Monday, Aug. 10, 2009

The New Red Scare

Revolutions come in every color: green armbands in Tehran, orange-clad protesters in Ukraine and a bright red President in Venezuela attempting to convey his political message by dressing like a human crayon. A signifier of class struggle since the late 1800s, the color red was once ubiquitous in communist strongholds such as the Soviet Union and China. Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chávez has kept the message alive by using it as a staple in all of his political demonstrations, as well as his personal wardrobe. Whether it is a red tie peeking out of his formal suits during official state visits, a red beret topping the olive fatigues he often wears as a tribute to his military background, or the head-to-toe combos he sports during his weekly TV show, the color is always there as a reminder that Chávez and Venezuela are firmly entrenched in socialism — as if we could forget.