Over the past four years, Venezuela has witnessed alarming signs of state-directed anti-Semitism, including a 2005 Christmas declaration by President Hugo Chávez himself: “The World has enough for everybody, but some minorities, the descendants of the same people that crucified Christ, and of those that expelled Bolívar from here and in their own way crucified him. . . . have taken control of the riches of the world.”
Instead of political parties, representative institutions, and, above all, ideologies, Chavismo manifests as a physical relationship between the people and Chávez, with, as Chávez himself describes, love as the potent glue connecting them.Thus during the recent campaign for the referendum to abolish presidential term limits, the widespread slogan,“Amor con amor se paga” (“love must with love be repaid”), which captures the notion that Chávez’s love for the people comes with a corresponding obligation.
As Lomnitz and Sánchez explain: 'The problem with substituting rights with a language of love is that dissent suggests lack of love, or ingratitude, or a sign of allegiance to a foreign enemy: capitalism, the “Euro-Gringo imperialism,” or even, for Chávez, Zionist-Fascist-Euro-Gringo Imperialism.'
We've been here before, I think. As the authors of the article conclude: 'When a regime relies on populism, military uniforms, homophobia, and anti-Semitism, it is time to worry.'