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The Chavez crusade against golf

Posted by Richard on August 18, 2009

I almost missed the latest episode in Venezuela's long descent into night. The proclamations and edicts of Hugo Chavez seem to alternate between terrifying and absurd. This is one of the absurd ones:

As part of his determination to march Venezuela backward, Hugo Chavez has an opportunistic new target: Golf.

He says, using leftist terminology long out of fashion, that golf is a "bourgeois sport," even a "petit-bourgeois" sport. That's roughly middle class and lower-middle class, suggesting Chavez has no idea what those terms really mean.

According to The New York Times, he's moving to confiscate two of the country's best-known courses to build low-income housing or expand a university campus or create a children's park or something. An earlier attempt by Chavez allies to seize the Caracas Country Club was beaten back, but Venezuelan golf officials told the Times that under pressure from Chavez the country is going from 28 courses to 18.

Chavez seems to retain the old image of golf as the sport of plutocrats, a notion he would be thoroughly disabused of by playing a couple of rounds on the municipal courses of any medium-size U.S. city

Somewhere outside of Caracas, someone is saying, "They can have my nine iron when they pry it from my cold, dead hands."

Of course, although it may prompt a chuckle, in some sense even the crusade against golf is terrifying. With each such bit of thuggish nonsense, it becomes clearer that there is no aspect of life in Venezuela that this tinpot tyrant doesn't aim to control.

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