When it came to thundering against the “Yankee imperialists!” Hugo Chavez sure talked a good one. But despite his bluster and monkeyshines he wasn’t crazy enough to lift a finger against his top customer, or even wish him (genuine) harm. It’s impolitic to reveal, but the U.S. is –by far--the biggest customer for Venezuelan oil. Hugo Chavez was our fourth largest oil supplier, behind only Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.
But that’s all behind the scenes. Now on stage we had a first-class vaudeville show:
"Yesterday the devil (President George Bush) came here! Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today." [Hugo Chavez at the UN, Sept. 2006)
“You are ignoramus, you are a burro, Mr. Danger... You are a donkey, Mr Danger! You are a donkey, Mr. George W Bush!”
“You are a coward, Mr. Bush, a killer, a perpetrator of genocide, an alcoholic, a drunk, a liar, an immoral person, Mr. Danger. You are the worst, Mr. Danger. The worst of this planet! A psychologically sick man, I know it! “
"You are a fraud, Obama. ... Go and ask many people in Africa!..You are an Afro-descendant, but you are the shame of all those people!"
"Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation!” (Upon his death, btw, Chavez’ fortune was estimated at $2 billion.)
And the gallery ate it up—though Fidel Castro probably cringed at his protégé’s buffooneries. Hugo Chavez, after all, kept Castro’s Stalinist regime afloat with $6 billion a year in subsidies. His protégé (this gladiator against “imperialism!” and “foreign bullying!” this paragon of “national sovereignty!”) also allowed 10,000 of Castro’s KGB-tutored spies and soldiers to essentially run Venezuela.
Castro’s apparatchiks ran Venezuela right down to making up Hugo Chavez’ squad of bodyguards. Oh, I know, I know, the media (especially those networks bestowed Havana bureaus) dutifully recited that all 50,000 Cubans in Venezuela were selfless, “doctors and teachers,” Castro’s Peace Corps, minus only the Peter, Paul and Mary soundtrack.
Tell it to the Venezuelan demonstrators who for the past few months were burning Cuban flags, burning Castro in effigy while yelling “Cubans Go Home!” (What? You say the U.S. media—especially those outlets bestowed Havana bureaus--didn’t report this? They blacked out an item featuring the very type of scenes and soundbites the MSM habitually slobbers over?....Hummmm?)
Whatever their titles, the Cubans in Venezuela were essential for Castroite colonization. “So I’ll overlook Hugo’s public buffooneries,” Castro must have reasoned.
Further north Hugo’s buffooneries were also overlooked. "American officials say Mr. Chávez, despite his very public denunciations of Washington, worked behind the scenes to keep trade relations between the two countries, especially in the oil sector, strong,” recently reported The New York Times. “They recalled how Mr. Chávez once picked up the phone and dialed an American diplomat to talk policy…“The United States needs to fix this,” Mr. Chávez said during the call, which concerned the ouster of the Honduran president in 2009. “You are the only ones who can.”
One of the most insane policies of our State Department recently was their obsession with reinstalling Chavez' narcotrafficking buddy Manuel “Mel” Zelaya as Honduran President. In June 2009 that nation’s Supreme Court voted unanimously to oust the serial outlaw Zelaya and replace him with the President of Honduras’ National Congress Roberto Micheletti. The Honduran legislature voted 125-5 for same. The five contrarian legislators belong to Honduras’ Communist party.
The U.S. State Department promptly fell in line with the five Honduran Communists. "We don’t recognize Roberto Micheletti as the president of Honduras,” declared State Dept. spokesman Ian Kelly. “We recognize Manuel Zelaya.”
So apparently Hugo’s call to his American contact got our state Department jumping-- and quickly. Utterly unreported at the time was that one of the U.S.’ most important military bases in the Western hemisphere is in Palmerola, Honduras. Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro (and especially) Sandinista Daniel Ortega in next-door Nicaragua, found this state of affairs highly discomfiting.
“We’re convinced that Zelaya was scheming to turn your military base over to Chavez,” disclosed Honduran government officials to this writer during interviews with President Micheletti in Tegucigalpa in June of 2009. “We started getting suspicious when suddenly, out of the blue, (Chavez-buddy) Zelaya declared that Honduras desperately needed another International airport.”
“What?!” all us legislators asked ourselves, while looking at each other wide-eyed? Honduras airports are perfectly adequate for our needs — and everyone knew that.”
“That U.S. base in Palmerola would make a great location for that airport” Zelaya continued. “And Venezuela has promised to finance the project.”
“That’s when we really became suspicious and started inquiring more closely,” recalled the Honduran legislators. “ Zelaya, we finally determined, planned to boot the U.S. military (under that airport pretext) and convert this base, essentially, into a way-station for Chavez-FARC (The terrorist-narcotraffickers known as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) drug shipments to the U.S.”
Fourteen Venezuelan-registered planes crashed in Honduras during Zelaya’s last 18 months of rule. All carried cocaine, or traces of the substance when located. During Roberto Micheletti’s interim Honduran Presidency not one such plane was discovered. (Note: these are just the planes that crashed. Imagine the overall traffic Zelaya was facilitating through Honduras for his friend Hugo Chavez.) After Zelaya’s ouster Honduran authorities also discovered 9 clandestine airstrips in remote portions of the nation.
The Hondurans held tough against the Yankee Imperialist/Hugo Chavez bullying, however, and Mel Zelaya was not reinstated. Obama’s State department never forgave Roberto Micheletti for his defense of Honduran democracy and U.S. security. In June of 2009 they revoked his U.S. visa. This probably served as a conciliation prize for our State Department’s chum Hugo Chavez.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.