The bird who delivered a basket case
Is a Hugo Chavez-style 'new and radical society' on the way here?
Next month, a memorial to Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President and despot who died last year, will be unveiled in Minsk in Hugo Chavez Park, no doubt by Belarus's dictator President Lukashenko, who keeps his country in miserable poverty. Along with the hereditary dictator President Raul Castro of Cuba and the lunatic Islamist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -then President of Iran - Lukashenko led the mourners in March last year when Chavez breathed his last.
I wondered at the time why our own President Higgins wasn't present, bearing in mind his affection for Latin American revolutionaries and his fulsome tribute on hearing of Chavez's death. He was "very sorry", he said. Chavez had "achieved a great deal during his term in office," he said, "particularly in the area of social development and poverty reduction," and his "thoughts and best wishes" were with the Venezuelans "as they come to terms with this sad news".
Perhaps the Taoiseach told him that now he was President he couldn't keep such dodgy company. After all, Venezuela was a basket case, with a fragile economy, rampant corruption, little press freedom, a cowed opposition, a timid legal system and one of the highest murder rates in the world.