While millions of oppressed Venezuelans are celebrating the death of an oppressor, somewhere Sean Penn is sniveling. And apparently, so is U.S. Representative Jose Serrano. Then again, this is the same guy who introduces legislation every few years to repeal the 22nd Amendment (That’s presidential term limits for you low-information voters out there), so his support of Chavez isn’t surprising.
To the point: after quite a long battle with cancer, the often flamboyant and deeply corrupt Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has finally kicked the bucket. He succumbed to a two-year battle with cancer; a disease his successor claims was given to him by the U.S. government. Uh, ok.
From claiming the room reeked of sulfur after George W. Bush finished speaking at the UN, to claiming that the U.S. was behind the deadly earthquake in Haiti, El Presidente had quite a history of nuttiness:
Martian enthusiasts worldwide: Chavez once claimed that Mars was in fact home to a whole civilization . . . that is, until capitalism came along and destroyed it.
Condoleezza Rice was once reduced to a “little girl” who worked for a drunken donkey whose record would make Hitler look like a “suckling baby.” Truly, you can’t make this stuff up. In a 2006 TV address, Chavez referred to Bush as “donkey” and a “drunkard,” and to a woman he often referred to as “condolence,” he spewed “Remember, little girl, I’m like the thorn tree that flowers on the plain. I waft my scent to passers-by and prick he who shakes me. Don’t mess with me, Condoleezza. Don’t mess with me, girl.” This of course, was routinely topped off with a good old “go to hell.”
Space cadets, I hate to burst your bubble, but per Professor Chavez, Neil Armstrong did not take “one small step for man” 239,900 miles away from earth. His airtight proof? “There is film of the Americans landing on the moon. Does that mean the moon shot really happened? In the film, the Yanqui flag is flying straight out. So, is there wind on the moon?” And for a change, in the same conversation he revealed himself as a 9/11 truther. Gasp.
Though nary a peep was heard about it thanks to a media so dedicated to President Obama’s image, Chavez had a few things to say about him as well. After presenting the new leader with “Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent,” (you can guess the content), Chavez obviously expected more drastic action from OUR dear leader. Mocking Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize, Chavez noted that the room still smelled a little of sulfur once he was finished speaking. Chavez quipped “The Nobel Prize of War just finished saying here that he is here to act. Well, show it sir. Don’t leave by the back door.” In other words. . . “you’re better than Bush . . . but you’re not screwing things up fast enough. Get a move on it.” Obviously still frustrated with Obama’s pace, Chavez referred to his collectivist pal as a “clown” in 2011.
Apparently the Chavez regime had quite the fancy for claiming that the deaths of South American leaders can be tied to foreign rivals. He once had the corpse of Simon Bolivar exhumed to try and prove that the South American rebel had been offed by Colombian poison, and not at the hands of the uber-common tuberculosis. Gross.
More sinister than moronic statements that make even Joe Biden’s foot-in-mouth moments look like Thatcher speeches, Chavez’ non-existent record of freedom and human rights did little to “help the poor” that he so avidly claimed to care about.
The son of two teachers, Chavez (once a teacher himself) rose through the ranks of the Venezuelan military, staged an unsuccessful coup and landed himself in jail with a 30 year prison sentence. President Rafael Caldera later pardoned him just a few years later. . . and the rest is history.
Chavez ascended to the presidency in 1999 promising a “new socialism,” where he swiftly thereafter moved to rewrite the constitution, which resulted in the extension of the presidential term to 6 years at a time (he was in his 3rd term), a change in the the country’s official name to the “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” (in honor of the dead man he, in total paranoia, had exhumed for examination) and even changed the country’s time zone.
Oblivious to the fact that most Venezuelans live in the poverty that Chavez’ socialist policies were supposed to remedy, he ran the country with micromanaging precision. Censorship was rampant, with those in disagreement with Chavez finding themselves out of a job as little by little, TV and radio stations were regulated out of existence. Some even found themselves falsely accused of corruption and other bogus charges, something he could easily do as “he concentrated power in the executive branch, turning formerly independent institutions — such as the judiciary, the electoral authorities and the military — into partisan loyalists.” (Anybody want to venture a guess as to how he kept winning election after elections despite his nation’s dire straights?) He brought his nation’s oil production under government control, and “used” it to fund programs for the poor. According to Human Rights Watch, “at times, the president himself has openly endorsed acts of discrimination. More generally, he has encouraged his subordinates to engage in discrimination by routinely denouncing his critics as anti-democratic conspirators and coup-monger.” Despite the fact that he himself was parked for 2 years in a Venezuelan prison, Chavez did nothing to address to horrific conditions inside the walls of the country’s penitentiaries. According to The Atlantic, “Venezuela may have the worst prisons in Latin America. The country’s 30 or so facilities were built for 12,000 inmates, but hold nearly four times that many. In many institutions, guards have surrendered control to armed gangs headed by prisoner-tyrants called pranes. Inmates exchange drugs and weapons openly. Riots occur frequently. In 2011, there were more than 500 violent deaths in the country’s penitentiaries. At the lowest end of the prison power structure are los anegados — the unwanted ones — prisoners who have angered the pranes or allies of the pranes, on the inside or outside, and fear for their lives. And so, in an act of desperation, they stitch their mouths shut. Within the country’s prisons there is an unspoken, but religiously followed, agreement among inmates: When one sews his lips, no one can kill him.” Outside the prisons, violence at the hands of the authorities is equally as bad. According to Human Rights Watch, “Violent crime is rampant in Venezuela, where extrajudicial killings by security agents remain a problem. The minister of the interior and justice has estimated that police commit one of every five crimes. According to the most recent official statistics, law enforcement agents allegedly killed 7,998 people between January 2000 and the first third of 2009.” Ah yes. . . and it’s Bush who smells of sulfur.
In a brief moment of royal candor, the King of Spain Juan Carlos I once snapped at Chavez in a deliciously rare public display. Watch the exchange here:
“Por que no te callas!” was the phrase uttered by the king, which means “Why can’t you just SHUT UP!” Even better, it was said using the “familiar” form of you (“callas” vs “calla”); which in this instance was meant to put Chavez squarely in his place.
One has to wonder. . . is he hearing that same phrase at this very moment from a slightly warmer place? One can only hope——for his sake——-that he finally got accustomed to the smell of sulfur. . .