And speaking of Hugo Chavez, news arrives tonight that the Venezuelan president--taking a page out of his own populist handbook--has decided to govern from a tent, Muammar Gaddafi-style. Chavez ordered assistants to erect the tent outside the presidential palace, Miraflores, today in order to make room in his presidential offices for refugees of the recent flooding that has devastated the country in recent weeks. The BBC reports that Chavez made his decision while visiting with flood victims in the country’s capital, Caracas.
"Put up Gaddafi's gift," said Mr Chavez…"You can install it in the garden at Miraflores because I'm going to move into the tent. We can put some beds in my office."
If evidence of Chavez’s leadership during the flooding crisis suggests, this is not a hollow edict. At least two dozen refugee families are currently being put up in the presidential palace. According to the Associated Press, Chavez
told one of his Cabinet ministers during a visit to a disaster shelter that aides should start preparing one of his offices in the palace to house evacuees. "We can stick some beds there, and there's a bathroom," he said.
While Chavez may be using the crisis to score political points with his base at a moment when his popularity has reached all-time lows, the magnitude of the disaster cannot be underscored enough. Flooding has already killed nearly forty people and left 100,000 people without homes.