September 30, 2005
The Battle of Venezuela by Michael McCaughan
If you are wondering why Pat Robertson floated the hideous trial balloon of having the populist Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez, assassinated, remember this: Venezuela is the third largest oil importer to the United States. In fact, more that half of its oil exports are sold to the U.S.
Given that the Bush Administration is an apostle of an archaic fossil fuels approach to energy, you might begin to understand why they are obsessed with getting rid of Chavez and replacing him with the traditional Venezuelan oil oligarchy. After all, the latter are the Bushevik kind of people.
It's also worth noting that in 1990, 90% of the Venezuelan population lived at or below the poverty level. The rest of the 10% contained a small middle class and the extremely rich.
Chavez has been elected twice by popular vote. He survived an alleged U.S. orchestrated coup to remove him and replace him with an oil baron government. He is a charismatic, sometimes eccentric leader, whose goal is to create a Venezuela and South America with a more equitable distribution of wealth, as well as creating a strong southern hemispheric force that is not at the mercy of U.S. intervention.
"The Battle of Venezuela" offers the BuzzFlash reader a thorough introduction into "the Bolivarian Revolution" that is Chavez's rallying cry. What exactly does it mean? It, in essence, is the reclaiming of national resources and institutions in Venezuela to benefit the entire nation, not a selective few. The book details the reality behind the ongoing political battles in Venezuela and the role of the Bush Administration.
The oddest and most hypocritical issue at stake in the Bushevik policy to "get rid of Chavez" is that in Chavez being democratically elected twice, it makes the Bush Administration a brazen and bold liar in insisting that Americans should die in order to bring democracy to Iraq. Why are we working to overthrow a democracy in our backyard while sending Americans to die to create bloody chaos allegedly on behalf of democracy thousands of miles away?
This summer, the editor of BuzzFlash was in Venezuela as a tourist. Upon returning to the states, he arrived at the Caracas airport at some unGodly hour and began talking to the man waiting in front of him who was Venezuelan and asked, in fluent English, "How did you like our disgusting country?" Playing the good guest, he responded, "No, it's not disgusting at all. It's rather quite beautiful [which it is]."
"No," the man responded, "I don't mean the nature, I mean the government."
"Are you talking about Hugo Chavez?" he asked.
"Yes, he said, our horrible commandante," he replied.
"What's the matter with him?" he asked. "Is he corrupt."
"Yes, of course," the wealthy man answered. "All the leaders in South America are corrupt. That's not what is the issue. It's what he does with the poor people. He gets them all upset."
"Upset about what?" he asked.
"Upset about being poor."
Hugo Chavez wouldn't have left the poor of New Orleans to suffer for four days without assistance. His crime to the Bush administration and the wealthy of Venezuela is that he believes poverty is not something to be dictated by the United States and a ruling elite.
And the vast majority of Venezuelans agree with him, and have elected him twice, democratically. That, apparently, also is a crime to the Bush Administration, which only supports democratically elected leaders that it approves of. The rest are to be overthrown or undercut as appropriate.
Chavez may not be perfect, but then again look at who our president is.