Anyhow, I know very little about the history of Venezuela, and I have no idea whether Chavez has in sum been good or bad for the place. He was an authoritarian jerk, but some countries need authoritarian jerks. Obama seems to think we do. My attitude towards Venezuela is pretty much the same as Charley Reese's. He wrote THIS on the subject seven years ago.
But I do know that we'll put up with all kinds of anti-American blather from anybody, and send them billions in foreign aid as they berate us. What we do not put up with is anybody who badmouths our so-called ally Israel, and Chavez was guilty of that. So establishment liberals and neocons are now congratulating themselves with joy at the death of the fiend, though I'm sure I could find several worse politicians in Chicago without much effort. In any case, Gregory Hood has paid much closer attention to it all than I have, and writes this:
Two Cheers for Chávez
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 58. Predictably enough, the castrated elephants of the American Right are squeaking with unseemly delight.
While it is far too soon to predict what effect Chávez’s death will have on the future of Venezuela’s “Bolivarian Revolution,” American opinion seems to be that the death of this man constitutes some kind of victory, particularly for neoconservatives.
Chávez was not a model leader. Venezuela’s crime rate has soared under his rule. Street gangs act as a de facto part of the Venezuelan government, corruption is rampant, and unfinished skyscrapers have become nests for squatters that look like something out ofDredd. While Chávez has been able to reduce poverty in the country, this is a fairly straightforward accomplishment for the fifth largest oil producing country in the world at a time of high prices. Chávez also made the claim that he would have voted for Barack Obama, if he could.
Nonetheless, there are reasons to admire Hugo Chávez. Chávez always inspired more hatred and fear from the neoconservative press than even paranoia could justify. This alone serves as a sign of contradiction that Chávez should be examined carefully. While it’s at least theoretically possible for a nuclear armed Iran to threaten Israel (or, of secondary importance to our press, America), it’s absurd to think of Venezuela as a military rival. Despite the absurdity, Americans have been treated to lurid articles about Muslim terrorists (!) setting up shop in Venezuela, even while Chávez littered his speeches with more references to Christ than Barack Obama ever would.
In truth, Venezuela did serve as a critical component of the emerging “anti-American government” bloc in world affairs. Chávez maintained close ties with Cuba, and more importantly, with Russia and China. Venezuela even expressed its willingness to host a strategic nuclear base for Russian forces. Chávez forcefully condemned the American supported “terrorists” in Syria fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. Chávez will be remembered around the world for his forceful condemnation of American foreign policy, particularly the invasion of Iraq, and his quip that he could “smell the sulfur” after George W. Bush spoke at the United Nations. American conservatives, some still stubbornly defending the disaster in Mesopotamia, have neither forgiven nor forgotten. (Read the rest HERE.)