Chavez no laughing matter


Despite the oppressive nature of his totalitarian government, Cuba’s Fidel Castro still gets a warm welcome in the United States by many American leftists.

But as Castro fades, the revolutionary left needs a new hero — and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez apparently is fitting the bill.

We couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of him at a Harlem church, arm-in-arm with actor Danny Glover, shortly after Chavez made a fool of himself at the United Nations, where he denounced President George W. Bush as a “devil” and ranted about a variety of other things.

Fortunately, this foolishness was too much for many Democrats, who were uniform in the denunciation of Chavez. The New York Post criticized the Dems for being only political here, but whatever the motives, their denunciations of Chavez were warranted and appreciated.

Said New York Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel: “You don’t come into my congressional district, and you don’t condemn my president. I just want to make it abundantly clear to Hugo Chavez or any other president: Don’t come to the United States and think because we have problems with our president that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that Americans do not feel offended when you offend our chief of state.”

California Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi called Chavez an “everyday thug.” Other Democratic foes of President Bush, including Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and former President Bill Clinton, chimed in with similar harsh statements.

In Venezuela, criticism of Chavez will land a citizen in jail for 40 months.
Under Chavez’s increasingly despotic regime, critics are imprisoned, opposition candidates die mysteriously, critics find themselves on trial for treason, the courts are packed with Chavez allies, property is expropriated, and individual rights are eroded.
While Americans find Chavez an entertaining nuisance, his antics in his home country take on a far more serious nature.