Hugo Chavez helped birth a political revolution in Venezuela that has lifted millions out of extreme poverty and given voice to the voiceless, especially minorities and the indigenous. His party drastically reduced infant mortality in Venezuela and educated millions, making Venezuela one of the most literate nations in the Global South, with over 97% literacy for men and women (with women slightly ahead of men, at 97.21%, per UNESCO).
(And those two examples only begin to hint at the legion of reforms and democratization that Chavez initiated.)
His political rivals, representing Venezuela’s entrenched oligarchy (Washington’s clients) repeatedly mocked Chavez as a “monkey” and worse, alluding to his mixed-race, African heritage.
These are the Trump-like figures the U.S. has long supported in Venezuela and South America, generally — those of “pure” European ancestry, willing to be corrupted by foreign interests. Because when it comes to politics, despotic racists are Washington’s favorite South Americans, keen to privatize their nations’ resources on behalf of Western corporations… and Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves.
Do you, too, support these nation plundering, Trump-like figures?
Did you support the military dictatorship in Honduras that murdered environmentalist and indigenous rights activist, Berta Cáceres?
(Because our last president sure did, blessing their coup and isolating the U.S. within the Organization of American States, which had vehemently denounced it.)
Having pulled his country out of utter chaos, Hugo Chavez was overwhelmingly reelected, time and again, in the most transparent, internationally-monitored elections going. Following his untimely and suspicious death (suggesting poisoning, a la Yasser Arafat), Chavez’s successor, Nicholas Maduro, has also been elected repeatedly, as overseen and verified by international monitors.
Former President Jimmy Carter once called Venezuela’s election process “the best in the world.”
(If only my country would conduct its elections in such a transparent, democratic, and open manner! And not just plot, at home and abroad, to overthrow those who win them…)
AND YET, VENEZUELA TODAY IS IN TURMOIL.
Artificial shortages and U.S.-imposed sanctions have nearly broken the society — but not the will of the people. The vast majority of the Venezuelan people refuse to be intimidated by the terrorism and rampant criminality underwritten by Washington.
Even so, many have had to flee their homes. Some will undoubtedly be coming our way. To our border. As immigrants seeking asylum from political terrorism bankrolled by wealthy, racist elites.
U.S. presidents have long supported the Trump-like oligarchs in Venezuela and their violent coup attempts — as in 2002, when Chavez was hauled off by armed thugs, threatening to kill him. The people of Venezuela reversed that coup attempt, which had the fingerprints of the Bush administration all over it (including those of convicted Iran-Contra figures like Elliot Abrams and Otto Reich, who spoke to the coup plotters over a dozen times in the days leading up to their putsch, as was reported in The New York Times).
But Washington’s support for autocratic, racist, humanity-starving regimes is unrelenting.
Now that Trump is in the White House, WON’T YOU PLEASE GIVE A DAMN?