Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sobering thoughts for Nelson Bocaranda.

I wanted to read to OpEds in Venezuela to see what is being said about Obama’s victory. Think for a moment of the perspective of Latin Americans, especially those under regimes such as Hugo Chavez, where the communist propaganda has been constantly to insult and attack the American system. While the elite there—whether that be the old guard “oligarchy” or the “new rich” communists that are pilfering the state—has offered no hope for improvement or for a better future, the election of Obama has undermined their argument about the evils of the American system, contradicted the accusations that America is a racist nation in which people of color have no hope or future.

There is a bright side to this, and I thought it might be worth sharing. Many in Latin America felt ignored by the United States over the past eight years, and blame American indifference to their plight for the rise of authoritarians such as Chavez, and the spread socialism across the continent.

A well known and highly respected journalist, Nelson Bocaranda Sardi, writes {my translation}:

"Example: Once again the United States has given a lesson of Democracy to the entire world, with special emphasis given to those countries where it is the military jackboot that reigns, and where the disdain for justice and law, as well as the shameless and cynical enjoyment of corruption with state monies, is the daily rule. John McCain’s capitulation speech, in which he recognizes his defeat and offers his support to the winner, and that of Barack Obama, curing old wounds, promising inclusion and a better future for new generations that turned out en masse to vote as they did for J. Kennedy in 1960 or G. McGovern in 1972, are the demonstration of the institutional quality of the nation that will once again be the beacon of democracy that Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and Franklin visualized. Another American dream is realized. "

Hence, Bocaranda is quite clearly suggesting that Venezuelan's will again see the contrast between their own plight, their own "Democracy", and the true democratic principals displayed by "the Empire", and that difference made plain should tarnish the popularity of Chavez. And, Obama represents a new hope that America will stop ignoring them and will help them throw off the yoke of tyrrany.

This is all well and good, but the same author continues:

"Promise?: The past June 5th we wrote here about the visit of Democratic governor Bill Richardson to President Chavez, in order to discuss the three North American hostages held by the FARC, and where the American elections were discussed. At that time, the governor informed Chavez of the interest by the Democrats in improving relations with Venezuela {Chavez}. Among the promises, that during the electoral process they would limit criticism of Chavez, and they would guarantee a meeting of Obama and Chavez, being either an informal meeting before Obama takes office, or immediately afterward. In return, Chavez would “lower his anti-Yankee flag”, tone down his anti-imperialist discourse, and increase the possibility of commercial exchange. "

It should also be noted that, the day after the election, once it became clear that Obama had won, the infamous Piedad Cordoba, Colombian congressional member and supporter of the FARC terrorist group, declared that Obama’s victory was a victory for “everyone who has fought for decades for equality”, and immediately requested that Obama work with her to “reach a humanitarian solution” to the ongoing conflict with the FARC.

Allow me a moment to put these events in context. It has been a long-standing goal for Hugo Chavez to spread his influence around Latin America, by any means necessary. This has led him to covertly and illegally pump millions upon millions of dollars into the election campaigns of friendly leftists throughout Latin America, from Argentina (where Chavez’s agents were caught smuggling suitcases full of money to the Kirchner campaign), to Mexico. Chavez stated years ago that he planned to have a “Bolivarian” president elected. And a constant stream of Democrats and another radical leaders has made its way to Venezuela, including film directors (Oliver Stone), actors (Sean Penn, Danny Glover), activists and community organizers (such as ACORN members), and of course, liberal politicians such as Bill Richardson, among others.

Meanwhile, another of Chavez’s strategies appeared to be to position himself for a Nobel Peace Prize. While his loyal followers submitted him for consideration, Chavez unilaterally intervened in the internal affairs of Colombia as they battled the FARC terrorists. It was alleged that Oliver Stone’s frequent visits to Venezuela during this time were intended to document Chavez’s glorious efforts to broker a humanitarian effort to release the hundreds of hostages held by the FARC. Chavez did in fact manage to obtain the release of several low-level hostages, including a political aide to Ingrid Betancourt—the Colombian presidential candidate who was kidnapped by the FARC in the middle of her political campaign. But Chavez could not obtain the release of the four most important hostages held by the FARC: Three American contractors working for Plan Colombia who were captured when their plane was shot down, and Betancourt.

However, when FARC leader Raul Reyes was killed in a military operation, and his laptop recovered, intelligence from that laptop revealed that Chavez had given around 300 million dollars to the FARC to arrange the “humanitarian” release of the three previous hostages. It was Piedad Cordoba who repeatedly kissed Chavez’s boots and praised him for his brilliant and neutral role, even though her own government repeatedly protested to world bodies that Chavez was violating their sovereign affairs. In short, in order to gain political glory and try to achieve world renown by winning a Nobel Prize, Chavez violated Colombian sovereignty and paid a ransom to the kidnappers.

It was in this context that Richardson visited Chavez. Yet another brilliant military intervention by the Colombians rescued Betancourt and the three American contractors without a shot being fired—and simultaneously deflated Chavez’s hopes of being the great liberator.

So, with this context provided, now one must re-examine the declarations by Piedad Cordoba, and the reports from Caracas, that these two very dangerous actors are pleased with Obama’s election, and already planning to meet with Obama.

And we must remember Obama’s statements that he would (and then would not) meet with Chavez without pre-conditions. If Obama does in fact meet with Chavez between now and his inauguration—or even afterward, for that matter, then he would be violating yet another of his campaign promises and revealing that he is the ideologue and naïve politician we thought he would be.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan immigrants who fled the Chavez regime to find safety in the United States, those who supported John McCain because they recognized in Obama this waffling liberal inability to properly assess the danger in characters such as Chavez, now must find themselves in the peculiar position of being members of opposition in two countries. But fear not: with the conservative Cubans by our side, we are all in very good company, and the fight will continue.

Sadly, however, if Obama provees himself to be the idiot I suspect him to be, it is the Venezuelans and others in Latin America who will suffer yet another great disappointment. Not only will America not save them from Leftist tyrrany, but an Obama administration just might help those authoritarians to gain international prestige and consolidate their power.

These are my sobering thoughts for Mr. Bocaranda.

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