FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Hugo Chavez vs. the King of Vacations

by MIKE WHITNEY

 

Hugo Chavez seems to take great pleasure in tweaking George Bush’s nose. He’s repeatedly called Bush a “terrorist” and disparaged the US as a “terrorist state”. Just last week, Chavez fired off another broadside saying, “The planet’s most serious danger is the government of the United States … The people of the United States are being governed by a killer, a genocidal murderer, and a madman.”

He got that right.

For liberals and leftists Chavez’s fiery salvos have been a welcome respite from the weak-kneed groveling of congressional Democrats and the congratulatory purring of media brown-nosers. So far, the Venezuelan president has been the only leader on the world stage to state the obvious, that Bush and his maniacal group of liars, carpet-baggers, and war criminals are savaging the planet and putting millions at risk.

That doesn’t mean that Chavez hates the American people; far from it. Following the vast devastation of Hurricane Katrina Chavez responded more quickly than FEMA, offering to send cheap fuel, humanitarian aid and relief workers to the disaster area. He offered to provide $1 million of free petroleum via the state run Petroleos de Venezuela and its subsidiary CITGO for the relief effort.

According to civil rights leader, Jesse Jackson, Chavez also offered two mobile hospital units, 120 rescue and first aid experts, and 50 tons of food; considerably more than “Brownie” was able to produce.

“We have drinking water, food, and we can provide fuel,” Chavez told reporters

None of this was, of course, was reported in the American media which consistently lambastes Chavez as a “radical leftist”.

Huh?

The self-proclaimed socialist, Chavez, is seen as a serious threat to expanding capital markets in the southern hemisphere and, therefore, ripe for regime change. This explains the hostile language the media uses in describing the ebullient and charismatic Chavez.

Chavez succeeded in using Katrina to blast away at the callousness and cynicism of the Bush administration saying, “Before the hurricane, they knew Katrina was coming and refused to evacuate people. In Cuba, when they know a hurricane is coming, chickens, hens, and people are all evacuated. A hurricane recently destroyed many towns in Cuba but not a single person died because no one was there. The government prepared its people and took them to shelters, whereas here they left the poor, without protection, especially the blacks. That’s horrible!”

“The government had no evacuation plan. The world’s only superpower is so involved in Iraq …but left its own people adrift,” Chavez said on live TV. “And, that cowboy, the king of vacations, stayed at his ranch and said nothing but, ‘You have to flee’. It’s incredible.”

“The king of vacations”?

Ouch!

Chavez also got his digs in at the recent economic summit at Mar Del Plata, Argentina where he was the center of attention. A throng of 35,000 celebrated his arrival and filled the local soccer stadium with protestors chanting, “Bush is the terrorist. Bush is the fascist”.

Chavez gave a 2 hour speech railing against Bush, his “immoral war” and his ruinous “neoliberal economic policies”

“The US has bombed entire cities, used chemical weapons and napalm, killed women and children and thousands of soldiers. That’s terrorism,” said Chavez. “The US government is a threat to humanity.”

The summit at Mar del Plata was billed as a “showdown” between Bush and Chavez and many of those attending anxiously awaited the face-off. Chavez even joked to reporters that “he would sneak up on Bush and scare him”.

No need. The normally boastful Bush was uncommonly subdued during the activities and slinked away to the safety of Air Force 1 as soon as he spotted an opening. The Crawford peacock had no intention of going nose to nose with his Venezuelan nemesis.

Bush prefers to limit his displays of bravado to televised appearances on the flight-deck of American aircraft carriers, cinched up in a warrior-jumpsuit and cod-piece, surrounded by a phalanx of security guards.

Yee-hah!

Chavez summarized Bush’s stealthy departure saying, “The real failure here was Mr. Bush. He left defeated, and he will keep being defeated. This century will be for the people of Latin America.”

Last week, Chavez took another swing at the Bush team by ordering the delivery of “12 million gallons of discounted home-heating oil to local charities and 45,000 low-income families in Massachusetts next month.” (Boston Globe)

The deal will provide nine million gallons of oil to institutions that serve the poor, such as homeless shelters. Families will be able to buy heating fuel at discount rates, keeping them from freezing to death in the bitter New England winter.

The plan is yet another blow to the administration and the rickety system of predatory capitalism.

Massachusetts congressman William Delahunt explained that there was a “desperate need” for affordable home heating oil that would not be met by state or federal governments.

No wonder. There’s been a 13% rise in the number of American’s living below the poverty line since Bush took office, and the fissures in the “free market” edifice are beginning to appear everywhere.

Bush has reinforced the feudal system of upward redistribution, creating even greater structural injustices that are hurting those who are least able to protect themselves. Chavez’s generosity shines a light on a voracious system that is increasingly turning inwards and wreaking havoc on the poor. Washington continues to siphon off the nation’s wealth to a small cadre of venal elites while others are struggling just to keep warm.

Chavez’s gift will be distributed by officials from Citizens Energy of Boston and CITGO, a Houston-based subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela. It should help to minimize the suffering of the working people who face a 50% increase in the price of oil.

The political implications of Chavez’s move are enormous. It’s a slap in the face to George Bush, who tried to remove Chavez 4 years ago in a failed-coup attempt. It also demonstrates that Bush’s “survival of the fittest” neoliberal policies have fallen on hard times. Chavez has assumed the mantle of Franklin D. Roosevelt redistributing Venezuela’s prodigious oil wealth to the people who need it the most, while the blinkered Bush has become a modern-day Herbert Hoover paving the way for economic Armageddon by shifting $1.3 trillion of wealth from the middle class to his friends at the top of the fiscal food-chain.

Just this week, Bush slashed another $700 million from the food stamp program leaving 235,000 needy Americans without enough to eat. These same people face the prospect of a frigid Bush-winter unless they can get help from Chavez.

Who could have imagined just 5 years ago that American citizens would be getting charitable assistance from Venezuela?

Viva Chavez.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

February 11, 2016
Bruce Lesnick
Flint: A Tale of Two Cities
Ajamu Baraka
Beyonce and the Politics of Cultural Dominance
Shamus Cooke
Can the Establishment Fix Its Bernie Sanders Problem?
John Hazard
The Pope in Mexico: More Harm Than Good?
Joyce Nelson
Trudeau & the Saudi Arms Deal
Zarefah Baroud
The Ever-Dangerous Mantra “Drill, Baby Drill”
Anthony DiMaggio
Illinois’ Manufactured Budget Crisis
Colin Todhunter
Indian Food and Agriculture Under Attack
Binoy Kampmark
Warring Against Sanders: Totalitarian Thinking, Feminism and the Clintons
Robert Koehler
Presidential Politics and the American Soul
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: The Banality of Evil on Steroids
Cesar Chelala
Is Microcephaly in Children Caused by the Zika Virus or by Pesticides?
February 10, 2016
Eoin Higgins
Clinton and the Democratic Establishment: the Ties That Bind
Fred Nagel
The Role of Legitimacy in Social Change
Jeffrey St. Clair
Why Bernie Still Won’t Win
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Aleppo Gamble Pays Off
Chris Martenson
The Return of Crisis: Everywhere Banks are in Deep Trouble
Ramzy Baroud
Next Onslaught in Gaza: Why the Status Quo Is a Precursor for War
Sheldon Richman
End, Don’t Extend, Draft Registration
Benjamin Willis
Obama in Havana
Jack Smith
Obama Intensifies Wars and Threats of War
Rob Hager
How Hillary Clinton Co-opted the Term “Progressive”
Mark Boothroyd
Syria: Peace Talks Collapse, Aleppo Encircled, Disaster Looms
Lawrence Ware
If You Hate Cam Newton, It’s Probably Because He’s Black
Jesse Jackson
Starving Government Creates Disasters Like Flint
Bill Laurance
A Last Chance for the World’s Forests?
Gary Corseri
ABC’s of the US Empire
Frances Madeson
The Pain of the Earth: an Interview With Duane “Chili” Yazzie
Binoy Kampmark
The New Hampshire Distortion: The Primaries Begin
Andrew Raposa
Portugal: Europe’s Weak Link?
Wahid Azal
Dugin’s Occult Fascism and the Hijacking of Left Anti-Imperialism and Muslim Anti-Salafism
February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Neve Gordon
Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra
Kristin Kolb
The “Great” Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail