I don’t play golf. I’m awful. I can’t hit the ball straight to save my life. In fact, I have been asked to leave driving ranges for injuring other golfers. I have been in situations where the ball ends up behind me on so many occasions I am convinced that I am cursed. Despite many hours of coaching, I continue to churn out horrific results at the golf course.
I think Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has the same problem:
Of golf, Chavez declared recently in the city of Maracay: “I think it is a bourgeois sport and there’s no justification for having a golf course in the middle of a city where there is so much housing need for the people.
“Even though there are slums, you have 30 hectares so a little group of bourgeois and petit-bourgeois people can go and play golf … They are so lazy, they use carts!” he mocked.
Although a lover of sports, especially baseball, Chavez’ comments brought into the open — and instantly politicized — the decline of golf facilities in Venezuela. Various courses have shut in recent years, and others may go the same way if authorities decide to put Chavez’ words into action.
And it seems the government has no small part in the decline of the sport there:
The Venezuelan Golf Federation says the country has lost seven courses in the last few years, mainly those run by state authorities, including oil firm PDVSA, that have opted to put funds elsewhere or use the land for other things.
Many people in Venezuela resent the charge that the sport is only for the wealthy. Yes, golf courses have traditionally been exclusive (and that is true no matter where it is played), but Reuters continues:
Denying golf was an exclusive game in Venezuela, Torres said clubs were making big efforts to popularize the sport by ensuring some courses were open to the public — 9 of the 23, he said — and running charitable training projects.
Back at the Caracas Country Club, 21-year-old administration student Alejandro Sequeira resents the “bourgeois” tag stuck on him and other friends who play golf.
“I’m a student, from the middle class, nothing special. Golf is not just for millionaires,” he said, teeing off onto manicured grass at the first hole.
“He (Chavez) is looking for an excuse to mess with the people he considers upper-class and elite. But many of the people playing golf are businessmen with links to the government. So they’re just insulting themselves really.”
I thought Chavez was interested in growing freedom in Venezuela? I thought he wanted people to have greater freedom than when he took office? How does denouncing and eliminating a sport, no matter what its history, increase freedom?
Oh, right. It doesn’t. Just like Chavez isn’t interested in freedom.