("Hugo Chavez & the American Slug," Dissident Voice 8/27/05)
C'mon Jack, your facts about Hugo Chavez were far too biased to be taken seriously.
I condemn Pat Roberts[on’s] comments, but I am equally offended by Chavez DAILY insults, taunts, and offensive comments about America. This man runs around the world inciting hatred towards us, and he is a head of state -- not a private citizen. A recent sampling of his rants:
"America is the most savage empire that has ever existed"
"We have to destroy American imperialism, before it destroys the world"
These aren't the words of a mild-mannered, peace-lover, Jack. He also called Cuba a "revolutionary democracy", which makes a mockery of Constitutional democracy everywhere. Fidel Castro has one of the worst human rights records in the Western Hemisphere the past 50 years. Hugo Chavez values his ideology above his democratic principles. His allegiance to Castro proves that.
Chavez WANTS confrontation with the US, because it increases his status as a bold, "anti-imperialist" whatever that means. Bush's relative silence towards Chavez is the correct path. He is taking Venezuela down the well-worn, Bolshevik Revolutionary path to destruction. We don't have to do anything to Chavez. He's self-destructing just fine on his own.
Meanwhile, China, India, and a host of other nations aren't sitting around whining about the evils of free trade. They're building strong, robust economies and growing huge middle classes. Hmmmm... maybe there's a lesson there -- if Chavez was smart enough to see it.
So, you’re a globalist. Let me guess: Brookings Institute.
I wish to thank you for taking the time to convey your thoughts. Here are a few of mine.
I have grown weary of the game of rhetorical opposites. You go to war in the name of peace. You oppress classes and whole societies in the name of justice. You inflict mass poverty in the name of global prosperity and you commit genocide in the name of God.
One of us is badly misinformed.
First, it is Pat Robertson (not Kansas Senator Pat Roberts) who called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez. Let us assume that was a typographical error.
Second, Chavez joins a distinguished list of dissident leaders opposing American imperialism, including Nelson Mandela, Arundhati Roy, Jimmy Carter, Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky.
Third, outside of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, no one has greater cause to oppose the actions of the American government than Hugo Chavez does. In the context of two American sponsored coups – political and military – his rhetoric is a model of moderation.
Fourth, while Castro’s Cuba is certainly not a democracy, he has at least provided for the education and health care of his people. One hopes that true democracy will come to Cuba (one hopes the same for America – witness Ohio 2004 and Florida 2000) but it will not come at the barrel of an American gun. It will come when Cubans are convinced that democracies like Haiti and Venezuela can thrive without the interference of powerful foreign governments and their corporate proxies.
I have denounced Castro’s crackdown on Cuban dissidents but to compare him with Pinochet, Somoza, Noriega, Duarte and Borja of El Salvador, and Rios Montt of Guatemala, is nothing short of absurd. Given that all of these strongmen were once allied with their American masters, one could reasonably place Nixon and Reagan on the short list of human rights violators – unless the citizens of other nations are discounted.
You suggest that Chavez wants a confrontation with the US; I suggest he has no choice. If you do not accept that the American government twice sponsored and coordinated coups against Chavez, your naivety is almost charming.
Finally, your offering of China and India as the models for third world economic growth is equally revealing. China and Japan hold the markers on America’s unfathomable debt, but that does not translate to a burgeoning, western-style middle class. The last I checked, you rose above poverty in China with an income of one hundred American dollars per year – not exactly the kind of income that buys Nike footwear.
The story is similar in India: An economy built on cheap labor (the prescription of the global “free” economy) simply cannot build a consumer society. It is a snake swallowing its own tail. A consumer society by definition must offer greater than living wages but when wages rise, the foundation of the economy crumbles.