Tag Archives: Hugo Chavez

Why the United States should keep its fucking hands off of Venezuela

Two peas in a pod, really. Both have disturbing autocratic tendencies, including their mistreatment of the press, and if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wasn’t duly elected, U.S. “President” Pussygrabber certainly wasn’t, either; he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million.

I like and I respect Mexican-American telejournalist Jorge Ramos of Univision. A passionate advocate for Latin Americans seeking a better life, he has reported on their plight and has written several books about it as well.

I believe Ramos’ report of what happened to him and his crew when he recently tried to report on Venezuela. Ramos wrote for The New York Times:

I was expelled from Venezuela on Tuesday [yesterday] after a contentious interview with Nicolás Maduro, the country’s strongman. He stood up in the middle of our conversation and his security agents confiscated our television cameras, the memory cards and our cellphones. Yes, Mr. Maduro stole the interview so nobody could watch it.

We got the interview the old fashioned way: by making a phone call and requesting it. A producer from Univision — the television network where I’ve worked since 1984 — contacted the government’s communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, and asked if Mr. Maduro wanted to do the interview. The leader said: “Come to Caracas.” And so we did, with official entry papers in hand.

The interview started on Monday evening, three hours late, at the Miraflores Palace. Mr. Maduro had spoken a few minutes before with Tom Llamas of ABC News, and he seemed to be in a good mood. The humanitarian aid that the political opposition — with the help of an international coalition — had tried to get into the country over the Colombian and Brazilian borders had been largely stopped, and Mr. Maduro felt emboldened. This was supposed to be a good day.

But it wasn’t. The first question I asked Mr. Maduro was whether I should call him “Presidente” or “Dictador,” as many Venezuelans do. I confronted him about human rights violations and cases of torture that have been reported by Human Rights Watch, and with the existence of political prisoners. I questioned his claim that he had won the 2013 and the 2018 presidential elections without fraud and, most important, his assurances that Venezuela was not experiencing a humanitarian crisis. That’s when I opened up my iPad.

The day before I had recorded on my cellphone three young men looking for food on the back of a garbage truck in a poor neighborhood minutes away from the presidential palace. I showed those images to Mr. Maduro. Each frame contradicted his narrative of a prosperous and progressive Venezuela 20 years after the revolution. That’s when he broke.

About 17 minutes into the interview, Mr. Maduro stood up, comically tried to block the images on my iPad and declared that the interview was over. “That’s what dictators do,” I told him. …

I also heard Ramos give this account on NPR. Again, I believe Ramos; he is credible.

I don’t dispute such assertions as that Maduro is an authoritarian (if not technically a dictator, since there was at least the semblance of some election that at least initially put Maduro in power) or that many Venezuelans are so desperate that they’re combing through garbage for sustenance.

These reports are so widespread that I little doubt their veracity, although I’m always leery of the right wing shamelessly lying and exaggerating for political gain.

The problem, though, is how to solve the problems that plague Venezuela and who should solve them.

It should not be the psychopathic, fascist likes of “President” Pussygrabber or “Vice President” Mike Pence — who didn’t win their own fucking election, for fuck’s sake (Billary Clinton won by about 3 more million votes) — to deal with Maduro. (It’s always stupid white men, too; John “I Am the Walrus” Bolton — an abject wingnut who of course is “President” Pussygrabber’s “national security adviser” — also is a Venezuela hawk, of course.)

The people of the sovereign nation of Venezuela should deal with Maduro.

The claims of the illegitimate Pussygrabber regime and its jackbooted supporters that they care so much about Venezuela’s humanitarian problems are beyond laughable.

The Pussygrabber regime and its aiders and abettors don’t give a flying fuck about the American citizens in the American territory of Puerto Rico, which still is reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which struck in September 2017, for fuck’s sake, so for them to claim to care so much about the plight of the Venezuelans is incredibly incredible.

No, the right-wing, unelected Pussygrabber regime and its supporters want two things from Venezuela, not necessarily in this order: (1) its vast oil wealth (like Iraq’s, which was the No. 1 reason for the illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War) and (2) to install a right-wing government in Venezuela that will do corporate America’s bidding, especially in terms of just handing over the nation’s natural resources like a good Latin American nation should.

Did I mention Venezuela’s vast oil wealth? It has the largest oil reserves in the world.

Venezuela is not a democratic socialist nation. Its current government started off with socialist aspirations, but now it has an autocrat, not a democratic socialist, at the helm. (To be fair, this autocracy began under the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but further to be fair, the Venezuelan right wing, with the full support of the unelected, illegitimate, right-wing second Bush regime, did try to overthrow Chavez after his democratic election — spectacularly unsuccessfully — in April 2002, which probably accounts for Chavez’s turn toward autocracy; I mean, you’re not paranoid if they really are out to get you!)

It’s easy to criticize the Venezuelan government (the real one, not the fake one that the wingnuts so badly wish to install, as they tried to do in April 2002 [they tried to impose a right-wing oil magnate on the people of Venezuela as their new, wholly unelected “president”]), but look at the United States of America: The only reason that “President” Pussygrabber isn’t acting just like Maduro right now, perhaps especially in regards to the treatment of the press, is that the American system (thus far, anyway) has reined the “president” in.

Jorge Ramos again is a great example. Then-“presidential” candidate Pussygrabber infamously kicked Ramos out of a news conference in August 2015, telling him to “Go back to Univision” and motioning to one of his thugs to eject Ramos from the room. One of Pussygrabber’s jackbooted thugs (yet another stupid white man, of course) in the hallway to which Ramos had been ejected was more direct; he told Ramos, who is an American citizen, for fuck’s sake, “Get out of my country!”

Americans who act like Pussygrabber — who as I type this sentence is palling around with North Korean dictator (yup, wholly unelected and dynastic) Kim Jong Un, who treats his people far worse than Maduro treats his, replete with gulags — is better at heart than is Maduro are deluded or liars or deluded liars, and they’re huge fucking hypocrites.

Again, Maduro is simply doing what Pussygrabber would do if Pussygrabber could. (Totally unrestrained, my bet is that Pussygrabber would do far worse than anything that Maduro has done thus far.)

Therefore, the United States of America, as long as it remains occupied by the unelected, illegitimate, fascist Pussygrabber regime, should keep its fucking hands off of Venezuela.

The United States of America right now could only make things in Venezuela worse, not better. The “aid” that the wingnuts wish to bring to the people of Venezuela is just a Trojan horse, because the wingnuts’ ultimate aim is the subjugation of Venezuela — not its betterment.

This is obvious to anyone who is honest, sane and who has been paying attention to the ugly history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and elsewhere in the world.

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RIP, Fidel; if you were a monster, the United States of America created you

Image result for fidel castro

Fidel Castro, the “dictator” next door to the United States for decades, died yesterday. If Castro was a monster — and like almost all human beings are, he was, of course, neither a devil nor an angel but a mixed bag — then the United States of America created him.

As I’ve written before, love him or hate him, Cuban leader Fidel Castro was a survivor. He made it to 90 years before he died yesterday.

Within the United States, Castro very mostly was a bogeyman — but rarely have we Americans been given much, if any, detail as to why we’re supposed to hate him blindly obediently. (At most, we’re told simplistically that he’s a “bad” man, a “Commie,” a “dictator,” a “tyrant” who “hates the United States of America,” “hates freedom,” etc., etc.* Even to question this knee-jerk, right-wing narrative is to risk being called anti-American.)

All of that is because intellectually and ethically honest detail would reveal how the United States of America has meddled anti-democratically in Latin American affairs for decades, having imperialistically and anti-democratically considered the entire Western hemisphere subject to its own jurisdiction at least since the Monroe Doctrine was issued in 1823.

There were so many attempts by the United States to assassinate or otherwise topple Castro — we’re talking not just the Bay of Pigs (the miserably failed U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Castro in April 1961), but also numerous unsuccessful assassination attempts that were perpetrated by the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department — as well as by the American Mafia — that it’s no fucking wonder that over the years Castro became more autocratic.

You’re not paranoid if they really are trying to kill you or oust you, and had Castro not ruled Cuba with an iron fist, no doubt his greedy, self-serving detractors would have done their damnedest to turn the sovereign nation of Cuba into an American colony for corporate profiteering once again.

We saw the dynamic with Fidel Castro repeated with the late socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; a U.S.-backed anti-democratic coup attempt against Chavez in April 2002 failed (Chavez was only briefly deposed and replaced with an unelected right-wing oil magnate before the people of Venezuela took to the streets and demanded Chavez’s return), and that failed anti-democratic coup attempt (which was a bit like a Bay of Pigs 2.0) no doubt made Chavez more autocratic, and of course Chavez’s detractors conveniently acted thereafter as though the failed 2002 coup attempt by anti-democratic right-wingers had never happened at all.

The United States made Chavez, and before him it had made Castro.

If a Latin American nation wants a left-of-center, truly democratic government that, entirely unlike the U.S. government, actually does its job — which is to serve the needs and wishes of its people instead of the greed of American and transnational corporations and the treasonous plutocrats and kleptocrats who own them and profiteer from them — then it must protect itself from anti-democratic, toxic capitalist infiltration from abroad.

American wingnuts criticize Latin America for simply defending itself from foreign invasion and infiltration, although of course the United States always reserves the right to protect itself from such. Latin America is to disarm unilaterally, you see, and just allow American and other corporate robber barons to destroy it.

Fidel Castro stood up to the foreign anti-democratic and capitalist invasion and infiltration of his nation for decades. He was so hated because he was so successful; he was so hated because he refused to simply hand over his nation’s resources and well-being to the American and transnational corporations in exchange for for his own selfish, treasonous enrichment, like a “good” Latin American leader “should.”*

None of this is to simply and wholly overlook Castro’s wrongdoings.

Amnesty International’s nutshell on Cuba is this:

Government critics continue to be imprisoned; many report that they were beaten during arrest. Restrictions on freedom of expression is widespread. The government curtails freedom of association and assembly. The U.S. embargo against Cuba remains, despite increasing opposition to it within and outside the U.S.A.

Human Rights Watch’s nutshell on Cuba is similar:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in recent years. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

I don’t defend all of this, but at the same time it’s not ethically or intellectually honest to strip Cuba from its historical, sociopolitical context, including having the world’s most imperialist nation ever-lurking and ever-looming just to its north.

If Castro had governed Cuba with a laissez-faire philosophy, as the capitalists always have claimed that he should have, how long would Cuba have been free from foreign corporate domination?

Um, yeah.

We Americans can hate Fidel Castro all that we want, but we can’t deny that we created him.

Cuba’s first struggle was to free itself from imperialist Spain; then its struggle was to free itself from the imperialist United States of America.

And Cuba still struggles to be free, because the “freedom” that the United States would impose upon it — and yes, the United States ironically and hypocritically believes in imposing “freedom” — would only once again make it a slave to the United States.

P.S. I would be remiss of me not to note Cuba’s world-class education and health-care systems.

Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent and high-school graduation rate of 94 percent is higher than the United States’ official literacy rate of 99 percent (which some believe is quite inflated) and high-school graduation rate of 82 percent, and Cuba’s life expectancy of 79.1 years puts it just behind the United States’ life expectancy of 79.3 years.

Castro’s Cuba achieved this despite the United States’ having tried to destroy it (again, in the name of “freedom,” ironically and hypocritically) — and having desired to turn it back into a subservient slave state — for decades.

*And let’s fucking face it: Whether the American right wing calls you a “dictator” or a “tyrant” or the like depends not upon whether you were democratically elected, but depends entirely upon whether you have done the bidding of the American right wing.

Brutal Chilean dictator Augosto Pinochet, for instance, was a mass murderer and torturer who most definitely was not elected but who — with the help of the U.S. government (surprise, surprise!) — overthrew the actually democratically elected socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 and ruled Chile until 1990.

However, the American right wing (as well as the fascist Margaret Thatcher) loved Pinochet because he did their bidding.

The right wing hated Castro because unlike Pinochet did, Castro refused to be their lapdog.

May the sovereign nation of Cuba continue to resist colonization by the rapacious, imperialist United States of America — and work on improving human rights while preserving the gains of the Cuban Revolution.

P.S. I didn’t even need to mention Pinochet, although he’s a textbook example of a U.S.-backed dictator in Latin America. I could have stayed within Cuba itself.

Most “news” write-ups of Fidel Castro’s death conveniently ignore the fact that Castro overthrew the U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, who ruled Cuba in the 1950s while unelected.

Wikipedia notes of Batista’s reign (links are Wikipedia’s):

… Back in power, and receiving financial, military, and logistical support from the United States government, Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and presided over a stagnating economy that widened the gap between rich and poor Cubans.

Eventually it reached the point where most of the sugar industry was in U.S. hands, and foreigners owned 70 percent of the arable land. As such, Batista’s increasingly corrupt and repressive government then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba’s commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with both the American Mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large U.S.-based multinational companies who were awarded lucrative contracts.

To quell the growing discontent among the populace — which was subsequently displayed through frequent student riots and demonstrations — Batista established tighter censorship of the media, while also utilizing his Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities secret police to carry out wide-scale violence, torture and public executions; ultimately killing anywhere from hundreds to 20,000 people. …

Again: In the right-wing United States of America, drunk on toxic capitalism, a dictator is called a dictator only if he isn’t a right-wing dictator and doesn’t do what the American right wing wants him to do. Treasonously selling out his own nation to American profiteers makes him a “good” dictator (only, of course, in that event, we don’t even call him a dictator).

It doesn’t matter in and of itself if a dictator suspends his nation’s constitution, revokes his nation’s citizens’ rights, tortures and kills his political dissidents, refuses to stand for election, etc.; all that matters is whether or not he does the bidding of the hypocritical assholes of the United States of America.

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An Astroturf uprising in Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez speaks to supporters before handing himself over in Caracas

Reuters photo

The U.S.-educated, right-wing, pro-plutocratic Venezuelan Leopoldo Lopez is no revolutionary — he is a traitor who actively participated in the anti-democratic, treasonous right wing’s failed treasonous attempt to unseat duly democratically elected Venezuela President Hugo Chavez in 2002. Lopez’s pro-plutocratic supporters likewise hardly are revolutionaries, unless we now are defining the overprivileged, anti-democratic 1 percent as “revolutionaries.”

I’m no expert on Venezuela, but not being an expert on a topic often has not stopped me from talking or writing about it before, and my intuition about a person and/or situation is usually spot-on.

So in the news coverage of the street fracases that are being reported in Venezuela right now, my main question has been: Is this really a populist uprising of the typical Venezuelan against socialist President Nicolas Maduro, or is this yet another show put on by right-wingers with a political agenda?

Then I spotted these tidbits of information in a Reuters news story from today:

… Tensions [in Venezuela] have escalated since opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, a 42-year-old Harvard-educated economist, turned himself in to [government] troops this week. He is being held in Caracas’ Ramo Verde military jail on charges of fomenting the violence.

“Change depends on every one of us. Don’t give up!” Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, said on Twitter.

Local TV channels are providing almost no live coverage of the unrest, so Venezuelans are turning to social media to swap information and images, though falsified photos are circulating.

Both sides rolled out competing evidence of the latest violence [today], with ruling Socialist Party governors showing photos and video of charred streets and torched vehicles, while the opposition posted footage of brutal behavior which they said was by national guard troops.

Maduro, elected last year to succeed [the late] socialist leader Hugo Chavez, says Lopez and “small fascist groups” are in league with the U.S. government and want a coup. …

Street protests were the backdrop to a short-lived coup against Chavez in 2002 before military loyalists and supporters helped bring him back. There is no evidence the military, which was the decisive factor in 2002, may turn on Maduro now. …

Detractors call Lopez a dangerous hothead. He has frequently squabbled with fellow opposition leaders and was involved in the 2002 coup, even helping arrest a minister. [Emphasis mine.]

Though the majority of demonstrators have been peaceful, an increasingly prominent radical fringe has been attacking police, blocking roads and vandalizing buildings. …

Sounds like textbook right-wing thuggery to me: start a fight, provoke a response, and then blame the leftists whom you oppose for their “oppression” of you.

Leopoldo Lopez is lucky to still be alive. Had he been a leftist who had participated in a failed coup of a right-wing leader in Latin America, the right-wingers most likely would have executed him for his treason, or at least imprisoned him for life. But despite the late Hugo Chavez’s having relentlessly been called a murderous dictator by his detractors, even after his political opponents quite treasonously tried to overthrow the duly democratically elected Chavez in 2002, he had not one of the traitors executed.

So here is anti-democratic, right-wing traitor Leopoldo Lopez, back again, trying to subvert the will of the majority of the voters of Venezuela. He and his right-wing cohorts can’t win presidential elections in Venezuela, and so they’ll try to treasonously and anti-democrtically seize power again, just like they did in 2002.

Lopez doesn’t deserve to be allowed to continue to draw breath, since he’s a fucking traitor, but here he is, trying to commit even more treason.

The world — including, of course, the Obama White House — needs to recognize this tattered and faded old page from the right-wing playbook for what it is; when the wingnuts stir up shit abroad in order to try to get sympathy from abroad by playing the “innocent” “victims,” we need to open our eyes, not be taken in by superficial appearances or rumors, and examine the facts, and see them, clearly, for what they are.

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Hugo Chavez, rest in peace

File photo of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez blowing a kiss as he arrives at a rally with supporters in Caracas

Reuters photo

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who democratically was elected as his nation’s leader four times in a row, died today of cancer at age 58. (He is pictured above in February 2012.) I fell in love with Chavez some years ago after I watched the excellent documentary “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” which is about the blatantly anti-democratic, treasonous — and, thankfully, short-lived — attempt by fascistic right-wingers in Venezuela to forcibly replace the popularly elected Chavez with an unelected corporatocrat and plutocrat in 2002 — much the way that the fascistic, treasonous right-wingers here at home stole the White House in 2000 against the wishes of the majority of the American voters.

Only plutocrats and fascists have cause to celebrate the death of democratic socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but, unfortunately, most of those in the United States who celebrate his death are poor to middle-class right-wing fucktards who actually would benefit greatly from Chavez-like socioeconomic policies here at home. (No, the corporate-cash-loving-and-corporate-ass-licking U.S. President Barack Obama is no “socialist.”)

Hugo Chavez became widely known as a “dictator” after the unelected Bush regime relentlessly repeatedly called him such even though Chavez repeatedly had been democratically elected by clear majorities of the people of Venezuela (who didn’t vote the way that they were supposed to vote, which is the way that a right-wing American would vote, you see).

Ironically, since George W. Bush never was democratically elected — Al Gore won more than a half-million more votes than Bush did in 2000, and it was the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, not the majority of the American voters, who put Bush in the White House — Bush was the actual dictator, one who took power without first having earned the majority of the votes of the people.

Hugo Chavez wasn’t perfect — no leader of a nation is — but “dictator” Chavez’s biggest “crime” was that he actually did his job, which was to look out for the interests of the majority of the people of Venezuela and not for the interests of the plutocratic and corporatocratic few — you know, the way that a “good” Latin American leader “should”: sell out his people for whatever it is that the rich and powerful, especially in the U.S., want him or her to (in this case, oil, especially).

Hugo Chavez is dead, but the revolution in Latin America that he has inspired lives on.

The people’s revolution against their — our — anti-democratic, fascistic, treasonous, plutocratic overlords cannot be about one man or woman anyway.

¡Que viva la revolución!

And let’s hope that the Latin American revolution for the people over the plutocratic few spreads north so that we have a truly democratic nation — a nation governed by those who have the interests of the majority of the people at heart, and not the interests of only the comparatively tiny already-super-rich and already-super-powerful minority — here in the U.S. one day.

May Venezuela be the first domino that topples, spreading democratic socialism to even the notoriously anti-democratic, imperialistic United States of America.

P.S. I know that this is the United States of Amnesia, but Chavez-bashers should remind themselves of history: In April 2002, when the democratically elected and very popular Chavez was briefly overthrown by right-wing traitors, the unelected Bush regime at that time immediately recognized the anti-democratic, right-wing usurpers as the legitimate new government of Venezuela — which was not surprising, given that the members of the treasonous Bush regime had had no problem with the fact that Bush wasn’t elected, either. (The members of the right wing support and respect democracy only when elections go their way, and they feel so absolutely correct and superior in their ideology that they are untroubled with stealing office if they can’t win office legitimately, which they often can’t.)

Moreover, the CIA, at the behest of the White House, has had a long history of deposing left-leaning, pro-their-nation’s-own-people, democratically elected leaders in Latin America — and anti-democratically replacing them with unelected, right-wing usurpers who agree to do anything that the power elite of the U.S. ask them to do.

Chile’s Salvador Allende immediately comes to mind; his usurper was the U.S.-backed mass murderer and true dictator Augosto Pinochet, who should have been executed and not allowed to die a natural death. (It was the Nixon White House, natch, that used the CIA to remove Allende from power and install the murderous dictator Pinochet.)

It is likely that the Bush regime similarly had a hand in the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela.

Even if the Bush regime didn’t (but it probably did), the fact that the Bush regime wasted no time in recognizing the illegal and unelected “new” “government” of Venezuela by itself was plenty of reason for Hugo Chavez to feel animosity toward the U.S. government at least throughout Bush’s unelected and thus illegitimate tenure.

(And there is a big distinction between the U.S. government and the people of the United States; Chavez’s problem was with the members of the Washington establishment who believe that Latin America exists solely to do the U.S.’s bidding. He never attacked the American people as a whole, although the wingnuts [who still call him a “dictator” after he won four presidential elections in a row with international elections observers present] worked hard to paint Chavez as an enemy of every American, and their propaganda campaign worked to an impressive degree on the bleating American sheeple.)

One of Chavez’s most (in)famous acts was in September 2006, when he remarked of George W. Bush, who had appeared at the same podium before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City the day before: “The devil came here yesterday. And it smells of sulfur still today.”

Bush indeed is one of the most evil entities still stalking the planet, a mass-murdering war criminal who still goes wholly unpunished for his crimes against humanity. (Chavez, despite being called a murdering dictator by the wingnuts, wholly unlike Pinochet and other U.S.-backed actual dictators, never had any of his political opponents killed. In fact, I know of not one confirmed murder or even one confirmed case of torture that Chavez as president of Venezuela was responsible for, when Bush was responsible for the confirmed murder and the confirmed torture of thousands and thousands of human beings.)

Chavez said something else at the UN that day in September 2006, something that strikes me as prophetic: “The Soviet Union collapsed. The United States empire is on the way down and it will be finished in the near future, for the good of all mankind.” (Note that he’s criticizing the idea of empire, of one highly militarized nation calling all of the shots for the entire globe. Also during his September 2006 UN appearance, Chavez correctly stated that the UN headquarters should be moved to another nation. It seems to me that for fairness, UN headquarters should move to different nations around the globe, say, once every decade. It’s fucked up for it to permanently be anchored in the U.S.)

You know, if Hugo Chavez had been just flat-out wrong, I think that Americans would have just ignored him. But they haven’t. A good chunk of them have hated his guts intensely, which, to me, is evidence of two things: (1) that right-wing politicians’ relentless pro-plutocratic propaganda (aided and abetted by the corporately owned and controlled media, the bosses of which certainly disagree with Chavez’s business model of nationalizing the media) can be very effective; and (2) that Chavez’s biggest “crime” was being right and being vocal about it, which certainly are two big no-nos here at home, where telling certain awful (but obvious) truths is considered to be a much larger crime than telling even the biggest lies.

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Hugo Chavez, convenient devil for a crumbling plutocratic empire

Venezuela's President Chavez speaks during a news conference in Caracas

Reuters photo

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks at a news conference in Caracas on Monday. If a “devil” like “dictator” Chavez didn’t exist, the right-wing, pro-corporate Repugnican Tea Party traitors and the center-right, pro-corporate, sellout “Democrats” would have to make him up for their cheap political gain.

The Obama and Romney campaigns are arguing over Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the corporately owned and controlled mass media report today.

President Barack Obama doesn’t appreciate “the threat” that Chavez is, claim the multi-millionaire Mormon Mittens and his supporters, including Florida’s Marco Rubio, who is only a tool for the pro-plutocratic, Cuba-first wingnuts of Florida whose allegiance is to trying to keep the Cold War alive, not to the welfare of the United States of America.

Team Romney is “scared” of Chavez, as evidenced by how Team Romney has exaggerated the threat that Chavez poses to the United States, the Obamanistas juvenilely have shot back.

Of course, regardless of which corporate bitch wins in November, Obama or Romney, the average American’s socioeconomic status won’t improve significantly, but probably will only continue to worsen.

Of course, neither the Coke Party nor the Pepsi Party wants to talk about that fact, so let’s talk about that Hugo Chavez!

Both Team Romney and Team Obama have Chavez all wrong. On purpose.

Chavez’s greatest “crime” is that he has refused to kiss U.S. corporate ass. He has nationalized his nation’s oil fields, which was dictator Saddam Hussein’s greatest “crime.” (No, the Vietraq War was not about “liberating” the Iraqis from their horrible dictator. It was about liberating the nation’s oil fields for Big Oil, and for the dying American empire to get a military foothold there in order to try to control more of the Middle East’s oil while the American empire continues to rot from within at home.)

Hugo Chavez isn’t a threat to your safety or to mine. He is the repeatedly democratically elected president of a nation who won’t just hand over his nation’s natural resources to Big Oil, the way a good Latin American leader should, so of course the right-wing traitors here in the U.S. have to call him a “dictator,” despite the fact that while George W. Bush was a true dictator, having stolen office despite having lost the 2000 presidential election, Chavez has won his elections fairly and squarely, with international observers saying as much.

Hugo Chavez is demonized by so many fucktarded Americans because he actually is doing his job: trying to achieve the best results for the most number of people in the nation over which he presides. (Contrary to widespread Amerifascist belief, Chavez’s job is not to do what’s best for the corporations and the plutocrats of the United States of America.)

President Hugo Chavez stands in stark contrast to the president of the United States of America, where income disparity is beyond insane and where the president does what’s best for the richest and mostly ignores the rest of us.

The comment of Obama’s that has stirred up the wingnuts is his comment to a Miami television station that “overall, my sense is that what Mr. Chavez has done over the last several years has not had a serious national security impact on us.”

That statement strikes me as true, except, of course, for the fact that the pro-plutocratic, pro-corporate wingnuts define “national security” as the plutocrats’ and their corporations’ ability to continue to profit obscenely all over the globe. The plutocrats’ interests are our interests, and the plutocrats’ interests always are “national security” interests, the plutocrats want us to believe — meanwhile, the richest Americans get richer and the rest of us Americans get poorer, even though supposedly we all benefit when the plutocrats are doing well.

Team Obama, in defending itself from Team Mittens’ lie that the drone-loving, human-rights-hating Obama is soft on national security, has misrepresented Chavez’s influence within Latin America, however.

“People like Hugo Chavez want attention — and that’s exactly what Mitt Romney and his supporters gave him today. Governor Romney is only playing into the hands of Chavez by acting like he’s 10 feet tall,” an Obama spokesweasel proclaimed today.

Really? Hugo Chavez wanted to be made into a political football today by two presidential campaigns that have no intention whatsoever of actually improving most Americans’ lives?

“Hugo Chavez has become increasingly marginalized and his influence has waned. It’s baffling that Mitt Romney is so scared of a leader like Chavez whose power is fading,” the same Obama spokesweasel proclaimed today.

To many Latin Americans who have suffered under American oppression — usually with the U.S. government, including, of course, the CIA, propping up right-wing, actual dictatorships and destroying actually democratically elected left-wing leaders in order to benefit American corporations (as the Amerifascists want to do with Hugo Chavez) — Hugo Chavez is 10 feet tall, it seems to me, and as Latin America continues to democratize, nation by nation, in large part due to the example of Chavez’s bold presidency, to state that Chavez “has become increasingly marginalized and his influence has waned” and that his “power is fading” is demonstrably false.

(Of course, it hasn’t been all of Chavez’s doing. Ever since the Eye of Sauron, which sits atop the Pentagon, changed its gaze from the poor people of Latin America to the poor people of the Middle East a little more than a decade ago, the people of many formerly U.S.-oppressed Latin American nations have been able to make great strides. While George W. Bush’s CIA probably had a hand in the pathetic, failed coup attempt against Chavez by right-wing Venezuelan traitors in 2002, Chavez and other democratically elected Latin American leaders have benefitted greatly from the fact that the evil empire’s Death Star’s military resources have been tied up in the Middle East for more than a decade now.)

That Hugo Chavez is not a hero among the right-wing American oppressors and defenders of obscene income inequality around the globe and the pilfering of other nations’ natural resources for corporate profits is no fucking surprise, but Chavez has plenty of support at home, I’m sure.

“My main concern when it comes to Venezuela is having the Venezuelan people have a voice in their affairs and that you end up ultimately having fair and free elections, which we don’t always see,” El Presidente Obama also told the Miami television station, repeating the pro-plutocratic, right-wing lie that Hugo Chavez has not been democratically elected.

It’s the insanely hypocritical United States of America, of course, that has had rigged presidential elections — the crown jewel of which, of course, is George W. Bush having been coronated by the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court even though his opponent had won not only the popular vote but had won the pivotal state of Florida as well — and for Barack Obama to talk about “having the Venezuelan people [having] a voice in their affairs” and “having fair and free elections” — when all that Team Obama’s e-mails fucking talk about is that Team Mittens is raising more millions, so give Team Obama some money now! — is a sick fucking joke.

We, the American people, don’t have a voice in our own affairs, and we haven’t for decades, since everyone in Washington, D.C., from the president on down, is bought by the highest bidder.

If we want such a voice, we’ll probably have to move to Venezuela or to another actually democratic nation in Latin America.

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Ozzie Guillen guilty of telling the truth

Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen listens to a question during  a news conference at Marlins Stadium in Miami, Tuesday April 10, 2012. Guillen has been suspended for five games because of his comments about Fidel Castro. He has again apologized and says he accepts the punishment.  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Associated Press photo

In a nation that only claims to value the freedom of speech, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended for five games for having made comments to TIME magazine that (gasp!) offended Miami’s right-wing, pro-plutocratic Cuban Americans. Guillen is pictured above apologizing at a press conference in Miami today for having voiced his opinion on a politically charged matter, something that in a truly free nation he should not have been pressured to apologize for.

Before today I hadn’t heard of Ozzie Guillen, who is the manager of the Miami Marlins. Before today, I wasn’t even sure what type of sports team the Marlins is (um, it’s a baseball team).

While I am not big on sports (although I’m OK with men’s diving…), I am big on politics, and Cuba and Venezuela and the socialist revolution that has swept many of the nations of Latin America (since the United States has been meddling in the Middle East for the past 10-plus years instead of in Latin America, which for decades had been the target of the Eye of Sauron, which sits atop the Pentagon) are of great interest to me.

Ozzie Guillen made the mistake of exercising his right to free speech in Miami, Florida, you see.

Apparently Guillen recently told a reporter for TIME magazine, “I love Fidel Castro,” but then amended that comment: “I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that motherfucker is still here.”

TIME also reports that Guillen, a native of Venezuela, has stated that he has respect for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as well.

Guillen might have realized that praising or even appearing to perhaps be praising Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Miami — which is home to the Ritchie Riches (would that be los Ricardos Ricos?) who fled Cuba when Castro’s revolution ended the capitalistic orgy there, and home to their brainwashed progeny — might not have been the brightest thing to do, politically speaking, but the Cuban Americans who want his head on a pike — here is a mob of them outside of a press conference that Guillen held in Miami today to apologize for words that he had no reason to apologize for:

Protesters

— are telling us a lot more about themselves than they are about Guillen: Namely, that they’re fucking hypocrites, that while they criticize Fidel Castro’s regime for stifling political dissent, they feel no hypocrisy or shame in doing the same fucking thing themselves.

It’s always perfectly OK to stifle left-wing political speech, you see, but it’s never OK to stifle right-wing political speech. Speech that is free only when you agree with it makes the whole idea of free speech moot, but that point is lost on the right-wing nutjobs, who by definition are hypocrites.

I don’t know everything that Fidel Castro has done, and therefore I don’t give him my 100 percent approval, but the fact of the matter is that, whether you love him or hate him or are indifferent to him, despite the United States’ decades-long attempt to cripple Castro’s rule — hurting the people of Cuba more than it ever hurt Castro himself, I’m sure — the fact of the fucking matter is that Fidel Castro indeed is one tough cookie to still be standing after all of these decades.

Hugo Chavez, too, is one tough cookie, having survived a blatantly treasonous and anti-democratic right-wing (and probably CIA-and/or-otherwise-unelected-Bush-regime-assisted) attempt to overthrow him in 2002 and replace him with an unelected, pro-plutocratic, right-wing usurper. That’s just a fucking fact, whether you love Chavez or hate him or are indifferent to him.

But Guillen’s biggest “crime” here, it seems to me, is that he hasn’t bowed down before the statue of the golden calf that is capitalism.

It is interesting that capitalists won’t shut the fuck up about “freedom,” yet they wish to deny everyone the basic fucking freedom of praising — indeed, even just discussing — any other economic system than capitalism, in which the goal is to become filthy rich yourself by fucking over everyone else.

I tell you fucking what: Mittens Romney, to name just one multi-millionaire, did not do multi-millions of dollars’ worth of work.

No. The only way to make that kind of money is to exploit others. You “win” in capitalism by paying your employees as little as you can get away with (including fucking them over on benefits, of course, and doing such things as firing them just before they can retire and collect retirement benefits, and by shutting their factories down and getting cheaper labor elsewhere, as Mittens can tell you all about) and by overcharging your customers for your product or service as much as you possibly can. You also “win” in capitalism by despoiling the environment in your insatiable quest for ever-increasing profits. In health/wealth care, the idea is to charge as much as you can for health insurance coverage, yet to deny as many health insurance claims as possible in order to increase your profits. Just like Jesus would do! Gooooo capitalism! (Indeed, the right wing loves to intertwine Christianity and capitalism, when even a grade schooler could read the New Testament and tell you that Jesus Christ, according to his own words, was against the rich and for the poor and was dead-set against shameless profiteering.)

The kind of shit that we see committed in the economic system of capitalism is not called “stealing” or “plundering” or even “exploitation,” however. It’s called “business” and “free enterprise” and the like, and while it’s sociofuckingpathic to knowingly harm others for purely selfish, personal gain, in the United States of America it is widely considered to be quite normal — even admirable.

If capitalism were so fucking inarguably inherently and self-evidently great, however, then why do the vast majority of its adherents try to prohibit the rest of us from even discussing capitalism’s obvious weaknesses and evils and from discussing other socioeconomic systems that might work better for us?

Why do the capitalist hypocrites claim that the “free marketplace” is the only way to go, but they absolutely won’t tolerate a free fucking marketplace of ideas?

Are they afraid that capitalism — which, increasingly, is good for only a few — can’t survive in such an environment?

And Cuban Americans need to shut the fuck up already. The Cubans who fled to the United States after Castro took over for the most part were the filthy rich Cubans who were exploiting other, poorer Cubans. And these rich Cubans’ beloved right-wing leader whom Fidel Castro overthrew, Fulgencio Batista, himself was a dictator who had thousands of his political opponents slaughtered — only he supported the plutocrats, so he was a good dictator, you see.

Castro’s Cuba has struggled not because socialism inherently cannot work, but primarily because the pro-plutocratic fascists in the United States for decades have done everything in their power to cripple Cuba and then say, “See? Communism doesn’t work!”

And old-school, big-“C” Communism indeed didn’t work, but little-“s” socialism can. Democratic socialism is the ideal socioeconomic system. (Old-school Communism wasn’t democratic, its major problem.) I’d even settle for a hybrid socioeconomic system, at least for now, with the essentials for human well-being and dignity, such as as quality health care and quality education, being made available to all regardless of their ability to pay for them, with the private sector able to continue to sell non-essentials. (Indeed, it looks as though Cuba is evolving into such a hybrid socioeconomic system itself.)

Corporatism, if we allow it to, will kill us all. The right wing now assures us that even more of the same will cure what ails us. That is as sane as asserting that the cure for arsenic poisoning is more arsenic.

And the people of Cuba, it seems to me, are much better off under Fidel and Raul Castro than they would be under another Fulgencio-Batista type, a “good” dictator who sells out his nation and his nation’s people to corporations for his own selfish gain and the selfish gain of his fucking cronies, who (and whose progeny) now populate Miami.

Ozzie Guillen has my support. I support his right to free speech, and I support a robustly free marketplace of ideas.

It’s too bad that the freedom-hating, anti-American wingnuts in Miami and their sympathizers do not.

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Only thing stopping a free Egypt is U.S.

Responses to my optimistic post of yesterday on the future of Egypt have been pessimistic.

It is true that real democracy is never assured. It is difficult to attain and perhaps even harder to maintain.

But American pessimism on Egypt’s future seems to stem from at least three things that have nothing to do with the abilities and talents and intelligence and resourcefulness of the Egyptian people.

One of these things is the belief, held even by so-called liberals, that other nations can do nothing without American aid, because Americans are superior and other peoples of the world are inferior. (Indeed, the vast majority of Americans need to be reminded that, in the words of anthropologist Wade Davis, “The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”)

The “white man’s burden” began with the British empire, and this chauvinistic mentality was transplanted to the British colonies that became the United States of America.

A corollary of this phenomenon is that the U.S. government, through its military and its Central Intelligence Agency and other thuggish apparatuses, has a long history of making sure that real democracy never takes root in other nations whose leaders look out for the best interests of their nations’ peoples instead of for the best interests of the American capitalist system and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

The U.S. government and the U.S. ruling elites do their very best to cripple certain nations whose leaders refuse to submit to Washington — like Cuba — and then proclaim that these nations are struggling or failing not because of U.S. attempts to make them fail, because of their supposed inherent inferiority.

Leaders of other nations who actually look after their people’s best interests instead of the U.S. government’s and U.S. ruling elites’ best interests are called “dictators.” Like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (whom the CIA tried but failed to overthrow in 2002). Even though Chavez has been democratically elected repeatedly, with international observers (including Jimmy Carter) certifying that the elections were on the up and up, because of the center-right propaganda happily trumpeted by the “free” mass media owned and operated by corporations that allow only pro-corporate speech, most thoroughly corporately brainwashed Americans incorrectly go along with the label of Chavez as a “dictator.”

Actual dictators, on the other hand, like Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has kept his grip on power for more than three decades, get a free fucking pass as long as they kiss U.S. ass, as Mubarak always has done.

The second source of the pessimistic belief of so many Americans that Egypt can’t get it together democratically stems, I believe, from the fact that Americans can’t get it together democratically, and therefore, they don’t want anyone else to. Call it democratic jealousy.

Americans just sat on their asses while two presidential elections in a row were stolen and bogus wars in the Middle East were launched in their name. Americans have just allowed corporations to render our democratic system meaningless, because decisions in Washington are made not by our elected officials, but by the highest bidders via our bribed elected officials. (And speaking of elections, way too many elections are won by the highest bidder.)

Speaking of our elected officials, “Whose side is Obama on anyway?” asks a piece on Salon.com today, noting:

The Egyptian people are fighting, not only to end the 30-year reign of dictator Mubarak, but for democracy. So far, our government has continued its de facto support for the Mubarak regime by paying lip service to the need for “reform” at the same time that it lauds Mubarak as an ally and source of “stability” in the Middle East.

President Obama and his spokespeople have carefully avoided the fundamental issue. The Egyptian people are not asking their government to reform itself. They are demanding an end to the entire autocratic and kleptocratic regime they have endured for even longer than Mubarak’s rule. They want democracy.

The answer to the question of whose side Obama is on is a fucking no-brainer: Obama is on the side of the Israel-first lobby, which wants Egypt to remain under the thumb of a U.S.-controlled dictator. Israel doesn’t want Egyptians to have self-determination, and because the Israel-first lobbyists’ hands are so far up the asses of the elected officials in Washington, what Israel wants it usually gets from its meat puppets in D.C.

Obama isn’t concerned about democracy in Egypt — or anywhere else. He’s concerned about his political survival (and his hollow slogans, which he very apparently views as his vehicle to continued political success [hey, they worked for him in November 2008!]).

Not that Egypt needs the spineless, slimy, slippery, ethics-free Obama and his regime of Clinton-era leftovers. What Egypt needs for democracy to take root there is for the United States of America to leave Egypt the fuck alone. Only without U.S. interference can true democracy take root anywhere. What’s been happening in Latin America for the past several years — because the gaze of the Eye of Sauron, which sits upon the White House, has been focused upon the Middle East instead of upon Latin America since late 2001 — is proof of that.

A third reason for pessimism over Egypt’s future, I surmise, is that the relatively few Americans who aren’t drunk on the jingoistic Kool-Aid know all too well how much their own government historically has prevented actual democracy from taking root elsewhere in the world, and they expect this pattern to be repeated in Egypt.

But this pessimism overlooks the fact that fortunately, the American empire is so weak from the military and economic overextension of the reign of the unelected Bush regime (um, yeah, there were actual consequences of the fact that Americans just allowed the Bush regime to steal the White House in late 2000) that its ability to quash democracy elsewhere now is limited.

But most Americans are drunk on the Kool-Aid, and they are so adverse to actual democracy taking root elsewhere on the planet that even while a new Egyptian leader already clearly has emerged in Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, these intoxicated Americans are wringing their hands, wailing, “But whooooo will lead Egypt?”

What the fuck?

ElBaradei appears to be the Egyptian people’s choice, but Americans are largely fucking ignoring that.

Is it that Americans don’t want the Egyptian people to choose their next leader? Are Americans that addicted to their governmental elites choosing the leaders of other nations, especially those in the Middle East, such as the current leaders of Iraq and Afghanistan?

That was a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: Yes, they are. They’re that brainwashed, that ethnocentric. To most Americans, all that is important about Egypt is that Egypt continue to serve the wishes of the government in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. government’s pimp, the Israel-first lobby — the Egyptian people be damned.

My hope is that democracy takes root in an Egypt unmolested by the U.S. government and spreads elsewhere in the Middle East. The United States of America never could transplant true democracy to the Middle East or anywhere else on the planet because the USA only ever has its own greedy interests in mind.

My hope is that in my lifetime democracy spreads throughout the world, like a domino effect, to the extent that democracy is established in the United States of America before I die.

Perversely ironically, it seems to me that the United States of America will be the last domino to topple to the spread of actual democracy.

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