Why does Venezuela scare the Bush Administration so much? Perhaps Hugo Chavez's popular leftist program has something to do with it:
Firmly in power and his revolution now in overdrive, President Hugo Chavez is moving fast to transform Venezuela's economy by bucking free-market planning with what he calls 21st-century socialism: founding state companies, seizing abandoned private factories and establishing thousands of cooperatives and worker-run businesses.Full article.
The populist government is reorganizing the country's colossal oil industry, taking a bigger share from private multinationals. Planners are reorganizing the banking system, placing stringent restrictions on lending while creating state banks. Venezuela is also developing a state-to-state barter system to trade items as varied as cattle, oil and cement as far away as Argentina and as near as Cuba, its closest ally.
"It's impossible for capitalism to achieve our goals, nor is it possible to search for an intermediate way," Mr. Chavez said a few months ago, laying out his plans. "I invite all Venezuelans to march together on the path of socialism of the new century."
Who cares if the Venezuelan people keep on electing Chavez? We are all for democracy, but not this kind of democracy.
Someone needs to page Ollie North. We can't allow socialism to develop in our backyard. Why? I'm not sure, but I'm a red-blooded American -- I ain't no Pinko -- and I ain't going to stand for no Latin Americans mucking about with communism.
But seriously, Chavez has some justification for dubbing Bush "Señor Peligro": Venezuela's sitting on a lot of oil, and the U.S.'s armed forces are still controlled by Cold War dinosaurs Cheney and Rumsfeld. What better way to go out than in a blaze of glory: bombing Latin commies and making their oil fields safe for ExxonMobil? It would be so -- retro.
Also, after the reception Bush received during his recent trip to South America, is anyone else wondering: Who doesn't hate us?