Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has anti-American friends in the Western Hemisphere.
In a move to exert his somewhat newly minted leadership status, Nicolas Maduro, the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor, sent a very colorful letter to President Obama pleading with him not to intervene in Syria.
Laced with humanitarian rabble and lyrics from a John Lennon song, the letter described the country that used weapons of mass destruction against its own citizens as “noble.” Maduro reasoned that the U.S. should not fight against Assad because it would bolster terrorist groups to power in Syria, a claim that could have been taken seriously had it not been thrown between quotes from such disparate historical figures as Simon Bolivar, Malcolm X, and Jesus.
In reality, Maduro’s view on Syria is nothing new. It flows from Chavez’s lingering legacy of “Chavismo,” which brands itself as an odd mixture of socialist policies, conspiracy-riddled rhetoric, and heady anti-Americanism. Throughout the past few years, in fact, Venezuelan leaders have consistently “courted Assad” by establishing a strong tie of diplomatic and economic relations. These relations were consistently focused on countering U.S. influence around the globe and making public condemnations of Israel.
Other bedfellows of Assad and Chavez included the leaders of Iran and the terrorist organization, Hezbollah. Under Maduro, these relations have only continued.
If the continued paranoid, anti-Americanisms touted by Maduro weren’t enough, Venezuela’s support of Syria should serve as a reminder that the South American nation is no friend of the U.S. Maduro’s letter only further reveals the existing symbiotic relationship between the Venezuelan president and Syria’s tyrannical leader.
The United States should not support a Venezuela that has a policy of reinforcing rogue regimes and has no respect for democracy or human rights. While American leaders have indicated a willingness to improve relations with the South American country, the U.S. should not act until we see real changes in Venezuelan policy.
Mary Moody is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.