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Venezuelan newspapers were ablaze yesterday with reports on the seemingly traitorous actions of Venezuela's Archbishop, Baltazar Porras, who heads the Council of Bishops of Venezuela.

A WikiLeaks document (See Cable)  from January, 2005, details a visit to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas on January 6, 2005, by Porras, the highest serving Catholic bishop in Venezuela, Archbishop of Venezuela.  Porras sought the help of then U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield and his government in "containing the aspirations" of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez.
 

To this end, the Archbishop offered the U.S. government the use of the Catholic church's infrastructure and programs within Venezuela, and especially those within the barrio or ghetto areas, to strengthen the fight against Chavez and his Bolivarian socialism.

Archbishop Porras told the U.S. Ambassador that the U.S. must be "more explicit" in its criticisms of Chavez, who he referred to as a "large problem" that must be "dealt with rapidly".

The Archbishop wanted the U.S. to mount an international campaign as well as an internal campaign within Venezuela against President Chavez.

Porras specifically asked the U.S. Ambassador to institute an international campaign to attack President Chavez in Latin America and Europe.  

The Archbishop indicated that Brazil's president, Lula da Silva, had been asked to participate in such a campaign, but that da Silva had declined. He expressed disappointment that Europe had been too weak to take such actions, especially since Spain's former conservative President, Jose Maria Aznar, was no longer in a position of power.

Undoubtedly, the Archbishop is also quite disappointed that former Spanish dictator, General Francisco Franco, is no longer alive to counter Hugo Chavez.  Undoubtedly, Archbishop Porras would favor a General Franco to wipe out Venezuelan socialism.  Porras actively supported the 2002 right-wing coup d'etat against Hugo Chavez in 2002. His chosen candidate to replace the democratically elected Chavez was  the then president of the Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce (Fedecámaras), Pedro Carmona.  Carmona's first acts as putative president after President Chavez was kidnapped from the presidential palace was to abolish all the democratically elected institutions in Venezuela as well as the Supreme Court.

Archbishop's repetitive attacks against President Chavez almost become laughable, as he consistently criticizes Chavez for being undemocratic.  Coming as it does from a top official in one of the most undemocratic organizations in the world -- the Catholic Church -- and especially from an official who enthusiastically supported an anti-democratic coup d'etat, his complaints about democracy ring very hollow.

In today's "Pico Bolivar", a major newspaper in Porras's home state of Merida Venezuela ("Pico's website no longer carries this story),Porras responds to the news of his conversation with Ambassador Brownfield by denying that the conversation, which was repeated in detail in Brownfield's cable, ever took place. He claims that WikiLeaks published calumnes against him, implicitly suggesting that the WikiLeaks cable was trumped up to attack him.

Just as the Catholic Archbishop lacks credibility when complaining about lack of democracy, so he lacks credibility in denying the authenticity of the Brownfield cable, one of 250,000 such cables to and from U.S. embassies all over the world.  Why would WikiLeaks take the time to falsely "calumny" a relatively unknown figure like Porras?

Porras committed a criminal act by actively supporting the 2002 coup, although President Chavez chose not to prosecute him.  One wonders if Chavez's restraint will continue when the WikiLeaks cable shows Archbishop Porras to have potentially committed yet another traitorous act by asking a foreign government to conspire to act inside Venezuela to attack its democratically elected President and his socialist government.

Originally posted to Justina on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:21 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (248+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    clyde, Pat K California, JekyllnHyde, Superskepticalman, cdreid, DeminNewJ, SLKRR, grollen, Marie, Jeff Simpson, RonV, nicolemm, mattman, cotterperson, mntleo2, hyperstation, lysias, NCrefugee, Richard Cranium, WI Deadhead, lzachary, AtlantaJan, Jerome a Paris, Gareth, Dumbo, opinionated, bronte17, conchita, TracieLynn, mint julep, susakinovember, DaleA, grassroot, ask, RabidNation, stevej, fishwars, slatsg, ornerydad, ctsteve, splashy, Cedwyn, wader, psnyder, Lawrence, gerrilea, under the bodhi tree, lcrp, alizard, Sophie Amrain, dkmich, walkshills, JayBat, tnorwood, Deward Hastings, TexasLefty, Josiah Bartlett, rmx2630, greeseyparrot, nehark, humphrey, bobdevo, Bluesee, NoMoreLies, JanetT in MD, CTPatriot, unclejohn, sc kitty, corvo, Superpole, grimjc, truong son traveler, Valtin, david78209, chidmf, Lepanto, reflectionsv37, Spoc42, Heartcutter, teknofyl, pasadena beggar, GreyHawk, lotlizard, ivorybill, babatunde, Sandino, neroden, coolbreeze, Ekaterin, Indiana Bob, danger durden, CJnyc, debedb, DisNoir36, elliott, Knucklehead, buddabelly, cas2, ActivistGuy, Yellow Canary, borkitekt, victoria2dc, koNko, ruleoflaw, buckstop, hideinplainsight, blueoasis, Derfel, JVolvo, joe shikspack, NearlyNormal, Preston S, MarciaJ720, totallynext, Akire, myrealname, Pilgrim X, Timothy J, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, agent, Cassiodorus, means are the ends, goinsouth, shaharazade, Statusquomustgo, HGM MA, Temmoku, markthshark, Nulwee, OHdog, PatriciaVa, tegrat, One Pissed Off Liberal, Boreal Ecologist, bluicebank, dotsright, yoduuuh do or do not, judybrennan, la urracca, HeartlandLiberal, Jimdotz, deepeco, aliasalias, getlost, wilderness voice, cadejo4, SeaTurtle, millwood, carpunder, pioneer111, Zydekos, eyesoars, trueblueliberal, MKinTN, kafkananda, cynndara, mn humanist, cruz, zerone, Involuntary Exile, jakebob, beltane, MrJayTee, TH Seed, happymisanthropy, mofembot, temptxan, D in Northern Virginia, petulans, nzanne, auctor ignotus, statsone, bluebelle7, pileta, J M F, driftwood, aufklaerer, ceebee7, cantelow, banjolele, m4gill4, h bridges, Nailbanger, mkor7, JesseCW, dRefractor, richrichthanki, allep10, realwischeese, Randtntx, French Imp, ratmach, catilinus, Larsstephens, ruscle, haensgen, henlesloop, pyegar, flitedocnm, roadbear, Johnnythebandit, wvmom, NoVAVoter, Radical def, Anak, duufus, hepshiba, shenderson, Earth Ling, eyesonly, jazzbuff, Funkygal, farbuska, Its a New Day, al ajnabee, Colorado is the Shiznit, Lost Left Coaster, croyal, AuroraDawn, QuestionAuthority, Situational Lefty, ubd, Billdbq, tfs1150, BarackStarObama, merrily1000, CKendall, Fire bad tree pretty, enhydra lutris, MuskokaGord, SoCalSal, Pierro Sraffa, DRo, No one gets out alive, JackLord, A Runner, AnnetteK, justme2122, Miep, farlefty, drnononono, cedar park, peachcreek, MinistryOfLove, TheGrandWazoo, MartyM, alm76, willie2011

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

    by Justina on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:21:51 PM PST

  •  Mustn't forget that Pope John Paul (112+ / 0-)

    decimated the Liberation Theology movement.  Thus reinforcing the church's preference for fascist governments that don't also self identify as communist.  That set back the peoples in Central and South America by a decade or two.  However, they seem to have learned something from those dark days that still completely escapes the average American.

    Bring Our JOBS and Troops Home NOW!

    by Marie on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:32:34 PM PST

  •  Two things (18+ / 0-)

    First, get some links up.

    And second, cut back on the the traitor stuff.  You report, we decide.  

    By the way, this is in no way an attempt to support the swinish Catholic Church leadership in South America.  They crushed the liberation theology folks and have supported the worst dictators imaginable.  But really, of their sins, opposing Chavez is very near the bottom of the list.  Traitor to Chavez is the least of the things I care about.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:33:10 PM PST

    •  And seriously (4+ / 0-)

      Please put the text of the post up, or link to it.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:35:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh for... (61+ / 0-)

      So he's not a traitor unless we American decide he is, and she's not right to have an opinion on this, when it's her own country?

      Feel free to agree or disagree with her opinion, but don't tell her she doesn't have the right to express it here. The damn rec list here is swamped with opinionated diaries every freaking hour.

      (-8.50, -7.64) "Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal', must necessarily be 'inferior'." - Hans Asperger

      by croyal on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:54:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My Diary, My Interpretation of Bishop's Actions. (53+ / 0-)

      You have the right to disagree with my characterization of Archbishop Porras actions as traitorous, but not my right to make that characterization.

      For the Archbishop of Venezuela to involve himself in tearing down the democratically elected government of this country by inviting a foreign power to use its church facilities to spread propaganda against that government is my definition of traitorous.  

      For a Catholic official who enjoys immense tax exemptions and receives government funding for its schools to involve himself in international intrigue against the duly elected government is, in my opinion, likewise traitorous.

      Porras disclaimer of having supported the coup is belied by the constant public attacks which he has made against Chavez since that time, and I accept the public statements of Chavez on this issue, given the news articles I have read in the local Venezuelan newspapers detailing Porras's constant public barrages against Chavez and his government.  (I have not retained copies of these stories and the Pico Bolivar website does not make its archives searchable.)

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:39:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Spread propaganda? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terjeanderson

        Nowhere in the cable did Porras "invit[e] a foreign power to use its church facilities to spread propaganda." Instead, Porras probably hopes to score some positive PR by having the ambassador or another embassy official visit some of the Church's social programs.

        Porras offered to facilitate any USG efforts at the community level to demonstrate that non-GOV entities – the church, the private sector, etc. – can have a positive impact on Venezuela's poor. He welcomed USG visits to church social programs in poor neighborhoods.

        In other words, "Please please please come visit my social programs so i can get my name in the newspapers." The ambassador probably made a comment that was the diplomatic equivalent of: "I'd love to, but my schedule is so busy right now. Maybe sometime next month/year/decade."

      •  Of course is is treason if you invite (14+ / 0-)

        foreign powers to tear down your government. That is more or less the definition of it.

        He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

        by Sophie Amrain on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:23:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terjeanderson, cynndara

          It is treason against your people if you fail to oppose a dictatorial government. Treason must be defined vis a vis the people, not the current leader. If it is defined as being against the king or dictator, rather than against the people, then any action to support the people against a dictator is "treason" - at which point the word deserves no respect.

          Was it treason when the US colonials got help from France? Treason against their fellow colonials? Or just against the King of England?

          •  Point. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Justina

            "but which is that Pretender
            and which is that King
            God bless us all,
            is quite another thing."

            It is often very hard to judge which is the greater evil when you are a couple thousand miles away and don't speak the language.  Perhaps we should simply keep our hands out of the pie and let the people actually involved make their own decisions.  OTOH, Wikileaks making the information available to those people so that they can better judge the motives of those who would lead them, is a valuable service.

          •  No, treason is a defined term. It applies to the (0+ / 0-)

            government. There are cases, where treason may be a good thing, e.g. some German resisting Hitler. I hope we can agree that tearing down Chavez would not fall in that category.

            He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

            by Sophie Amrain on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 03:20:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for your concern (17+ / 0-)

      I'm sure the people of Venezuela are relieved that you don't care much that their Bishops and the US were colluding to undermine and overthrow their democratically elected government.

      Otto Reich? Is that you?

      •  Wrong (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        arbiter, DruidQueen

        First off, Hitler was democratically elected.

        Second, Chavez has corrupted the elections, and just declared himself dictator - so much for any claim to democracy.

        •  I'm a fan of Chavez's activism for the poor (0+ / 0-)

          but he is no longer a legitimately elected leader, and Venezuela no longer has any credible claim to call itself a democracy.

          The Turner Diaries - the future that conservatives really want.

          by arbiter on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:11:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Comment Devoid of Facts. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slatsg, Sandino

            You throw out a baseless comment based on no facts or historical data.  Chavez has been elected twice by substantial majorities in internationally monitored elections that were found to be fair and honest.

            He likewise won a national recall referendum vote by a huge majority, a referendum that received enormous attention and scrutiny which international observers and their organizations also declared to be fair and honest.

            Chavez's party recently won comfortable a comfortable majority in their National Assembly election, comparable to our Congress.  Once again, international observers declared that election honest.

            Chavez lost one National Referendum in 2007 by less than 2 percentage point.  Chavez immediately accepted the results without even requesting a recount.

            Just what does Chavez have to do to be considered a democratically elected president in your strange estimation?

            Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

            by Justina on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 01:23:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  After spending some time reading the cable, (16+ / 0-)

      it's clear that it is not "proof" of treason. It doesn't detail a specific crime.  But given the patterns of Porras's activity, it certainly doesn't make Porras look innocent either.  Here's what I see in the cable:

      It does make clear that Porras is willing to consult with the representatives of other nations to advocate against Chavez and "the export of his revolution." Porras believes that "Latin America and Europe need strong leadership from the USG" on this issue -- in other words, he believes that the U.S. is the one who should "school" the region in correct government.  His acceptance of the referendum was "reluctant," and he has turned to the idea that the poor must be mobilized as a force against Chavez if Chavez is to be defeated.

      Very interesting to me, though, is Porras' comment on his waning ties with the military -- his disinvitation from change of command ceremonies indicates the Catholic church may be losing its influence there.  This is quite inconvenient for a Church that would likely enthusiastically back a military coup from the right.

      Finally, he is actually offering to "facilitate any USG efforts at the community level [emphasis mine] to demonstrate that non-GOV entities -- the church, the private sector, etc. -- can have a positive impact on Venezuela's poor." That's an invitation for the U.S. government to use the church and other sectors as a base for propagandizing against Chavez. It's shorthand for asking a foreign power to influence the progress of Venezuelan politics on Venezuelan soil.

      Think of it this way -- what if the Catholic Church in America went to a government hostile to Barack Obama's administration, and invited that government to use its facilities to create programs in poor neighborhoods to convince Americans that Obama is a dangerous socialist who should be ousted? And what if the officer of the Church who went to those governments had already been implicated in a previous military coup? We might call that... traitorous.

      •  Rec'd your comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terjeanderson

        But really, all the cable shows is that the Church would like there to be examples showing that not only Chavez can help the poor. Should helping the poor be a monopoly now? Are you against all foreign aid on the principle that it undermines local government monopolies on helping the poor?

        I feel like I've wandered into a Tea Party meeting. The discussion here is far adrift from the shores of reality.

        •  It's naive (5+ / 0-)

          to believe that all "the Church would like" are some examples that others can help the poor.  The Church (in the person of Porras) has already stated that his #1 goal is to rid Venezuala of Chavez.  "Helping the poor" (i.e., setting up a propaganda program sponsored by foreign governments in Venezuelan poor communities) is only a means to an end.

          You just have to look at the history of the Catholic Church in Latin America.  After the purge of the Liberation Theologists, the Church has been dedicated to pro-capitalist anti-democracy efforts everywhere that socialists have gained ground. It's a very conservative force in Latin America and has been dedicated to helping the rich rather than the poor. This is the Latin American reality.

          Comparisons to the Tea Party are very strange, in this context.  The threat of U.S. supported military coups in Latin America are quite real, so I'm not sure what fantasy you think you're referring to.

      •  Actually no. Take CITGO, for example (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terjeanderson, DruidQueen

        We don't even have to go to the ambiguous example of a non-profit international religious enterprise for this.  The Venezuelan-owned oil distribution company in the US, CITGO, has for years sponsored programs to help the American poor heat their homes, championed by local US politicians among others.  No one ever suggested the word "treason" for any of this.

        •  Not at all the same, and here's why (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justina, slatsg
          1. You're incorrect that no one suggested the word treason to describe the CITGO program. The program actually was the subject of a Congressional Inquiry in 2006, spurred, of course, by the Republicans (Joe Barton leading the charge). The Republican claim was that Chavez was interfering with U.S. oil policy. USA Today pondered whether CITGO was becoming a political tool for Venezuela in the U.S. They were particularly concerned with the idea that CITGO wasn't "acting like a business" -- i.e., it was putting profits over people. As late as 2009, Republicans were still claiming this when they commented on the program's short-term suspension:

          "It looks like the cost of bringing Fidel Castro's brand of rich-vs-poor politics to America just got to be too expensive for Venezuela's bellicose president, but it's hardly a surprise that he's pulling out of our economy now that he's crashed his own," said Larry Neal, deputy Republican staff director of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

          U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., once accused Kennedy of working with "a sworn enemy of the United States" and betraying the legacy of President John F. Kennedy, his uncle, who spoke of the perils of communism. (http://www.cleveland.com/...

          So there actually is an ongoing argument about whether the program should be allowed in the U.S. It's not fine with everybody.

          1. Of course the CITGO program is good propaganda for Venezuela, and there's little doubt that this is one of the reasons that Venezuela does it.  But it's crucial to remember that Citgo was the only oil company to respond to "calls by U.S. Lawmakers for energy corporations making record profits to help poor communities in the face of rising energy costs." (http://venezuelanalysis.com/...) The program is now in its fifth year (with an interruption in 2009 due to fuel prices), and is completely above board. It's even been defended by U.S. State Dept. spokesman Adam Ereli: "Citgo is an American company. They are helping Americans in need. That is a good thing."
          1. It's important to remember that official Ambassadors from Venezuala (and, in 2010, from Bolivia) are visibly involved in this program. This means it's done with the consent of the U.S. government -- if the government thought these Ambassadors had an interest in insurrection, it would demand a stop to their involvement and the program.  The CITGO program is clearly all about public relations, and not about the overthrow of the legitimately elected leader of the U.S.
          1. Venezuela is dealing with the U.S. directly in the CITGO situation.  There is no powerful leftist force in the U.S. that can play Porras' role or suggest that Venezuela put pressure on the Bush or Obama regime by turning the poor against the President. Quite the opposite: Venezuela stepped up to meet a U.S. request and offered humanitarian aid.  Such aid is always a kind of propaganda effort, but it's not the same as subverting the government. Porras, on the other hand, is directly suggesting that the U.S. government propagandize the poor with the intent of undermining Chavez and changing the government.  Military coups are a real possibility in Venezuela (as they are not in the U.S.), and the U.S. has recently supported a coup in a nearby nation. This makes Porras' request for American help in shifting Venezuelen politics immediately suspect.
          •  Superb Comments, hepshiba. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slatsg

            Unlike some of those who have posted comments to this thread which simply hurl mindless invectives without knowledge of the reality in Venezuela, your comments are delightfully factual and educational. Thanks for contributing your thoughts.

            Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

            by Justina on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 01:16:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  please read my response to his response below n/t (0+ / 0-)
            •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Justina

              I just try to call it as I see it.

              Most self-proclaimed U.S. progressives really have no idea of the history of progressive movements in Latin America and the fierce, unending repression they've endured. They spout the Administration line on Venezuela without even realizing they're doing it. I'm not sure how you can call yourself progressive if you're not familiar with Philip Agee, the overthrow of Allende, Covert Action Quarterly's exposes on the Contra Wars, the Iran Contra documents, the history of Liberation Theology, the Panama & Grenada invasons, the Sanctuary movement, the Nicaraguan revolution and its subsequent undermining by U.S. funded efforts, and so on, ad infinitum ad nauseum. But I find most American progressives painfully parochial these days.  When I was in college in the late 70s and early 80s, we were all reading about Latin & Central American liberation struggles, and we saw them as models for our own movements.  I was introduced to Victor Jara & Mercedes de Sosa, & Nuevo Cancion because everyone in my dorm was listening to them and talking about liberation movements, and tying that to the 1960s struggles of the Black Panthers, La Raza, and the American Indian Movement.  I'm not sure where that sense of connection has gone, but it's definitely missing these days.

              Now you only hear progressives talking about Mexico (immigration, drug war), with no real sense of attachment to the very exciting and hopeful movements that have gathered enough force to change the governments of nation-states in Latin America.

              •  You're dating yourself (0+ / 0-)

                Few progressives born after 1980 have much memory, or reason to remember, the Latin America struggles of the 1970's, 80's and into the early 90's.  Being not that young myself, I do, largely because I participated in them, on the ground, for years in Latin America itself.  I'm a vet of those struggles and have witnessed the violence directly. Not only am I familiar with the music you mention, I've lived and worked alongside the practitioners of Liberation Theology during the latter part of the Liberation Theology movement.  

                However, what you learn while in the field for a long time is that the world is a lot more ambiguous than it appears from the college dorm, lecture room, or in a social justice group of some kind. The heroes often have a lot of blood on their hands too, and the victims often seem not what they were described in the musica de protesta that so motivated us.

                But here's one big red flag for me with Chavez: I know lots of Venezuelans and other Latin Americans, particularly those of the activist, leftist variety given my own activism with immigration issues today. I know lots of Bolivians who love Morales, lots of Ecuadorians who support Correa, Nicaraguans who like Ortega, and Hondurans who love Zelaya.  I even know a few Cuban-Americans who like the Castros and what they have done for Cuba in a lot of ways and Columbians who like the FARC.  But for some reason, and I keep looking wherever I go, I cannot yet find a single Venezuelan expat who doesn't despise Chavez.  I'm sure there must be some, but nevertheless, something is messed up with that.  

                It could be just chance, but over the years, I doubt it.  I meet lots of non-Venezuelans who support Chavez. I meet lots of Venezuelans, most in fact, who supported Chavez in the past and worked on his campaigns in the 1990's or even 2002.  But I can't find anyone outside of Venezuela who still supports him -- only non-Venezuelans who have visited there like Justina or learn about it online or through social justice groups. There may be a good explanation for this, but, like I said, it's a red flag and suggests that Chavez really may be the tyrant that his many former supporters claim.

                •  Progressives need to study history (0+ / 0-)

                  and Latin American revolutionary history is both relevant and important to contemporary American progressive politics, whether American progressives realize it or not.  I'm 30 years past my "college dorm" days, which I mentioned only to point out that they were the beginning (not the end, as you suggest) of my understanding of the connection between Latin American progressive movements and U.S. progressivism.

                  It's interesting that your leftist expat friends all dislike Chavez, and it may be a red flag for you, but it does not "suggest" that Chavez is "the tyrant" many of his former supporters claim. Only evidence can suggest that -- anecdote can only encourage us to look for evidence. So if you find it, I'd be interested in seeing it.  

                  Nor have any of my arguments been based on "supporting Chavez". I'm not Venezuelen, and I don't vote for that country's president. But I wouldn't have to like the guy or approve of his leadership style to see a problem with what Porras is doing.  Even if Chavez were evil (which I am not saying he is), Porras' invitation to Americans to use the cover of the Church to propagandize against Chavez would still be a problem. American intervention in Latin American politics has rarely been benign -- it's always in American interests, and never in the interests of the people of the nations they're manipulating. And the record of the Church in siding with the rich and powerful in that part of the world is quite clear.

                  •  Can't disagree (0+ / 0-)

                    with your arguments regarding the record of US involvement and, at least in large part, of the Catholic Church in Latin America.

                    But how many Venezuelan expats, friends or not, do you actually know who support Chavez compared to those who don't?

                    I have actually followed up, informally at this point, on the curiosity from anecdote as you suggest (since I'm an academic now, it's what we call "an interesting question").  And so far, as I brought up in another response to Justina, the evidence appears to support a hypothesis that the people who changed their minds about Chavez seem to be middle class liberals.  Chavez turned against their interests more radically than the other leaders of his camp, but Chavez actually delivered on his campaign promises to his primary base -- slum dwellers, which now make up a plurality of Venezuela's, and most other 3rd World, populations -- people who live or work in the mostly impoverished but also largely informal economies and "perimetral" suburban regions the ring virtually all 3rd world cities today, from Shanghai to Baghdad to Caracas.

                    Chavez has been a political pioneer in developing a political constituency out of this largely self-centered and rightist-leaning (and thus difficult to organize) populist base and organized it under a nominally socialist (but primarily populist) ideology whose main philosophy is the tried and true slogan of taking from the haves and giving it to the have-nots. Ahmedinjad in Iran has found electoral success there with a similar approach to politics, as has Morales, Correa, and to a lesser extent Ortega and for awhile Zelaya. There are probably others as well, but Lula and Kirchner are definitely not in the same category.

          •  Your arguments support my point (0+ / 0-)
            1. It is a controversial topic in the US for precisely the reasons you've given, which makes it analogous to the charge against the Venezuelan bishop. And the CITGO fuel for poor program was instituted by Chavez specifically for the purpose of bolstering his image at the expense of American political authorities.  Nevertheless, American politicians and others who supported and helped to implement it have not been labeled "traitors," by the critics of the CITGO, which is the word under contention here.
            1. The Venezuelan Archbishop never suggests in the cables that the US support Venezuelan Church activities for the poor clandestinely or in any way that is not above board according to Venezuelan laws. Quite the opposite should be interpreted, since past US support for Catholic Relief Services in Venezuela and other countries, as well as other religiously based aid organizations has always been out in the open and transparent, as has been US support for more politically oriented civil society groups within Venezuela and other nations by American organizations such as the National Democratic Institute (the international political organizing arm of the Democratic Party that Chavez criticized as a tool of the CIA for overthrowing him in 2002) and the International Republican Institute (the Republican Party's counterpart).
            1. Venezuela is not dealing any more directly with the US government in its approach to CITGO, a US company owned by the government of Venezuela, than would be the US in providing financial aid through official channels to the Archdiocese of Merida, which is a Venezuelan non-profit, religious organization organized under the laws of Venezuela (not under the legal auspices of the Vatican, or the US in any way), again analogous to CITGO except for the for-profit orientation of CITGO.

            So the comparison, I think, is appropriate and direct.

            •  I fear you are unclear on your point (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Justina

              if you feel I've made it for you.  I'm not sure why you want to flog this CITGO comparison like a dead horse, but you're just dodging here.

              You repeat your incorrect assertion that no one in the U.S. called U.S. politicians and others who helped implement the CITGO program traitors. Though the word "traitor" isn't used in the quote above, "working with a sworn enemy of the U.S." makes the case pretty clear in combination with the raft of other Republican critiques. And if you want Republican rank and file spouting that exact word just google "CITGO heating oil traitor".  Neil Cavuto opened a 2006 show with a graphic that asked "Is It Treason" (with "yes" as a foregone conclusion).

              Are you serious when you mention the National Democratic Institute and dismiss its CIA connections? Philip Agee confirmed those links in 2005.  Makes me think you're shilling for the right wing here, are still a fan of Cold War era anticommunism, or else are truly ignorant of Latin American politics.

              What exactly is your investment in declaring Porras' innocence?  My investment in pointing out his perfidy comes from decades of familiarity with the history of CIA and secret U.S. government support for Latin American military interventions, as well as a strong background in the history of the Liberation Theology movement and its repression by the mainstream Catholic church, which has backed one right wing dictatorial regime after another. So I'm curious where you're coming from.

              •  "Traitor" is the key word here (0+ / 0-)

                and I was unaware of the Cavuto diatribe, so yes, that counts.  Justina is basically being a Neil Cavuto in this diary, if that was your point.  

                Whatever you, or the late Phil Agee, may think of the NDI and the unsubstantiated allegations of its funding source, the fact remains that it is a legal, public, and overtly progressive, pro-democracy organization affiliated with the Democratic Party, a US national political party of center-left persuasion. US support for anti-Chavez political action through the NDI has simply not  been clandestine, which is my point, and has instead followed Venezuelan laws regarding foreign support of domestic non-profit organizations. The Archbishop's suggestion the US also fund his organization for charitable purposes is therefore at least degree lower in controversy than the US's perfectly legal and documented support of anti-Chavez political groups through the NDI.

                I have made no such declaration of anyone's innocence in this. I'm just reading the cables and finding nothing to substantiate the accusation that he is in any way acting like a traitor. Merely being anti-Chavez is not being anti-Venezuelan or even against the constitution of Venezuela by any honest interpretation of a constitutional democracy of the kind Venezuela purports to be. I haven't even touched the problem that someone who isn't part of a government can ever be considered a traitor in a democracy for advocating a democratic change of governance, which is the only thing that one can imply from the text of the cable. Liberation theology and the CIA have nothing at all to do with this and to bring those points up is merely an ad hominem argument, not an honest one given the evidence of the text of the cables.

                •  An "ad hominem" argument (0+ / 0-)

                  is an attack on a person's character rather than on their argument. It doesn't apply here -- especially not in regards to comments about the history of the Church's repression of liberation theology & the CIA's involvement in various putatively "democratic" overseas organizations (thoroughly documented not only by Agee but by many other historians and scholars over the years).

                  You and I are simply going to disagree on the nature of the cable and what it reveals. I read it as part of larger narrative, and interpret it in a historical context I find defensible and useful.  You impute purity of motive to Porras. You emphasize the "charity" part of Porras's request, and I emphasize the political indoctrination part of Porras's request.  I think Porras' concern for "the poor" is the concern of the walrus for the oysters. I think Porras' remark about being disinvited from military ceremonies is meaningful. And I think it's pretty clear that Porras has previously been interested in non-democratic changes of government. I've made my arguments to support my points and you don't accept them, which is fine.

                  I get it that you don't like Chavez and that you think that maybe a change of government is a good idea -- I'll even credit you with believing that a democratic change of government is a good idea. I just don't think Porras is interested in the kind of democracy you claim to support. And claiming I'm not making "honest" arguments is the very ad hominem you falsely accuse me of making -- it's an attack on my character, not the quality of my evidence or the chain of my logic. So we're just going to have to agree to disagree here -- not that it matters very much to Venezuela what either of us thinks.

  •  Traitor? (33+ / 0-)

    I read the cable, and the Archbishop doesn't ask for weapons, or anything close to what could be considered support for a coup. The Archbishop asked the United States government to "be more clear and public in its criticism of the Chavez administration," and wanted U.S. officials to visit Church programs in poor Venezuelan neighborhoods.

    How is what the Archbishop did any different than any country's dissidents asking other countries to speak out against their government's policies? By your logic, we should charge Cindy Sheehan with treason, since she sought support from Chavez.

    •  Thanks (15+ / 0-)

      I was asking for the cable, because frankly the tone of the diary was a bit suspect.

      Chavez is a very complex figure, neither the demon or hero he often is portrayed as.

      But I gotta say, Chavez is way too chummy with this asshole for me.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:44:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Coup Was in 2002, Cable Was in 2005. (34+ / 0-)

      Two separate acts against Venezuelan democracy are  being discussed in this article:

      Archbishop Porras actively supported Carmona-led coup March and April of 2002.

      Archibishop Porras asked U.S. Ambassador and U.S. government to mount international campaign against Chavez and his Bolivarian socialism in January of 2002.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:52:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  [Citation Needed] (6+ / 0-)

        The other side of the story:

        Speaking on Union Radio, the president of the Committee on Culture and the Media of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Baltazar Porras, lamented the insistence of President Hugo Chavez in linking the Church to the coup attempt of April 2002. The archbishop recalled that at that time, Chavez himself thanked the bishops in private for having protected him, but in public he has repeated the "cliché" that is part of his manipulation to "beat up on and slander such an institution as the Church."

        "We’re facing a new attack that is intended to deny the Church’s participation at that time, which was very clear and transparent," Archbishop Porras said, pointing out that Chavez is trying to make the Church appear divided and that one group is with the people and one group is with the rotten leaders of the country." The archbishop noted that the same thing was said in the days after the events of April 11, 2002. "This contradicts what the president himself said on April 24 in a meeting with the bishops for several hours.  It’s interesting that the first words he said were of gratitude to Cardinal Velasco and secondly to me for our role in the events of those days and for protecting him."

      •  Visit was in January 2005 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rimjob

        The visit with the ambassador was in January 2005; that's also the date that appears in your diary. Your comment contains a typo, saying it happened in "January of 2002", which made it appear that the visit occurred just before the coup.

      •  Should Read January of 2005, above in Comment. nt (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, Larsstephens, sixthestate, Billdbq

        Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

        by Justina on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:26:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  no weapons mentioned....just this: (30+ / 0-)

      offered the U.S. government the use of the Catholic church's infrastructure and programs within Venezuela, and especially those within the barrio or ghetto areas, to strengthen the fight against Chavez and his Bolivarian socialism.

      In other words (given this claim is true), the Archbishop offered his extensive local quasi-governmental infrastructure to a foreign intelligence service for use in clandestine subversion of the legitimate government.

      Not the same as fully public grandstanding by a private citizen.

      A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1)

      by Boreal Ecologist on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:53:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmmm.... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inland, Nulwee, crankyinNYC, HiKa, erush1345

        The blockquote is hilarious considering what the cable actually says.

        Porras offered to facilitate any USG efforts at the community level to demonstrate that non-GOV entities -- the church, the private sector, etc. -- can have a positive impact on Venezuela's poor. He welcomed USG visits to church social programs in poor neighborhoods.

        The Archbishop wasn't offering up his Church to be a CIA safehouse. He wanted the attention a United States visit would bring, since he's scared of Venezuelan government interference in the Church's programs.

        Why would he feel that way? Well, the Venezuelan government seems to want everyone, either through nationalization or "reform," on the same page... so to speak.

        From Reuters:

        Venezuela's oil workers will be suspected of conspiring against President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution if they do not join socialist workplace groups in the OPEC nation, the oil minister said on Tuesday.

        Ramirez, who told oil workers to support Chavez ahead of his 2006 reelection, has long headed the president's drive to bring politics into Venezuela's main industry.

        "By now, there should not be a single counter-revolutionary in the heart of our company, our industry," Ramirez said at a rally with workers taken on by state-oil company PDVSA after it nationalized dozens of oil service companies earlier this year. "There cannot be a single PDVSA installation where socialist committees do not exist," he said. "Whoever is not in a committee will be suspected of conspiring against the revolution."

        •  Porras complaints in cable are fairly minor (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slatsg, Uberbah, happymisanthropy

          Just focusing on the cable, and the complaints that Porras makes in the cable, these are the only two examples of government interference in the Church's activities:

          1. The Catholic school system in Merida had to accept community representatives on their school board (no indications in the cable on how they were selected or elected). The Church didn't like the "revolutionary" reforms that these representatives advocated.
          1. Porras is no longer invited to "change of command" ceremonies for the military.

          He asked to have lunch with a foreign ambassador so he could complain about some school board representatives and not being invited to military ceremonies. You would think that he would have something more substantial to talk about.

        •  I don't see any problem with this, isn't this (13+ / 0-)

          what our educational system here in the US has as a goal?  For all of us to be on the same page?

          The results of Chavez's actions speaks volumes to his policies...

          Before Chavez, poverty was at 54% today is around 28%...

          http://www.scribd.com/...

          That's a huge improvement...something the fucking Catholic church didn't address or fix in over 400 years!

          http://www.yale.edu/...

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:04:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You can spin all the far right bullshit you want (7+ / 0-)

          Chavez has HUGE support in the DEMOCRATIC nation he runs. Which you so-called democrats seem to hate.  And of course any human in Venezuela who pressures workers to join Unions is a clear sign  that venezuela is clearly a nondemocratic totalitarian communist nation. Wake up. Use your brain.

          Voters will choose a person who fights a losing battle for his principles over one who fights winning battles against them every time.

          by cdreid on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 03:11:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Funny Me..... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matisyahu

            I never knew union organizing entailed the government telling workers to join their political organs or become enemies of the state.

            Secondly, I also find it funny so many of the Chavez defenders in this diary hide behind his "majority" support. For one thing, in this year's elections, the Oppossition made gains & won a majority of the popular vote.

            •  Strange, same thing happened here. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cdreid

              Rethug victory in 2010 doesn't compromise Obama's legitimacy as President.

            •  Wait so (0+ / 0-)

              in his nondemocracy.. the far right wing opposition you support.. gained support in democratic elections... therefore proving he is the tyrant of a nondemocratic nations.

              Do they pass out prozac and lithium at redstate or do yall have to supply your own.

              Voters will choose a person who fights a losing battle for his principles over one who fights winning battles against them every time.

              by cdreid on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:05:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Who Said I Support The Opposition? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Progrocks

                I don't have to like any of the sides in this.

                And nowhere in any of my comments have I called his regime "undemocratic" or anything for that matter. However, just because a majority votes for something doesn't make it right. Just because a majority votes for something, doesn't mean it can't lead to horrible policies.

                If you want me to call the Chavez regime something, fine I'll call the glorious "Bolivarian Revolution" shitty & authoritarian.

                If it makes you feel better to label me a right-winger, go right ahead with your delusion since you seem to need that prozac and lithium more than I do.

                •  That bastard (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Justina

                  using all that yummy oil money for education, social programs infrastructure. And how dare he support the rights of the indigenous people venezuela has a slow rolling genocide working on. How dare he not rape his country at the insistance of the world bank like the other third world countries whos economies are now devastated. HOw dare he call Bush a tyrannical war criminal. How dare he survive a far right wing coup assisted by the catholic church. How dare he insist on social and economic justice and a brighter future for all Venezuelans. The bastard.

                  Voters will choose a person who fights a losing battle for his principles over one who fights winning battles against them every time.

                  by cdreid on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:14:02 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Don't Forget About..... (0+ / 0-)

                    The suitcases full of bribe money.

                    Or harboring FARC guerrillas who used their bases in Venezuela to launch attacks into Colombia, plan kidnappings, and facilitate the drug trade.

                    Or the food shortages.

                    Or the coffee shortages.

                    Or the power blackouts.

                    Or the politically motivated arrests.

                    Or the constraints on free expression, and the rights of citizens to protest.

                    Yeah... such a bright future.

                    •  Noone claimed he was a saint (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Justina, gerrilea

                      Explain to me which of the above btw hasnt been implemented in the US. The reality is the .gov told you to hate him so you do.

                      Voters will choose a person who fights a losing battle for his principles over one who fights winning battles against them every time.

                      by cdreid on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 04:10:38 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Please see my debunking of all his links (0+ / 0-)

                        below....and agreed..it seems this poster has some bias towards Chavez for clearly unfounded and exaggerated reasons...

                        I'll assume the poster just believes something but has never taken the time to read or investigate his/her own beliefs to see if they are valid...

                        -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                        by gerrilea on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 04:30:44 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Not the only one (0+ / 0-)

                          some people have an insatiable need to fear and hate. While we were all screaming against the Iraq war youd still have people talking about how Sadam was the great satan. And you still here the servile here claiming we must fight the "war on terra" and "find the bad guys" and even "well i dont really trust muslims". Bill Press is one of that type. "Golly ima librul but them muslims sho does makes me nervous"

                          Voters will choose a person who fights a losing battle for his principles over one who fights winning battles against them every time.

                          by cdreid on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 05:52:17 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  After reviewing your provided links did you (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Justina

                      even read what was contained in them?

                      Link #1:

                      Does not state whom Chavez or his government were going to bribe here in the US...funny isn't it?  Yet the person the FBI targeted and arrested here was accused by a wanted criminal in Venezuela?

                      Odd, odd, odd link and the fact there isn't anything here, except the US prosecuted a Venezuelan business man for not declaring himself a Venezuelan agent.  If, indeed he was...

                      It is not against Argentine law for foreigners to contribute to a presidential campaign, but it is illegal to do so secretly.

                      Link #2:

                      Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia

                      OR FARC!

                      FARC-EP is a peasant army which has proclaimed itself to be a revolutionary agrarian, anti-imperialist Marxist-Leninist organization of Bolivarian inspiration.[11][15][16][17] It claims to represent the rural poor in a struggle against Colombia's wealthier classes, and opposes United States influence in Colombia (e.g. Plan Colombia), neo-imperialism, monopolization of natural resources by multinational corporations, and paramilitary or government violence.

                      AFTER reading the links and a few Google searches, it's clear FARC is not anything more than what our Revolutionary Army did against the British...fight against oppression...

                      I really don't see a problem with Chavez's support, if true, of this organization...really.

                      Link #3 talks about:

                      Since 2003, President Chavez has maintained a strict price regime on some basic foods like coffee, beans, sugar and powdered milk.

                      - cut -

                      However, the government has so far been reluctant to increase retail prices to a level acceptable to coffee roasters and traders.

                      - cut -

                      The reaction by coffee companies has been to hoard tens of thousands of tonnes of coffee in warehouses in the hope that the government would eventually announce fair prices.

                      AS we can read in your links the "food shortages" were about coffee being horded by the business men.

                      Very little mention of an actual "food shortage" anywhere in the link.

                      The reply above covers link #4 too!

                      Link #5 Power blackouts because of the effects of global warming are Chavez's fault, damn he's good! (snark)

                      Electricity Minister Angel Rodriguez said the latest energy-saving measures are meant to prevent a power collapse that could occur if water levels in the Guri dam system continue to drop, the Bolivarian News Agency reported. Oil-rich Venezuela relies heavily on hydroelectric power, which has been hurt by drought.

                      Link #6:

                      The Inter American Commission of Human Rights has stated that the arrest of Guillermo Zuloaga "evidences the lack of independence of the judiciary and the utilization of the criminal justice system to punish criticism, producing an intimidating effect that extends to all of society."

                      Now, do we know if this is true?

                      But haven't we done the same thing here, in the great old U S of A?

                      Over recent years the Venezuelan government appears to have established a pattern of clamping down on dissent through the use of legislative and administrative methods to silence and harass critics. Laws are being used to justify what essentially seems to be politically motivated charges, which would indicate that the Venezuelan government is deliberately targeting opponents.

                      See Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, Shak 7

                      Where's Amnesty International when we incarcerate 7 ppl for saying online that animal cruelty is bad?  And they tried to help ppl who defended animals?

                      POT MEAT KETTLE!

                      Link #5:

                      The Enabling Law also assigns the President of the Republic ample, imprecise and ambiguous powers to dictate and reform regulatory provisions in the telecommunications and information technology sectors.  Additionally, the Assembly is discussing the modification of the laws on Telecommunications and Social Responsibility in Radio and Television, in order to extend their application to the electronic media, impose disproportionate obligations that would make impossible the continued operation of critical outlets such as Globovisión, and interfere with the content of all communications media.

                      The draft laws prohibit all media outlets from issuing messages that "incite or promote hatred", "foment anxiety in the citizenry" or "ignore the authorities", among other new prohibitions that are equally vague and ambiguous. In addition, they establish that Internet service providers should create mechanisms "that enable the restriction of (...) the dissemination" of these types of messages and they establish the liability of such companies for the expressions of third-parties.

                      See above replies to your link #5 and how about ACTA?

                      So, with all your wonderful links and claims debunked, you statement that you don't care either way seems disingenuous at the very least and at worst, intentional misrepresentation of the links and what they actually contain...

                      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                      by gerrilea on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 04:28:11 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

        •  I See.. So What the Catholic Church (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justina, gerrilea, corvo, farbuska

          was concerned about was their particular form of brainwashing (i.e. "all homos go to hell" and "the catholic church is the only legitimate christian church.. everyone else is going to hell", "women can't use birth control", etc.) might be superceded by another form of brainwashing...

          Sorry, not much sympathy here for the catholic church, their credibility level is more or less zero.

          "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

          by Superpole on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 05:53:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I applaud your Diary (38+ / 0-)

    And regret that there are Kossacks who are critical of it.  I imagine that they are they are the same who supported the RightWing Autocrat, Calderon, who stole the 2006 presidential election in Mexico from the center-lefter, AMLO.

    In Mexico, the Catholic Church actually passed out voter guides, asking parishoners to vote against "El Partido de la Muerte".

    In Monterrey, the RightWing elites used the Legion of Christ to organize the "peasants"against AMLO.  What is the Legion of Christ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    The Legion of Christ (LC) is a Roman Catholic congregation established in 1941 within the Catholic Church in Mexico and directed until 2004 by disgraced Fr. Marcial Maciel. It enjoyed the favor of Pope John Paul II. It has priests working in 22 countries,[1] and had 800 priests and over 2,500 seminarians as members by 2010. In the U.S. it operates 21 prep schools, a start-up university in Sacramento and the U.S.'s only three seminaries for teenage boys.[2][3] Its lay movement Regnum Christi has approximately 70,000 members.[4] It operates centers of education (minor seminaries, seminaries, schools and/or universities) in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Ireland, France, Germany, Canada, the United States, and the Philippines. In 2009, the Vatican ordered an apostolic visitation of the institutions of the Legionaries of Christ following disclosures of sexual impropriety by the order's late founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel.

    On May 1, 2010, the Vatican issued a statement condemning Maciel as "immoral", "deprived of scruples and authentic religious feeling", and acknowledging that Maciel had committed "true crimes". Pope Benedict also said he would appoint a special commission to examine the Legionaries’ constitution and open an investigation into its lay affiliate Regnum Christi.[5]

    My parents hail from Nuevo Leon, and I am a "lemon" Catholic.  But ever since my second political science class at Stanford, when my Professor enlightened me regarding the Catholic Church's alliance with the oligarchy in the area, I became convinced that the Catholic Church is in part responsible for the region's mediocre development.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

    by PatriciaVa on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:43:44 PM PST

    •  Uh (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ivorybill, Nulwee, sixthestate, HiKa

      no.  The criticisms are not by people who supported Calderon, or even by people who oppose Chavez.  He is the fairly elected president of Venezuela.  All I am saying is that he is not simply good or bad.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:49:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What is a " Lemon Catholic"? (16+ / 0-)

      I'm a recovering Catholic.

      I'm still recovering from the brain-washing I received between the ages of 4, when my family first subjected me to the emotional and physical abuse of the Catholic Church, and 14, when I told our Monsignor that he was not a Christian.  By then, I had witnessed too much racism and disdain and lack of compassion for the poor within the Church to continue as a Catholic.  But their inhuman attitudes to women, sexuality and morality continue to do their emotional damage.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:56:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  USA Missionaries? (5+ / 0-)

      So, they were doing more than spreading the word of the lord? Anything like this going on in our military? Like handing out Bibles and blessing the heathens in Afghanistan? Spys with Bibles? MMM...seems to me the CIA is missing a great opportunity here. And this shit from Empty Vessel is precious. (sorry, should have said stupid shit)

      I just think Chavez embraces the stupid idea that an enemy of your enemy is your friend.  

      Yup, the enemy(Taliban) of our enemy (Soviet Union)is our friend in Afghanistan? Dumb idea. Now our former enemy (Taliban) a.k.a. friend is the friend of Iran? Those whores!

      Now I suppose that the 99'rs as hostages story Obama told was a real heart tugger, but that was bullshit too and this came from the President.

    •  With all due respect to your Stanford prof (0+ / 0-)

      Some critical thinking should probably be applied here.  Mexico, like several Latin American countries, banned the Roman Catholic Church in the early part of the 20th century in what is known as the Liberal revolutionary period. (That's why in most Latin American countries priests can't officially marry people, only the government can, unlike the US.) Mexico's efforts even went to the extent of killing or forcibly deporting Catholic clergy in its efforts to purge what they perceived as the Church's social ties with institutional conservatism. The well-known, anti-American author Graham Greene became famous reporting on it and writing a novel about it.

      So, did the outlawing of Catholicism in Mexico by the government actually lead to better development outcomes, and were those outcomes actually reversed by the gradual relaxation of government bans on the Church?

  •  In other news (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid, corvo, nymosyn, kestrel9000, DonkSlayer

    the Archbishop also asked a boy to help him "look for my lost puppy", then invited him over to play video games.

    Harry Reid: Float like Barney Fife, sting like Aunt Bea.

    by MeMeMeMeMe on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:55:04 PM PST

  •  This post is ridiculous. (12+ / 0-)

    Chavez and his supporters are EXTREMELY undemocratic.  As a liberal in the US that happens to also be Latin American, I can tell you that the extreme left in Latin America is as bad as the extreme right was back during the days of dictatorships.

    The left and right in Latin America is not the same as the left and right in the U.S.  Please never become confused about that.

    •  Right in Latam is worse than the GOP (30+ / 0-)

      Let's take Calderon in Mexico, who, thanks in part to the Catholic Church, managed to steal the 2006 election.

      One of his first acts was to slash the pensions of low-level government bureaucrats by 50%.  50%.  Not even Bush attempted to slash SS benefits by that much.  Meanwhile, Calderon increases the salary of the Chief Justice of the Mexican Supreme Court (which was instrumental in a ruling which gave Calderon the presidency), so that he makes US$ 650K a year.

      For comparison, John Roberts makes about US$ 230K per year.

      Calderon has also recently increased the tax burden on the middle-class, while ensuring that the wealthy continue to pay no capital gains or dividend tax.

      On social matters, Calderon has had his AG challenge Mexico City's abortion and same-sex wedding laws.

      If the Mexican Right were to come to the US, not even the GOP would accept them.

      They are that radical.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

      by PatriciaVa on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:19:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (7+ / 0-)

        The right in Latin America is worse.  I'd rather have the FARC than the paramilitaries in Colombia, but the truth is most people hate them both.  I prefer left-leaning leaders like the current presidents of El Salvador and Ecuador, both of whom are doing the best they can with what they've been handed.  

        But it's hard for me not to react to the caudillo-style macho posturing of Chavez, and all the Venezuelans I know (all of whom are on the left politically) can't stand him.  They are educated and urban, which might explain it - they are less upset with his specific policies than the unhealthy conflation of the nation with the leader, and what they perceive as a closing of the society.  I'm sure Chavez has his base among the urban and rural disposessed, and many of his actions are good - land reform, health, etc.  I'm really not sure supporting the FARC in Colombia is a good idea, as the FARC leadership is a cynical lot that will never take power, and supporting them needlessly kills a bunch of teenagers.

        "Die Stimme der Vernuft ist leise." (The voice of reason is soft)

        by ivorybill on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:32:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  FARC are fucking murderers (0+ / 0-)

          I'd rather have the FARC than the paramilitaries in Colombia, but the truth is most people hate them both.

          The hell are you talking about? Yeah, like "most people" I'd rather not have either of them, they are all terrorists and fucking murderers.

          What a strange statement, "I'd rather have the FARC..."

      •  Two wrongs.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rimjob, sclminc

        The right may be bad in Latin America, but the left is no better -- just left. You want corruption and rigged elections in Mexico? Look at the the PRI gov'ts that preceded Fox and Calderon.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

        by FischFry on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 09:34:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  False equivalency between Left & Right. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sclminc, greeseyparrot

          Things have gotten much better in Mexico since the PRI was removed. Lol.

          Meteor Blades seems to do an outstanding job of community moderation despite the abject failure to be perfect.

          by catilinus on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 10:40:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did you even read my subject line? (0+ / 0-)

            It's not making an equivalency, other than to note that the Latin left has been corrupt for a long time, too. So, to criticize support for the right because of corruption there is really a non-sequitur. That can't be one's bases for choosing.

            Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

            by FischFry on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:20:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  what wrongs, exactly (0+ / 0-)

          The right may be bad in Latin America, but the left is no better -- just left.

          [Citation needed]

          "Pragmatists don't DO things! They explain to you how things CANNOT be done." - AndyS In Colorado

          by Uberbah on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 05:34:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Chavez and his supporters are not undemocratic (36+ / 0-)

      Chavez regularly runs for elections and wins.  These elections are recognized internationally as free and fair. When the voters rejected his proposed constitutional reforms, he accepted the defeat.  He uses state media to get his message out, but most private media in Venezuela hate his guts and attack him all day long.  He's abused power, certainly, and has tried to increase the power of his office, but so have US presidents.  Compared to actual undemocratic countries, like Egypt, or even supposedly democratic places like Honduras, Venezuela is a bastion of democracy.

      That doesn't mean that I don't have a lot of problems with him, but as I'm a strong opponent to the Washington Consensus (the set of policies that stay the same no matter which party we vote in) I'm happy to see some resistance.

      •  Agree completely with your post (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sclminc, Nulwee, HiKa

        But from what little information we have at this point, it appears that the Archbishop was not conspiring with the Ambassador to place CIA assets in the church - rather, he was arguing for more public US condemnation of perceived excesses, and more support for church-run poverty programs.  That's not particularly surprising.  And unless other cables appear, it doesn't appear that the Obama Administration conspired with him in an attempt to overthrow the government.  

        The issue of the Archbishop participating in a coup attempt in 2002 is more serious, but that's not the substance of these cables.

        Since Chavez is democratically elected, I don't support any US efforts to overthrow him. It doesn't appear from this information that the US is trying to overthrow him, at least not the current administration. Yet another reason to make sure the GOP is not elected in 2012, because you can bet a President Palin or Huckleberry would be a disaster for Latin America.  They would probably start a new program to destabilize the region with hundreds of Jimmy Swaggert type evangelical predators.  

        "Die Stimme der Vernuft ist leise." (The voice of reason is soft)

        by ivorybill on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:54:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Obama not indicted, but Bush certainly is. (4+ / 0-)

          It doesn't appear from this information that the US is trying to overthrow him, at least not the current administration.

          It is well known that the previous administration was supporting the coup against Chavez.

          He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

          by Sophie Amrain on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:34:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Please Palin barely knows where Latin American is (0+ / 0-)

          Yet another reason to make sure the GOP is not elected in 2012, because you can bet a President Palin or Huckleberry would be a disaster for Latin America.  They would probably start a new program to destabilize the region with hundreds of Jimmy Swaggert type evangelical predators.  

          Neither Palin nor Huckabee will give a shit about Latin America. It's full of brown people, who cares?

          Although admittedly this might serve just as well to destabilize the region anyway. But not because they will actively do anything for Latin America.

      •  He's asking for power to rule by fiat (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        prinmemo, DonkSlayer

        He is about as undemocratic as you can get, without totally throwing off the fig leaf of almost pro forma elections.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

        by FischFry on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 09:32:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Question (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matisyahu, DonkSlayer

        If I'm not mistaken the Venezuelan parliament is today considering a measure which will cede to Chavez the power to rule by decree for a year, something it has done on previous occasions during his presidencies. In the most recent elections, Chavez's party lost its absolute majority, and they are trying to pass this law before the changeover occurs in the beginning of the year to come.

        While it is certainly true that Venezuela is no Egypt or Morocco (both dictatorships receiving US backing), it also seems that Chavez has an autocratic/dictatorial streak, and his success in being repeatedly reelected does nothing to alleviate worries in that direction.

    •  What are you smoking? Evo Morales of Bolivia, (32+ / 0-)

      Lula da Silva in Brazil, Rafael Correa of Ecuador..maybe even Fernando Lugo of Paraguay??  Oh and definitely José Mujica of Uruguay!! What an absolute misrepresentation of leftist moments in South America!!!

      You're right about one thing... the left in South America is not like the US... They don't support the corporatist elitist thugs in a so called center-left party who continuously sells the interest of the working class down the river!  

      Daily Kos has gone mad!!

      by HGM MA on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:43:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was a time when you could have (13+ / 0-)

      made a nice living throwing that shit onto paper for the Readers Digest.

      The Democratic Platform won 235 seats. Betraying it lost 42.

      by JesseCW on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 09:03:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Disagree and I Live Here in Venezuela. (32+ / 0-)

      prinmemo writes:

      This post is ridiculous. Chavez and his supporters are EXTREMELY undemocratic.

      This society is extremely democratic.  Unlike the U.S., the electoral system here actually has an audit trail for votes and automatically audits a certain percentage of the machine results by counting the paper ballots in the ballot box.  If there is a discrepancy, there is an automatic recount of all the ballots in that voting place.

      Real participatory democracy takes place at the neighborhood level in my apartment complex, where we meet in our Consejo Comunal to decide what problems need to be fixed, what improvements made and, with government technical assistance and direct funding, carry out the repairs or improvements.  It's all done by majority vote.

      The Consejo also provides assistance to individuals to insure that they get medical care, social security and other government services they need.  This is neighbor helping neighbor in a living democracy.

      The only major political party in Venezuela which allows its members to chose its candidates by a primary vote is the PSUV, Chavez's Socialist Party of Venezuela.  The majority of the other parties, the opposition parties, choose their candidates for September, 2010's election by the old fashioned back-room bosses method.

      From 2005 to 2010, the National Assembly, the equivalent of our Congress, was overwhelmingly Chavez supporters.  This was not because Chavez fudged the vote count, it was because the majority of the opposition parties, of which there are 40 or so, decided to boycott the 2005 election.  In the recent September, 2010 election, the majority of the opposition put up unity candidates for Assembly positions and were able to win over 50 seats.  The Chavez socialists, however, won a comfortable majority of 96 seats.

      If this was not a democratic society with an honest vote counting system, why would the "dictator" allow any oppositionists to win any seats?

      No, Venezuela is not undemocratic.  This is a democracy and Chavez is a democratic socialist with a great vision for a truly human society where human needs and aspirations, not private profits, take priority.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 09:45:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for a close-up view of Venezuela. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justina, CTPatriot, Uberbah

        He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

        by Sophie Amrain on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:37:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  PR vs. direct election (0+ / 0-)

        For the recent election, the government lowered the number of proportional representatives from 40% to 30% of the National Assembly. This is still better than the electoral system in countries like the US or the UK, but it would be better to have more PR, not less.

        Alternatively, I like the instant-runoff voting system that Australia uses for their House of Representatives, but I get the impression that Venezuela uses more of a first-past-the-post system for their directly-elected representatives.

      •  i have relatives in VZ (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        prinmemo

        they are what would be considered the upper class...my uncle is an ophthalmologist. They hate the guy. Obviously there is a class issue in VZ cause aren't the richer citizens more disdainful about Chavez while the poor, lower middle class love him.

        I do take issue with a lot of what Chavez has done. He is doing all he can to get the only anti-Chavez station off the air. And anyone who goes on their TV station and gives 8 hour speeches and requires all stations to airthem has some power issues. Course, i've probably started a flame war here, but would like to have logical, civil discussion if possible. I also take issue with his admiration of the Iranian nut case.

    •  What is extreme left about Chavez? (6+ / 0-)

      Shakes her head.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:32:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Isn't that crazy? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, farbuska, al ajnabee

        Only in a country (and on a website) where the Democratic party is regarded as "liberal" could a democratically elected leader like Chavez be called "extreme left".

        If your issue is still Democrat vs. Republican, you've been punked by the Oligarchy.

        by MrJayTee on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 05:49:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Extreme left is not defined by being undemocratic (0+ / 0-)

          you could in principle construe a case, where they get elected democratically. But it should entail nationalizing the means of production and such.

          He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

          by Sophie Amrain on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 03:14:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Hehe (7+ / 0-)

      drives yo ufar right wing nuts INSANE that Chavez was DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED doesnt it? You must so miss the CIA run dictatorships. They eliminated so many of the uppity indigenous people who "were problematic". The dk community isnt going to buy your far right wing bullshit.

      Voters will choose a person who fights a losing battle for his principles over one who fights winning battles against them every time.

      by cdreid on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 03:23:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  chill the f out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DruidQueen

        I am a liberal and I support true democracy.  Chavez is repulsed by democracy.  I am a huge supporter of Lula in Brazil and his worker's party and Bachelet in Chile and her socialist party.  I despise the old guard on the right throughout the region, but I feel the same way about Ortega in Nicaragua, Chavez in Venezuela, and Morales in Bolivia.

        DKos is full of morons when it comes to politics in Latin America.

  •  An archbishop cannot be a traitor to any but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sclminc, buddabelly

    the Pope and the Church, for he owes no allegiance to anybody else.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

    by enhydra lutris on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:11:05 PM PST

  •  Meh. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman, sclminc, gerrilea

    The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) sucking up to the murderous tyrants in East Germany was worse.

    More info here.

    But that being said, the Venezuelan government is clearly insane.  They are letting my employer sell our products there.......

    •  You clearly have no idea of German history. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ask, Sophie Amrain, Uberbah, Anak

      The 'murderous tyrant' you're referring to had been part of the anti-fascist resistance in Nazi Germany, for which he was imprisoned in a concentration camp.

      He was an authoritarian leader (of a state that was occupied by the Soviet Army as a result of Germany attacking the SU in WWII), but definitely no 'murderous tyrant'. (How many people were 'murdered' by the state in East Germany?)

      I know the typical American's knowledge of history (let alone non-American history) is rather slim, but that doesn't mean you can make shit up as you go. German history is one of my hobbies, and I'd advise you to read up on the subject before spreading anti-communist propaganda...

      "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

      by aufklaerer on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 11:44:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, yes, clearly insane. (5+ / 0-)

      Unlike the USA.

      Damn Chávez is invading countries right and left! Not to mention his network of secret prisons, Guántanamo, airstrikes against against innocents in Iraq and Afganistan. Oh, and thanks to Wikileaks, we now know that evil, insane Chávez is carrying out a secret war in Yemen! The fuck?!  

      I've never seen greater evil than Hugo Chávez! Thank God we live in the greatest country on earth, the USA!

      Depende de la conciencia de la necesidad del cambio y la certeza de la posibilidad de este cambio revolucionario. - Ernesto Guevara

      by Anak on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:12:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I supported Chavez until he sided with the (9+ / 0-)

    repressive Iranian regime against the Iranian youth who were trying to create a more democratic society in Iran. I was also reading today that he is attempting to censor Facebook and Twitter in his country.

    While I think he has done many good thinks for Venezuela, I think he has gone too far.

    •  What about the US contining to trade with China (17+ / 0-)

      Not only does China repress its youth, but it continues to use its mercantilist economic policy to cost us millions of jobs.

      It's sucking the US middle-class dry, and President Obama's done nothing about it.

      Evidently, Obama believes that he is extracting enough from the China relationship to overlook the repression, in the same way that Chavez probably perceives his r/ship with Iran.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

      by PatriciaVa on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:34:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't expect consistency, rhyme or reason... (7+ / 0-)

        for we are down the Pax Americana rabbit hole, PatriciaVa.

        Mel Gibson makes movies that look like snuff films shot by Abercrombie & Fitch's photographer. -9.38, -5.18

        by Nulwee on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 09:25:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Good point (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        digno dave, sclminc, DruidQueen

        Like I said, I don't think Chavez is all bad. But I don't like how he has been made into some sort of socialist saint either.

        I don't say this lightly, because I self-identify as a Democratic Socialist. The problem is that Chavez has been losing sight of the "Democratic" portion of that phrase.

      •  The difference with China is that China is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anak

        a recovering totalitarian dictatorship that, before that, was under the boot of the Japanese.

        I think there's a sense that we have to be grateful to China for not intentionally killing tens of millions of its people at a time.

        I think people expect a lot more out of Venezuela.

        •  Yes, well said. (0+ / 0-)

          I just removed my rec from Patricia's post.

          Depende de la conciencia de la necesidad del cambio y la certeza de la posibilidad de este cambio revolucionario. - Ernesto Guevara

          by Anak on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:16:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, I didn't mean to really be critical of (0+ / 0-)

            anyone in the thread; I think people on both sides of the discussion have a lot of interesting, educational things to say.

            I think one important point is that Chavez probably has some good ideas but also is probably somewhat of a jerk, but that the same is true of the archbishop.

            Maybe Chavez is right about the need for wealth redistribution, even if it's unpopular with the redistributees, but ought to be mellower and more democratic about it, and maybe the archbishop is right about Chavez being kind of scary but ought to be mellower and more democratic about it.

        •  Naw, we're not "grateful" for their restraint (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SLKRR, Uberbah, MrJayTee

          we're envious of their total control of the population.

          Zbigniew Brzezinski made that clear.

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:27:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Should they side with us? We've killed about (10+ / 0-)

      a million and a half Iraqis over the last 20 years.

      The Democratic Platform won 235 seats. Betraying it lost 42.

      by JesseCW on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 09:04:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do we get a third choice or do we have to pick (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sclminc, Empty Vessel

        between a country run by greedy "capitalist" billionaires, and one run by a ruthless "socialist" dictator?

        Can I choose Bhutan the country that measures it's value by the happiness of its people? Actually, I don't know that much about Bhutan, but that idea sounds pretty cool to me. Instead of GDP, GHP (Gross Happiness per Person)

        "... the Professional Left, that is simultaneously totally irrelevant and ruining everything" (Glenn Greenwald)

        by ranger995 on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 09:51:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not "we", but about nations (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, Uberbah

          looking for allies...and arms suppliers.

          The Democratic Platform won 235 seats. Betraying it lost 42.

          by JesseCW on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 10:05:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ruthless? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo

          Chavez wins elections and abides by ones he loses.

          A 'ruthless' dictator would simply ignore lost elections and run roughshod over the results.

          He's got a few 'ruths' still.

          •  Well, I am referring to current events. (0+ / 0-)

            Like shutting down the press, threatening all opposition, cutting government aid to anyone who accepts aid from his detractors (including Catholic charities), seizing property without compensation (not just from rich corporate types), seizing businesses, revoking the citizenship rights of critics, and now imposing strict control over Facebook and Myspace to prevent any opinion other than the government one from escaping Venezuela.

            I just received an email from a Venezuelan citizen that I am friends with telling us about the deteriorating conditions there. He/She said this will be the last email we get which has any critical views of the Chavez government, because they are scared. They also deleted their Facebook accounts.

            I am sure under these new conditions, Justina will continue to post "her" propaganda without issue.

            "... the Professional Left, that is simultaneously totally irrelevant and ruining everything" (Glenn Greenwald)

            by ranger995 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:24:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I Support Chavez, But Not Iran's Theocracy. (9+ / 0-)

      Chavez's domestic programs have been superb, as is his vision to unite South and Central America into a strong and independent force in the world.

      While I understand the need to make allies elsewhere in the world, Chavez's relations with Iran are hard me to accept, as that theocracy has terrible, terrible policies on women and gays, just like the Catholic Church.  

      I fear, however, that the U.S.'s thirst for oil is pushing us toward a military confrontation with Iran, perhaps with Israel as the eager proxy (or, maybe the U.S. is the proxy for Israel).  Oil and other mineral resources make Venezuela a potential military target as well. The U.S. has surrounded both Iran and Venezuela with its military bases, and the Colombia border, site of another proposed U.S. base, is only 5 hours away from me.  Those unpleasant facts have likely created illogical bed-fellows, such as Iran and Venezuela. If only the U.S. would take its damn military toys and bases and go home!

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 10:10:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Justina - no need to attack Iran or Venezuela (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Uberbah

        As long as they continue to supply oil to the world market why would we want to attack them to access their oil? There oil is already available at market prices.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 11:19:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The big problem is (7+ / 0-)

          not about availability of the oil to be purchased, it's about the ability to exploit it ourselves - the anglo american oil companies - and to profit from it and to pass the profits through Wall Street and London Banks.

          strong economies have strong currencies, weak economies have weak currencies

          by truong son traveler on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 01:25:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We don't seem to do so well with that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo

            US oil companies haven't even received the lion's share of the Iraqi oil leases. Why would anyone think we would be more successful in Iran or Venezuela?

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 02:05:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not because we didn't try in Iraq (6+ / 0-)

              Don't forget the "benchmark" oil law the Bush Administration and many prominent members of Congress, D & R, tried to get the Iraqi Government to pass. This would have permitted production sharing agreements allowing foreign oil companies to "own" a portion of Iraqi oil. Thus far the Iraqi government has resisted.

              The contracts issued thus far, as far as I know, are service contracts, getting paid at a certain rate to perform defined tasks. They do not allow for foreign ownership of their oil.

              Exxon was in Venezuela before Chavez nationalized his nation's oil, thus becoming a bad boy in Washington's eyes. An attempted coup soon followed but failed.

              Prior to 1953 when we engineered the regime change in Iran, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, now BP, had been exploiting Iran's oil in an 80/20 concession agreement (Iran got to keep 20% of their own oil). The concession agreement was about to expire and Iran wanted a 50/50 split.

              The British said no and so Dr. Mossadegh planned to nationalize Iran's oil. That's when we engineered the coup and brought in the Shah. With the Shah in power the oil money flowed to Wall Street and London.

              strong economies have strong currencies, weak economies have weak currencies

              by truong son traveler on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 03:11:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  truong-nationalizing oil reserves and refineries (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                truong son traveler

                There was a time when countries could nationalize oil fields and production facilities without any recourse to the companies who had invested millions in exploration and development. Contracts signed by governments are now enforceable. Because Chavez took over the oil fields he will be required to pay current fair market value for the percentage of the reserves formerly owned by the international oil companies and the value of the exploration and production facilities. Countries are no longer able to cancel binding contracts without compensation. Venezuela has enough assets in the US so that judgments against them will be enforceable.  

                Regarding contracts from decades ago you and I don't know enough information to know if they were fair or not. The oil companies put up all the capital, and petroleum engineering skills, to discover and develop the productive oil regions and took all the risk. At that time none of the oil producing countries in the Middle East or South America had the capital or talent. Oil in the ground produces no income.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:46:25 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I remember months or probably (0+ / 0-)

                  a few years ago now, about a disagreement between Exxon and Venezuela over the amount that Venezuela paid to Exxon after they nationalized. I don't know what the eventual outcome was.

                  There's next to no risk in Iraq. The location and extent of the various oil fields are well known and the oil is relatively easy to extract. Service contracts should work well.

                  I am reminded of that well-known photo of the US military guarding the Iraqi Ministry of Oil after "shock and awe" while artifacts in the museums were left unguarded and looted.

                  strong economies have strong currencies, weak economies have weak currencies

                  by truong son traveler on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:25:50 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  truong - I agree (0+ / 0-)

                    The oil fields in Iraq are well identified and the Iraqi government should get the best deal possible for the people of Iraq. However, one of the issues continues to be access to capital and the expertise. There is also the competition for funds between the oil minister, and the need to constantly update the physical plant, and other social services. The worst run oil companies in the world are those run by governments. They don't reinvest enough in exploration and production.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:37:38 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  The Vatican is by definition a theocracy too, (7+ / 0-)

        … of course. The United States supports its status as a sovereign state, along with all the privileges that brings.

        A sovereign state with only around a thousand citizens, all male, who get to travel on diplomatic passports and who can use their status as a "country" to stonewall investigations of wrongdoing whenever it suits the church hierarchy.

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 11:58:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There's a reason Chavez supports Ahmenidjad (0+ / 0-)

        And it has more to do with Ahmenidjad's style of politics than it has to do with being an enemy of the US.  

        Like Ahmenidjad, and like Morales in Bolivia, Correa in Ecuador, Ortega in Nicaraua, and Zelaya in Honduras, (and Sadr in Iraq as well) Chavez developed his principle bases of support in the neglected and lawless slums.  It is a relatively new political strategy since mega-slums are so new to the world. And it involves a lot of things that liberal, democratic capitalist society finds uncomfortable, with the increasing crime rates, kidnappings, and murders of middle class people being a common variable in all of the above countries, but particularly in Venezuela.

        Alternative forms of progressive, left-wing governance can be found in Brazil, where Lula has proven much more successful at retaining the rule of law while improving the distribution of wealth to the poor than Venezuela has been.  Lula's base of support is the middle class, as is Kirchner's in Argentina. Chavez, Ahmenidjad, and the others bases of support are the slums.

    •  The US (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Uberbah, farbuska, HiKa

      supports Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, etc. Do you feel the same way about Obama?

  •  Chavez today got right to rule by decree (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matisyahu, DonkSlayer, Wham Bam

    He has already got the right to be reelected until incoherent.

    Venezuela's got problems there, too.

    "If you don't use your majorities, you lose your majorities."

    by SteinL on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:44:03 PM PST

    •  incorrect (17+ / 0-)

      See this article, there are significant limits on the "rule by decree", and a British Prime Minister has similar power (if you have a strong majority in a country with no written constitution you can do almost anything).  Also, Chavez lost the first referendum that would have abolished term limits and won the second.  Arguably, term limits are undemocratic.  I would have preferred to re-elect Bill Clinton than to have George W. Bush.

      He has won these elections in the face of an organized opposition that controls most private media and has no problem getting his message out.

      •  Ve Constitution Allows Rule by Decree. (15+ / 0-)

        Chavez is complying with the Venezuelan Constitution's provisions on rule by decree.  It must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly, which it was, and must be for a limited time period, which is also being followed.

        Chavez has asked for that power in order to be able to provide housing and services on an expedited basis for the thousands of Venezuelans who have been made homeless by the terrible flooding that has taken place here over the last month. One hundred thousand are homeless while thousands more lost part or all of their belongings due to flood waters.  The government is providing all those affected with stipends to assist them, as well as food and medical services.

        President Chavez has opened the National Assembly building, other government buildings, and even the Mira Flores presidential palace to homeless families and moved himself into a tent in the backyard.

        Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

        by Justina on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 09:21:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But that's different (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Escamillo, Wham Bam

          So it would have been a good idea to give George Bush similar powers after Katrina?

          More info here in Spanish

          It would appear, according to this article, that he can rule by decree on matters not related to emergency relief.

          •  The US Constitution... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, Uberbah

            ...does not have the same provisions as the Venezuelan Constitution.

            If, however, a Constitutional Amendment had been passed allowing something like this during Bush's presidency, it would have been legal and constitutional, would it not?

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." -- Dom Hélder Câmara

            by SLKRR on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 04:30:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Venezuelan TV channel asks for asylum in US (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        subtropolis, Escamillo

        He has won these elections in the face of an organized opposition that controls most private media and has no problem getting his message out.

        Link in Spanish

    •  Perhaps Rule by Executive Order Slipped Your Mind (18+ / 0-)

      Every action taken by President Chavez under rule by decree powers is made public and reported in the official National Gazette, comparable to our Congressional Record.

      Perhaps you have forgotten that many Execute Orders (Executive Decree anyone?) were secret and we learned only rumors about them.  Bush never requested congressional approval for his executive orders, he just made them -- and unmade them -- at whim, more likely at the whim of Vice President Cheney.

      So, before we criticize President Chavez for using his Constitutionally approved, National Assembly approved rule by decree powers, perhaps we should investigate the use of the un-Constitutionally approved, unpublished Executive Orders by our Presidents or Vice-Presidents.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 10:37:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No comparison (0+ / 0-)

        As you should know, US executive decrees are very limited in scope and can be easily overturned by fairly low level courts or by congressional action where there effects are deemed too far outside of the management of executive branch federal employees. Is Chavez's rule by decree as limited? Are courts or the legislature truly independent in Venezuela? Are there any effective checks and balances to plebiscite rule?  Voting does not make democracy. Institutional protection of minority views does, and I see Chavez doing the opposite.

  •  This diary is outrageous (7+ / 0-)

    The Chavez government is incredibly corrupt and oppressive and is suppressing speech all across Venezuela.  He's destroying the country and its economy.  In no way should anyone be branding someone that wants to bump him from power a traitor.  I can't believe such an incredibly outrageous diary was posted on this site.  I'm all for being liberal, but Chavez is turning Venezuela into a god damn dictatorship and is running the country into the ground.

    I'm incredibly offended that the Daily Kos community would put this garbage on the rec list.

  •  Anyone of the left should support Chavez (14+ / 0-)

    He fights for the majority poor in his country unlike any other leader in the world today.  He's far from perfect but his vision, along with a few other leaders in S. America, provides at least a semblance of a fight against the unending status quo of capitalism.

  •  Wikileaks / Venzuela: (18+ / 0-)

    after reading/scanning your diary, what popped into my mind was John Pilger's "War on Democracy"  

    ...the film features an exclusive interview with Venezuela's radical president, Hugo Chavez, and helps provide an overview of US interventions into Latin America — the US empire's so-called "backyard".  Pilger constructs a damning expose of the hypocritical pretensions of US President George Bush's second inauguration address, in which Bush pledged to "bring democracy to the world".  This is done through interviews with the survivors of atrocities committed and supported by US administrations.

    A US nun, Dianna Ortiz, recounts how she was tortured and gang-raped in Guatemala in the late '80s by a gang led by a US man clearly linked to the US-backed regime that was in power. Men and women speak of their torture during the reign of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, another US-backed tyrant. Their distressing recollections are sharply contrasted with an interview with a wealthy Chilean woman who says: "I don't believe there's any torturing done in Chile. Why torture someone when you can shoot them?"

    With his trademark black humour, Pilger interviews senior US officials who talk very earnestly of liberty while justifying brutal atrocities. ...   Clarridge applauds the US role in the region, stating that those opposed to Washington's intervention can simply "like it or lump it".

    It is impossible to watch this film without drawing comparisons to the "war on terror" being waged today.  ...

    (my bolding added)

    Faux News ruined my state

    by sc kitty on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 09:37:55 PM PST

  •  Bull... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wham Bam

    everyone knows that Wikileaks is a CIA front.  The CIA is trying to smear this innocent archbishops name.

    It wouldn't surprise me if they are actually in league with Chavez...

    Hell hath no fury like a cat ignored...

    by Gatordiet on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 09:41:43 PM PST

    •  I honestly could believe this. If you told me (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chrisfs, Uberbah, jemman, DruidQueen

      that WikiLeaks was really a front for aliens from outer space, about 0.1% of me would believe that.

    •  sad commentary to the depths this site has sunk (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chrisfs, poxonyou, Uberbah, Wham Bam

      … that i'm leaning way over that this isn't, in fact, snark.

      Perhaps i should go read a book.

    •  Snark, right? (0+ / 0-)

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:42:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not snark for Mark Fahra of Georgetown (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justina, Uberbah

        Mark Fahra, a Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in Doha, strongly suggested in an interview with Al-Jazeera that Assange was working for some intelligence service. Here is the video. He didn't have much evidence aside from his suspicions, Assange's "murky background", and Obama's hiring of Cass Sunstein. Fahra also said that the diplomatic cables didn't embarrass the US but instead served the interests of people who wanted war with Iran, increased pressure on China, etc.

        That's a problem with how the cables are being covered. They represent the viewpoint from within the US government, so they often confirm existing biases. Fahra is focusing on the cables that confirm existing biases and ignoring cables that embarrass the US government – just like the media. That's a problem with the media, and with Fahra, not the cables.

        But none of that is Wikileaks' fault nor suggests some ulterior motive. I'd prefer more attention was paid to cables where the diplomats reveal facts and events that they have direct knowledge of  – such as the order to collect intelligence on UN officials; the pressure put on governments like Spain and Germany to obstruct justice by politically influencing investigations for the benefit of the US government; and the meeting with Venezuela's archbishop to talk about ways to undermine Chavez.

    •  Or maybe... (0+ / 0-)

      You are a CIA plant at Daily Kos with the job of further discrediting Wikileaks by stating that they are a CIA front.

      If Assange avoids prison, then we'll know those charges were simply a 'false flag' operation by the US govt to make it look like they were coming down hard on him, when actually he is one of their very own agents. If he's jailed, we'll know that you are the CIA rat.

  •  The US Government is all pissed off over Hugo (6+ / 0-)

    Chavez and so is the Catholic Church.  Perhaps they should encourage that we work toward energy self sufficiency and deprive the Venezuela President the profits that the country receives when everyone here in the US fill up their Ford F150's with Citgo gasoline which is apparently owned by Venezuela.  Talk is cheap.

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 10:09:02 PM PST

    •  They are trying rectify that Oil problem... (9+ / 0-)

      ...by installing their own puppet dictator in Venezuela but it seems that pesky Chavez and the folks who vote for him have a different idea.

      However bad Chavez may or may not be our government has mess over most South American countries for the benefit of our corporations for so long that we are not trusted or wanted in SA's affairs.

      I suspect that sooner rather than later the vast majority of our own people will have similar feeling towards the US government for the same reasons.

      The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

      by Bobjack23 on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 10:54:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know, how dare they control their own oil? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, corvo, Radical def, farbuska

      This dictator must be stopped! He wants Venezuelan resources for the Venezuelan people!

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:26:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the great diary, Justina! (7+ / 0-)

    I had seen it, but for some reason didn't understand the full import of the situation.

    Btw, I think the best cable by far is the one about Chávez's tasty Arepera Socialista fast food restaurants. Arepas, for those who don't know, are very thick corn tortillas, the staple food in Venezuela and Colombia:

    The restaurant, located in a lower middle class neighborhood of Caracas, serves "arepas" for about a fourth of their regular price.

    On a January 8 visit, EmbOffs witnessed a long line ofpeople waiting to get into the restaurant but surprisingly rapid service. Inside, one wall was dominated by a quote in large red
    lettering from Simon Bolivar: "The best system of government is that which produces the greatest happiness." An employee managing the line said the restaurant served 1,200 customers per day. One man in line said he worked in the neighborhood and came every day since the food was excellent and cheap.

    Besides the price, Saman highlighted another key difference between socialist and capitalist "arepera": customers pay only after eating, while "in fast food chains . . . they only think about money." In the "Arepera Socialista," the cash register is in a corner of the room and customers pay only after eating, self-reporting how many of the "arepas" they ate.

    ¡K vivan Chávez y la Revolución Bolivariana!

    http://213.251.145.96/...

    Depende de la conciencia de la necesidad del cambio y la certeza de la posibilidad de este cambio revolucionario. - Ernesto Guevara

    by Anak on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 10:22:42 PM PST

  •  The Catholic Church is considered a sovereign (8+ / 0-)

    state because of the Lateran Treaty, negotiated under Mussolini. It has been recognized as such by the UN, and has voted as such to undermine women's rights and the rights of many minorities. Indeed, in a number of instances, it has voted with Libya and Saudi Arabia on several conventions, and has voted against the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Conventions on Migrant Workers; the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance; the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity; and Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

    Meanwhile, the Holy See has promoted the position that all religious personnel are subject to Canon Law, which mandates complete silence on the part of all parties to any action against the Church. This has particular meaning in cases of child abuse. Priests accused are often transferred to other parishes or countries and never subjected to the laws of the countries in which they were serving when the abuse occurred. Many have been transferred to South America and Africa, so it is just a matter of time before there are abuse cases such as have been publicized in Ireland and the US on those continents.

    The Pope, as head of the COngregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the  evolution of the Inquisition), was well aware of these issues and chose to reward those bishops who kept instances of child abuse under wraps. As head of the CDF, he and Pope John Paul II actually sent out a missive to bishops worldwide congratulating and applauding a French bishop who had blocked governmental action on a child abuse case; a missive that encouraged similar behavior among other bishops.

    I am a former Catholic because of these issues and many others. The Holy See demands that it be treated as a sovereign nation by the UN, but refuses to allow its personnel to be judged by any law other than Canon Law.

    It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. -- Thomas Jefferson

    by AtlantaJan on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 11:05:01 PM PST

    •  While historically you are correct, shouldn't we (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, corvo

      be trying to negate any and all treaties by/for/with fascist states? Or don't we want a better world?

      I too am a "former Catholic" but for other personal reasons...one word would describe it for me....hypocrisy...

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 11:11:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Porras, Archbishop of Venezuela, has a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, Uberbah, farbuska

      Venezuelan passport, that he is a citizen of that country, no? And for a citizen to call upon foreign powers to undermine your government - that is treason.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:45:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem I see for the church... (0+ / 0-)

      ...is that it's adopted a somewhat paranoid attitude towards the secular culture, and sees such prosecutions or word getting out about those cases as being a threat to the influence and reputation of the church.

      But as they're finding out, sometimes the cover-up and obfuscation hurts you worse than the crime itself.

      The GOP: The Party of Failure. Pass it on.

      by Stephen Daugherty on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 06:19:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Franco-loving Archbishop is no friend of mine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agent

    That said, the lunatic Chavez has over-stayed his welcome by many years now. If there's another coup in Venezuela, let's hope it comes from within his own party (and they're somehow able to keep the right at bay).

  •  This is a perfect example of why our Founding (6+ / 0-)

    Fathers, while moralistic, believed in separation of Church & State.

    Anyone who can claim that Wikileaks has some motive to "make this up", must not like the truth.

    I'd agree that the actions of this Archbishop is traitorous.  It's that called "aiding and abetting the enemy?"

    And sadly the cable was from 2002 and isn't it odd that BushCo, etc started their attacks against Chavez soon thereafter?

    Coincidence my ass!

    So we have prima facia evidence our gov't is influenced by the Catholic Church...who would have thunk?

    -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

    by gerrilea on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 11:17:45 PM PST

  •  Chavez bad, John Negroponte death squads good. (11+ / 0-)

    That's been standard American policy toward Latin America.

    Has the U.S. used its "School of the Americas" to teach Latin American dictators and their henchman torture techniques?

    You're d**n right we did.

    Sorry to see so many Kossacks support the traditional line that it's our backyard to do with what Washington sees fit.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:06:54 AM PST

    •  Yeah... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, corvo, rhetoricus

      Don't know how to teach classic Latin American novels like Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman or Isabel Allende's The House of Spirits or even Reinaldo Arena's anti-Castro screed, Before Night Falls, when Bush and Obama are using the exact same torture techniques described in these books!

      Depende de la conciencia de la necesidad del cambio y la certeza de la posibilidad de este cambio revolucionario. - Ernesto Guevara

      by Anak on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:30:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wikileaks is giving the people a look behind the (6+ / 0-)

    curtain, but to think that Hugo Chavez did not know the extent of his enemies' activities within his own country is fanciful.

    If we accept the Vatican as a genuine state among nation states, how can the cardinals and bishops around the world be seen in diplomatic terms as anything but the agents of a foreign power?

    "In order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it." Samuel Johnson

    by HiKa on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 12:30:46 AM PST

  •  Take Your Chavez Propaganda Elsewhere (8+ / 0-)

    You obviously want this cleric to suffer some real consequences in Venezuela for the crime of speaking his mind.  Treason, under Venezuelan law, I am sure means at least prison.

    And it sounds like a lot of people posting here wouldn't mind hearing that Bishop Porras was found lying in a ditch tommorrow.  Ironic, since most of the pro-Wikileaks diaries on DKOS talk about how no one gets harmed because of their release.

    Now we have Exhibit A, if something happens to this man, of the sort of "collateral damage" Assange euphemistically refers to.

    •  Like Chavez is going to touch an archbishop. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SLKRR, corvo, Indiana Bob, Uberbah, MrJayTee

      Thanks for the agit-prop.

      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by bobdevo on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 03:23:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Chavez has quite a coterie here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ranger995, Matisyahu

      Say what you will about the merits of the poster's accusation, it's illustrative to see so many people here work themselves into a huff defending Chavez and decrying his detractors. I wonder if you did a popularity poll on DailyKos between Chavez and Obama, who would win?

    •  As has been said many times.. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, corvo, Indiana Bob, rhetoricus

      ..the U.S. had a chance to review the cables and remove information that would harm current activities.  They refused, and intentionally blew the cover of anyone they had contacted.

      I don't personally equate 'using the strength and reach of the entire Venezuelan Catholic Church in an organized effort to undermine a democratically-elected government' as 'speaking his mind'.  But I suppose that is a matter of opinion, not fact.

      "To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well." Justice Robert Jackson, Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg.

      by Wayward Son on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 06:32:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is nonsense (0+ / 0-)

        The information gets stolen and then if the State Department does not cooperate in the public dissemination they are the ones who "intentionally blew the cover" of people like this bishop?  Talk about convoluted logic.  The guilty ones are the Wikileaks ideologues who don't mind "collateral damage" in pursuit of their utopian crusade.

        •  They did so for the Afghanistan documents. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justina

          Now you're in the position of calling either their first decision 'nonsensical'.. or their second decision 'nonsensical'.  Take your pick.

          Don't be too embarassed.  Apparently, you didn't do much research on the topic.  

          "To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well." Justice Robert Jackson, Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg.

          by Wayward Son on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:47:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are wrong - again (0+ / 0-)

            Both the State Department (through the Harold Koh, Legal Advisor letter of late November), and earlier the Pentagon with the Afghanistan/Iraq documents, refused to play ball with Wikileaks.  Wikileaks did its own sloppy redactions (which included failures to redact US soldiers SSN and DOD technical reports on US counter-IED efforts) and, after the materials were provided to the NYT and other newspapers, those publications did further redactions.  The legitimate journalist organizations do such redactions in the normal course of how they operate, and this includes reaching out as appropriate to their US government contacts, on background if needed.

            So basically State and Defense requested that the confidential status of the stolen information be protected in its entirety by Wikileaks.  This was rejected by Assange.  Making the best of a bad situation, the US government then worked with the legitimate journalist organizations who received Assange's info dump.  

            This is a far cry from your bizarre notion that the US government itself is responsible for revealing this classified information.  You live in WikiWorld if you think the government is to blame here.  Far from being embarassed, the continued misinformation that is peddled here to prop up the shaky edifice of Wikileaks actions amazes me.

    •  Stirring up a junta (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, farbuska

      to install a US despot is, last I looked, treason.

      Wonder which corporation that archbishop is getting his palm greased by?

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 06:59:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do What Bolivia Did: Lift His Diplo Passport (0+ / 0-)

      No, I personally don't want to see Archbishop Porras in a ditch or physically injured, but I do hope that President Chavez will take a cue from the Morales government in Bolivia and withdraw recognition of the Vatican as a sovereign state entitled to diplomatic privileges.

      The Catholic hierarchy in Bolivia has carried on a heavily subversive campaign against the Morales government. This week, Morales apparently had had enough of it.

      Morales has ordered the Catholic Church to turn in the diplomatic passports carried by all its hierarchy and clerics within the month.  Venezuela should do the same.
       

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:03:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  While perhaps not important, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cantelow, Escamillo

    your setup misidentifies the context of the discussion.  You state the the cable "details a visit to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas on January 6, 2005, by Porras,...".  Actually, it detail a discussion at a  lunch by the Papal Nuncio and attended by the Ambassador (See para 2 : "At the invitation of the Papal Nuncio, the Ambassador attended a lunch on January 6 with Baltazar Porras, ARCHBISHOP of Merida and head of the Venezuela Council of Bishops (CEV).")

    God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon Oct. 9, 1940 - Dec. 8 1980

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 02:22:18 AM PST

  •  Confirmation Bias (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Escamillo

    If you don't know it is already, look it up.

    Show me the POLICY!

    by Fabian on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 03:02:12 AM PST

  •  Well, maybe they'll take each other out (0+ / 0-)

    since I'm really not seeing any side as being sympathetic (CC or Chavez).

    Life is less stressful when you realize that Obama is a Republican in "D" clothing.

    by The Dead Man on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 03:45:11 AM PST

  •  I told my British friends George Bush was a dick (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    robertlewiws, Matisyahu, mHainds

    Am I a traitor?

    Labelling critics traitors is a tactic used by totalitarian regimes, not leftist bloggers.

    It's called the Dodd-Frank bill. What else do you need to know?

    by roguetrader2000 on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 03:49:39 AM PST

  •  Catholic establishment (5+ / 0-)

    always supports the strong against the weak. Always supports dictatorships vs freedom. They always supported Franco. Franco was their idol. They were dictators together for all those years.  Older Spanish people curse them for that.  

    Anyone doubts that they are a criminal enterprise after what happened with the child rape and abuse cases?

    I used to be a catholic. I refuse to accept  their "advise" and dogma.

  •  John Paul II striking from the grave against... (6+ / 0-)

    Liberation Theology.

    John Paul II was possibly the worst Pope of the 20th century, even including "Hitler's Pope", Pius XII. Not only did he preside over the clerical sexual abuse abomination and its obscene cover-up; not only did his managerial incompetence lead the Vatican to the brink of bankruptcy; not only did he pack the College of Cardinals with reactionary incompetents; not only did he facilitate the Rwandan Holocaust by encouraging the explosive expansion of the Church in Africa without regard to enduring tribalism....

    John Paul II actively crushed the most genuinely Christ-like Catholic religious and social movement of the last 100 years. His brutal suppression of the liberation theology movement, casting the Church's lot with dictators and plutocrats, was shameful.

    Shameful.

    And this is merely the fruit of John Paul II's pogrom. He installed vile, reactionary Bishops across Latin America to kill the movement. This is precisely what John Paul II wanted to happen.

  •  Is Venezuela better of under Chavez rule? (0+ / 0-)

    I've heard not, haven't been, but "I've read somewhere" that the country has gone downhill since he came into power.  Anyone have a proper view?

    When we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.

    by genethefiend on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 06:34:08 AM PST

    •  If you are one of the rich land-owners, then, yes (8+ / 0-)

      it might have gone downhill for YOU.

      •  And some are helping Chavez, and are still rich (5+ / 0-)

        http://venezuelanalysis.com/... (written by that notorious commie rag, the Wall Street Journal)

        In the early hours of Aug. 16, President Hugo Chavez announced his smashing victory in a recall referendum from the balcony of the presidential palace to thousands of red-bereted supporters. "Tremble, oligarchs tremble," he sang to the delight of the crowd below.

        It didn't augur well for Venezuela's business establishment, which has tried by means legitimate and otherwise to unhorse the fiery leader. Mr. Chavez's self-styled "revolution" for the poor has devastated private companies and has sharply divided this country.

        Not every oligarch, however, is trembling. Alberto Vollmer, 36 years old, scion of one of Venezuela's oldest families and head of a century-old rum distiller, has learned to do what few of his wealthy peers have managed: adapt and even thrive under Mr. Chavez's hostile regime. He has become an example of how this deeply polarized nation can find common ground and move ahead after years of debilitating political violence.

        Harry Ried is a good, decent, and smart guy, but perhaps we need a different Majority Leader...

        by Indiana Bob on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:42:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Depends on who you are (6+ / 0-)

      If you're a regular person, life has gotten much better. If you were a rich member of the oligarchy, then no.

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 06:57:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You sound as if you support Chavez. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mHainds, MGross

    If that is so, then either you are unaware of what and who he is, or you are happy with a dictatorship and "caudillo" style rule. Chavez's government is a disaster, and not a disaster waiting to happen, but happening as we write these notes to each other. The list of crimes this man has committed is quite long, but I'll only list a couple here: Chavez supports FARC, a terrorist organization from Colombia, and he is also a drug trafficker. We know for certain that he has harbored members from ETA, the Basque terrorist organization, and has made imprisonment of political dissenters part of his Castro influenced management style. I could go on and on.....I will say flat out that Chavez is an evil man and if the Church is trying to find a way to have him ejected from the country, then more power to it.

    •  You have to compare Chavez to his rightwing (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, corvo, Radical def, farbuska

      ..counterparts, who are a thousand times worse. You remind me of the people who went on and on about the evils of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas in the 70's and 80's, but never mentioning that the government they overthrew had death squads, tortured and raped thousands of people, and kept the country in desperate poverty to enrich a few.

      Chavez actually wants Venezuelan resources to benefit the Venezuelan people, which is why we have a 24/7 news cycle in the US that bashes him--we can't control their oil anymore.  No, Chavez isn't a prince, but if he were replaced by a US despot (which is what his detractors are working to accomplish), you'd see things a LOT worse for the Venezuelan people.

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 06:56:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, I don't buy it. I live in Central America. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Link47, mHainds, MGross

        I have traveled throughout the region. I know first hand what is going on here and Chavez and Ortega are two of the worst "leaders" in Latin America. The alternative is not a U.S. despot, but a democratically elected President and Congress who will represent the people of these countries, not just their own party, or worse, their own families, which is precisely what is happening now.

        •  So, which Latin American country (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justina, corvo, farbuska

          ..are you modeling this dream after? If you said "Bolivia," we could have a conversation. Otherwise, you sound like someone who doesn't know jack about Latin American history, especially if you think Chavez and Ortega are the worst that have been served up down there. Which country do you live in, may I ask?

          If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

          by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:17:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Why would Columbia restore relations: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, corvo, rhetoricus

      with the Venezuelan monster?

      President Hugo Chávez on August 20 welcomed in his office Colombian Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín, and said he wished to restore full relations with Colombia, after he severed bilateral ties last July 22.

      Chávez met with Holguín after the Colombian minister installed, together with her Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro, five high-level bilateral committees to help normalize ties, DPA reported.

      The ruler said he spoke to Holguín about issues that are significant for his government, such as food production, security, energy, transportation and a series of projects to be implemented in the "short and medium term."

      "I am very pleased to be resuming talks about these topics from a geopolitical standpoint. Colombia and Venezuela on the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Pacific. A Venezuelan exit to the Pacific through Colombia is very necessary for us. A Colombian exit to the Atlantic too. This is integration," he said after the meeting.

      Chávez stressed that he and Holguín assessed issues related to binational railway connections and social work at the common border to "raise the standard of living of our peoples."

      The ruler added that he spoke to his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos, and hoped that those who "intend to drive us into a fight or put obstacles on our way do not get away with it. Let affection between us, good faith, willingness to work together and fully restore relations between two countries that were born in the same cradle prevail."

      Earlier, Holguín and Maduro, together with their delegations, met at the headquarters of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, downtown Caracas. Upon installation of the bilateral committees, both ministers voiced confidence that in the future both countries would have stable and lasting relationships.

      Issues such as trade, infrastructure, security and defense policy were addressed in the meeting, as agreed by Presidents Chávez and Santos in their meeting last week in Santa Marta, Colombia.

      The meetings between both presidents and their foreign ministers opened a new stage in relations, after constant frictions between Chávez and now former President Álvaro Uribe. Such tensions included Bogotá's complaints at the OAS last month that guerrilla camps were deployed in Venezuela, which led Caracas to break diplomatic ties.

      The delegations set up five committees intended to assess the payment of the debt owed to Colombia -estimated at USD 800 million, renewal of trade relations, economic complementarity, outlining a working plan for implementation of social policies on the border, infrastructure works and security.

      The Colombian delegation, led by Holguín, was also composed of the ministers of National Defense, Rodrigo Rivera Salazar; Trade, Industry and Tourism, Sergio Díaz Granados and Transportation, Germán Cardona Gutiérrez.

      The Venezuelan delegation, headed by Maduro, included the following members, among others: Defense Minister Carlos Mata; Trade Minister Richard Canán; Food Minister Carlos Osorio; Transportation and Communications Minister Francisco Garcés, Energy and Petroleum Minister Rafael Ramírez, and Manuel Barroso, the president of the Foreign Exchange Administration Board (Cadivi).

      Harry Ried is a good, decent, and smart guy, but perhaps we need a different Majority Leader...

      by Indiana Bob on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:38:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Santos called Chavez "my new best friend" (0+ / 0-)

        Of course, he smiles when he says it, since everyone knows it's just a realpolitik joke.  They're trading partners, they have a huge border, and while it's all fun and games for Venezuela to support insurgent groups in Colombia (that's why they have done it since the 1970s, long before Chavez), it gets less fun when your own border regions start looking like the dicier parts of Colombia.  So they all probably hate each other deep down (Santos-Chavez, Holguin-Maduro, and so on down the line), but they know how to get along.  We won't have any of the manic-depressiveness of the Uribe-Chavez relationship, in which they were literally serenading and feeding birthday cake to each other one moment, and mobilizing their tank squadrons the next.

        "George Washington said I was beautiful"--Sarah Palin on Barbara Bush, as imagined by Mark Sumner

        by Rich in PA on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:58:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ve Has Lowest Income Inequality in South America. (0+ / 0-)

      In the 12 years since President Chavez was first elected his government has reduced inequality in income substantially, such that a recent United Nations Development Program study reveals that Venezuela has the least income inequality for any country in South America.

      In addition, the Chavez government has reduced illiteracy to almost zero from 55% before he was elected, and provided free medical, dental and optical care to all citizens as a Constitutional right, along with the right to adequate nutrition, housing and free public education to the doctoral level.  Prior to Chavez's programs, millions of Venezuelans had no access to heath care due to both cost and the absence of medical personnel in their areas.  

      Chavez's commitment to real democracy is demonstrated by his Constitutional and financial support for the creation of thousands of Consejo Comunales, community councils in which groups of 200 to 400 families democratically decide the needs and priorities of their local neighborhood and are given technical assistance and funding from the government to carry their projects out.  This is direct, participatory democracy.  I know as I participate in the Consejo Comunal for my neighborhood here in Merida.

      The foregoing are only a few of the many reasons why the majority of voters in Venezuela consistently choose to retain Chavez and his government.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:31:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your Allegations are Spurious. (0+ / 0-)

      robertlewiws writes:

      You sound as if you support Chavez... The list of crimes this man has committed is quite long...

      Chavez does not support FARC, he was officially asked by Colombia's President Uribe to negotiate with the FARC for release of prisoners.  He did so successfully, despite Uribe's abrupt decision to cancel Chavez's role as negotiator.  In the course of the last few years, and in the process of hostage negotiation, Chavez repeatedly called on the FARC to put down their arms and give up terrorist activity.

      Chavez himself neither smokes nor drinks anything but  lot of coffee. He maintains a modest lifestyle and frequently calls on his citizens to give up alcohol, smoking and stay away from drugs, funding many drug rehabilitation programs. You provide no evidence whatever to support your allegation that he is a drug trafficker.

      Chavez was not elected until 1998, so he was not president in 1989  when the Spanish government asked the then president to accept Basque ETA members for refuge in Venezuela the Basque pursuant to an international agreement. No evidence has ever been presented to connect President Chavez with support of Basque terrorists at all.

      The Catholic Church is one of the most undemocratic institutions in the world, yet you would deprive the Venezuelan people of their right to choose their president by turning over that power to the Catholic hierarchy.

      Dailykos supports democracy not theocracy, so you might be in the wrong web site.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:46:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We obviously believe differently (0+ / 0-)

        about Mr Chavez. I think he is an ego-maniac who has nationalized private industry to the country's detriment, has misspent billions of dollars trying to buy influence throughout the region, and has also foolishly spent billions on weapons from Russia.

        As for the drug connection:

        BOGOTA, Colombia, July 18 -- A report for the U.S. Congress on drug smuggling through Venezuela concludes that corruption at high levels of President Hugo Chávez's government and state aid to Colombia's drug-trafficking guerrillas have made Venezuela a major launching pad for cocaine bound for the United States and Europe.

        Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

        He scorns his "independent" Judiciary with prison:

        The jailing of a tenured judge who angered the president has brought into sharp focus the increasingly tight control Chávez exerts over the judiciary, a situation condemned by legal watchdog groups and constitutional experts across the Americas.

        Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

        Prosecution of political opponents, which means imprisonment:

        http://www.hrw.org/...

        Is this what you call democracy?

  •  A few things (6+ / 0-)
    1. Would I be a traitor if I had told a French diplomat that I wished he would be more vocally critical of the US government - especially the policy on Iraq - during the Bush administration?
    1. You have to be an ostrich if you ignore the repressive measures that the Chavez regime has taken to intimidate, silence, and box in critical media outlets and political opponents.  The thing that worries me most is that the judiciary has increasingly become an arm of the Chavez regime during the past few years, with the jailing of Judge Afiuni being merely the most high-profile incident.  This is a trend that mirrors what's been happening in Russia.  I don't care how popular the executive is - an independent judiciary is essential to protecting rights in a democratic state.  Without it, the benefits of having a democratically elected government quickly fade away.  And don't even get me started on Chavez's newfound chumminess with Ahmadenijad.
    1. Reading through the comments, it's amusing how many comments responding to criticisms of Chavez make no effort to defend Chavez's actions.  Rather, they say "well, the US government has done similar things."  I guess the message there is that if the US government does something stupid, that makes it acceptable for other governments to do it?  Anyone actually want to defend some of Chavez's more, errr, "questionable" actions on their merits?
    1. Hey, I can play the "but the guy I don't like did something similar/worse" game too.  You do realize that Chavez himself actually led a military coup attempt in 1992, right?  The archbishop simply asked the United States government to be more "clear and public" in its criticism of Chavez.  The Venezuelan government today is sinking into repression and corruption just like the regime in 1992 did.  It seems to me that the main difference is that Chavez is left-wing while Perez was right-wing.  So is the lesson "it's ok to support the overthrow of a rightist government, but not a leftist one?"

    Preaching to the choir and then shooting them when they don't sing loud enough isn't a good strategy for increasing the size of the congregation.

    by Matisyahu on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:03:52 AM PST

    •  So, which Latin American government (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo

      Has your idea of a good, "democratic" leader? This should be interesting.  

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:20:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm going to bet on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bobdevo, rhetoricus

        Honduras, maybe Mexico, maybe Colombia . . . :-/

        •  Yes, things are lovely there. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justina, corvo

          I've traveled in each one you mention. If I had to travel in one of those 4 countries, in only one of them would I not be terrified of kidnapping, paramilitary violence, or getting disappeared. And that would be Venezuela.

          If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

          by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:28:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ridiculous (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            robertlewiws

            I've made numerous trips around Latin America and should be catching a flight that way in January, since my wife are son are in Peru right now with their relatives.
            I had some traveling companions stay in Caracas and while they were at a hostel, just up the road some armed group blocked the exits of a big hotel and went door to door robbing everyone at gunpoint in a very large building.  
            These were Britons - and they said they have never experienced the level of hostility in all the countries they visited in S. America, simply because they were gringos.

            Peru and Brazil are doing 10 times as much as Venezuela to improve the lives of the poor - by growing their economy and bringing the poor up into the middle class.
            Hugo's strategy is to bring equality by making everyone poor.

            I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

            by mHainds on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:52:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, for the love of God. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Justina, corvo

              Perhaps I can regale you with stories of my "traveling companions" who have been robbed and beaten up in both Peru and in Brazil. In Peru, they were detained by anti-drug cops, and they had to pay them off to get out. In Brazil, they were robbed at gunpoint in Rio. So the hell what?

              I'm not arguing that Chavez is perfect. I'm saying he could be a lot worse, and when the US installs right-wing despots (which we tried to do by supporting the junta against Chavez), things get much, much worse for people.

              If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

              by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:14:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  On this, then, we agree (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Justina

                Right-wing despots are terrible.
                We have a horrible history in Central and South America - with Pinochet being perhaps, the most egregious example.
                And you better watch your ass when traveling the rougher portions of most any big city in S. America.

                I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

                by mHainds on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:38:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  You're currently at greater risk... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mHainds

            ...of common street crime in Venezuela than in Colombia.  In fact, you're at greater risk of street crime in Argentina than in Colombia.  

            "George Washington said I was beautiful"--Sarah Palin on Barbara Bush, as imagined by Mark Sumner

            by Rich in PA on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:55:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  "common street crime" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Justina

              Well, my best friend is an accompaniment worker in Colombia. A number of people who were her close friends, who live in a tiny mountain village and aren't at all political, have been tortured, raped and murdered (or had their children diced into little pieces) by paramilitary cooperating with government soldiers. So don't tell me how safe Colombia is.

              If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

              by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:17:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Since you talked about risks to yourself... (0+ / 0-)

                ...I gave you the scenario that's most relevant.  As for your friend's situation, ask her to compare pre- and post-2002.  I can name every significant massacre that's occurred since Uribe came to power, but if you asked me to do it for pre-2002 it would be impossible since there were so many.  

                "George Washington said I was beautiful"--Sarah Palin on Barbara Bush, as imagined by Mark Sumner

                by Rich in PA on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:29:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Okay, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Justina

                  "On May 4, the Colombian Senate held a special hearing on the illegal activities of the Colombian intelligence Agency (DAS). Such activities have included not only illegal surveillance, but a series of acts that amount to State terrorism, such as death threats, kidnappings, harassment of children, blackmailing and framing of Supreme Court Justices, opposition leaders, journalists and human rights defenders. DAS even created a manual that instructed agents how to threaten the children of their targets.

                  At the hearing opposition senator Gustavo Petro unveiled the alleged role of United States in one of these operations, citing official documents."

                  Massacre in 2005

                  Colombia is now the second worst internal displacement crisis in the world.

                  If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                  by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:38:12 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Brazil (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inland

        Preaching to the choir and then shooting them when they don't sing loud enough isn't a good strategy for increasing the size of the congregation.

        by Matisyahu on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:37:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Brazil ain't perfect, mind you (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobdevo, Inland, MGross

          But no country is, particularly in Latin America.  If I had to pick my favorite Latin American leader from the past few years, though, he'd definitely be the one I pick.  His campaigns against hunger and illiteracy have generated huge improvements in a relatively short span of time, as has his drive to improve Brazil's infrastructure.  He has moved the country in a decidedly more progressive direction compared to his predecessors without using the repressive measures of Chavez.

          Preaching to the choir and then shooting them when they don't sing loud enough isn't a good strategy for increasing the size of the congregation.

          by Matisyahu on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:42:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hilarious. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dave925, corvo

          Yes, what a model Brazil is. Police shoot children in the street down there. The violence-ridden slum cities are especially nice. Corporations are completely decimating the rainforest, and murdering anyone who tries to stand up for indigenous populations and virgin land. Top of my vacation list.

          If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

          by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:43:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ex-squeeze me? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Justina, Dave925, corvo

            Police shoot children in the street down there.

            How many children (under 18yrs) have cops in the US killed in the past 5 years?

            The violence-ridden slum cities are especially nice.

            Been to Detroit?

            Corporations are completely decimating the rainforest, and murdering anyone who tries to stand up for indigenous populations and virgin land.


            Eric Holder represents Chiquita Brands for paying right wing death squads to assassinate labor organizers.  Obama then appoints him AG so he won't prosecute Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld for torture and warrantless wiretapping
            .

            Brazil sounds at least as good as the US, as I don't believe they are killing Afghan children with predator drones . . .

            "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

            by bobdevo on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:52:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  How much time have you spent there? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matisyahu

            Because Brazil is a very big place.  You sound as if you're opinion of the country was generated from reading news headlines.  
            I've spent time in Cuiaba, Santos, Sao Vicente, Sao Paulo, Guaraja, and Curitiba, and I could show you some of the most beautiful places, beautiful bodies, and beautiful attitudes, while listening to the most beautiful music in the world.  
            It's quite sad to see such hateful ignorance towards one of Latin America's most progressive countries.
             

            I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

            by mHainds on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:01:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, okay. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Justina, corvo

              Have you visited Venezuela? Because "I could show you some of the most beautiful places, beautiful bodies, and beautiful attitudes, while listening to the most beautiful music in the world. It's quite sad to see such hateful ignorance towards one of Latin America's most progressive countries."

              If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

              by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:06:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Matisyahu

                I'll not hammer on Venezuela, but I will hammer on Chaves.  This is after all, a political website, and unlike in Venezuela, I probably won't lose my job because I spoke out against my government.  

                I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

                by mHainds on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:22:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  You'd take Chavez over De Silva? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matisyahu

            Um. Chavez is a joke at best, a wanna be dictator at worse, and has somehow managed to be unable to improve the state of the poor in his country despite sitting on top of oil wealth.

            http://topics.nytimes.com/...

            As the popular two-term president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has presided over a period of significant growth in the economy that has solidified the country as the center of gravity in Latin America and an increasingly important player in the world.

            *********

            Long famous for its unequal distribution of wealth, Brazil has shrunk its income gap by more than any other country in South America this decade, with the bottom earners showing major income gains and more modest gains among top earners. But Brazil is also outspending most of its neighbors on social programs, and overall public spending continues to be nearly four times as high as what Mexico spends as a percentage of its gross national product.

            Denounce someone else's lack of courage from safe distance and anonymously!

            by Inland on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:11:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Chavez is a fraud & is no democrat (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rock the ground, Link47, mHainds, MGross

    The diarist makes much of the archbishop's support of a right wing coup in 2002.  Please note that Chavez himself led a coup against an elected government and was sent to prison.  Chavez is a demagogue who has done little to develop his country.  Rather he is squandering the country's oil wealth on his own ego.  So while the Archbishop was not a very bright fellow and Ambassador Brownfield continues the American tradition of counterproductive interference in the domestic affairs of other countries, this cable does not make Chavez any more palatable.  Even paranoids have real enemies.

    •  Your Comment Lacks Factual Basis. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925

      ProduceMan writes:

      Chavez is a fraud & is no democrat

      In the last 12 years, President Chavez has been elected twice and been retained in office in a national referendum, all by substantial majorities of the Venezuelan people. His Socialist Party of Venezuela just gained a comfortable majority in the National Assembly in the September, 2010 election, and just elected 8 out of 13 top positions in December 2010's regional elections.

      Chavez did lose one referendum on Constitutional Reform by less than 2 percentage points.  He did not contest the election results or request a recount.

      All of these elections have been monitored by neural international observers and found to have been fair elections.

      Your comment therefore flies in the face of Chavez's 12 year record as a democratic president who respects elections and the electoral process.  You offer no evidence that he is in any way a fraud.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:15:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And you ignore (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rock the ground

        that Amnesty International has complained about Chavez making politically-motivated arrests. That Human Rights Watch said that Chavez's government has been engaging in civil rights abuses in violation of the constitution he wanted passed. That he has worked to erode the independence of the media and the judiciary.

        Holding up Chavez to be some kind of democratic hero is to willfully ignore how he has made Venezuela into a less-democratic and less-free nation.

      •  While Hitler comparisons are bullshit (0+ / 0-)

        there was a failed putsch and then elections...  You fail to accept the fact the man tried to overthrow the elected government of Venezuela while he was in the armed forces.  There is no reason to avoid addressing all the facts as they stand.  As a former foreign service officer I believe wikileaks has done a huge service to our country.  We have too many diplomats too much secrecy too much inside baseball when most of the facts are apparent to most people ...... like the fact that it was pretty clear from the public record and the reports of the UN that Saddam had no WMDs. But if the new division in the world is between people who want to lead their lives based on fairly accurate information (or at least the pursuit of accurate information) versus those who want to lead their lives on beliefs or the lies purveyed by others, let us hope the DailyKos community is on the fact based side of the equation.

  •  Chaves is destroying Venezuela (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dave3172

    That's not an excuse for the Catholic Church to foment rebellion.  
    For all the nitwits that think we should support Chaves because he's a leftist - you don't improve your country by making everyone poor.  
    You don't improve your country by running the infrastructure into the ground.
    You don't improve your country by destroying the currency.
    You don't improve regional stability by supporting drug lords in the FARC.
    You don't improve your country by removing the underpinnings of Democracy.  

    If we ignore all that, then I guess we can give him some credit for bringing better health care to poor people.  Otherwise, he's an asshole.

    I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

    by mHainds on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:25:22 AM PST

    •  So.. let's see.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slatsg, Dave925, corvo

      Who is doing it right down there?

      Because last I looked, it's pretty tough not to be in bed with the drug traffickers, since they supply both the left wing guerrillas and the the right-wing paramilitaries.

      I love the "making everyone poor" comment. Because under right-wing leaders the US has installed (see: the Guatemalan Arbenz regime, Nicaragua's Somozan regime, Chile's Pinochet), "poverty" means starvation, homelessness, and sickness. And those are the people who haven't been dragged off and tortured. Under a left wing government, "poverty" means you get health care, food, a home and an education, but perhaps not two cars. Give me a break.

      I just love all these rantings about "democracy." Perhaps we should rush in there and install one, like we did in Iraq? Things are MUCH better for folks there now. (Gag.)

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:41:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  False Choice (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave925

        When you buy a car, you don't have to choose between a Hummer or a Chevy Volt.  There are thousands of models in between.
        It shouldn't be a choice between a Noriega or a Chavez, of whom Chavez is only marginally better of the two.  
        In Peru, Garcia and Toledo have presided over one of the fastest growing economies, and greatest increases in household incomes in Latin America.
        Until recently, Chile's Socialist government was doing quite well.
        With all of Brasil's problems, things are improving at an astounding pace.  

        I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

        by mHainds on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:10:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah.. no (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slatsg, Dave925

          Chavez is leagues better than a Somoza or a Pinochet.

          The real question is how the poorest and most vulnerable people are doing in these countries, not how fast the wealthy are getting wealthier.

          My main concern is that if Chavez is replaced, he'll be replaced by the kind of person we tend to install down there, which is a bloodless murderer with armies trained by the School of the Americas, who only takes care of the rich corporations and screw everyone else.

          If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

          by rhetoricus on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:27:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We have less influence than we used to (5+ / 0-)

            With the exception of Columbia and Peru.
            It pains me, but I'll give Chavez credit for helping the poorest of the poor.  But he would be able to do a lot more for the poor, if he didn't destroy Venezuela's economy in the process.  That's why I prefer Lula as a role model.  He's bringing huge numbers of poor up into the middle class while simultaneously improving the economy.  As the economy improves, he has more money to help the poor.
            In America, we improve the economy so we can make the rich richer.  The poor and middle class haven't improved their standing in decades, and many are going backwards.

            I'll put on my glasses.... and tell you how sweet your ass is. (w/ apologies to Señor Bega)

            by mHainds on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:34:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Comment Contrary To Historical Facts. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slatsg

      Improvements in the lives of Venezuelans since Chavez was first elected to office have been extremely impressive:

      All Venezuelans now have free access to health care, before Chavez millions had no access at all.

      Illiteracy, over 55% before Chavez, has now been virtually eliminated. Programs provide free literacy classes, free high school classes and free university classes, free technical training programs to those who never had such access before.  It sometimes seems that everyone you meet here is taking courses of some kind or another.

      Government markets provide low cost food to all who want it. There are even low cost government restaurants ("comedores") which serve a 4 course meal for a dollar or so.

      The government provides start-up funds to cooperatives and small businesses at extremely low interest and repayment terms.  In some cases, part of a the principal is forgiven altogether.  This is how my doctor got her office building.

      University students are paid to go to school and their tuition is free.  Even youths in the fantastic national youth orchestra program are paid for their work rehearsing and performing. Their lessons and instrument are totally free.

      The United Nations Development Program just rated Venezuela as having the least inequality in income of any country in South America.

      At this very moment, hundreds of families who have lost their homes in the recent flooding having been housed at government expensve in tourist hotels and pasadas. President Chavez has opened the presidential palace and other government buildings to homeless families.  President Chavez has moved himself into a tent in the Palace's back yard.

      Chavez's Venezuela is model for the creation of  programs which really change the lives of its citizens.  This government puts the needs and aspirations as its first priority.  Would that the United States had even a fraction of these programs, as our citizens desperately need the same help.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care and unions.

      by Justina on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 01:47:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's Always the Chinese/Henry VIII Option (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, corvo

    Decapitate the church.  Get rid of the local hierarchy.  Provide "priests" who wear the same vestments, occupy the same churches, mumble the same mumbo jumbo, sprinkle holy water, hand out wafers and take confessions.  The only difference being that they work for, and are appointed by, the government, not Rome.  

    Simply cut Ratzinger out of the deal.

    I don't think Chavez needs that kind of struggle now, though. The better strategy would be simply to use as much media and organizing influence as possible to discredit the Archbishop-prick.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:37:25 AM PST

    •  Actually, that's how the Church itself (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925

      was run in many parts of Europe for centuries.  In several parts of Germany (Köln for instance), the appointment of archbishops still has to be approved by secular authorities.  Not that the Church minds, because this is, considering the demographics of the Rhineland, a mere formality. :-)

  •  Can we talk about Chavez without all the chavista (0+ / 0-)

    ...bells and whistles?  It could legitimately be seen as sedition, but it's not treason.  And as for sedition, the test would be whether we'd be comfortable with a mirror-image case. e.g. if in Colombia someone from the Left went to a foreign embassy (I'm finding it hard to pick one...maybe Norway) to ask them to work harder against Uribe.  That would get them into disciplinary trouble if they're officeholders (like Piedad Cordoba), but it wouldn't get them into strictly legal trouble.

    "George Washington said I was beautiful"--Sarah Palin on Barbara Bush, as imagined by Mark Sumner

    by Rich in PA on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:50:24 AM PST

  •  Ok, back and forth. Chavez is good, no he's bad. (6+ / 0-)

    Pretty hard to talk too much crap about Chavez or Ahmadinejad, when our democratically elected leaders invaded Iraq, overthrew Iran, shot an Iranian airliner out of the sky killing men, women and children, attempted a coup in Venezuela, succeeded in Chile, Argentina, Somoza, Colombia...ZOMG it's such a joke.

    Oh, yeah, the guy in North Korea.  I don't like him much either, what I know of him through the filtered news we are allowed to receive, but I do remember something about a Korean War in the 50's or something.  Did you ever see M.A.S.H. on TV.  Funny show.  Not a funny war, especially if you are/were Korean.  And why do we really need to conduct naval exercises off the paranoid guy's coast?

    And let's do some military exercises with those super nice Georgians so we can totally encircle Russia, like they didn't fight enough against Hitler and US-supported Afghanistan.  Georgians - nice people.  Stalin was Georgian.  Check out the cool Georgian mafia and the whacked out President of Georgia, Saakashvili and McCain screaming, "We are all Georgians now."  It's all so ridiculous.

    And LOL Religion.  All Bishops are traitorous as far as I'm concerned.  They are traitorous to humanity.  All of them.

    The Old Testament really was the first military manual ever written.  The Art of War came much later.

    Somoza - educated by the Christian Brothers.
    Stalin - educated in some Georgian Orthodox Seminary.
    Austrian Punk - yup, educated at Catholic school.

    Why would a religious society believe War to be an abomination when it is featured so heavily in the Old Testament?

    So, I'm not at all surprised that a Catholic Bishop would be doing whatever duplicitous stuff to advance the power of the Church and to satiate its depraved desires.

    "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes" -Marx

    by Jose Bidenio on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:56:18 AM PST

    •  I forgot...Pol Pot, yup, educated at Catholic (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, Dave925, corvo, Radical def

      school.  Idi Amin - was Catholic, then switched to Islam and went to Muslim school.

      Even Genghis Khan was educated by early Christian missionaries.  It's ridiculous.  George Bush - Born Again.

      Even Obama was dumb enough to go to Church and sit in the pews to receive sermons of righteous hate which did not originate with Jeremiah, the Chicago Jeremiah, not the biblical one.

      It always bothered me that Obama would let his daughters read the Bible, especially the depraved story of Lot and his daughters.  

      The Church should be abolished.  It's the most ridiculoud thing ever.  End of Story.  

      /rant

      "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes" -Marx

      by Jose Bidenio on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:05:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, I can't resist -- (3+ / 0-)

      which Austrian punk? Are you thinking Waldheim, or reaching back even farther into the twentieth century:
      the diminutive fascist Dollfuss and his sidekick Schuschnigg (who was rehabilitated as a professor at the Jesuit St. Louis University (that's right, in Missouri) after World War II?  

      Or, speaking of Jesuits, that admirable murderer of Socialists, Father Ignaz Seipel (Prime Minister back in the days when Holy Mother Church had no objection at all, nosiree bob, to clerics in politics -- as long as it was the right politics!)  

      Or maybe the demagogue Karl Lueger, whose antisemitism was so repugnant to the Kaiser that he wouldn't approve Lueger's election until he'd won for a fourth time? . . .

      •  oh, forgot to mention: (1+ / 0-)

        Lueger's election was only to Mayor of Vienna.  

      •  Wow...I didn't know about those Holy Men. I'll (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dave925, corvo

        be sure to look them up and add them to my list though.

        I was trying not to invoke Godwin's Law.  I always refer to Adolph as Austrian, b/c I'm sure he'd hate it.

        But yeah, Austria was a cauldron of hate before and during Dollfuss reign.

        Ludwig von Mises was in Vienna then too, and he served under Dollfuss.  And I imagine Mises crossed paths with Adolph a few times in Vienna.  Btw, Mises was unable to receive tenure at an American university upon and after his arrival here from Vienna, likely b/c of his ties to Austro-fascism.

        I believe that Mises intent was to provide academic justification for greed, hate and oppression.

        Saw this quote in somebody's sig here the other day:

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

        -- John Kenneth Galbraith

        Mises attempted to justify greed, hate, and oppression as an exercise in economics, b/c his a priori arguments are not scientific.

        btw, a run on Austrian banks, including the Creditanstalt, kicked off the Great Depression.  Mises and Dollfuss were and their fascistic economics caused the Great Depression & WWII in my opinion.

        "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes" -Marx

        by Jose Bidenio on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:55:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Chavez (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rock the ground, mHainds

    Chavez is democratically elected?  Really?

    Want to put money on the actual integrity of those elections and the freedom of the opposition to reach out to voters?

    "Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." - Voltaire

    by DrFrankLives on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:03:11 AM PST

    •  Well, maybe you wouldn't, but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, rhetoricus

      Jimmy Carter would.  As for the "freedom of the opposition to reach out to voters," well, the opposition won the last elections, so if Chavez were suppressing dissent, he's doing a terrible job of it.

    •  umm, Citizens United actually does "put money on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, Dave925, Radical def

      the actual integrity of" U.S. elections, so what's the difference?  

      Also, don't believe everything you read about Chavez in any US newspaper, or especially on any PBS Frontline show that is heavily funded by Big Oil.  Big Oil hates Chavez.  Nelson Rockefeller maintained his multi-thousand acre ranch in Venezuela for a reason.

      Rockefeller's involvement in the region began in 1936 with his investment in Creole Petroleum, the Venezuelan subsidiary of Standard Oil. Almost immediately, he began trying to influence North Americans' individual, corporate, and government relationships with Latin Americans.

      Missionary Capitalist: Nelson Rockefeller in Venezuela

      Not to mention Nelson headed C.I.A.A., which controlled all counter-intelligence in Latin America until 1947, when the CIA was formed.  Don't believe that Nelson wasn't involved in Latin America after 1947 either.

      "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes" -Marx

      by Jose Bidenio on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:25:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So, that Creole Petroleum Oil Co. Nelson was (0+ / 0-)

        involved with in Venezuela -- it was the largest oil producer in the world in 1951, but fell to #2 oil producer after the Arabian American Oil Co. became #1 in July of that year.

        Here's a 1951 Time article about it:  VENEZUELA: International Partnership

        Oddly, or perhaps not, the article doesn't mention Nelson once.  

        Put simply,  Venezuela was the main source of Standard Oil's oil in the 40's and 50's.

        LOL...I know it's just Wiki, but you have to check out how many coups there were in Venezuela during the 40's and 50's while Nelson was there, supposedly promoting good relations and economic development, but also running counter-intelligence through the C.I.A.A. for the whole of southwestern hemisphere:

        In 1945 a civilian-military coup overthrew Medina Angarita and ushered in a three-year period of democratic rule under the mass membership Democratic Action, initially under Rómulo Betancourt, until Rómulo Gallegos won the Venezuelan presidential election, 1947 (generally believed to be the first free and fair elections in Venezuela). Gallegos governed until overthrown by a military junta led by Marcos Pérez Jiménez and Gallegos' Defense Minister Carlos Delgado Chalbaud in the 1948 Venezuelan coup d'état. Pérez Jiménez was the most powerful man in the junta (though Chalbaud was its titular President), and was suspected of being behind the death in office of Chalbaud, who died in a bungled kidnapping in 1950. When the junta unexpectedly lost the election it held in 1952, it ignored the results and Pérez Jiménez was installed as President, where he remained until 1958.

        Nelson really cracks me up.

        You should check out the Cuban and Vietnamese offshore oil reserves, but that's another story.  It's all about the oil.  Always is.  What do you think the Russian Revolution was about?  Iraq?  Iran?  Chavez?  Texas?  Alaska?  Sarah gets paid about $3K per kid, plus for herself and Todd, per year from the oil companies up there?  It's ridiculous.  Every Alaskan gets paid by the oil companies, unless you're a felon I think.

        "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes" -Marx

        by Jose Bidenio on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:47:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranger995, Inland, rock the ground, Link47

    Are you really holding up Chavez as some kind of democratic paragon? The guy is a dictator who is ruthlessly consolidating power and turning the country into a basket case. The Church shouldn't be meddling in domestic affairs, but don't hold up Chavez as some kind of victim.

    •  This. (0+ / 0-)

      There is a significantly pro-Chavez tone in the way this diary has spun the story, both in the title and in the way the facts are editorialized. I'm sure there are some folks on this site who think that's a good thing, but from where I'm sitting it's not something I'd brag about in public. Whatever you may think about his politics, Chavez is a tyrant who has been systematically undermining representative democracy and consolidating personal power in Venezuela for years. He's a hero only to people who are either grossly uninformed or whose binary view of the world is so simplistic that they care more about seeing him poke American imperialism in the eye than about what he's actually doing to his country.

      The Catholic church may be a malignant and corrupt entity, but this bishop's willingness to undermine Chavez's power is something that should be applauded, and his exposure is something that anyone here who actually cares about democracy and human rights ought to be ashamed of crowing about.

      Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense.

      by Catsy on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 08:50:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's amazing this crap is on the rec list (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rimjob

      Chavez has stooped to provoking border crises, using anti-Semitism to target enemies and just one example of a massive effort to gin up intimidation and violence from gangs of thug supporters used to even prevent governing by democratically elected local opposition officials, official suppression of dissent (shutting down opposition media) and all the other hallmarks of authoritarian regimes.

      Even the ridiculous comments about the Archbishop may make me wonder about the intelligence of those recommending the diary?

      Undoubtedly, the Archbishop is also quite disappointed that former Spanish dictator, General Francisco Franco, is no longer alive to counter Hugo Chavez.  Undoubtedly, Archbishop Porras would favor a General Franco to wipe out Venezuelan socialism.  

      What's the basis for this crap? It doesn't even make sense. Franco counter Chavez? When did Franco concern himself with South American affairs?

      I'm Jewish (to the extent that I identify with any religion) and have no call to defend the Catholic Church, but the diarists blanket assumption of the Church's anti-democratic principles overlooks the role that liberation theology has played in the Church's political activities in Latin America and Africa in recent decades. There are priests in Central America who became legendary heroes  of the leftist revolutions in the 80s.

      This diary is so much drivel. I thought it might be snark, trying to make a satiric point about Wikileaks and "traitors". I was wrong, It's just the worst kind of uncritical thinking. I'm very disappointed in this community for putting this on the rec list for so long.

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

      by FischFry on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:34:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The preemptive comparison to Franco (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FischFry

        and accusations of traitor hardly gives me a lot of faith that the diarist and the reccers are huge fans of peaceable dissent to Chavez's power and policies.

        Denounce someone else's lack of courage from safe distance and anonymously!

        by Inland on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:23:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Chavez is a militarist dictator. (0+ / 0-)

    The archbishop is looking out for his own people in opposing him and his totalitarian take-over of Venezuelan society.

  •  All the commenters bashing Chavez, please provide (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina, Dave925, Amber6541

    a link or cite to something that begins to make your case.

    Sorry, but you can't use the NYT, WAPO, State Dept, Pentagon, CIA Factbook, or especially PBS, which is heavily funded by Big Oil.

    You can just say, "Chavez is bad and evil", but it really isn't that great of an argument.

    Tell me whom he has attacked or killed.  Whom has he locked up for political reasons?  Actually, he let a lot of people go who supported the coup against him.  That doesn't sound like a maniacal dictator to me.

    "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes" -Marx

    by Jose Bidenio on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:06:37 AM PST

    •  He is, literally, a dictator. (0+ / 0-)

      He's received a grant of carte blanche powers that will extend into the next parliament, which will have more opposition.

      It's purposefully ignoring the results of the vote.

      How about Reuters?  Is that an Approved Source?

      http://www.youtube.com/...

      Denounce someone else's lack of courage from safe distance and anonymously!

      by Inland on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 10:20:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Honestly, no, Reuters is also a tool of Big Oil. (0+ / 0-)

        Most Brit outlets are as England has always derived significant riches from Big Oil.  Why do you think England assisted us with overthrowing Iran, or why did we assist them is probably more accurate?

        A better source would be Der Spiegel, anything German, French, or any country not beholding to Big Oil.  

        Ha!  So, I watched your vid.  The final sentence is, paraphrasing, "Chavez has used the special decree to nationalize oil companies in the past."  That's the main concern.

        Besides, please tell me what is different between a Chavez Decree and a POTUS Executive Order?

        "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes" -Marx

        by Jose Bidenio on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 05:40:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  let's avoid inconvenient facts about Chavez (0+ / 0-)

    CARACAS, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez moved on Tuesday to bypass parliament and rule by decree for a year in South America's biggest oil producer, prompting opposition accusations of behaving like a dictator.

    The socialist leader has used such powers three times before during his 11 years in power, and says he needs them again to deal with a national emergency caused by floods that have killed about 40 people and left almost 140,000 homeless.

    The head of parliament said the "Enabling Law" that would let Chavez govern by decree would be approved by Thursday. The text of the law allows him to issue decrees across a wide range of areas including housing, land, finances and security.

    Private banks and property owners are bracing themselves for another wave of nationalizations by the former paratrooper, who has taken Venezuela down a steadily more radical route in an effort to entrench "21st century socialism."  

  •  the US mainstream media has done a great job (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina, slatsg

    After reading some anti Chavez comments here, some calling him a dictator (dictator? in a place that has allowed more elections than any other in the past 10 years and sponsored a recall election, Venezuela is the only country so far to have recall elections in the entire region).

    The US mainstream media has done a great job.

    Recall Elections - Venezuela

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