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When a critic isn’t necessarily an enemy

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.

About Hector Luis Alamo, Jr.

Hector Luis Alamo, Jr., is the associate editor at Being Latino and a native son of Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. He received a B.A. in history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where his concentration was on ethnic relations in the United States. While at UIC, he worked first as a staff writer for the Chicago Flame and later became the newspaper's Opinions editor. He contributes to various Chicago-area publications, most notably, the RedEye and Gozamos. He's also a cultural critic for 'LLERO magazine. He has maintained a personal blog since 2007, YoungObservers.blogspot.com, where he discusses topics ranging from political history and philosophy to culture and music.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

Comments

  1. TYPICAL trash supported by “Being Latino.” Surely, there were other articles written by organizations and not questionable news outlets (dictator and elections in the same sentence, LOL). FAIL.

  2. he is being villianized, as he will not let oil company’s run all over the government and the people . he will not let them rob the country of oil and money , and the people go without . he flatly refuses to allow it .

  3. I haven’t read this whole article, but just by reading the snippet I will say that anyone who thinks this was a free election, well………

  4. This is crap and a true disappointment coming from you guys. Please have someone who actually understands what is going on in Venezuela give commentary.

  5. I welcome anyone who disagrees with the claim that this was a free election — a claim backed by the Council on Foreign Relations and other reputable organizations — to link their sources here.

  6. I just returned from Venezuela, my home country, where I was covering the elections and I am sorry to say that the situation is not as simple as Being Latino presents it. The results of the election do not represent the people of Venezuela’s free will. There are issues of fraud, coercion to vote, use of public funds for campaigning purposes, and advantageous control of the media, not to mention the fact that the CNE (in charge of overseeing the election) is controlled and partial to Chavez’ regime. Just to name a few. The fraud was not in the numbers but rather in these factors. Machiavellian, isn’t it?

  7. Not a free election, Being latino, be careful with the way you present the information, its not as simple as you describe it.

  8. This was not a free election and anyone who believes that is blind to that matter! Gina has the true premises why trash like Chavez is still in power

  9. While there is evidence that Chavez used public funds for campaign purposes, a study by the Andres Bello Catholic University shows that Capriles received more media coverage than Chavez in the last weeks leading up to the election.

    Still, Chavez winning by nearly 11 percent, and at 80 percent turnout, is pretty indicative of the of the “people of Venezuela’s free will.” And anyway, Capriles was only a watered-down version of Chavez, a Chavez Lite. So even some of the people who voted for Capriles voted for some form of Chavez’s own policies.

  10. It was a free election, in fact if anybody had even a basic sense of what “democracy” was like in Venezuela decades before this fact becomes even more clear. Incredibly high levels of participation (where there is no obligation to vote) and election backed by EVERYONE, INCLUDING the opposition which accepted the results. What you are reading here is merely sour grapes and also people who have bought into the boogeyman narrative from the state department when they run into someone who doesn’t fit their narrative of acceptable (Of course they never demonize Saudi Arabia for example). You may well disagree with Chavez and what he stands for (as did about 6 million Venezuelans) but 8 million said that they wanted him and guess what people that is called democracy. Now how about those if you in the US worry about voting in your own country (where participation levels are a laugh)instead of buying into Fox News “fair and balanced coverage” (tongue firmly in cheek)

  11. Don’t kid yourself. This guy is a dangerous, deranged madman

  12. So that means that Obama is a closet dictator and the multi cultural hoards are going to keep him in power by any means necessary – including intimidation techniques and rioting.

  13. If it was a free election then the people of Venezuela will get the government they deserve, just like we Americans are getting the government we deserve because of those who voted for the anointed one. I don’t say this in a positive manner BTW.

  14. I’m sorry but it was based on fraud not on the ppl

  15. It agree that was a free election and democratic. The electoral system was categorized as one of the best of the world and the amount of people that go to vote were 80%. In USA the president is not elected by the majority of the people, their electronic system is ones of the worst, and the number of vote is around 50%. So the people that maintains was a fraud, so call the same thing for USa elections, or given facts that proof that. At least I think the elections were better than what is in USA where sadly corporations has been taking the power. I respect the people that vote for any choice, but not this media propaganda to make us believe that the elections were a fraud.

  16. @Karol Guzman, Well said………….

  17. I’d rather have a “dictator” who doesn’t take any BS from the powerful bullies just to protect his country resources than having some presidents who can’t stand up to the bullies and say enough is enough until they become one of the poorest country in western hemisphere..#suck on that…

  18. What next BL, an article praising Cuban healthcare and education?

  19. Yeah you would probably think differently when this ‘no BS dictator’ takes over your TV for hours on end..no more family guy for you…how about when this awesome ‘leader’ you speak of takes away farms that have been in your family for years just because HE says your family has too much money or when this ‘free healthcare’ this leader offers, requires you to sit in line for hours on end, taking turns with your cousins to hold your place in line to see a doctor<-in 99 degree weather…but its free right?..so who cares right? How about when you have to build 4 more feet of concrete wall in front of your house because people are across the street looking and scoping out what you have inside…or when the water is so polluted by oil that you have to boil it in order to take a shower..that is IF the water comes that day…Thats one awesome leader right??…he has improved so much for Venezuela right??

  20. Unfortunately, you’re describing the way things are in much of Latin America, my maternal homeland of Honduras for one.

    But I made no judgment of how things are in Venezuela. I’m not calling Venezuela a model for the rest of Latin America. All I’m saying is that this was a free election, and that because America does a lot of business with Venezuela, labeling Chavez a threat to the United States is a bit over the top.

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