• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Hollywood: Chavez's Last Bastion of Support

    Hugo Chavez and Sean Penn

    In the wake of a devastating report on his presidency by the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Inter-American Commission, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s loudest defense has come from actor Sean Penn, known most recently for his roles in Milk and Mystic River.

    In the OAS report, Chavez is accused of not only centralizing his own power but eliminating his country’s private sector, repression of opposition media outlets and criminalization of human rights groups. Appearing on the HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Penn denied Chavez’s tyranny, saying, “Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it,” before adding that he believed those who call Chavez a dictator should be imprisoned, “truly, there should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.”

    Penn’s role as Chavez propagandist is lockstep with Hugo Chavez’s dismissal of the OAS report. In his response, Chavez showed himself to be little more than a strongman, whose power is based on bullying and intimidation, ridiculing the OAS report in a manner that would be hilarious if it weren’t so sickening. In a fit of rage unbecoming anyone who would deem themselves a “leader,” Chavez said that Santiago Canton, the head of OAS, was “executive excrement, pure excrement” and that the OAS was a “mafia.”

    However passionate he may be for the Venezuelan dictator, Penn is a lone voice in an increasing loud chorus of condemnation aimed at Chavez. In a harsh editorial in the Washington Post last month, the newspaper deemed the OAS report as “a powerful and sometimes chilling account” and a late response “to the steady deterioration of Latin American democracy during the past few years.” With so many voices, it’s time to ask who we should trust: the sobering report of the OAS or a celebrity who is clearly out of his league when it comes to politics?

    Michael Orion Powell is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. His views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Hollywood: Chavez's Last Bastion of Support

    1. Jo, Oklahoma says:

      I am an American and grew up in Venezuela pre Chavez. This country is a beautiful and rich country in natural resources and it's people. Growing up there I never felt unsafe, but rather right at home. I have visited post Chavez, what a disgrace…this once young and thriving country is now a shell of what it used to be all because of one mans greed and quest for Castro like power. My parents continued living in Venezuela and recently retired and came back to the US. I am greatful that they are here safe and away from this madman who is doing nothing but using this country for his own personal wealth. In the 30 years that my parents lived there it was only in the years that Chavez took over that their company had to establish a quick exit strategy, in the event that things go wrong. Mr. Penn needs to step outside of his movie star life and visit the country as a regular Joe – meet the every day people talk to them about how their country is suffering under this crazy dictator. I am soooo tired of hollywood and their view of the world through rose colored classes. I pray each day that God deliver my beloved 2nd home from this man.

    2. John USA says:

      Bully Boy Penn will have you locked up for disagreeing with him and his. I would call that a revealing statement. After all, when he calls names he's right. He's always right. Just like his Hugo. Disturbing admission Sean. Sounds like your world is a bit twisted.

    3. Guillermo, Caracas V says:

      I want to thank Michael Orion Powell for writing this article .I am a venezuelan living in Caracas and seeing comments like the ones made by this Hollywood leftist called Sean Penn just make me sick..I would like to ask Mr Penn if he has

      made any contact with any parent of the 95 thousand people killed in this past decade of Chavez regime or visited any prison in the country or talked to any small farmer that has lost his property and way of living or visited a barrio without the company of goverment guides. I could go on and on but the point is how insulted we feel by somebody that does not know the sadness and suffering venezuelans are living. What is going on in these people's minds? can they see the what is happening? can they look at Cuba and not find anything wrong? what is behind all these..

    4. Mary, Cleveland says:

      Shame on Sean for visiting this terrible dictator, who is causing so much damage to this great country. On a recent TV interview, Sean had the gall to criticize anyone who called chavez a "dictator."

      Sean, why do you pack your bags and live with the poor and middle class people down there for at least 6 months, and see what it is like for these people to live in such tyranny.

      Perhaps we should ban watching his movies.

      I am just sick and tired of people giving some type of recognition to these people. Now the City of Moscow is so foolish enough to erect billboard signs of Joe stalin for the May Day anniversary. What is going on?

    5. John USA says:

      Maybe these guys can Tweet Sean and he can assure them that Hugo is no dictator. http://blogs.forbes.com/firewall/2010/07/12/two-v

    6. Aaron,Santa Barbara, says:

      Hollywood has once again shown it's leftist,socialist,communist mentality.They don't care about the human rights in those countries.All they care about is leftist causes and photo ops.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×