A few days back, Chavez offered to provide poor neighborhoods in the U.S. with cheap oil. (Unfortunately, Chavez made this offer standing next to Jesse Jackson.) Before Katrina blew in and pushed out all other news stories, the American media were in a frenzy trying to explain to us how evil it was for Chavez to offer to help the poor. More recently, Venezuela has offered to send relief workers to the U.S. Meanwhile back at the ranch, dudes like Robertson are throwing a holy tantrum, comparing Chavez to Hitler. Chavez, we are told, is one of those paragons of evil, intent upon destroying the world. In other words, the poor are all nothing more than dangerous bums who deserve a swift kick in the ass. Our compassion and sympathy should be directed towards the super-wealthy.
Shrub is put forth as the ideal of conservative compassion. But comparisons between Chavez and Shrub don't show the latter in a good light. Chavez, after all, was democratically elected, and I'm not talking about some secret ballot passed around to members of Halliburton. And in contrast with Shrub's great concern for billionaires, Chavez seems to have cast his lot with the poor.
I find it odd to the extreme that U.S. corporate media would have such a negative reaction to the offer. It strikes me as a no-brainer that if some foreign entity wants to come to the U.S. and extend help to the poor, more power to them. And if they're doing it for not wholly pure reasons, who cares. If money and aid gets to those who need it most, we should all applaud the effort.
Other blogments on Chavez can be found at: Liberal Patriots, Venezuela Analysis, News and Opinion, The Soapbox, and Rhode Island's Future.