I recently received a dispatch from "Hands Off Venezuela,"
an international group that is adamant about the right of
Venezuela to rule herself, which is rather distressing.
Personally, I see Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as an
eloquent and forceful representative of the power of democratic
socialism. He has done more to end poverty in Venezuela since
taking office in 1998 than any other president in the history of
the republic. Absurdly, a man who won his office with 56.1% of
the vote in 1998, and who won an opposition-led recall
vote in 2004, is called a "dictator" by American conservative
leaders. This is from Widipedia.com:
"The recall vote was held on August 15, 2004. Record
numbers of voters turned out, and polling hours were
extended by at least eight hours. 59.25% of the vote was
against the recall, for Chávez remaining in office. Election
observers Jimmy Carter of the Carter Center and OAS
Secretary General César Gaviria endorsed the results of
Venezuelas' recall referendum."
While embracing democracy and a campaign against corruption,
Chavez has re-organized Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to
pay huge dividends to the people via elaborate socialist programs.
He calls himself a "21st Century Socialist." This year, almost
half a billion dollars has flowed in from Citgo alone (the PDVSA
owns half of Citgo) to fund socialist programs like the "Inside
the Barrio" program. That program provides free health and
dental care to people who live in heinous poverty. And through
an oil deal with Cuba, over 20,000 Cuban doctors have been flown
into the barrios of Venezuela to fight disease and promote
Venezuela also has seven privately-owned and openly-critical
television stations and newspapers.
If embracing republican government, the existance of a vibrant,
free press, and fighting to end poverty are the acts of a tyrant,
what do the actions of our own president represent?
I understand why Chavez and the Movement for the Fifth
Republic (his party)are annoying American imperialists. He
openly states that he fears assassination by the US, and that he
thinks Condi Rice has a crush on him. He is also reducing the
amount of oil sold to the US by Venezuela and instead selling
to China, Cuba, and "PetroCaribe," a group of Caribbean islands
that will buy oil at almost $25 less a barrel than the market
dictates. His first deal beyond China and Cuba was made
earlier this week, with Jamaica, for 20,000 barrels a day at $40
a barrel. This while oil prices are at $66 a barrel.
That's bound to piss off the Estados Unidos.
The unification of Latin American socialists (the Bolivarian
Revolution, named for the revolutionary anti-imperialist
Simon de Bolivar), the end of poverty, and a desire to see
the world evolve beyond capitalist degradation are all
nice changes from US puppet-governments, corruption,
and unspeakable greed.
That is how I feel about the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Unfortunately, my feelings and thoughts and everything I
mentioned probably won't save my beloved comrade. The
aforementioned letter from "Hands Off Venezuela" contains
a piece from NewsMax about how many in the CIA and US
Military agree with Pat Robertson's assessment that Chavez
should be "taken out." This comes from the article,
"'Chavez is a dangerous guy,'" retired Col. David Hunt told Bill
Bennett's "Morning in America" fill-in host Steve Malzberg on
Wednesday. "We helped to elect the son of a gun [and] after 9/11
you don't get to threaten us."
It gets better.
"The issue of assassination 'should be on the table,' Hunt said.
'I'm suggesting that we use it as a tool . . . to get those guys
Former CIA Operative Wayne Simmons agreed. 'He should have
been killed a long time ago,' Simmons said."
The Bush Administration doesn't speak out against these
comments, instead he simply says that they are legal coming
from citizens and not government representatives. As a US citizen,
I'm going to have to politely insist that our government speak
with greater force against those who threaten acts of terrorism. For
isn't an assassination the ultimate act of terrorism?