So, now  THE BATSHIT CRAZY LEADERS OF DANGEROUS UNSTABLE NATIONS CLUB officially welcomes its newest member, President (for life?) of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Mr. Chavez, a classic South American military strong man long painted by the American media to be some sort of dire threat to Western Civilization but really wasn’t, has finally gone batshit crazy. Score one for America’s right wing.

While his politics aren’t all that bad, he’s a bullly, a ham and a showman who censors the press. Like a hundred South American dictators and presidents before him, he promised to tackle the curse of too many Latin nations, mass poverty in a land of plenty, the wealth of nations in too few hands.

Throughout history, every reform or attempted reform of this Spanish Empire leftover, the Padrone/Peon social order, has met with vehement and violent opposition, with most Western nations condemning the reformer in question as a Communist who will destabilize the region. This knee-jerk reaction to defend the rights of “property owners” fails to address the hard realities in South America

None of these Western Nations with the big mouths share this lopsided social system anymore, not even Spain, whose last King realized how silly it was to be a king these days and closed the franchise, possibly the first sane act by a reigning monarch in a millennium. Maybe he was thinking about the legacy of oppression and enforced subservience that the Spanish monarchy left behind in her empire, places where when they finally left after hundreds of years, were still largely illiterate, superstitious and poor, toiling in the service of an educated, wealthy elite.

These are the conditions in which men like Chavez operate. The governments of many such nations are the exclusive domain of this wealthy elite, and the poor need not aply. The only avenue to power other than birth is via the military in such regimes, and Latin America has had no shortage of delusional Generalissimos adding to the misery of their nations’ poverty while lining their pockets until the next Generalissimo shoots them down and does exactly the same.

No word on whether or not Hugo Chavez is embezzling some of his nation’s oil billions, but on July 16, 2010, you can mark your calendar as the day he lost his friggin’ mind. There’s not many mad men where you can pinpoint the exact day and time they lost it, so kudos to him on that score. Might be useful data to social scientists someday, or a question in the Venezuelan version of Trivial Pursuit.

Always a Simon Bolivar buff, on that date Chavez took his obsession with the man to a whole new batshit crazy level when he had Simon Bolivar’s remains exhumed and started playing with the skeletal remains, picking apart Simon Bolivar’s carcass with his bare hands!

Not only that, he publicy exhorted the remains in the name of Christ to return to life! He claimed Bolivar had spoken to him, telling Chavez that he reappears every hundred years. Apparently, not one of Bolivars many talents was mathematics. Having died in 1814, he’s 4 years early for his second resurrection. At any rate, no one else was privy to their private conversation.

This is Simon Bolivar we’re talking about, the George Washington and Abraham Lincoln rolled into one for all of South America! Imagine an American President holding a press conference while manhandling the bones of Lincoln? That’s so bizarre, it sounds like something only Hitler would do. With all the batshit crazy leaders this world has endured, it’s hard to recall another remembered for corpse desecration.

This makes Ghadaffi seem less daffy, Ahmadinejad seem less mad, Putin less high falutin’ and Kim Jong not as Il as all that. These guys are ecstatic now that he’s joined THE BATSHIT CRAZY LEADERS OF DANGEROUS UNSTABLE NATIONS CLUB. Takes the heat off of them and their unsavory behavior in their own volatile corners of the world.

But the big question is, what the hell does it feel like to be Venezuelan right now? The stunning realization that the leader of your nation has just publicly and frighteningly lost his friggin’ mind has to be an unsettling feeling, to say the least. One wonders, is this an even worse feeling than having Bush The Younger as the leader of the free world, or not quite as bad as all that?

Chavez might get the “thisgives-me-the-creeps” edge here, since Dubya’s handlers never let him exhume any dead bodies for sport, and everybody knew Shotgun Dick was running the show anyway. Unfortunately for Venezuelans, Chavez doesn’t have a boss, and it sounds like he wants to be President of Venezuela forever with the re-animated Simon Bolivar as his Ed McMahon.

Hard to tell. Our America-centric megamedia corporations don’t report all that much about Venezuela unless it’s something that makes Chavez look bad. Well, now he’s he given them a gift that will keep on giving, his madness. Not only that, he’s given Venezuela a headache that won’t go away until he does. Maybe Simon Bolivar can talk some sense into him.

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