Speaking to the Observer last week, Chomsky has accused the socialist leader of amassing too much power and of making an "assault" on Venezuela's democracy.
"Concentration of executive power, unless it's very temporary and for specific circumstances, such as fighting world war two, is an assault on democracy. You can debate whether [Venezuela's] circumstances require it: internal circumstances and the external threat of attack, that's a legitimate debate. But my own judgment in that debate is that it does not."
Chomsky, a linguistics professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spoke on the eve of publishing an open letter that accuses Venezuela's authorities of "cruelty" in the case of a jailed judge.
Revulsion threshold. There must be much more to this story. For decades, Chomsky has defended Pol Pot for murdering nearly 2 million Cambodians in the mid-1970s, so his threshold for revulsion is unusually high. Was it something Chavez said? Or does Chomsky have his eye on a healthier dictator for poor Venezuela?