When Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez passed away in 2013, the White House issued the following statement.
At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government. As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.
Now that Chavez' protege Nicolás Maduro is ordering a violent crackdown on thousands of people who dare to speak out against the failures of the communist regime, does the White House still "stand with the people?" Is this the "new chapter" of "policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights" the White House hoped for?
Thousands of supporters and opponents of Venezuela’s socialist government have taken to the streets this past week. Initiated by student groups, the protestors are voicing their grievances against soaring crime rates, high inflation, a shortage of basic goods, and a lack of political and economic freedom.
All the while, the Obama Administration has been relatively silent. The occasional press release from the State Department uses the same recycled lines of “deep concern” that we’ve come to expect from an indifferent Administration. Not even the expulsion of three U.S. diplomats Sunday evening could elicit a stronger statement.
So far, three people have been killed and hundreds have been arrested and tortured. Some even disappeared thanks to government security forces. Videos, pictures, and eyewitness testimony blame the governing regime for the deaths of two of the victims. Armed with automatic weapons, tear gas, grenades and even tanks, the military and police are using all means to silence the democratic opposition.
We don't know because President Obama won't tell us.
According to the CATO Institute, Maduro's "new" Marxist policies of abolishing property rights, inheritance, centralization of credit to the state and the confiscation of property from immigrants has landed Venezuela 181 out of 189 in the World Bank's 2014 “Doing Business” ranking. This puts Maduro's country behind Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
When Chavez died last year, Obama had a tremendous opportunity to develop a better relationship with Venezuela and for the people living in that country he claimed to care about. Not surprisingly, he blew it. So why the silence?
It's important to remember President Obama is supported by far left groups who have been supporting Venezuela for decades. In 2012, Chavez said he'd vote for Obama.
"I hope this doesn't harm Obama, but if I was from the United States, I'd vote for Obama," Chavez said in 2012. "Obama is a good guy ... I think that if Obama was from Barlovento or some Caracas neighborhood, he'd vote for Chavez."
In 2006, Obama's mentor Bill Ayers traveled to Venezuala to help Chavez celebrate "Socialism of the 21st Century."
Condemning Maduro would be a condemnation and indictment of marxism and far left ideology. You be the judge on why the Commander in Chief isn't jumping to make a serious statement and staying silent.
|Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her new book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, will be published on July 8, 2014.|
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Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography