I dashed off my response to A.M. Mora y Leon, realizing afterward that I failed to say all the things I wanted to say, as well as in the way I wanted to say them.
First, I see that A.M. has taken down his original response, and replaced it with a far friendlier, and shorter, post. Either he's trying to make me look crazy, or a cooler head prevailed. I'll assume it was the latter, and in turn express my thanks. I'll also point out that my head has gone down a notch in temperature as well, and hopefully my rhetoric will follow suit.
Second, I'm interested more than anything else in understanding why conservatives harbor such animosity for socialism after all these years. They continue to point out what a lame duck it is, yet simultaneously tell us it's really something to be feared.
I agree with A.M. that chavismo will be a long-term failure, and that he's doing significant damage to Venezuela. This is no good. But to condemn the whole Latin American left makes no sense. Jorge Casteneda makes this point in the recent issue of Foreign Affairs. Leaders like Bachelet understand that you can successfully mix (in the short-term) socialist public policy with measured free-trade engagement. Whether this will be a long-term success, however, is anyone's guess.
Also, to A.M.'s point about Venezuelan oil profits and Arab oil sheiks: I'd be curious to know what he makes of this piece at The Huffington Post. I invite his comments.
Lastly, I don't think there's a conspiracy. But thanks for the reassurance.