What occurred in Venezuela on October 7 should come as a shock for many conservatives here in America — it’s not every day you see an evil dictator reelected by his people, and by a wide margin in a free election.
From Fox News Latino:
“President Hugo Chávez won a third consecutive six-year term on Sunday, in his narrowest win in a presidential contest yet, as the populace endorsed once again Chávez’s stated aim of converting Venezuela into a socialist state. …
This time, the former army paratroop commander who led a failed 1992 coup won 55 percent of the vote against 45 percent for [Henrique] Capriles, with 98 percent of the vote counted.”
On October 8 Daniel Garza, executive director of the LIBRE Iniative, a Latino free-market organization, predicted “harder rains for Venezuela.”
“Now all that is left is a continuation of failed statist policies that have left the Venezuelan economy in shambles – one in which scarcity, shortages, high inflation and unemployment are the new norm.
In the end, it was a missed opportunity to regain much needed economic liberty for the people of Venezuela.
Worse yet, the election has reaffirmed Hugo Chávez as the sole arbiter of each Venezuelan’s economic destiny.”
In a foreign policy speech delivered at the Virginia Military Institute, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney accused President Obama of diminishing America’s standing on the global stage by failing to tow a hardline with international critics such as Chávez and his political mentors, the Castro brothers.
“There is a longing for American leadership in the Middle East—and it is not unique to that region. … It is broadly felt by America’s friends and allies in other parts of the world as well — … here in our own hemisphere, where our neighbors in Latin America want to resist the failed ideology of Hugo Chávez and the Castro brothers and deepen ties with the United States on trade, energy, and security.”
What would Mr. Romney have us do? Apparently, he wants us to place sanctions on a country — a neighbor and economic partner, no less — simply because its leader is highly critical of American foreign policy. Or maybe Romney believes that Chávez poses a military threat to the United States, and that action should be taken to eliminate him and his allies.
For hawks like Romney and his Randian vice-presidential pick, Paul Ryan, the world is one giant game of king of the hill. Unfortunately, international affairs no longer operate that way. In an age of increasing globalization, more and more, everyone is interconnected.
Ironically, nothing illustrates the point more than U.S.-Venezuelan relations. Venezuela is America’s fifth-largest market in the Latin America, and the United States is Chávez’s most important economic partner, accounting for around 42 percent of Venezuelan exports. In all, $56 billion flowed between the two “enemies” last year. America’s also the single largest buyer of Venezuela’s most important export, petroleum, making up 8 percent of all U.S. oil imports.
President Obama may not control the amount of money you pay at the pump, but President Chávez surely does.
So it would seem that the United States has effectively neutralized any threat Chávez might pose by interlacing his interests with our own. And when the people of Venezuela view the United States as an important ally, they’ll hold their leaders responsible for anything said or done that harms the relationship.
Just ask Mitt. He knows what can happen when a leader insults an important ally.