchy. ... As interior minister, Valdes oversaw secret police operations and gained a reputation for being ruthless when it came to suppressing dissidents.

He has no engineering experience in the electricity sector, aside possibly from this:

[Since] 2006, he has been the minister of computer services and communications, where he has applied his know-how in the area of repression, and today is considered the person mainly responsible for censorship of the internet in Cuba.

Chávez also seeks, and from a compliant national assembly will soon get, additional controls over the internet. He considers Twitter an instrument of terror.

President Obama has many czars and other advisors, and they could well help to put the United States on a similar path:

Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd has praised the "democratic revolution and rise to power" of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. He also has called for white media executives to step down from their posts so minorities can take their places.

Cass Sunstein is also problematical:

As head of OIRA [Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs], part of Sunstein’s authority includes "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs"

Why is Chávez doing these things? There are at least two theories:

One says it is because he feels threatened and weak now that he is faced with hunger, unemployment, rampant inflation, crime, widespread corruption, and the serious electricity crisis for which he himself is largely responsible and that threatens to scuttle the revolutionary process. His strategy would seem to be to crush protests by sowing terror in the population.

Chávez is indeed threatened. In addition to the other crises confronting him, two former commanders who had joined Chavez in his failed 1992 coup attempt recently called publicly for his resignation and stated that he no longer has "moral authority'' to govern.

The other hypothesis is that he perceives the opposition as being weak and divided and, on top of that, he feels he is in such a strong position that he considers that the time is now or never if he is to set up his communist dictatorship once and for all.

Chávez's perception that the opposition is weak may be based in part on recent gerrymandering of voting districts to benefit his allies in the September elections. Despite a large disapproval rating of 55 percent opposed to 39 percent favorable -- a 16 percent negative rating compared to President Obama's recent negative rating of 15 percent -- the gerrymandering may work.

Sr. Valdes is hardly the first emissary from Cuba to take the leadership in things Venezuelan:

Thousands of Cuban "doctors" fell on Venezuela’s poor urban areas or barrios and villages and worked from the program’s modules, where, in addition to providing primary health care, they also set about raising people’s awareness of the virtues of communism. According to official figures, these "doctors" today number more than 30,000, quite apart from the 6,000 specialists engaged in "training" general medical practitioners and health technicians in Venezuela.

Health care in Venezuela has gone from acceptable to terrible during the past decade.

Two other sectors that have been subjected to Cuban penetration are education, with more than 300 “collaborators,” and sports, where some 4,544 sports technicians are apparently helping to get the masses to practice sports and physical education.

Cuba also has control of ports and airports and is present in the transportation, agribusiness, food, construction, and tourism sectors, to name but a few. Now it is also in the electricity sector.

However, what should give people most cause for alarm is the handing over to Cuba of the National Identification System and the public registrars and notaries, because this allows it to control the citizen, his identity, his documents, and his property.

These governmental and quasi-governmental entities are of tremendous importance in Venezuela and in other Latin American countries such as Panamá. Without them, it is impossible to do business or even to buy or sell property or to make transactions which most of us consider routine.

Chávez also signed a bilateral agreement with Havana that allows Cuba’s police and state security personnel to perform intelligence and police activities that, constitutionally, should only be carried out by Venezuelan officials. The Venezuelan president has even adopted Cuban military defense and national security doctrines.

When Chavez celebrated his eleventh year as president and said he plans on eleven more, he said:

"I anchor myself to Christ, whom I’ve loved since I was a little kid and above all after the coup d’etat" that briefly deposed him in April 2002, Chávez added, going on to ask his supporters to always be on the alert to prevent that from recurring because "the devil never sleeps."

"The true and only Christ is the redemptive socialism of this planet and it resurrected itself here," he reiterated, adding that it didn’t matter to him if others said the opposite.