PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Venezuela's Chavez to lead anti-Bush rally in Argentina

Jack Chang
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

SAO PAULO, Brazil - When President Bush lands in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo Friday night as part of his seven-day Latin American tour, leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a fierce Bush critic, will be on the attack just across the river in Argentina.

Chavez is scheduled to speak to tens of thousands of anti-Bush protesters in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, and he'll do it with the blessing of Argentine President Nestor Kirchner. In fact, Kirchner's aides are helping to organize the rally.

Kirchner won't attend the rally, but his hosting of Chavez signals a decisive step away from the United States and toward the Venezuelan's confrontational, anti-free markets vision.

Kirchner previously had been known as a more pragmatic leftist politician somewhere between Chavez and center-left Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

"Up to this point, Kirchner has been playing a very ambiguous game," said Alvaro Vargas Llosa, a U.S.-based Latin American analyst. "The significance of what is happening on Friday is Kirchner is moving more decisively toward Chavez and away from other, more moderate left-wing governments in the region."

Kirchner has been building up to the move for the past month. On Feb. 21, while joining Chavez in Venezuela to inaugurate an oil well to be run by Venezuela and Argentina, Kirchner boldly defended Chavez, who's been accused of seeking dictatorial powers in his country.

"Much has been said lately about how there are countries that should contain other countries, as in the case of President Lula or of us, that we must contain President Chavez," Kirchner said. "Absolute error. We are building with brother President Chavez space in South America for the happiness of our people."

Chavez, who regularly calls Bush "the devil," thanked Kirchner for defending him from "those who surrendered to North American imperialism and permitted the plunder of the homeland."

The ties haven't just been rhetorical. Controlling one of the world's biggest oil reserves, Chavez has showered petrodollars on Argentina, agreeing at last month's meeting to buy $750 million in Argentine bonds and bringing Venezuela's total holdings of Argentine debt to $3.5 billion.

The two countries also have launched a Latin American development bank that they hope will replace more traditional lenders such as the International Monetary Fund.

With October presidential elections approaching in Argentina, the closer Chavez ties could also bring political benefits to Kirchner, although he hasn't yet announced whether he or his wife, Sen. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, will run for the top office.

A Latinobarometro poll of more than 20,000 people around Latin America conducted last year found that only Venezuelans and Dominicans supported Chavez more than Argentines. At the same time, Bush received his lowest approval rating in the region from Argentines.

"Being anti-Bush and using Chavez as a decoy has worked so far for Kirchner, so he'll keep using the strategy," said Argentine analyst Felipe Noguera. "He's actually running a government that's fairly conservative in some areas, so I think his Chavista rhetoric is for the gallery."

Activist Jorge Ceballos, a deputy secretary in Kirchner's social development ministry, said that the Argentine president wasn't faking his rhetoric and that his role in Friday's rally proved it.

Ceballos and other pro-Kirchner activists are organizing the event along with the human rights group Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, both Chavez allies, were invited but aren't expected to attend.

"Kirchner showed in Venezuela that he is going to defend our countries from North American imperialist interference," Ceballos said. "This rally is a response that promises to unify our region."

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.