Saturday, August 1, 2009

Falling Behind Chavez

The old saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" may have its merits, but it's an axiom to which I rarely adhere simply because in the world of politics and liberty, saying nothing at all can be deadly. So I will compliment Venezuelan leaders for their blunt frankness regarding their intent to subjugate their citizens. It is a form of honesty which has yet to be practiced by our own leaders who still prefer stealth and feel-good subterfuge in order to achieve the same goal; domination of the people.

While Venezuela's Attorney General, Luisa Ortega, recently said - quite unabashedly - that "freedom of expression must be limited", our own elected officials balk at such forthrightness, opting instead to label those very same intentions as something disguised as beneficial to the people, i.e. the "Fairness Doctrine". There are striking similarities in both approaches, however, as the ideologies of oppressive regimes in Latin America and the Obama administration appear to be on a course of convergence.

For example, the recent ouster of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya saw the U.S. State Department standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Zelaya himself. It seems our own government is intent in helping to restore a socialist Zelaya - who attempted to circumvent the Honduran constitution - to power. Up until now, the United States had been a staunch foe of communist and socialist regimes.

Another stark similarity lies in the double-speak exhibited by Obama and certain majority members of congress, and that of their counterparts in Venezuela. While Attorney General Ortega proposes legislation that would punish owners of radio stations, television channels and newspapers who attempt to cause panic and "disturb social peace", Obama and congressional leaders continually accuse radio and television talk shows of "trying to scare the American people". How long it will take for them to attempt punitive action is anyone's guess.

Just as Obama continues to declare "facts" that contradict the facts from the Congressional Budget Office, for one example, Chavez recently denied - in direct contrast to the words of his own Attorney General Ortega - that he intended to silence his opposition, claiming that his administration fully respects freedom of expression. That sounds vaguely familiar.

As Obama would put it, "we just want to make it fair".

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