I used to wonder why Venezuelean President Hugo Chavez was able to stay in office following the recall vote held in that country in 2004. After all, the Venezuela economy is in the pits, corruption is rampant within his administration, he has callouses on his knees from genuflecting so often before Fidel Castro, and he has a crick in his neck from reaching back and patting himself on the back so much.
But Hugo Chavez has a secret weapon. He’s a comedian.
Witness this latest string of one liners from the government of la cabra que rÃe (loosely translated: The Laughing Goat):
This public call to assassinate a head of state, considered a crime by all modern legislation, is prosecutable by its very nature. That is what the civilized world is expecting of U.S. authorities,”(Cue Laugh Track)
“It’s a huge hypocrisy [for the United States] to maintain this discourse against terrorism and at the same time, in the heart of that country, there are entirely terrorist statements like those,”
In Washington, Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez Herrera also described Mr. Robertson’s remarks as “a call to terrorism.” He demanded that the United States take steps to ensure Mr. Chavez’s safety when he visits New York for a U.N. General Assembly meeting next month.
All this in response to idiotarian Pat Robertson’s fantasia about someone “taking out” Mr. Goat Face. Robertson sort of apologized today, saying at first he was “misinterpreted” but then later saying “Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him.”
Takes a fantasist to know a fantasist, I guess.
Hugo Chavez is a thug in the classic tradition of Manuel Noriega and his idol Fidel Castro. In Chavez Venezuela, there are disappearances, death squads, shockingly routine police brutality, executions without trial, and a host of human rights violations that would make one pine for Allende’s Chile.
Then there’s the little matter of his support for narco terrorists in Columbia. FARC is a group of communist guerillas who’ve been fighting the Columbian government for decades. They now make no bones about financing their war by growing and selling drugs. Chavez has allowed them to open training camps in his country and has looked favorably on their terrorist activities. The laughing goat has opened a western hemisphere franchise outlet that may as well be called “al Qaeda West:”
Cuban “advisors” currently are in positions throughout the Chavez government with some even masquerading as sports coaches. Before he was imprisoned in 1994, fellow Venezuelan Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, a.k.a. “Carlos the Jackal”, whose long and sordid history of KGB/Cuban trained terrorism included acting as a specialist in terror for Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Lebanon, may be the original connection between Chavez and Islamic terrorists finding haven in Venezuela. Chavez has capitalized on his position as president of one of the five original founding members of OPEC to not only wage economic warfare against the US but to use his position to deal covertly with the anti-US Islamic members.
According to Chavez’s former personal pilot, Venezuelan Air Force Major Juan Diaz Castillo, Chavez told him, “...to organize, coordinate, and execute a covert operation consisting of delivering financial resources, specifically $1 million, to [Afghanistan’s] Taliban government, in order for them to assist the al-Qaeda terrorist organization…making it appear as if humanitarian aid were being extended to the Afghan people.”
Furious that defectors have exposed his schemes, Chavez is demanding that the US refute news stories showing his links with and funding to terrorists. Chavez is especially bitter about a US News and World Report article “Terror close to home”. Chavez angrily said, “I challenge the staff of US News and World Report or its owners to come here and look for one single shred of evidence, to show the world one single shred of proof. The US government should respond to this call. (The magazine) supposedly cites information provided by US government officials. If a Venezuelan daily ran something as filthy as this, citing presidential officials here, my government would respond. It is a lie, but all the same, the idea has been planted. It is a strategy, to launch an offensive by concocting anything—an assassination, a coup, an invasion.”
Chavez has also proved himself a real laughing cowboy when it comes to making common cause with some of the filthiest terrorist enablers in the world. He’s made well publicized visits to Iran, North Korea, and Libya to proclaim solidarity and laugh it up with fellow comedians Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran, Kim Jung Il of North Korea, and Muammar Al-Qaddafi.
His own military tried to overthrow him in 2002 which is probably why he relies more and more on Cuban “advisers” salted throughout his government and security services. If Castro propped this guy up any more, they’d have to nail him to a couple of two by fours and stand him up in front of a microphone so that he can deliver one of his infamous 4 hour nationally televised speeches.
All this would rank him as one of the top ten funnymen of Latin America. But what really sets this goon apart from the run of the mill stand-up comics are his regional ambitions. The guy wants to unite Andean South America under his rule. To that end, he recently started a satellite TV network known as “El Jazeera:”
ChÃ¡vez himself is well-known for his vehement opposition to the United States and his belief that capitalism is the root of all poverty in Latin America. He also believes in uniting every Andean country under a single socialist government, throwing all of his support behind a so-called “Bolivarian Revolution.” At the end of April he met with Castro and hundreds of regional communists in Havana before flying to Brazil for the first ever Arab-Latin America summit, where he met with the Qatari delegation to work on a deal to exchange footage and material with Al Jazeera, with whom Tariq Ali is connected. The deal is finally getting attention, earning Telesur the name “El Jazeera,” for good reason. Does it sound like anyone on this editorial board would seriously refuse anything the regime asks of them?
Clearly, this is a man begging for a CIA-backed coup. The question I would have before we get serious about ending this clown’s pompous dreams of glory is who or what is going to take his place?
Clearly, Castro has a stranglehold of sorts of Chavez’s government. When foreign thugs are the only thing standing between you and a military coup, it stands to reason that the person directing those foreigners will have tremendous sway over policy. Castro tried something similar in Grenada back in 1979, backing the bloodless coup carried out by Maurice Bishop, worming his way into the government there, and then staging a second coup in 1983 putting his stooge Bernard Coard in power. What Fidel didn’t count on was a United States President who wouldn’t meekly accept his brazen interference in the internal affairs of a Carribean country – after all, we reserve that right exclusively unto ourselves. So President Reagan sent thousands of troops into the tiny country, killed or captured a bunch of Cuban “construction workers” (who were armed to the teeth), and brought the wonders of freedom and democracy to the island.
The problem with trying a Grenada rerun is that the script would be different this time. Castro’s tentacles are so pervasive that it’s doubtful such a coup would succeed much less bring to power anyone we could work with in the United States. So for the moment, Chavez is relatively safe. I daresay the CIA will be working like crazy to unite the opposition to Chavez so that next year’s elections will bring to power someone who doesn’t look upon bloodthirsty jihadists as natural allies.
As for Pat Robertson’s diarrhea of the mouth, Jeff Goldstein had some prescient thoughts yesterday:
Though Robertson clearly overstated the caseâ€”at least insofar as he spoke publicly, which will allow Chavez to play up his already legendary paranoia and anti-Americanism by tying Robertsonâ€™s statement to the official government lineâ€”it is nevertheless imperative that we donâ€™t lose sight of who the real villian is here. Unfortunately, I suspect our own press will do just that, aiding Chavez by playing up the connection between the social conservative baseâ€”understood to be Bushâ€™s staunchest supporters (though that itself is debatable)â€”and Roberstsonâ€™s brand of religiosity. Which, while predictable, would be a shame, nevertheless.
After all, itâ€™s quite possible Robertson read the WS piece and was simply heeding Halverssenâ€™s advice (however rhetorically boneheaded his execution) that â€œpersistent public exposure of ChÃ¡vezâ€™s increasing militarism, assaults on democracy, human rights abuses, and free speech violations, as well as his involvement with terrorist groups in South America and terror sponsors in the Middle Eastâ€ is an important component in combatting his influence in South America and the Middle East.
Goldstein’s prescience about the media connecting Robertson and Bush was eery given he wrote this yesterday. At the same time, he’s spot on with his call for combatting this clown’s influence in the region. One thing we don’t need is a bunch of mini-Chavez’s strutting across the Latin American stage at this point. No sense in worrying about our rear (Central and South America) when we’ve got plenty on our plate sitting right in front of us in Iraq and the middle east.
Jay Tea is rethinking his criticism of Robertson in light of the discussion generated about President Goat Face.
And Raven at And Rightly So has a great post on the controversy asking “Who is Worse: Robertson or Chavez?”
Good question although I don’t think we could consider Robertson an enemy of the US - which is one of the points Raven makes. Read the whole thing.
Not that there’d be much wrong with killing Hugo ChÃ¡vez. If there’s one thing Ayn Rand got right, it’s this: No dictatorship has any right to exist; any free nation wishing to topple a dictatorship has the moral right (but not the moral obligation) to do so.
Failing that, knocking off the dictator certainly couldn’t do any harm.
But Robertson is still an idiot. Do you know how tough it is to kill a country’s ruler? Do you know the kind of backlash that thing can lead to, especially when said leader has been using petrodollars to buy popularity? And doubly so when that leader has also been using Cuban know-how to keep dissenters from dissenting? Do you know of our nation’s awful history regarding South America?
Tom Bowler has an interesting link to a Mother Jones article from 1997 that references the recently unearthed whacko comments by George Stephanopouloos as well as other journalists who advocated the same thing!