I heard Hugo Chavez referred to as a "ruthless Dictator" on Fox News recently. Ignoring the fact that he was democratically elected in internationally supervised elections with far more credibility than recent American presidential elections, Hugo has about 70% approval rating in Venezuela. That's more than twice as many folks who approve compared to George Bush.
Hugo may be a socialist but he ain't no dictator. Whether or not he is without "ruth" is a matter of conjecture. So far all he has done is take back Venezuelan oil rights from the international oil cartels and used oil profits to help his own people. This of course has infuriated the American right wing, who think using perfectly good money to help your own citizens reeks of outdated American ideals, now tossed aside in favor of Corporatism and government "Of the rich, By the rich, and For the Rich".
One of these rich people who started his own religion is Pat Robertson. Preacher Robertson, being a self proclaimed man of Jesus, has called for Hugo to be shot for the crime of helping poor people with his country's oil money instead of giving it to Exxon-Mobil or Chevron.
Some people are turned off by Hugo's "Socialist" label. He is a democratic socialist, to be exact. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as George Bush and Condi Rice would have you believe. America's closest ally is an elective dictatorship and the Bush family's best friends run a dictatorial monarchy. 19 of the 20 terrorists who committed the acts of 9-11 come from Bush's best friend's country...Oh yeah...and so did the Bush family business partner's little brother...Osama Bin Laden. At least Hugo was elected by his people. Neither the Prime Minister of England, Tony Blair, nor the King of Saudi Arabia were elected by their people, and as we are finding out...Neither was George W. Bush, in all probability.
Hugo ain't perfect but he's a damned sight better than what we have, in regards to serving the citizens of his country. For instance, what do you think Hugo would have done about Katrina? I suspect he would have had a similar photo op but then there would have been a follow through, unlike what we saw with Bush, who was playing guitar while new Orleans drowned.
We have one Citgo station around here and I buy gas there when I can. If Venezuela can stand up to George W. Bush, I can help them by buying their gas.
Now if only we could get America to stand up to George W. Bush.
For another voice, here's one person's...
Letter to Hugo