Sunday, September 25, 2005

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Is NOT On Rocky Relations ... Bush Is!

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Is NOT On Rocky Relations ... Bush Is! guest commentarist  Fernando E. Perez Pena writes: The Ted Koppel interview with President Hugo Chavez Frias, coming on the heels of the Venezuelan President’s presentation at the United Nations says a great deal about United States’ foreign policy as well as about Mr. Chavez.

Mr. Koppel’s questions were typical of the US press corps in the attempt to derail Chavez or anyone else who might have any criticism of the current regime’s foreign policy. Going into the President’s personal history and the history of his parents and grandparents is of absolutely no consequence.

In spite of Koppel's insinuations, President Chavez acquitted himself admirably when questioned on the issue of oil and if Venezuela might use the withholding of oil as a weapon.

The question was designed to make President Chavez appear to be “the bad boy.”

Mr. Chavez is a Head of State, and as such, has an absolute right to travel freely in other countries, with his own security forces. Under international law of many centuries, the attempt to assassinate a Head of State is classed as terrorism. And, the call by Pat Robertson for the assassination of President Chavez is a call for terrorism.

That call is punishable under US Law as well; but there has been no accusation, let alone an indictment of Robertson. Robertson has simply been permitted to deny he ever said it and that the listeners and viewers misunderstood him.

The United States’ perpetrating and fomenting terrorism has a long history.

Disrespect for the sovereignty of other nations apparently knows no limit when it comes to the empire. (In that statement, one can also read it to mean the Spanish empire, the French, the British, the Japanese, the Roman, Greek, Persian and any other nation that has had an empire).

The golden rule applies here: “He who has the gold, makes the rule.”  Also, in more modern terms, read that to say that he who has the aircraft carriers and the missiles makes the rule.

In 1898, the United States seized Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Guantanamo without a “by your leave.” In the mid-1980s, the United States Navy bombarded the only petroleum refinery in Nicaragua during the Sandinista so-called “communist regime.” That bombardment was so blatant that when the Nicaraguan government sued the United States in the World Court in the Hague, Nicaragua was awarded eight billion dollars (that is with a “b,” not an “m”) for the damages.

Of course the United States never paid; they simply ignored the World Court, claiming the Court did not have jurisdiction.

When the Sandinista government was ousted in 1990, after the US had orchestrated and subsidized the “contras” for years, not only with money, but also with weaponry and open support for the opposition parties, the new president of Nicaragua, Violeta Chamorro, hand picked by the State department, forgave the judgment in exchange for a “foreign aid” gift of $100 million. That gift was not as reparations for the direct damage done but for “humanitarian” reasons.

During the 1980s, when the Nicaraguan government attempted to send Nora Astorga, a Sandinista revolutionary to the United Nations as its representative, our president Reagan, without any authority in US or International law, decreed that she could not enter the US because she was a murderer. Effectively Reagan told the Nicaraguans that they do not have the right to choose who may represent them at the United Nations.

Fighting to overthrow the brutal inhuman Somoza  dictatorship makes her a “murderer” and therefore, a “terrorist.” Terrorists may not enter our country. She had never been charged in any court of law, let alone convicted or sentenced on any criminal charges. Reagan simply took it upon himself to brand her with that tag.

Bush uses the same technique to keep Chavez’ team from leaving the airport.

  • I am curious why he did not actually prohibit Chavez himself from attending the UN.

Nora Astorga was not a Head of State but I suspect the difference has something to do with Bush’s reliance on Venezuelan oil. Nicaragua had no oil and still doesn’t, that we know of.

Nicaragua is second only to Haiti in the number of times that the United States has intervened militarily, William Walker’s invasion in 1854 was the earliest this writer knows of. Had Walker not attempted to double-cross Commodore Vanderbilt, he probably would have consolidated his regime and stayed in power. Vanderbilt purchased the services of Guatemalan, Honduran, Salvadoran and Costa Rican mercenaries to get rid of Walker.

I bring this up only to show that Bush has a long history of imperialist antecedents in blocking President Chavez’ medical and security staff from entering the United States with their President.

They were physically here but are prohibited from leaving their airplane.

Looking into the question of terrorism and the “war on terror,” one can ask: Why are five Cubans imprisoned for having alerted the US government to a terrorist plot to attack Cuba, a nation with which the US is at peace. The scheme was hatched and carried out from Florida.

The Cubans were charged with espionage and after a kangaroo trial in Miami, were sentenced to various severe prison terms. (the 11th Court of Appeals recently overturned their convictions, with a 93 page decision denouncing the rigged trial.) The plotters of the attack walk freely and are permitted to seek political asylum.

Luis Posada Carriles is such a figure: A Cuban by birth; with no particular credentials in the Batista government; a CIA agent, instrumental in the Bay of Pigs fiasco, a naturalized Venezuelan citizen wanted for crimes in Venezuela; convicted of terrorism in Panama; released on order from the US, jailed in Venezuela for his criminal activity there; escaped the Venezuelan jail through direct involvement of the US, now seeks political asylum in Texas.

Please understand, the United States is my country but I do so hate to be ashamed to admit that the United States is one of the greatest perpetrators of terrorism the world has ever seen.

What greater terror than the invasion and occupation of Iraq?

In his presentation to the United Nations, along with his interview with Ted Koppel, Hugo Chavez Frias, President of a sovereign nation, has spoken eloquently about the need for humanity to treat one another as brothers.

If the United States foreign policy holds the United Nations captive and does not permit foreign Heads of State to travel freely to the UN headquarters on official business, then the seat of the United Nations should be removed from New York and be established elsewhere.

But, where?

President Chavez suggests Jerusalem in his presentation at the United Nations, but Jerusalem, given the geographic location and the decades-long struggle between the Palestinian people and the State of Israel, is too fraught with severe problems to be an appropriate location. at least for now.

Chavez also mentions the Southern hemisphere. Certainly there is nothing wrong with Montevideo, Madagascar or many other places south of the Equator, which are or can be made available. (Certainly not the island of Diego Garcia, which has been turned into a US aircraft carrier and naval base.) La Paz, Bolivia, sounds great. Bolivia is named after Bolivar and La Paz is what we all want; it is south of the Equator.

The problem with removing the seat of the United Nations from the United States is that the United States might easily retaliate by removing itself from the United Nations.

President Wilson, author of the League of Nations, was totally unsuccessful in getting the US Senate to ratify entry into the League of Nations. In my mind, it is not clear whether the US participation in the league would have led to a different denouement from what happened between 1919 and 1939.

Fascism might have been slowed down if not stopped altogether.

Humanity paid with 100 million lives for WWII, and certainly one can argue that US participation in the League of Nations may have made a difference.

Perhaps a few less than the 100 million would have died ... but, that kind of conjecture is fruitless.

What is not fruitless is that the US can be classed as a “rogue state.” (a term coined by Ronald Reagan) It is not only Bush who bombs at will and at his pleasure. Reagan did the same.

As Chavez points out at the UN ... something must be done, NOW!

Any delay and we may all be dead.

Fernando E. Perez Pena

 Seattle (Washington) based Fernando E. Perez Pena is a naturalized US citizen, educated at Brooklyn College in New York (1946-1948) where he was awarded the Artibus Baccalaurei degree. Columbia University (New York 1948-1950) specializing in Hispanic and French literatures and Romance Linguistics.  New York University (1950-1960); awarded a Juris Doctor degree at Southwestern University, Los Angeles (1966-1970); postdoctoral Diplomate in Litigation at Willamette University, Salem-Oregon (1979); specialist in international labor organization at the National Public Administration Institute/Instituto Nacional de Administracion Publica in Managua-Nicaragua, (1988).


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