Jack Staples-Butler

14 questions Owen Jones and Venezuela’s silent fans on the left must answer

14 questions Owen Jones and Venezuela's silent fans on the left must answer
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Dear Owen,

I hear you have finally broken your silence on Venezuela. With that in mind, here are a few questions which you have not answered:

1) In 2008, Human Rights Watch was expelled from the country by force. Why didn't you feel the need to mention this in any article you wrote?

2) Who paid for that 'Election Observer' trip you went on in 2012?

3) Did it ever cross your mind from 2012 onwards that Hugo Chavez referring to Kim Jong-il as a ‘comrade’ he mourned might be a warning sign?

4) Did Chavez's hero-worship of Fidel Castro and claims that he wanted to turn Venezuela into 'Venecuba' ever cause you concerns?

5) Did Chavez's suppression of independent trade unions, social democratic parties and NGOs ever prick your conscience as a leftist?

6) Did Chavez's hours-long rambling speeches, which TV stations were forced to broadcast, ever strike you as disturbing or suggest he was mad?

7) Did the fleeing of tens of thousands of Venezuelan citizens to neighbouring countries strike you as odd or unsettling at all?

8) In your years of writing praise and apologetics for Chavez, did you ever read any Human Rights Watch or Amnesty reports?

9) Did you support the Chavismo policy of taking street gangs, politically indoctrinating them then turning them loose with their guns?

10) Did you think it ethical to propagandise on behalf of this regime, knowing as you did the history of the USSR and the Useful Idiots?

11) Do you feel any obligation to your readers whom you spent 2012-15 misinforming about Venezuela only then to go silent on the subject?

12) Did you stop talking about Venezuela out of shame, guilt, embarrassment or just political expediency?

13) If you and Jeremy Corbyn had been listened to, the UK could now look like Venezuela. Why should you be listened to now?

14) Can you explain why you have deserted the subject of socialism in Venezuela and your 'solidarity' with it until forced to speak on it?

Those are my questions. Call me an 'Obsessive Angry Detractor' if you want. Your right to self-righteous self-pity is now as bankrupt as Venezuela.

Jack Staples-Butler is a trainee barrister. He tweets @jstaplesbutler