Friday, November 25, 2005

Chávez the Bush baiter

Hugo Chávez knows how to wind up the US government. His latest wheeze - selling discounted home heating oil to chilly residents of Massachusetts - follows his offer to help victims of Bush administration bungling over Hurricane Katrina. But the Venezuelan president's tweaking of Washington noses extends beyond weather-related crises.

Mr Chávez, chief rainmaker of Venezuela's so-called Bolivarian revolution, was busy yesterday persuading Colombia to build a pipeline to its Pacific coast. That could increase Caracas's oil exports to China at the expense of the US, which depends on Venezuela for roughly 15% of its foreign oil. Earlier this week Mr Chávez celebrated a tractor deal with Iran. He said mischievously that he looked forward to further bilateral "technology transfers".

Mr Chávez is also using Venezuela's oil bonanza, fuelled by high world prices, to promote his populist agenda in Washington's Latin American backyard. Preferential oil deals have been offered to up to 20 countries. And at last month's Summit of the Americas in Argentina Mr Chávez successfully led opposition to a US-backed regional free trade pact. When Mexico's president, Vicente Fox, objected, he branded him a "lapdog of American imperialism".

US discomfiture does not stop there. It claims Venezuela's arms purchases from Russia and elsewhere are "exporting instability". Particular concern centres on Mr Chávez's support for leftwing forces in Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Bolivia, where Evo Morales, a Chávez disciple, is tipped to win next month's presidential election.

"Morales is my friend, another great guy and an Indian leader," Mr Chávez told the Washington Post in September. "D'you want me to support the extreme right? I am a revolutionary. I have to support the leftwing movements in Latin America. We have to change Latin America."

George Bush, nicknamed "Mr Danger" by Mr Chávez, put it another way after the failed summit: Latin America must choose between a "vision of hope" (represented by the US) and those who sought "to roll back the democratic progress of the past two decades".

Hyperbole aside, Mr Bush may have a point. The garrulous, hyperactive Mr Chávez is wildly popular with the poor of Venezuela's urban slums. His anti-American rhetoric has facile appeal in a region ravaged by the discredited "Washington consensus" on neo-liberal reform. But critics say he is an opportunistic showman lacking firm ideological conviction and bent on undemocratic self-aggrandisement.

Love him or hate him, Mr Chávez is impossible to ignore. Thirty years ago the US might have silenced him one way or another, but that time in Latin America has passed. Despite loose talk of coups and assassination, there seems to be no stopping El Presidente - and no end to the baiting of Mr Bush.

My source : Guardian

3 Comments:

Anonymous somethingsphishy said...

That animal! Selling heating oil to the poor inner city people at a hugely discounted rate, in the winter no less.

We need someone to defend these poor people from the impending affordable heating fuel prices.

Alas, I'm sure dubya and his cronies will step in and make sure no welfare recipients receive any discounted necessities.

It's considerate of bush&co. though, they wouldn't want the poor to feel like they're getting a handout or a break, that would be degrading!

November 27, 2005 5:24 pm  
Anonymous somethingsphishy said...

By the way,

Hey H, I've pretty much been here all along always reading your blog. I just have to disconnect my self sometimes as my frustrations tend to consume me, which left unchecked I believe will lead to physical ailments of some sort or other.

Either way, keep up the great work!

-phishy

November 27, 2005 5:31 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...

Hey , good to see you phishy :-)

I am sure its no suprise that i agree with your assesment

what i find amusing is the cheeky way he does it , the comment "i look forward to further bilateral technology transfers".

is purely designed to wind up Bush , and it works

I understand what you say about frustration , i sometimes feel the same , so once or twice a week i put the site to one side and try to switch off from it

saying that , each day seems to be bringing us closer to the end of these war criminals , each day more and more Americans are noticing the truth that you and I have been trying to tell them

in 2003 nearly 80 % thought that saddam had something to do with 9/11

now barely 30 % feel that Bush is telling the truth

It is frustrating , but we have come along way buddy

November 27, 2005 6:02 pm  

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