• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: Obama Fails to See "Serious Impact" of Hugo Chavez

    President Obama has been stumbling on the economy, and this week he added more proof of his weakness on foreign policy. He told a popular Miami TV station that Venezuela’s aggressive President Hugo Chavez “has not had a serious national security impact on us.”

    Chavez certainly doesn’t reciprocate Obama’s gentle feelings—in 2009, Chávez proclaimed the U.S. to be the “greatest terrorist nation.”

    In fact, Chavez’s strident anti-Americanism directly challenges the security of the United States, and Venezuela should be placed on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

    Obama’s position hasn’t changed in recent years. In 2007, his presidential rival Hillary Clinton called his lack of caution about meeting with Chavez “irresponsible and, frankly, naïve.”

    Heritage’s Ray Walser said in 2010:

    Far from being merely a populist showman and bully, Hugo Chávez is a reckless leader who collaborates with Colombian narcoterrorists and Islamist terrorists, pals around with brutal Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a virulent anti-Semite, and is guided by a relentless anti-Americanism in everything he does. President Obama does not see Venezuela as a threat to U.S. national security. This view is not optimistic—it is dangerous.

    Since January 2009, the Obama Administration’s attempts to improve relations with the anti-America Chávez have yielded little more than empty gestures. Meanwhile, Chavez has continued consolidating his own power and cementing ties with the other state sponsors of terrorism—Cuba, Sudan, Syria, and Iran. He has vast resources at his disposal: Venezuela’s oil gives him an economic advantage, and no Congress, court system, independent body, or free media exist to question the dictator’s actions.

    As Walser explains, here are just a few of the ways Chavez poses a threat:

    • Iran. Venezuela’s military and security relations with Iran show no sign of diminishing; drones, military exchanges, and preparation for asymmetric warfare are a few milestones of the anti-American Axis of Unity.
    • Syria. Chavez backs Syria’s murderous Bashar al-Assad to the hilt.
    • Cuba. Chavez’s aid to Cuba’s Castro regime exceeds $5 billion annually—more than double the U.S. assistance budget for all of Latin America—and enables the communist regime to survive and repress the Cuban people.
    • A terrorist haven. Chavez has rolled out the welcome mat to a host of terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah and the Basque ETA.
    • A mafia state. Moises Naim writes that “senior Venezuelan government officials double as the heads of important transnational criminal gangs.” The U.S. described Chavez’s defense minister, General Henry Rangel Silva, as a drug kingpin in 2008.
    • Higher gas prices. In OPEC, Chavez is a price hawk; he is mismanaging PDVSA—reducing global supply—and expropriates billions from U.S. companies, raising costs to U.S. consumers.
    • Narco-terrorism in Colombia. Chavez identifies with and supports the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, whose leader, Timochenko, is believed to operate from a safe haven in Venezuela. Since 1999, the U.S. has invested $7 billion in Colombian democracy and security; Chavez prefers a Colombia ruled by narco-terrorists.
    • Militarizing Venezuela. From Russian arms purchases to arming militias, Chavez militarizes Venezuelan society, threatens civil war, and endangers regional security.
    • Corruption. With aid packages, oil deals, and cash-filled suitcases, Chavez corrupts freely and widely.
    • Destabilization. Chavez backs left-wing leaders and destabilizes weak democracies, as he did in Honduras in 2009 and in Paraguay in 2012.

    The only way the President could say that Chavez does not have a “serious national security impact” is to ignore all of these facts.

    Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) put it succinctly yesterday when he said it appears that “President Obama has been living under a rock” not to recognize this threat.

    http://www.morningbell.org

    Quick Hits:

    • Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Raul Castro yesterday, declaring Cuba Russia’s “old friend.”
    • As President Obama seeks to tailor his campaign message to the middle class, “Honolulu and Harvard have been replaced by his grandparents’ financial struggles, his single mother and his wife’s story,” reports Politico.
    • Three California cities have sought bankruptcy protection in the last month.
    • Entrepreneur Richard Branson showcased his Virgin Galactic space shuttle yesterday, announcing that he and his family will be on its first trip into space, which is planned for 2013 or 2014.
    • Now that the House of Representative has voted to repeal Obamacare, Heritage’s Brian Darling lays out what could happen when it goes to the Senate.
    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    58 Responses to Morning Bell: Obama Fails to See "Serious Impact" of Hugo Chavez

    1. JBinGB says:

      November can not come soon enough!

    2. stephen says:

      This is going to scare the weak-minded, mislead, religious conservatives, another monster in the closet down south, so close we can hear the footsteps.

      • Obviously the south has done something right to keep your liberal self up north and most likely on wellfare.
        Maybe a ca. idiot watching illegal aliens and hollywood idiots run your life.
        Have a Short One

        • stephen says:

          Scary cat

          • IC31 says:

            Yes – as your statement is utterly STUPID. Venezuela has been moving socialist/communist since at least the '80s with Chavez being the worst of a poor lot of strongmen. If you don't feel that he poses a threat to the America's then you are just downright ignorant. Now ask me if I've been there – yes, plus have lived there for a short time. Am I an expert – no, BUT do at least have more then a left wing media fed bowl of tripe for an opinion

            • Charles Webb says:

              stevy: obama admires chavez and is just like him. obama wants and will destroy this nation. All he needs to do is buy a few more votes. He has the black vote and now that the border is open he can just bus in Mexico ! You will end up running to your mommy. Good luck to ya !!!!!!!!!!!

      • Stirling says:

        stephen do you really know what Chavez has done to his country, and the friends he keeps? If not, then you show as much ignorance as you probably did by voting for our current president last election.

    3. Mary......WI says:

      Perhaps Obama doesn't see Chavez as a threat because his "transformation of the USA" is modeled after the Venezuelan style government. This country is surely on that path and sadly many Americans STILL haven't recognized all the danger signs since Obama took office……Americans need to review world history of countries like Germany and Argentina. Unless Obama and the democrats are voted OUT in Nov., I believe those sad endings will be the result of Obama's "transformation" of the USA.

      • Brentha says:

        I sure agree with you, Mary. That is one of the problems, people do not know their History.
        Our children today, are not being taught History like I was. It is too bad that some of those "hard core" old teachers aren't around any more. But, even if they were, there would be so much (please pardon me) B.S. that they could not teach nor discipline the children.

    4. Transplanted Texan says:

      Perhaps Obama does not see Chavez as a threat because Obamaa shares the same political values and view of the United States that Chavez has.

      • Look at who President Obama made his different czars that the congress did not get to vet. Two were avowed communists. Several are avowed socialists. The rest wants to do away with the free market system that made our country different and more successful than any country in the history of the world. One czar sent thousands of jobs and his company's technology and secrets to China. His shenanigans would make Romney's Bain problems pale in comparison. Obama made him his job czar. So go figure.

    5. JasonC says:

      Power hungry, narcissistic, economic illiterates need to stand up for one another, don't they.

    6. Pat Wright says:

      If only we could have all the good Republican Party stances without the saber rattling.

    7. ThomNJ says:

      Our government is infested with PC fools – it is known that Chavez's Venezuela is a stop over point for Hezbollah operatives to learn Spanish prior to their movement into Mexico and subsequent infiltration into the USA via an illegal border crossing disguised as a Mexican or some other Latin American. Even prisons in the Southwest are beginning to notice tatoos on some newer prisoners in the Persian language rather than Spanish or Arabic.

      Muslim/Iranian terrorist sleeper cells in the USA? – nah, not a problem……nothing to see here, move along…..

    8. Juan Martinez says:

      Ms. Payne — you left out "weapons of mass destruction" from your breathlessly long list of the great dangers that Venezuela poses to our security. This whole article is laughable. He's another tea pot dictator, and there is no threat here at all. Your article contains zero proscriptions, and is merely another shallow rant against Obama. Heritage sacrifices its credibility when it publishes ridiculous articles like this. Are all your editors on vacation?

    9. RBCinTexas says:

      This should be an easy win for the Republican party and we should clean house in Washington. However, I still see the Republicans walking on eggshells. They need to get as mad as the American people and show it. They need to show that they are furious as to the damage that Obama and the Democrats have done since in power but all I see is another John McCain strategy and we see where that got us. If Reagan was running, he would be tearing both the Democrats a new one along with the Republicans for not taking action sooner with Obama and the American people for not marching on Washington with pitchforks.

      • Jeanne Stotler says:

        After the convention I believe you will see more aggressiveattacks on bboth sides.

      • Brentha says:

        I really like your post. You have told it like it is. The American people are mad. This one(me) am Furious. But you know what I can't figure out? Is why No One Has the Guts to Impeach Obama and all his Cronies – my goodness they Impeached Nixon for Far Less. ( Didn't care for Nixon – but was just stating a fact).

    10. toledofan says:

      It's pretty clear that both men share a similar ideology but, I think, this is just another example, on Obama's part, of a skewed perspective of how dangerous the world is and the lack of a cohesive foriegn policy strategy that addresses the problems. It's clear that Obama would rather appease his enemies rather than engage them and it shows the lack of leadership on his part for not understanding the real perils we face. I think, in general, he just sees foriegn policy as a distraction and if he just ignores it the problems will go away.

    11. Paul Rider says:

      Hugo must be rolling on the floor laughing at what a fool Obama is. Did Obama notice when Hugo welcomed his friend Ahmadinejad to Venezuela? Does he have a clue that Hugo could allow Iran to set up missiles there? Obama belongs in Chicago, so let's do our part to send him there in January.

    12. Fox needs to show the movie the Manchurian Candidate just before election day.

      • Juan Martinez says:

        Which one, the old one with Angela Lansbury, or the new one (2004) with Denzel Washington? I vote for the old one. And why Fox? You don't think people will watch it if it's on any other network?

        • None of the other networks would show it, Especially just before the election. The broadcast networks almost totally support the President. The President hates the fox network. Look at what happned in Amherst, Ohio when Obama stopped at Ziggy's, a bar restaurant. He asked that they turn the channel because they had Fox News on.

    13. Scott from Maine says:

      Do not put forth stupidity to account for Obama's actions that is better explained by malice.

      • tsing says:

        It is the plan for the future of the country, the young have been prepared in our schools , its a take over , and the time is ripe for that to happen " as planned" Obama is no fool nor the people that have planned this from the beginning , well looks like the other side is winning don't it ?

    14. Larry White says:

      "In all due respect" Amy, ( just learned that from a Liberal Elite)*, Obama knows but Obama doesn't care. In fact, I believe Obama envies Chavez's power and will seek to emulate the tyrants and dictators if re-elected!
      I also believe, if not re-elected , Obama will attempt more illegal actions between November 6, 2012 and January 20, 2012 than his entire Presidency. Narcissist Socialists are Dangerous.
      God Bless America

      * I will never use that phrase again.

    15. Jose Stelle says:

      Obama is not a "naive" observer of Hugo Chavez. He admires Chavez the way FDR admired Stalin. Practically all American analysts also fail to see the whole picture. Chavez is carrying out Castro's plan, announced in Tehran in 2001: By gathering as one active coalition, the enemies of the US can harass, tie up, and defeat the giant Gulliver. Obama and his people are harassing Gulliver from the inside using Lenin's "consolidation of forces" by the "occupation of spaces" within the State. He aims at a one-party State.

    16. rayr says:

      Are you kidding me?!?!? He didn't fail to see anything, these are exactly the kind of people he wants crossing our borders. He wants a national disaster so he can declare martial law. Are people so dang blind they can't see this.

    17. Sidney D King Jr. says:

      Obama is a communist just like Hugo Chavez the quicker we get h
      im out of office the better off the USA will be.

    18. AN American first says:

      We are counting the days until November when we can start bringing America back to fiscal, social and constitutional sanity. CONSERVATIVES UNITE TO RID OUR COUNTRY OF OBAMAMANIACS WHOSE FAILED SOCIALISTIC POLICIES WILL COST US OUR VERY LIBERTY WHILE WE BEG THE WORLDS FORGIVENESS FOR OUR SUCCESS. Otherwise we deserve the OBAMAGEDON that will surely follow.

      • stephen says:

        Yeap, Conservatives united to bring this country to its current state of fiscal deficits and constitutional avoidance, yeap they got us here!

    19. blained13 says:

      One socialist Marxist agreeing with another one, go figure!

    20. Casey Carlton says:

      Senator Rubio said it very well. Obama is living under a rock. But, it is appropriate. He belongs under a rock.

    21. Gary Warren says:

      Thanks for the interesting facts about Hugo Chavez and Obama's apparent lack of concern about the threat he poses. Is it that he doesn't see the danger or that he refuses to acknowledge these things because of a relationship, financial or otherwise, that he has with this well known dictator????? It is hard to believe that Obama is oblivious to these threats. Either way, the agenda is troubling one and is yet another very important item on a GROWING list of reasons pointing to the need for a new group of leaders in Washington!

    22. michaelp says:

      Chavez said a few years ago, that he never SEEN A COUNTRY GO COMMUNIST SO SOON !

    23. Jeanne Stotler says:

      The old expression, Birds of a feather flock together , Obama has from the get go bowed, acknowledged these people, while insulting our allies, I've said before and I'll repeat, this is a dangerous, evil man and he needs to be watched closely, he's not going to ride off into the sunset without a fight and some scull dugery.

    24. Oscar Brown says:

      President Obama has not been living under a rock, he ahs been trying his utmost to make us subservient to Venezeula and the other radical nations. In his eyes, we deserve nothing less. Time for a change so we do have hope.

    25. Bob Ward says:

      OBAMA– The "Clueless Wonder!" It is sooo comforting that Obama is overseeing our country's national security–sleep tight tonight!

    26. Mike Sheahen says:

      "Obama fails to see serious impact of Hugo Chavez". In the words of General Schwarzkopf (U.S. Army retired), "Bovine scatology"! It's evident enough that Obama was parented and raised by Marxists, to be a Marxist, and, as shown by his own books, associations, appointees, nominees, and other words and actions, he continues being a "rigid idealogue" dedicated to such a divide and conquer agenda, along with his domestic and international Comrades, including Hugo Chavez! So of course not only will Obama and his "administration" let it be their "attempts to improve relations with the anti-American Chavez have yielded little more than empty gestures", but of course he will play blind to the serious impacts of such as Chavez and ignore, and even deny, the facts which show them so. Once again, the only way to really remedy this and other situations which are costing the people everything is to get such Statists as Obama out of power.

    27. Am I wrong in saying that Hugo Chavez owns Citgo gas? I see people buying gas at Citgo and wonder if they know they are supporting Hugo Chavez.. I wish the Morning Bell would have mentioned that so people would know.

      • dodger says:

        No, you are not wrong. I just finished researching it. The Venezuelan government owns Citgo and Chavez owns the government. There are, however, some nuances in this situation and I recommend searching the question at Ask.com or Snopes.com before deciding to boycott Citgo. That being said, I refuse to buy Citgo gas, although I will patronize convenience stores carrying that brand for other items because he doesn't own the stores, only the brand of gas.

    28. RennyG says:

      Good comment by "Rayr!" What do you mean He doesn't see, THIS IS HIS PLAN!!!! THE ALINSKY THEORY!!!!
      This guy is setting himself up to be a dictator of our country!!! Can't you "leaders" see that???? Has anyone plotted his doings against the Alinsky Theory??? I think someone should re-focus on something other than "TAX OR FEE!!!" You are wasting my tax money!!
      I will be on my knees talking to the "one in charge that I can count on, our God!!!"

    29. tom says:

      This guy is a complete idiot, he does everything backwards, is just not qualified at all. We have to get him out in Nov., if not sooner, while we still have a slight chance of hope to get this country back intoa great nation! Vote the idiot out now!!

    30. Steve says:

      The communist party has infiltrated the W.H. Our commie leader , BO, along with Chavez are really in the same party. However, none of us are going to join that party. How many more days of B.O.?

    31. @JYAC2 says:

      Does Obama truly believe in individual liberty and freedom when he seems to consort so easily with despots such as Chavez, and bows to terrorist shieks?

      Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

    32. the moderate says:

      The CIA tried to make a coup to overthrough Chavez in 2002, because they didnt like the way he fairly and liberally distributed his oil wealth in his nation. CIA started phony proganda within his country amongst the poeple, spreading misleading information and such amongst the poeple . The minor coup failed and Chavez had been this way ever since.

      Remember, iran is radical 2day, because the brits and the CIA overthrew a sane legitment democratic iranian leader in the 1950's because of the way he was handling his oil well industry, a phony yes man shaw-of-iran was put in, the shaw was exposed by the poeple, then the radicals toke over.

    33. Bobbie says:

      The more dangerous the more he fits in. He isn't protecting America he's spitting on her dumping mounds of his bs to suffocate her inherent nature to uglify her beauty!

    34. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Obama's the problem. Chavez is the BIG PROBLEM.

    35. dodger says:

      The Venezuelan government owns Citgo gas and Chavez owns the Venezuelan government. There are, however, some nuances in this situation and I recommend searching the question at Ask.com or Snopes.com before deciding to boycott Citgo. That being said, I refuse to buy Citgo gas, although I will patronize convenience stores carrying that brand for other items because he doesn't own the stores, only the brand of gas.

    36. Brad says:

      Sigh…

      You know, very few people in these countries are ACTUALLY anti-American. They happily import pieces of our culture, listen to our music, watch our movies, generally respect us as a people and want to emulate our values of personal freedom and respect for the individual, as well as our piles and piles of wealth. It's our government, corporate institutions, and military intervention that people (and their governments, oppressive or otherwise) ever have a problem with.

      That said, so what if Chavez is anti-American? So what if he's on the "Bad" side? That doesn't mean he's an actual threat. Try to imagine if Venezuela invaded us! That'd be a short war. So what if he keeps company with communists and whoever else is on our list of baddies? Just because somebody shouts and yells in front of a microphone that we're Satan or whatever, doesn't mean they present a real threat to the U.S. Goodness gracious people, our military spending exceeds the next 10 countries' military spending combined, more than half of us are well-armed, and the worst thing that has happened to us in the last 50 years only lasted a day and it was a fluke that some religious nutcases actually pulled it off.

      I'm not convinced that Chavez is any more aggressive than we are, but if he is then let our intelligence agencies handle it. There's no need to be scared of the big bad wolf, because the big bad wolf is actually a little tiny puppy-dog compared to us. You can sleep tight.

    37. saintpio1 says:

      Com'on Heritage!! He knows exactly what he's doing and sees!!!

      PLEASE GOD ENLIGHTEN YOUR PEOPLE!!

    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.

    ×