Opinion and Analysis: Economy | Environment | International | Law and Justice
Walking the Walk: The Contrast between Chavez and Obama
His enemies call him a tyrant and a dictator, but he is neither. Hugo Chavez is a tireless champion of the poor and a committed Christian socialist. The only difference between Chavez's type of Christianity and Barack Obama's, is that Chavez walks the walk.
For example, on Tuesday, Chavez used his powers under the new "enabling laws" to enact the "Law for Dignified Refuge" a presidential decree that mandates "dignified and humane" housing for all Venezuelans. The Venezuelan parliament approved the controversial (and temporary) enabling laws because the country faced an unprecedented housing crisis due to the massive floods in December.
More than 125,000 people lost their homes in the disaster requiring a speedy response from the government. Chavez swung into action immediately turning the presidential palace into a homeless shelter and initiating a campaign to construct permanent housing for the victims. Now he has pushed through landmark legislation that will legally require the government to help the homeless.
Contrast Chavez's response to Obama's during the BP oil spill, where BP was allowed to wreak havoc on the environment and destroy people's livelihood without any consequences. In fact, Obama even provided cover for the oil giant by appearing in public relations "I feel your pain" photo-ops on a beach in Louisiana that were intended to divert public rage away from BP. So, now the fishing and shrimping industries are devastated, sensitive estuaries and ecosystems have been destroyed, the level of toxins in the bloodstreams of people living in the region have skyrocketed and--worst of all--BP has gotten off Scot-free. Thanks, Barack.
Now imagine what would have happened if Chavez had been in charge. BP's stateside operations would have been shut down, their assets would have been seized, and Tony Hayward and his buddies would have been thrown in the hoosegow. Got a problem with that?
Last week, while Obama was singing the praises of "deregulation" on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal (".. the rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business—burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs.") and first lady, Michelle Obama was hawking "healthy foods" for food behemoth Walmart in the national media, Chavez was busy transforming shelters into “institutions of the state” to make sure that people had a place to stay while they get back on their feet again.
The new law stipulates that these people be provided with food and medical assistance (Venezuela has universal health care) as well as "scholarships, pensions and special allotments of resources" depending on their needs.
The new state facilities that are being set up by Chavez will focus primarily on "the most vulnerable population; the children, adolescents, seniors, people with disabilities, and pregnant women.”
“It’s not a question of the government wanting to do this or not,” said Chavez. “It is now a legal obligation.” (venezuelanalysis.com)
Right on. And how has Washington reacted to Chavez's emergency programs and new laws? Here's an excerpt from a recent article by ex-pat Eva Golinger that sums it up pretty well:
"This week, (Venezuelan) opposition leaders will meet with their counterparts in Washington. They have already said their mission is to seek more aid to help remove President Chavez from power. Unfortunately, their undemocratic actions have already been welcomed in the US Capitol. Representative Connie Mack (R-FL), now head of the House Sub-Committte on Foreign Relations for the Western Hemisphere, announced on the first day of Congress that his one goal this year is to place Venezuela on the list of "state sponsors of terrorism". And Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), now head of the House Foreign Relations Committee, has backed that objective, even going as far as to publicly state she would welcome the "assassination of Fidel Castro or any other repressive leader" such as Hugo Chavez." ("Setting the Record Straight on Venezuela and Hugo Chavez", Eva Golinger, Global Research)
Surprised? Don't be. Any foreign leader who attempts to control his country's resources, improve human rights, or distribute the nation's wealth more equally among its people, is the de facto enemy of the United States. People thought that things might change under Obama, but they were wrong. He's as bad as Bush.
- 21/01/2009: Why Obama Should Meet With Hugo Chavez
- 25/09/2009: Venezuela’s Chavez Invites U.S. Labor Unions to ALBA, Invites Obama to “Peace Dialogue”
- 24/03/2009: Obama Should End Cuba Embargo and Learn About Latin America, Says Venezuela’s Chávez
- 22/12/2010: U.S. Nominee Ambassador Palmer “Cannot Enter the Country” says Venezuela’s Chavez
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