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February 26, 2011

Ken’s mate Chavez backs Gaddafi.

Having remained noticeably silent for most of the week, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has at last done as the world expected he would. He’s announced his support for his socialist friend – the murdering, massacring dictator, Colonel Gaddafi. He’s also condemned the ‘imperialism and interventionism’ of the West, the ‘double standards’ of the world’s media, and the violence of the protesters. As much as it was expected, it is still an incredible admission from a man who has always claimed to be guided by democracy and the will of the people. He is one of the only leaders in the entire world to have supported Gaddafi in this week of near-unimaginable terror in Libya.

So one despot backs another. Hardly a shock, you’d argue. I’d agree. But, as I wrote on Monday, this is a grave embarrassment for Ken Livingstone. Chavez and Livingstone are best mates, kindred spirits and political allies. Livingstone has spent a huge amount of time with Chavez, he’s worked as a consultant for him, and – you’ll remember – he’s previously insisted that his association with the Venezuelan president is not controversial “unless you believe American propaganda”. If that’s truly what he believed, then he deserves for his judgement to be called into question. If he wanted the benefits of the relationship – cash, distinctiveness, stimulation, a socialist chum – then so too must he accept the damage that he is being caused by his friend’s views and behaviour.

Of course, if Ken wanted to regain a bit of respect, he could repudiate Chavez and condemn him for his support of Gaddafi. Don’t hold your breath.

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