The Canadian kid goes to Bogota, Colombia, indulges in misbehavior, gets away with it, and now the locals want to, too:  Justin Bieber’s visit to Bogota opened doors for Colombian graffiti artists. Well, pardon my old-fogieness, but “graffiti artist” is an oxymoron. Vandalism is what comes to mind. But, when you’re a celebrity who gets paid thousands of dollars, you get away with it,

The 19-year-old Canadian heartthrob gave a concert on an October night and then took to the streets of this capital, wearing a hoodie and spray-painting a Canadian maple leaf atop a marijuana leaf alongside a tribute to his dead hamster, Pac. It all happened under the watchful eye of the metropolitan police, whose officers served as security detail.

Now the Colombian authorities have to deal with hundreds of “street artists” doing their thing not only in Bogota, but also in Cali, Medellin and other big Colombian cities – with others in smaller cities sure to join in.

What happened next? For one, Bogota outlined sanctions for defacing public property.

And Justin, who was told that, when he returns to Colombia, he may have to give a free concert for children (so the little kids may get to see him up close as a role model?), went on to Brazil, where he spray-painted the walls of Rio de Janeiro’s Hotel Nacional:

At this rate, he may get a show at the Whitney Museum in New York.

Most of us don’t pay much attention to Latin American countries. The Europeans, the Middle East, China, and back in the 1980s, Japan, get most of the headlines.

I know this from experience since I have been blogging on Latin America for almost ten years; while my blog gets a nice amount of visitors and I have been invited to speak at conferences, Latin America is not a subject that draws much attention from the public at large, except when it comes to the subject of immigration.

But Latin American politics affects the USA, not only regarding immigration. When you have a formerly wealthy, oil-producing country bankrolling some of the extreme-left nations in our hemisphere, while at the same time heading head-first down the Communist abyss, it’s worth noting the change in geopolitics.

Things are bad in Venezuela right now. For instance,

By now you’re probably asking, how can things get worse? Marking the start of a new period of repression, 11 women were arrested on Monday for peacefully protesting the new enabling law:

Maduro also wants Interpol to arrest JJ Rendón (who is now living outside the country), the political strategist to opposition leader Henrique Capriles, and has proclaimed that he will deal “with an iron hand” with anyone who dare question the results of the upcoming municipal elections scheduled for December 8 (link in Spanish) – a day he has proclaimed Hugo Chavez day.

Threats, indeed.

The real crackdown is already starting: Maduro is now arresting small business owners. Their crime? Owning a business:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday that authorities had arrested more than 100 “bourgeois” businessmen in a crackdown on alleged price-gouging since the weekend. “We have more than 100 of the bourgeoisie behind bars at the moment,” Maduro said in a speech to the nation.

In a country where corruption is the order of the day, my only theory is that Maduro may be seizing electronics stores, for instance, and handing them to members of the military as a means to keeping the military happy and paid off, since Cuban intelligence now is in charge of the military.

Where will the electronics and the appliances come from? China, perhaps.

Not that electric appliances represent a threat to the USA. A Communist country that has direct flights from Iran and Syria may, though. . . particularly after US Secretary of State John Kerry publicly repudiated the Monroe Doctrine.

Things will be getting a lot worse.

Call me old-fashioned, but isn’t Christmas meant to be a celebration of the birth of Christ our Savior? A season of fellowship and the sharing of blessings?

Then what the hey are the Unemployed Philosophers thinking?

Grant you, the Unemployed Philosophers are my source for Obamacare Mints (“Take two and call me a socialist in the morning”), and the ever-popular Obama Disappointmints (“Is this change?”) which keep selling out but will be back in stock on 11/18/2013.

So why are the Unemployed Philosophers selling Che Guevara dolls in their “Little Thinkers” series? Che is next to Socrates and Abraham Lincoln, but then, so is the devil, who is closer, much closer, to Che than the other two.

Should the Unemployed Philosophers be known instead as the Ignorant and Callous Philosophers? Let’s take a look at the Cuba Archive on Che Guevara’s Forgotten Victims:

Che played a leading or supporting role in the summary execution of at least 21 persons in the Sierra Maestra; at least one shot by his own hand.

This is the guy who, in January of 1957, wrote to his then-wife, Hilda Gadea, to tell her that he was “Here, in the Cuban jungle, alive and thirsting for blood.” Indeed he was – the Cuba Archive has documented 22 executions ordered by Che over a period of three days in 1959 in Santa Clara, and 88 at La Cabaña Fortress. There are 216 documented murders by Che.

In addition to being a murderer, Che was a racist, a homophobe and an anti-Semite.

Just the guy to bring in Christmas cheer.

But hey, Che is cool to the Unemployed Philosophers (which may explain why they’re unemployed), so let’s have the Che ornament join the 2009 White House Mao ornament. Yes, the Mao Zedong was on a Christmas ornament, too – and at the White House! The same Mao who Che admired and from whom he adapted his formulation of guerilla warfare,

Che published influential manuals Guerrilla Warfare (1961) and Guerrilla Warfare: A Method (1963), which were based on his own experiences and partly chairman Mao Zedong’s writings. Guevara stated that revolution in Latin America must come through insurgent forces developed in rural areas with peasant support. His international legacy of glorifying violence through an erroneous analysis of guerilla warfare, based on his experiences with the Batista army, which was too incompetent and corrupt to fight, and applying Zedong’s writings on the subject led to bloodbaths in Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chiapas, Congo, Angola and decades of military dictatorship and political violence.

Maybe Josef Stalin will drop by and join them to top the Christmas tree with a shiny red star.

(h/t Rare)