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  • State Department Lowers Bar on Hugo Chavez


    On February 15, the Venezuelan electorate in a referendum gave President Hugo Chavez a green light to become what he longs to become: president for life. By mobilizing the weapons in his arsenal that includes influence over state employees and recipients of his largesse, with increased media control, and a stranglehold on the police, courts, and electoral tribunals, Chavez successfully mustered 54% of the popular vote. He reversed the “no” vote of 2007 and can run for the presidency in 2012.

    That the Chavez’s victory constitutes a setback to real democracy, a blow to the freedom of the Venezuelan people, and a challenge to U.S. interests in the Western Hemisphere is without question.

    Nonetheless, it is interesting to see how the Obama/Clinton State Department has already learned to spot a patch of blue in even the most menacing sky. It is reassuring to know that in a nation led by an authoritarian-populist that kicks out the U.S. Ambassador, denounces the U.S. as “the enemy,” threatens to cut off oil sales, and seeks to be best buddies with Iran’s ayatollahs and the masters of the Kremlin, that relations are generally “positive.”

    The State Department’s Acting Deputy Press Spokesman Gordon Duguid’s reply to questions from the press corps on February 17 is worth reviewing:

    QUESTION: Do you have reaction to the result of the referendum, the fact that Chavez has won and now he can stay in power almost indefinitely?
    MR. DUGUID: Well, it’s my understanding that the referendum took place in a fully democratic process, that there were – although there were some troubling reports of intimidation of opponents, for the most part, this was a process that was fully consistent with democratic practice. However, democratic practice also requires that the government govern well and govern in the interest of all of the people of the diverse interests that are present in Venezuela.
    QUESTION: But what about the result of the –
    MR. DUGUID: It was a matter for the Venezuelan people. And as I said, the process was held consistent with democratic principles. Therefore, we have always sought to have a positive relationship with Venezuela. We will continue to seek to maintain a positive relationship with Venezuela. But their democratic processes need to be taken into account on our part. But also on our part, we look for governments who have achieved a positive democratic result to use that in a positive manner.
    QUESTION: Do you think it’s healthy to be able to be reelected indefinitely?
    MR. DUGUID: I don’t have an opinion on the democratic practices of Venezuela. In the United States, we have term limits, but that’s our practice.

    This small olive branch to Chavez will certainly be welcomed in Caracas, as Chavez takes a victory lap, but one hopes the State Department’s tepid response to Chavez’s bid for unlimited power and the sad demise of pluralism and individual liberty in Venezuela is not a harbinger of things to come at higher levels.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to State Department Lowers Bar on Hugo Chavez

    1. Lee Fulcher, Huntsvi says:

      Mr. Duguid or it should read Mr. Dubad,

      Adolph Hitler was also elected in the early going. This is just one more step in a total power grab by Chavez. You can't possibly be this ignorant. I fear we are moving in the same direction in this country, you are a part of it, and that is why you are not suspicous or alarmed. You should be beating yourself with this olive branch!

      Disgusted and Disheartened

    2. M Graham, Huntsville says:

      This is utterly unacceptable. There is nothing democratic about Hugo Chavez.The Obama administration has chosen to put its head in the sand-what a surprise!

      As a Cuban American I am sad for the people of Venezuela.I am sure the country will become a mere shadow of what it once was, much like what Castro has done to the country and the people of Cuba

    3. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      I don't know why we should be surprised by the administrations worship of leftist dictators. Isn't that where we are headed? We are in the process of nationalizing the bank, the automobile manufacture, health care, etc. closely following Venezuela.

    4. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      Are we forgetting that President Chavez graciously sends fuel oil up here to our New England State? "It is a tribute to his kindness and his attempt to be a friend to the People of the United States."

      Yes, Mayor John DeStefano Jr.(D) of New Haven, CT went to visit President Chavez a couple of years ago and made arrangements to receive fuel oil for those who could not afford it. This was, of course, in direct violation of his office, Governor Rell (R) of CT and the Office of President Bush (R). The quote above was Mayor DeStefano's answer to the onslaught of the terrible Right complaints. At the time, President Chavez was on the List of Defecation as far as the United States was concerned.

      All this shows you that Liberals can do anything that they want because they do not have to follow the rules…….because THEY are the ones making them!

    5. Andrew1218, NY says:

      Let us not forget Chavez's ties to North Korea. I recall reading an article that North Korea was assisting Venezuela with a construction project. I think we should keep a close eye on them that they don't end up with nuclear weapons.

      As to the Obama's administration not having a moral opinion on how Chavez ran his election, there may be jealousy, but never outrage. We may see Chavez campaign manager in four years.

    6. john seip says:


      it took just 30 days for President Obama to show his true

      ideologies. BIG government will fix it. what happened to hard work , being responsible and accountable for oneself. the new administration is sending a terrible message to all.what happened to the American people. wake up.

    7. Anita DuMont San Fra says:

      I am a Venezuelan/American living in the USA since 1968, loving my two countries and keeping in touch with my family and Venezuela thru yearly visits.

      During this Presidential elections Venezuelan people non-chavistas were terrified about Obama being elected US President. We knew the Bush Administration policies will be reversed and we will be crucified by the democrats'policies.

      As an active member of RECIVEX (Resistencia Civil de venezolanos en el exterior) since 2004, I know exactly what is happening in Venezuela. We see Venezuelans' rights being violated by chavez's regime over and over, trying to tell the International Community the crimes happening in Venezuela, little by little finding our voices making a differences and chavez being recognized as the criminal he really is, not different that Castro or Hitler.

      What democratic principles is Obama's talking about? The 215 people (young and old, men and women) taking to prison for refusing to put the ballots in the boxes when the electronic voting machines showed a SI vote instead of the NO they were voting for? This 215 people were without food and water for 2 days, stripped naked (even older people, 60-70 years old) and put in cells (still naked) with violent criminals. Who will complain after seeing this abuse?

      The abuse of power by chavez's regime during ALL our elections is unconscionable,and should be denounced by every democratic country instead of being recognized as consisted with democratic principles.

    8. Tim says:

      The clue here is the use of the word democratic. Democrat has a new definition its socialism. I like to refer to them as demoncats agents of hope and change. The hope to crush the human spirit for their own gain. That my friends is the change they believe in. Oh and don't think the are dumb enough not to apply localism to the internet. Anyone caught posting opposing speach on the internet will be prosicuted and then persecuted. So keep your powder dry.

    9. chuck k. says:

      watch out, this type of move is next with obama and his cronies too. why not, look what happened with the "stimulas package", at toon of 1.2 trillion, if not more.

    10. Marshall Hill-Michig says:

      Calling Hugo Obama!!!

    11. Pingback: Liberally Conservative » Blog Archive » Obama/Clinton Happy With Venezuelan Term Limit Ban

    12. Minnesota says:

      Obama claims to be a Christian. Hello! I've yet to see any of his executive orders which are based on Biblical princibles. Within 24hrs of taking his oath of office, Obama signed an order for US$'s to be used for abortions around the world. When a nation doesn't follow GODs will, then the entire nation suffers from it. I agree with Rush L., I pray Obamas policies fail. All throughout the Old Testament when Gods will wasn't followed the nation ended up being defeated by their enemies, until they returned to Gods ways. History is again repeating itself. We citizens of the USA, connot afford in any manner for this to be allowed to take place. For as the USA goes, the rest of world will also pay a price beyond our comprehention!

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