Right-wingers celebrated the death this week of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him a dictator and much worse, but only because he wouldn’t play ball with American oil companies or refrain from criticizing hypocrites who put a noble spin on American power grabs in Iraq and other countries. Efforts by Chavez to improve life for the poor in Venezuela were sloppy and wasteful, but at least he wasn’t a front man for the sort of corporate thugs who run the show in our country.
And he had a flair for using humor to cut through the bullshit of those who are front men for corporate thugs. One of his finest moments was his speech at the United Nations in 2006, a day after George W. Bush spoke there:
The Devil is right at home. The Devil, the Devil himself, is right in the house. And the Devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the Devil came here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today. Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the Devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.
Even so-called liberals — Nancy Pelosi and her gang — didn’t like that speech. But Chavez was right. Watching videos of Bush lying to sell the war in Iraq, which started almost 10 years ago, is enough to turn the stomach of anyone with an ounce of decency, or a sense of humor. Bush was a front man for smarter villains, but stupidity is no excuse. He was the elected chief, and in that role willingly caused as much death and destruction as Saddam Hussein.
Chavez fought for the poor. Bush fought for Halliburton and ExxonMobil. The irony is that Bush — who had everything handed to him, even the presidency — probably will live into very old age, cocooned in wealth, still smelling of sulfur but far from the real world he and his homies did so much to harm.
Footnote: The mainstream media played a big part in helping the mediocre Bush become the monster who started two wars and wrecked our economy, but that’s another story.