With the recent global collapse of high oil prices, a lot of places that largely relied on that commodity for streams of revenue are now facing tough times. There’s Russia, Daesh in what was formerly Syria and Iraq, the half-wits who run the Canadian province that I grew up in and, perhaps no one more seriously than Venezuela and the regime developed under Hugo Chavez.
Having passed away in 2013, the firebrand and autocratic leader left long-time ally and former Foreign Minister Nicholas Maduro to succeed him. In the time since, things haven’t gone well.
After dubiously winning the Presidency in 2013, the former bus driver has faced riots, ruled by decree, imprisoned political opponents and now has analysts predicting he may not see his term through to its end next year. In the face of all this chaos, one thing in particular really stands out.
None of the high profile people who praised or met with Hugo Chavez at one time or another have anything to say about the present situation in the country whose ruler they once admired.
In 2013 when Chavez passed away, Actor and Madonna Abuser Sean Penn released a statement saying that “the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had and that Venezuela would “endure under the proven leadership of Nicholas Maduro”. Before that, the man called for the arrest of those who referred to Hugo as a Dictator. I don’t know what world Mr. Penn lives in, but perhaps it’s the one where reality and the facts on the ground do not apply. Condom shortages and the jailing of those who have a critical voice against government are not enduring.
In 2009, actress and activist Susan Sarandon attended the premiere of an Oliver Stone directed documentary about Mr. Chavez and posed for a picture with the man and his daughter Rosa. That same year, Hugo won a referendum allowing him to stand for re-election indefinitely. She said nothing about that and hasn’t bothered to weigh in on what’s going on in the nation today.
The only person who has? None other than actor Kevin Spacey, in 2007 the House of Cards star met with Chavez and was widely criticized in rightist media at the time. Years later in 2014 he referred to those protesting against the regime as being “on the right side of history”. Better late than never I suppose. One wonders what if anything would have been different had he and others not met with Chavez through the years. I suppose we will never really know the answer to that.
I can understand that when someone is doing a lot for the poor in their nation it’s easy to look at them admirably much in the same way it is when a leader gives it their all to fight against terrorism. But when you decide to look at the world through rose colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags. Enough of praise without digging into the truth, it hurts people badly.