Venezuelan President Offers Aid For Katrina Victims
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No sooner does Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez make an overture of alleged peace and help toward his fellow man do the pundits begin railing against the man. On the radio today I heard all sorts of things like how this is Chavez using the hurricane for political opportunism and how this is all a ploy to make the big bad US look bad and yadda yadda yadda. The talking heads added that we shouldn't do business, even in a crisis such as what's afflicted New Orleans, with a pro-Castro socialist like Hugo Chavez.
To this I say, have you met the Saudi Arabians yet?
Look, New Orleans is very quickly sinking off the map and any help, whether it's from Chavez, Castro or the Prince of Darkness himself, should be readily accepted no matter what the underlying reasons are. Hell, we should be happy that any country feels compelled to lend a hand at all.
I received some calls today and I also heard on various radio programs about how we shelled out tons of dough for the Tsunami victims of SE Asia and various other disasters, but the rest of the world would be less likely or incapable of returning the favor. Well folks, other than food and shelter for the displaced citizens of the Big Easy, we also need oil. I haven't heard a peep from the Saudi's or the Russians. I got nothing from our good friends to the South, Mexico. Why not accept the helping hand of Hugo Chavez? It wouldn't be the first time we slept with the enemy. Again, need I remind you doubters about our continued relations with the French, the aforementioned Saudi's and my personal favorite, the Red Chinese.
Let us not forget that we are eternally grateful to the Russians for forbidding their Eastern European satellite nations from accepting the Marshal Plan. Lord only knows what tempest would have been unleashed if we had been taken up on offer to rebuild the countries behind the Iron Curtain. Chavez would probably be delighted if we refuse his help. He'd get great publicity and it would cost him nothing.
Beyond the terrible aftermath of Katrina and its unforeseen repercussions, it's high time we began to reconcile with Venezuela anyway. The fact that Chavez is a pro-Castro socialist and a Latin American rabble-rousing nationalist just is simply not enough to try and dismiss him. This space has posted story after story about the business deals being conducted between Caracas, Moscow, Tehran and Beijing. Every regime we ignore we ultimately push into the waiting arms of those who seek to disarm the United States.
Chavez may be making a cynical gesture by offering aid, oil and eye surgery but so what? Call his bluff, that's what I say. Make him live up to those words and then let's reassess. At the end of the day, as long as we're still married to oil, I say let's not look a gift horse in the mouth, even a cynical one such as being offered by Hugo Chavez.
Here's the story:
Caracas, Venezuela (AHN) - Last week Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez was attacking the U.S. for comments from 700 Club President, Pat Robertson, about calling for an assassination of the leader; Tuesday Chavez is offering aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
"We place at the disposition of the people of the United States in the event of shortages we have drinking water, food, we can provide fuel," Chavez tells Associated Press.
Chavez says fuel can be sent to the United States through a Citgo refinery that has not been affected by the hurricane. Citgo is owned by Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela. He also offers to send aid workers to the gulf coast.
Chavez made an offer last week for discount gasoline to poor Americans suffering from high oil prices and offered free eye surgery for Americans without access to health care.
Chavez is heavily criticized for his socialist/communist ties in Latin America and has had negative relations with Washington for years.