Denouncing Hugo Chavez

And other sports of the rich, infamous and just plain stupid


by Daniel Patrick Welch


Nancy Pelosi apparently has so much time on her hands, and so few

other issues to address, that she saw fit to unload on Hugo Chavez

following his appearance before the U.N. in New York. Most readers

are familiar by now with Chavez' provocative swipes at "Devil" Bush

and his comment that the titular head of U.S. empire had left the

place reeking of sulfur from his earlier appearance.


Is this run-of-the-mill Pablum of the Poor what angered Democratic

Party leaders so? It could hardly have been the more substantive

complaints in Chavez' brief address: the observation that the

permanent veto of a few mega-powers is an undemocratic throwback that

taints the entire mission of the U.N. (Gasp! What insolence!). Or

that the refusal to issue visas to several members of Chavez' staff

reeks of political payback thoroughly inappropriate for the

geographic host of an international organization (ingrate!).


No, denunciations are issued primarily because they are cheap and

easy political currency, a convenient distraction from events, issues

or problems the denouncer might otherwise be compelled to address.

Outrage is seductive; with the world burning around them, the leaders

of the system and the war machine fed by both parties have nothing

else to say and nothing to offer, either to their own people or the

citizens of the world.


Denunciations, repudiations and other useless gestures have long been

a substitute for real action and a smokescreen to reassign proper

targets of outrage. When Nelson Mandela visited the US as the

apartheid regime was crumbling beneath his lifelong struggle, it was

demanded of him that he "repudiate" Mohamar Khadafi and Fidel Castro.

Pictures were circulated of the supposedly embarrassing hugs that

would make such "repudiation" necessary.


Mandela refused, of course, clearly seeing the absurdity of bowing to

pressure from the erstwhile funders of his oppressors to denounce

those who had supported his struggle for decades. Black protesters of

the Vietnam War, urged to patriotic duty to kill communists and

children halfway around the globe, demurred with a similarly poignant

retort: "No Viet Cong ever called me 'Nigger.'"


But there is a disturbing lesson in the pattern of those our

politicians love to hate, and especially in our

toothless "opposition's" complicity with the real forces colluding to

turn back human progress on an unprecedented scale. There is

something unconvincing about the party of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

being outraged by war crimes, either by the current administration or

around the world. And ringing even hollower is the self-righteous

drivel from the lips of the heirs to one of the most nearly total

successful genocides in human history. Three centuries of slavery,

apartheid and racist terrorism came to an end (sort of) under their

watch. Democrats love to absorb these "struggles" and "victories"

into their legacy, conveniently forgetting not only that racism was

the founding tenet of huge sections of their own party, but that

their desire to claim credit is ill-deserved. Until the very sunset

of official American apartheid, even those most sympathetic in power

resisted, demurred, watered down, mitigated and counseled caution and

yet more patience among the oppressed. Some heroes.


And now, despite all historical evidence that reliance on change from

the leadership down is an exercise in futility, rank-and-file

democrats are nearly giddy at the prospect of gains to be made in the

coming biennial farce next month. Let's keep our eye on the ball:

Democratic leaders have more to say about Hugo Chavez than the

problems he is attempting to address.


Even in opposition they have almost nothing to say about the hugest

issues of the day: the near total inability of our society to address

virtually any of our actual problems caused by the bloated and

counterproductive war machine. So stuffed with our money that the

machine hemorrhages billions with barely anyone noticing, war waste

dwarfs all other items and all other budgets on the planet.

Government on all levels is completely paralyzed by this fear-induced

blackmail, even as it has more money than any other on earth. A

crisis, of course, met largely with silence from Bush's "friends

across the aisle.” Likewise with support for the ongoing slaughter

and colonization of Palestine, a festering injustice so obvious that

even the sleepy US public is starting to wake up to the atrocities.


A million cluster bombs lie scattered over southern Lebanon, a

million little ambassadors for the truth behind the US agenda in the

region. There is no timid or incremental solution to problems that

scream for radical change. Yet the Democrats with few exceptions,

right beside their Republican collaborators are so engorged on

corporate money, so beholden to interests diametrically opposed to

our own, so convinced of the rightness of their collusion with these

forces, so full of...well, shit, to be perfectly honest...that they

expect us to believe that something basic will change when they take

power. And if they have nothing to say now, will they miraculously

have more to say once the Made in USA SKU labels on all those cluster

bombs trace directly back to their own purse strings? Don't hold your



© 2006 Daniel Patrick Welch. Reprint permission granted with credit

and link to Writer, singer, linguist and

activist Daniel Patrick Welch lives and writes in Salem,

Massachusetts, with his wife, Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Together they

run The Greenhouse School

Translations of articles are available in up to 20 languages. Links

to the website are appreciated at




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