I was reading up a little on Hugo Chávez on his passing. I never paid much attention to him in his lifetime, but I knew he was identified as an adversary in Washington and he regarded Dubya as the devil; so I figured he couldn’t be all bad. As I see it so far, his biggest sin was withholding oil revenues from the 1% to keep it in Venezuela and Latin America.
That set me to thinking about how the USA identifies its friends. Castro’s greatest sin against us was booting Batista and his American business partners from Cuba but then declaring himself as a communist. At that point, he stopped being Robin Hood and became a minion of the Red Menace.
Then I started looking for patterns – real or imagined – and hit on Hawaii and Native Americans. We were apparently fine with the Kingdom of Hawaii until it looked like Queen Liliuokalani was going to tussle with the haole for a better deal for Hawaiians, and then we – technically the planters – staged a coup d’etat. (Not entirely unlike our takeaway of Texas from Mexico.) As for Native Americans, our first official notice of them was when the Bureau of Indian Affairs was established in 1824… in the War Department.
Yesterday’s editorial in the NY Times reminds me that Chávez wasn’t a saint, but there was a taint of bias. Embracing “malevolent foreign leaders like” Assad and Ahmadinejad would sound worse if we hadn’t embraced a whole slew of malevolent foreign leaders such as the Shah, Marcos, Noriega, etc., when it suited us. What I got from that was that he pissed off the 1% and the politicians paid to support them.
Our national policy regarding peoples of color seems to have been that, if they were or became unfavorable for American business to deal with, they were enemy combatants. We still seem to do that.
Rest up, Mr. Chávez; you have some explaining to do. On the other hand, if Dubya gets to Heaven, you could be alright.