Obama-Chavez: The Handshake heard around the world

April 19, 2009

Barak Obama goes and shakes Chavez’ hand and all of a sudden everything is peachy and the US President seems to have lost his ignorance in Chavez’ eyes as Hugo quickly suggests exchanging Ambassadors and even names one right away. Meanwhile on the side of the formerly ignorant US President he is criticized for his quick rapproachement with our dear thug.

Obama defends himself, saying a handshake does not represent a change in US policy and I agree. Chavez is now Obama’s buddy, but let’s see how long its lasts and whether this was that Chavez was on a high or simply he was so star struck that he left all his hate and biases behind. After all Chavez has always been like a little kid when meeting legends, including Fidel Castro, Shea Stadium or the Emperor of Japan. And he thinks others are as star struck as he is, but as Obama clearly stated, a handshake will simply not change a country’s policy. He was, of course, speaking for the US, but for Venezuela it did chnage it and it may be chanegd back at any time depending on our dicator’s mood.

And that is why the whole thing will not last. Because Chavez has now embarked his Government in an adveture that sidesteps democracy and it is unlikely that Obama will ignore than even if we own Citgo. A simplistic and silly argument if I ever heard one. The truth is that Obama seeking Chavez out will have zero influence on what Chavez does and soon Chavez will regress to name calling and insults when the State Department points out his dictatorial ways.

And Obama should have asked Chavez what he did with the billions of dollars Venezuela received in the last ten years and if Galeano’s book includes a description of why the money, more than the US’s TARP program, barely helped in solving Venezuela’s problems. Of course, Galeano’s book was written well before Chavez’ time, but tries to blame other for our own failures. Our problems are not only our own but we have made little headway into solving them as we continue to resort to ideological solutions which have little to do with looking for the well being of our population.

And some are still waiting for Chavez’ bombastic declaration that he would boycott what he could not boycott, but by now he is saying that he obtained the biggest triumph in the country’s history, a statement he would have made no matter what happened at the Summit.

Except he didn’t, because his words and insullts were left hanging in the air of hos own superficiality, while the US President left now doubt that it was he who took the offensive and it was Chavez who was shown to have lightweight positions, which can be changed with a handshake and will be changed back again for whatever random reason he may decide to pick a fight with the Empire once again. And he will.

11 Responses to “Obama-Chavez: The Handshake heard around the world”

  1. sofia Says:

    mayo 3,2009
    cuando leí el libro de Galeano, o mejor dicho emècé, vi que no era más que usna muestra de izquierdismo equivocado, invocando a la autocompación y a bajar el nivel de los pueblos latinoamericanos. Cuando salió el libro de Marcos Cantera Carlomagno, LAS VENAS TAPADAS DE AMERICA LATINA, me di cuenta que lo que estaba leyendo era la explicación clara de lo que nos pasa.
    En cuanto a los comentarios que hacen otras personas sobre la reacción del presifente OBAMA, mirando varias veces en los informativos de distintos canales de cable, considero que no fue más que una reacción de sorpresa y de educación frente a lo que no esperaba, y al hecho de estar recibiendo ese
    inesperado regalo

  2. Lester Hunt Says:

    Bravo! An excellent statement.

  3. Deanna Says:

    Maybe, someone can suggest to Amazon.com that they offer both books together (“Veins” and “Guide”) with a discounted price, so that people who are overwhelmingly buying out the Galeano book won’t have a one-sided, distorted view!!!!

  4. Kolya Says:

    I confess that I have not read any of Galeano’s books, but Plinio Apuleyo’s book is a good one. How about Carlos Rangel’s “Del buen salvaje al buen revolucionario”? A great book. It was written over thirty years ago, but it still holds up very well.

  5. Milonga Says:

    I think the book that Obama should have had under his sleeve was “Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot” by Plinio Apuleyo, Carlos Montaner & Álvaro Vargas Llosa, presented by Mario Vargas Llosa where the authors intelligently challenge and rebuke all the populist ideologies and myths described in “Veins”. There’s also an excellent book by Marcos Cantera Carlomagno called “The Blocked Veins of Latin America” (Venas Tapadas de América Latina), that I don’t think has been translated to English: http://www.entrelibros.com.uy/cgi-bin/entrelibros/buscar/112955932475?isbn=9789974675100&funcion=ver
    For those that read Spanish, there’s an excellent comment on the book.

  6. tejano maracucho Says:

    why did obama neglect to respond to chavez’ gift with a copy of “animal farm” by george orwell
    for spanish speakers it is ” rebellion en la granja”
    i brought 100 copies to venezuelan friends 8 years ago and the message past over all most all of thier heads.
    that is how chavez stays in power.

  7. Kolya Says:

    Hayek and Friedman could also be rather dogmatic in their views. Let me offer a few words that Richard Posner wrote shortly after Milton Friedman’s death (Posner is a pragmatic economic conservative.) It’s mainly about Friedman but Hayek is mentioned at the end.

    I find slightly off-putting what I sensed to be a dogmatic streak in Milton Friedman. I think his belief in the superior efficiency of free markets to government as a means of resource allocation, though fruitful and largely correct, was embraced by him as an article of faith and not merely as a hypothesis. I think he considered it almost a personal affront that the Scandinavian nations, particularly Sweden, could achieve and maintain very high levels of economic output despite very high rates of taxation, an enormous public sector, and extensive wealth redistribution resulting in much greater economic equality than in the United States. I don’t think his analytic apparatus could explain such an anomaly.

    I also think that Friedman, again more as a matter of faith than of science, exaggerated the correlation between economic and political freedom. A country can be highly productive though it has an authoritarian political system, as in China, or democratic and impoverished, as was true for the first half century or so of India’s democracy and remains true to a considerable extent, since India remains extremely poor though it has a large and thriving middle class–an expanding island in the sea of misery. What is true is that commercial values are in tension with aristocratic and militaristic values that support authoritarian government, and also that as people become economically independent they are less subservient, and so less willing to submit to control by politicians; and also that they become more concerned with the protection of property rights, which authoritarian government threatens. But Friedman seemed to share Friedrich Hayek’s extreme and inaccurate view that socialism of the sort that Britain embraced under the old Labour Party was incompatible with democracy, and I don’t think that there is a good theoretical or empirical basis for that view. The Road to Serfdom flunks the test of accuracy of prediction!

  8. amieres Says:

    “I will never understand … why the US is now the great empire that is to blame for all the corruption, poverty, illness, etc. in the 3rd world countries”

    Indeed, but then again, historic distortion and misinformation is one of the fundamental tools of fascism. It’s such a powerful and surprisingly easy to use tool.

  9. Deanna Says:

    Deananash, I wish this book could be translated to Spanish (unless it already is) and made available to every Venezuelan. It’s simple enough that even the most “illiterate” (although there are no illiterates in Venezuela, according to Chavez and cohorts) would understand what they have been going through and continue to do so. On another topic and related in a way, is the continued insistence of many developing countries in Africa, LA and Asia on the guilt of the so-called empire (the US) for their present troubles. This is because many of their so-called leaders still believe in the “dependency theory”, evils of slavery which forcedly emigrated peoples from their native lands, the sacking of natural resources from Africa, Asia and LA by the “empire”, etc. However, these so-called intellectuals still tend to be blind to certain facts: that slavery did not start with the exploration and exploitation of the colonies; slavery existed long before that and actually practiced by the same people on their own; that the US came late into the colonial game and never really had a colony of its own. I would even venture to say that they freed at least three colonies from the Spaniards: Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, and at least to the Philippines brought universal health and education to the population which Spain never did. One of the first acts of the US government when they took over those former Spanish colonies was to send medical doctors and teachers to those islands. Thus, I will never understand (unless the people who blame the US are not so historically savvy) why the US is now the great empire that is to blame for all the corruption, poverty, illness, etc. in the 3rd world countries.

  10. firepig Says:

    “And he thinks others are as star struck as he is,”

    exactly !more than likely he doesn’t see how many others can see right through that.

  11. deananash Says:

    Slightly off-topic, but not really. Venezuela’s recent nightmare (history) was written more than 50 years ago, and you can read a shortened comic book version (just 5 minutes long) of it here: http://mises.org/books/TRTS/

    The book is, The Road to Serfdom, by Nobel prize winning economist Friedrich A. Hayek.

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