The Curmudgeon

YOU'LL COME FOR THE CURSES. YOU'LL STAY FOR THE MUDGEONRY.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

News 2020

Balanced news from right on the fence

Despite the recent securing of Venezuela's oil fields, the establishment of a permanent ring of bases in the country and the holding of the first truly democratic elections to be held there under US auspices for some considerable time, the Americans' public-relations problems continue.

Among the most serious of these problems is the question of what to do with the captured Venezuelan leader, Hilario Bolvidar, who was discovered like a spider in his rathole directing terrorist operations via the mysterious hypnotic power shared by so many rogue dictators.

The problem of what to do with captured dictators has caused the Americans difficulty in the past. A few, such as Manolo Aregan of Panama, have been able to make new lives in the United States. Several generations of Salvadorean and Guatemalan dictators have become useful and prosperous citizens, and Mr Aregan's family now runs a modest used-car dealership chain which extends throughout the state of Florida.

Others, such as the Haitian "priest", General Jean-Bertrand Arachnide, and the Islamic fundamentalist government-in-exile of Iran, have chosen to remain outside their countries and have repeatedly refused Allied offers of a fair and open trial while their economies are being rebuilt.

The US and Britain have generally distanced themselves from calls for the execution of the Venezuelan leader. The British foreign secretary has warned against the possibility of the Allies being seen as exacting revenge on a defeated enemy. "The undoubted fact of Mr Bolvidar's intention to obliterate the free world, despite his lack of opportunity and equipment with which to do so, must not lead us into the temptation to act barbarically ourselves," he said.

Despite the good intentions on display, however, the Allied attitude may lead to some unpalatable paradoxes. The notorious US inhibition against executing Hispanics may not be particularly well appreciated in South America, which has a long cultural tradition of electoral mayhem and "democracia al cuchillo." But by the same token, simply handing Bolvidar over to be torn to pieces by rampaging mobs of newly liberated savages could easily be interpreted by sceptics as a compromising step.

Bolvidar is currently being held at an unknown location, where he will be questioned about his crimes against humanity and psychologically analysed to see if he shows remorse.

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