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Hugo Chavez, current President of Venezuela, seems to be going to great lengths to express his distaste for the current US Government. There doesn't seem to be any love lost on the part of our government for him either. But what has he actually done that's so terrible?
From before his election, he's been criticized pretty strongly by US politicians. There were gloom and doom predictions made pending his election, and it almost seems as though he was written off as a lunatic in this country from the outset. So far though, I don't see what he's done that we have any reason to be all that upset by.
Here's what comes to mind so far:
He's a socialist. Well, ok, some Americans don't like that -- but since we don't live there and he isn't building up a huge army to race through Mexico to invade the USA, it seems to me that it is an internal matter. In his own country, he seems to have the support of the poor (which is the vast majority) and is reviled by the wealthy. That's what I'd expect of a socialist in a place where poverty and wealth are so far apart.
He doesn't like our leaders. Fair enough, our leaders don't like him either. Quite frankly we've done some pretty terrible things in his region over many years.
I hear now that he's "using oil as a weapon." Hm., wait a second. Let's rephrase that. He finds that he is running a country rich in a highly valuable resource and is using it to leverage what he believes are in his country's best interests.
I suppose we would be much happier if he would just sell the oil at current market value and pocket the huge profits while keeping his people in poverty then retire to an island somewhere once his people revolt. We know how to work with those guys. Instead, he seems to be using the oil to do the things his people want him to do. He's trading it to Cuba in return for Doctors to run clinics for the poor. Damn him to hell for that. He's made fuel dirt cheap for the citizens of his country (where the oil comes from). Big mistake there.
This one is interesting: He's subsidizing heating oil in the UNITED STATES directly to those who need it. That really pisses off Congress because they don't control the subsidy. It's being called a political move designed just to raise his profile. Duh?! Isn't that what politics is about? I think it's a brilliant move on his part, because it is making his point loud and clear that his hatred for our leadership is not a hatred for the people in this country.
Today on the news I heard that the only reason he's providing healthcare and education to the poor in his country is for political gain. Hm. Hello? Isn't that the point? As an elected official are you not supposed to do things that make the people who elected you happy? I guess we're not used to seeing that here lately.
He's organizing other countries in his region and establishing partnerships which make them less dependant on the US. Again, isn't that his job?
Ok, he spends a bizarre amount of time ranting to his population on TV and Radio. He also is far from what anyone would call predictable and diplomatic. You could make the case that he comes off as a bit of a whack job. I also don't like the idea that he'd come to this country to bad-mouth our elected leadership even if I also bad-mouth them. We agree, he doesn't play well with others.
Someone needs to point out to me, however, where he's doing things that are all that bad? His policies may end up hurting his country. I don't know. They seem to be doing fine now, and his people seem to like them (or the majority anyway). So far, nobody has shown me evidence that he's abusing his military power in his country, that he's oppressing anyone, that he's stealing any more than anyone else in his position does, or that he's in any way a danger to anyone beyond making poor policy decisions (which may or may not prove to be the case).
So help me out here -- what is so evil about this guy? I'm not asking if you agree with his policies -- I'm sure most of us would find him pretty far out there on the left (except maybe Bob). I'm not asking if you agree with him. I'm asking if you can tell me why he's so unpalatable.
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