Carlo's Corner: Thatcher versus Chavez — how to pick a true tyrant

Issue 
Celebrations break out in Glasgow's Green Square after news of Thatcher's death.

With the death of another “controversial” world leader, what the media should have done was go back to their editorials that threw around terms like “authoritarian” and “tyrant”, and were filled with tales of a legacy of economic destruction and class hatred and support for dictators, and just used a simple find/replace to remove “Hugo Chavez” and insert “Margaret Thatcher”.

It would have saved them so much time, and introduced some rare honesty into the press. But no, when Thatcher died on April 8, the went for: “Margaret Thatcher: A champion of freedom for workers, nations and the world.”

An interesting definition of “freedom” and one likely be one challenged by former mining communities in Britain, victims of Chilean dictator and Thatcher's friend General Pinochet, anti-apartheid activists denounced by Thatcher as terrorists and the families of the Irish hunger strikers she let die.

I mean, Thatcher's government actually helped arm and . And this was after Pol Pot's forces had committed their infamous genocidal atrocities and been removed from power by Vietnamese forces. On the scale of one to 10 in outrageous betrayals of an entire people, that scores about 5000.

If Cambodia's people are today free of the fear of a return to the Khmer Rogue's killing fields, it is certainly no thanks to Thatcher.

Hugo Chavez led a mass democratic movement transforming Latin America, empowering ordinary people and lowering poverty. But the most the after Chavez's March 5 death was that the Venezuelan leader was a “shrewd demagogue”.

The different responses to Chavez and Thatcher say a lot — including about who the true tyrant was. Chavez , at home and abroad. Thatcher , at home and abroad.

The corporate media hail Thatcher and condemn Chavez. But the popular response is very different.

“There is no such thing as society,” said Thatcher. And society responded to her death by drinking champagne and dancing in the streets.

“To overcome poverty, we must give power to the poor,” said Chavez. And the poor, in their millions, filled the streets of Caracas in tearful mourning for “their” president.

Vigils for Chavez were held around the world. Global street — and it was the celebrations by some of her main victims that were the most poignant. In Liverpool, a city Thatcher tried to destroy, people danced, sang and let off fireworks.

In Belfast, thousands partied on Falls Road in the heart of the nationalist community. Symbolically, — the banging of bin lids was the method the nationalist community used to mark the death of each of the 10 young men Thatcher let starve to death in a British-run jail in 1981.

Such celebrations have been condemned as “insensitive”. But what those expressing distaste for the celebrations need to remember is that — unlike the corporate rich who adore Thatcher — the people dancing in the streets do not own any newspapers. Nor do they get invited onto panel shows to share their views.

This is how Thatcher's victims answer all the editorials and talking heads lauding Thatcher's brutal class war against them. This is how they make their views known on the legacy of their greatest tormentor. By drinking champagne, setting off fireworks and sending Judy Garland's old track “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead” to the .