Monday, December 04, 2006


I would like to offer my congratulations to Hugo Chavez on being re-elected as president of Venezuela. There was a time when Latin America was caricatured as a continent of banana republics run by tinpot dictators; all too often, these governments' highest ideals were simply to fill their own pockets, and they cared not a bit for the welfare of the poor. But those days are drawing to an end: country after country is now embracing democratic elections like those in Venezuela.

I look forwards to hearing more significant congratulations for Mr. Chavez from the leaders of other countries which have long strived to promote democracy throughout the world, and in particular from President Bush. There have been times when the US's commitment to government "by the people, for the people" could have been seriously questioned, particularly in Latin America: the US's support for the overthrow of Allende's democratically elected government in Chile in 1973 and it's replacement with Pinochet's murderous dictatorship is a moment of great shame in American history.

But hopefully those days are now gone. Hopefully, the US will throw it's support behind Venezuela's newly re-elected government, and show the world that it really does believe that democracy is more important than profit.


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