Friday, July 29, 2016

PCG's Demonization of Hugo Chávez

PCG's 1% leans far to the right. So naturally they loathed President Chávez of Venezuela since he leaned to the left. PCG denounced him as anti-American, hating America, Washington, D.C. and President Bush, a socialist, a dictator and an enemy.

This post is not about assessing President Chávez and the situation in Venezuela. This post is about how PCG's responded to this particular politician and their negative response against him.

Perhaps what is most fascinating about PCG's condemnation of President Chávez is how unnecessary it is for PCG's dogmas. PCG has this elaborate (and nonsensical) prophetic scenario involving (inaccurate) British Israelism, stereotyped Germans, a sorcerous final Pope, the King of the South, the alleged coming collapse of America, a place of safety in Petra, etc, etc. But Venezuela has little to do with PCG's prophetic scenario. There is no need for PCG to fixate on this nation but they did so any way.

For whatever reason PCG's 1% did not seem to bother talking about Chávez until 2005. PCG seemed to fixate on Venezuela particularly in 2006-9. Even though he was still in power PCG seemed to somewhat lose interest in him from 2010 onward.

One anonymous article dated October 10, 2005 describes President Chávez as "an undersized bully with an oversized mouth" seemingly mocking him for being short. What an absurd and useless thing to say. It also implies that being of short statue is something to be ashamed of. It is shameful to talk like that about people's own bodies like that.

PCG's 1% condemn Chávez for saying harsh words against the United States and President Bush that PCG's 1% disapprove of. This is quite ironic considering that PCG's leaders constantly condemn the United States for not living up to their teachings and dogmas. PCG's leaders insist that some dire catastrophe will soon fall upon the United States because Americans do not live according to PCG's teachings. But when Chávez criticizes the US government or talk about President Bush in a harsh way suddenly PCG's 1% finds this offensive and they chose to loath and demonize him.

PCG's 1% also moans about the Venezuelan government trying to nationalize various companies complaining that the nationalization will hamper investments made by American companies operating there. One cannot help but wonder if someone in PCG has investments in those companies. Or if that is not the case PCG's 1% at least think that scare mongering about an investment not performing as well as it can is something that would attract attention from their predominantly American readers.

PCG's 1% also links President Chávez with various governments that PCG does not like such as Iran, China, Russia and Cuba. They also scare mongered that Venezuela might impose some kind of oil embargo against the United States. PCG's leaders had no idea that the price of oil would later go down.

In an August 2006 article Chávez is vilified as saving Castro's regime by providing oil to Cuba. This is an absurd claim. After the collapse of the Communist eastern bloc in 1989 Cuba went through a severe economic crisis called the "special period" and even that failed to cause the one party regime to collapse. To blame Chávez for saving Castro seems absurd considering the fact of the Castro regime's survival through the 1990s before the rise of Chávez.

And after President Chávez passed away on March 5, 2013 PCG's writers chose to speculate that his death would lead to closer relations between Venezuela and the Vatican. This indicates that at that time PCG's leaders were not particularly worried about Venezuela and instead scare mongered about the opposition's leader making Venezuela more aligned with the Pope.

PCG has mentioned in him in other articles but this selection should provide a fair overview of PCG's discussion of Chávez. Highlighted passages emphasize PCG's invective and their complains against him including nationalizing various companies and insulting President Bush.

Here is some of what PCG's leaders said about President Chávez. This list of quotes include quotes from articles by Gerald Flurry, Mark Jenkins, Ron Fraser, Brad MacDonald, Joel Hilliker, Robert Morley and Jeremiah Jacques.


After years of relying on U.S. investors and consumers, Latin American nations are now looking at other interested parties. And if they respond to China’s interest anything like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has, the outcome for America could be devastating. After visiting China in December 2004, Chavez returned to Venezuela to declare a new energy partnership. ...
Although it will likely take a while for China to establish itself as a major player in Venezuela’s oil industry, the immediate issue that is truly worrying is the anti-American mindset behind Chavez’s newfound relations with Beijing. ... Venezuela is currently the fourth-largest supplier of oil to the U.S., and if anything, American demand for oil is likely to increase. Clearly, President Chavez’s newfound relations with China are more about breaking free of Venezuela’s reliance on America than needing to secure future oil exports. (China in U.S. Backyard, February 2005.)

Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, is an undersized bully with an oversized mouth seeking to exploit what little power he has in order to hurt as many Americans as possible. In the past few years, he has referred to President Bush as an imperialist who is planning to assassinate him, at least one expletive we won’t repeat here, and—most recently—“Mr. Danger,” although no one really knows what Mr. Chavez meant by that. These comments were mild compared to some of his statements about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. ...  In other words, if a country is an enemy of the United States, it is a friend of Hugo Chavez.
Now, when Hugo Chavez delivers his most important blow to date by selling off Venezuela’s U.S. Treasury bonds, he turns to Europe. To long-time readers of the Trumpet, this should come as no surprise, as we have been warning that Latin American resources would ultimately go to Europe—not the United States—for a decade. (Hugo Chavez Insults Starting to Sting, October 10, 2005.)

Venezuela, which has exported oil to the U.S. for years, now wants to award those contracts to China instead. Why would Latin America, which is right on the doorstep of the only superpower left in the world, go all the way across vast oceans to find alternate business partners? (Gerald Flurry, Daniel Unlocks Revelation, Chapter 2, 2005 version, p. 43.) 

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez seeks to exploit what little power he has in order to hurt the American government. He is infamous for his name-calling and insults; lately, however, his moves have really started to sting.
At September’s end, Chavez announced that Venezuela had moved its central bank foreign reserves out of the United States—this just as America began to recover from the double-fisted attack of Katrina and Rita. All in all, he sold $20 billion of U.S. Treasury bonds and moved it to Europe. (From Insult to Injury, January 2006.)

The Venezuelan president’s hatred for Washington—especially U.S. President George W. Bush—is daily news. But what does it matter?
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela certainly does hate the U.S.—especially its president. A typical pronouncement: “The imperialist, genocidal, fascist attitude of the U.S. president has no limits. I think Hitler would be like a suckling baby next to George W. Bush.” Despite Chavez’s public hatred for the U.S., despite his claim that President Bush is about to invade Venezuela, despite his threats to stop exporting oil to the United States, some analysts claim the Venezuela situation isn’t really a problem at all. (Is Hugo Chavez a Threat?, March 3, 2006.)

Last year, Beijing worked hard and invested billions to develop its interests in Latin America—to the detriment of the U.S. A simple reading of international headlines would tell anyone that the U.S. has two main opponents in Latin America right now: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the seemingly immortal Fidel Castro of Cuba. What might not be so evident is the support both countries have from China.
President Chavez has already signed deals to purchase long-range defense radars and a modern communication satellite from Beijing. The Venezuelan defense minister has signed a contract for three mobile air-defense radar systems, which will replace U.S. systems. More than simply providing technology for Venezuela, the Jamestown Foundation in Washington points out that these purchases will make Venezuela dependent on Chinese technology: “We can anticipate that Chavez will soon be buying Chinese weapons” (Washington Times, Nov. 20, 2005).
President Chavez also said he is looking to replace his American-made f-16s: “Maybe we’ll have to buy Russian or Chinese planes to defend ourselves,” he said, even adding that he might give China and Cuba some U.S.-made military jets to examine (ibid.). (Mark Jenkins, China’s Quiet War, April 2006.)

That is exactly the direction things seem to be heading. Consider Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Without this man’s support, Castro’s regime in Cuba might have collapsed by now. Having lost the Soviet Union’s subsidization of oil after the Cold War, Castro found relief from Caracas. Perhaps the best example of what is happening to Latin America as a region is embodied in this man who would remake Latin America in Cuba’s image.
President Chavez has made a point of putting his friendship with Castro in the public eye and painting the U.S.—especially its president—in the most wretched colors possible; a typical pronouncement: “The imperialist, genocidal, fascist attitude of the U.S. president has no limits. I think Hitler would be like a suckling baby next to George W. Bush.” Here is another: “Jesus was the first socialist, and Judas the first capitalist.” ...
President Chavez was joined in his opposition of the ftaa by 30,000 protesters who showed up in Mar del Plata, where the summit was held. By the end of the first day, initially peaceful marches turned violent with a group of about 200 trying to break through the security cordon around the hotel where the heads of state—including U.S. President George Bush—were staying. Some threw rocks with slingshots; others burned American flags. Ever the diplomat, President Chavez held an anti-Bush rally. Police were forced to use tear gas to break up the crowd and arrested over 60 people. ...
But if Washington has any interest in improving its international reputation, securing its oil supply, or preventing future enemies from grabbing resources on which it relies, then President Chavez is more than simply a harmless annoyance. The rise of these types of socialist, Washington-hating leaders to power—along with Fidel Castro’s perpetual existence as a political figure—is another sign of how weak the United States has become, while other global powers, especially the European Union and the Russo-China alliance, grow exponentially stronger. (Mark Jenkins, Latin America Swings Left, August 2006.)

Commentators missed the real news in their observations on this EU/Latin America summit. They failed to see that despite the posturing of petty despots such as Chavez, Morales and their aging mentor, President Fidel Castro of Cuba, the trend is fixed. Inevitably there will exist a trade nexus between the European Union and Latin America. ...
All the pontificating and blustering of demagogues such as Chavez and Morales will pale into so much pallid stutterings in the mind of the masses when their papa speaks from Rome! And speak he will. That fact was made clear when Chavez visited, cap in hand, Pope Benedict XVI on May 11 at the Vatican. Not only did the pope extend additional time to get his points across to Chavez, giving him 15 more minutes than the standard 20 due such political leaders, but, as he turned to leave, Benedict broke protocol to personally hand him a stern letter counseling him to have second thoughts about the direction in which he was taking his country. ...
One thing will be different this time. It will be the German nation that leads the colonial putsch in Latin America, with the willing submission of its partner in Madrid, under the watchful eye of Rome. (Ron Fraser, The Religion Factor, August 2006.)

This is certainly the way Chavez sees it. In many ways, Venezuela has taken the lead in fostering an anti-American spirit in Latin America. Chavez rails against the U.S. at every opportunity and has made a point to cultivate relationships with other countries hostile to America such as Cuba and Iran. Chavez now claims the acceptance of Venezuela into Mercosur as “a victory against Washington’s ‘imperialistic’ economic plans for the hemisphere” (ibid., July 5). (Bloc Swinging Away From U.S., September 2006.)

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” appears to have become Venezuela’s new national motto. How much could Hugo Chavez hurt the United States?
It is increasingly obvious that Venezuela has no interest in improving relations with the United States. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez seems determined to not only aggravate the U.S., but to build a global alliance to oppose American influence. And, as difficult as it may be to accept, his initiatives could do more damage than Americans would tend to believe. (Venezuela Allies With America’s Enemies, September 5, 2006.)

Ironically, Venezuela is both one of America’s largest suppliers of oil and one of its most dangerous enemies in South America. ... In his quest for the Council seat, Chavez has much support—particularly in the Arab world. Venezuela was recently granted observer member status in the Arab League. ... Perhaps this has something to do with his stance on Israel: During his tour, Chavez denounced Israel’s military campaign in Lebanon as “a true genocide.” ... Venezuela is certainly becoming a thorn in America’s side. However, the true irony in the story may not just be that America is relying on an enemy to provide its oil, but that the money Americans spend on that oil is being used to purchase weapons to threaten and oppose American influence. (Chavez Tours World to Boost Venezuela’s Profile, October 2006.)

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez had become the leading single financier for the moribund Cuban economy. Cuba’s deeply entrenched economic sickness, a leftover from the island dictatorship’s almost absolute dependence on Soviet Russia, made it easy pickings for circling vultures interested in taking over where Russia left off following the Soviet Union’s demise. Enter Chavez.
The Venezuelan leader plied Cuba with a much-needed resource: oil. Within two years of his election to the presidency, Chavez concluded a pact with Cuba’s President Fidel Castro, termed the Integral Cooperation Accord. This allows Cuba preferential terms on acquiring up to 53,000 barrels of oil, both crude and refined, daily, which total a third of the island’s estimated energy needs. This has led to Cuba accumulating a hugely inflated debt, due to its clearly apparent inability to pay. Although it is difficult to ascertain the current figure outstanding, these oil shipments from Venezuela, which have become a crucial subsidy to the Cuban economy, totaled $752 million just three years ago. In addition, Chavez, who controls the largest oil reserves in the Western Hemisphere, is making deals to reroute to China oil that his country is currently selling to the U.S.
Whether by design or circumstance, this huge indebtedness of Cuba to Venezuela has placed Chavez in a strong position to heavily influence the political outcome in Havana when the ailing dictator Castro finally yields his diseased body up to death. ...
With close ties to Venezuela, Cuba and China, Iran is progressively gaining influence on America’s southern doorstep. In May 2001, Cuba’s Castro and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei agreed that Iran and Cuba would join “hand in hand” to work to defeat America, according to the official Iranian news agency irna. During Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s visit to Venezuela last September, he signed a joint deal with Hugo Chavez to explore the Orinoco Basin, estimated to contain 230 billion barrels of extra-heavy crude oil. On that occasion, commenting on the increasing ties between Iran and Venezuela, Chavez declared that the two countries are “united now and forever with the Iranian revolution, which has proved to the world that it has become the fuel for revolution.” ...
Recently, a major television network refused to air one of our television programs unless we edited out key statements made by presenter Gerald Flurry about this very threat. Our editor in chief had the temerity to mention the possibility that Hugo Chavez might play a role in aiding the entry of nuclear terrorists into the U.S. With Venezuela already established as a prime transit point for illegal aliens seeking entrance to the U.S., this is a conclusion that any objective reporter, cognizant of the facts, could have drawn. To quote Mr. Flurry’s reaction from his Dec. 18, 2006, co-worker letter: “But people don’t want to face such unpleasant facts! Facing facts means we have to face reality, which this world doesn’t like to do.” (U.S. Enemies Align With Cuba to Claim Gulf Oil, January 3, 2007. Parts of this article are reused in Ron Fraser, Reaching Out to Our Enemies, April 20, 2009.)

“Heil, Hugo” cry critics of Hugo Chavez’s expanded power. On January 31, Venezuelan lawmakers gave the president the right to rule by decree for 18 months. With his new powers, Chavez can remake 11 broadly defined areas of society, ranging from the economy to the justice system.
Shouts of “Long live President Hugo Chavez! Long live socialism!” filled a Caracas plaza after lawmakers turned over much of their authority to Chavez. ...
Chavez plans to use his new powers to impose policies he has talked about since coming into office. Last month he announced his intention to nationalize the nation’s telecommunications and electricity industries, in which American corporations have large stakes invested. Now he has the power to do so.
“Let it be nationalized,” Mr. Chavez said of CANTV, Venezuela’s largest telecommunications company, on January 9. “All that was privatized, let it be nationalized.”...
Chavez also plans to gain greater control over the oil industry. A day after he was given the new powers, he said he was ready to sign a decree to nationalize oil projects in the Orinoco basin by May 1.
Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and British Petroleum have invested billions into upgrading heavy oil in the Orinoco basin. Chavez stated that state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA would take a stake of “at least 60 percent” in those oil projects. Foreign oil companies have already agreed to higher taxes and royalty rates in the past to insure a future return on their investment, and most analysts believe the oil companies will once again comply. ...
Since his election in 1999, Chavez has talked the talk, but now he is really starting to walk the walk. The nationalizations show a significant shift in Chavez’s economic policies as he is actually taking control of industries he had earlier allowed to operate freely. These nationalizations will not only give him greater power to fulfill his anti-American policies, they also could inspire his friends in Latin America, such as Brazilian President Lula da Silva and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, to follow suit. (Hugo Chavez Assumes Dictatorial Powers, February 8, 2007.)

Given Venezuela’s questionable human rights record and President Chavez’s personal hatred for U.S. leadership, Secretary Rice was eager to promote a Bolivian representative for the vacancy. (Latin American Union Rebuffs U.S., Rewards Venezuela, June 12, 2007.)

Snubbing the U.S. is no new phenomenon for Chavez. Since coming to power in 1999, the Marxist leader has grown increasingly bold. In recent months, he has muscled out American oil companies and called the American administration imperial, genocidal, fascist and other epithets less fit to print. ... Chavez has justified his massive military expenditures by issuing a consistent flow of vituperative rhetoric against the Bush administration, insisting that Venezuelans are under constant threat of attack from the United States, a charge most recognize as groundless. Nevertheless, this argument provides Caracas a pretense for building a comparatively massive military—a pretense, ironically, that many poverty-stricken and suffering Venezuelans believe. Would that some of those billions were spent bolstering the nation’s sagging economy. (Venezuela to Purchase Russian Subs, June 15, 2007.)

Two huge American companies will leave lucrative oil projects in Venezuela, a victory for Hugo Chavez. On Tuesday, Venezuelan officials announced that Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips will abandon their lucrative oil projects in eastern Venezuela rather than sign a new contract ceding control of their operations over to state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela. The announcement signalled a victory for Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s staunchly anti-American president. ... The marginalization of these U.S. companies from Venezuala is another socialist triumph for President Chavez. Tuesday’s victory brought him two steps closer to the full nationalization of Venezuela’s oil industry, and also gave him the satisfaction of striking at the United States, his greatest enemy. (Exxon, Conoco Abandon Oil Projects in Eastern Venezuela, June 27, 2007.)

Chavez’s dictatorial administration, his name-calling antics toward the Bush administration and his nationalization of oil companies in particular have caused concern in Washington. American companies have invested heavily in oil projects that have now been seized by the Chavez government or otherwise forced to conform to his wishes. The U.S. imports about 10 percent of its oil from Venezuela, but Chavez has indicated, often in colorful language, that he hates the U.S. and is much more interested in collaborating with the EU, Iran and China in everything from oil deals to nuclear development. Watch for U.S. influence and interests in Latin America to erode completely as the Monroe Doctrine for “The Other America” becomes history. (Chavez Calls for Changes to Consitution, August 16, 2007.)

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has a new business partner: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Thanks to a budding relationship between the two men, Caracas has agreed to cut fuel prices for London buses by 20 percent, and London has agreed to set up an office in Caracas to help with city planning, tourism and other areas where the UK capital city has special expertise. In essence, President Chavez is buying Mayor Livingstone’s support for $32 million.
In typical socialist fashion, the mayor, who is known as “Red Ken,” is using the funds to expand a city welfare program. Under the arrangement, about 1 million of London’s residents who are on income support will ride the buses for half price. (London and Venezuela Strike Bizarre Alliance, August 22, 2007.)

Hugo Chavez’s Venezuelan government supplies more direct state funding to Latin America and Caribbean countries than the United States does, according to a recent Associated Press report. Although total American investment in the region far outstrips Caracas’s financial aid, Chavez appears to be using the statistics to advance his socialist, anti-U.S. agenda. (Chavez Challenging U.S. as Benefactor of Latin America, August 27, 2007.)

In his decade as president, Chavez has blasted the U.S. and the administration of President Bush, tied himself closely to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, paid a state visit to Saddam Hussein, met with Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi, explored selling energy to North Korea, and strengthened his country’s ties with Iran. Look for Chavez to continue attacking the United States not only through vocal insults, but also, more dangerously, by reducing oil deliveries. (Venezuela to Tie More Oil to China, September 21, 2007.)

In his decade as president, Chavez has blasted the U.S. and President George W. Bush, tied himself closely to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, paid a state visit to Saddam Hussein, met with Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi, explored selling energy to North Korea, and strengthened his country’s ties with Iran. Of all his attacks on the U.S., reducing oil deliveries could prove to be the most dangerous. (Venezuela’s Growing Oil Partner, November-December 2007.) 

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned on Tuesday that his country’s relationship with the United States could deteriorate even further if Sen. John McCain (R) is elected president. President Chavez has often expressed his boundless dislike for the current administration. Yet, he fears that Senator McCain might be worse. (The Week in Review, March 29, 2008.)

What is certain, and widely reported, however, is that Hugo Chávez has developed alarmingly close connections with Tehran and has transformed his nation into one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest terrorist havens. According to [an] Latin American current affairs analyst..., Chávez has helped both Iran and radical Islam strengthen their presence in Venezuela and across the region. (Brad MacDonald, Is Chávez Helping Terrorists Go Nuclear?, May 2008.)

Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said the joint exercise was agreed to in July, but the timing of the announcement, Chavez’s virulent anti-Americanism, and Russia following through with the deployment in the middle of the Georgia crisis indicate the news is meant as a response to Washington’s deployment of warships into the Black Sea in support of Georgia. (Russian Navy Coming to Caribbean for War Games With Venezuela, September 10, 2008.)

China too has its thumbs in the Venezuelan pie. Venezuela is China’s seventh-largest oil supplier. In October, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez visited Beijing. There he agreed to double his country’s daily exports of oil to China to 200,000 barrels per day. This will likely come at the expense of Venezuelan oil exports to the United States. (America’s Enemies Flock to Venezuela, November 25, 2008.)

The Islamic Republic tries to send a suspicious package containing “nothing important” to Latin America.
The container was labeled “tractor parts.” But inside, Turkish customs officials found lab equipment for making explosives. The officials seized the shipment as it traveled through Turkey, en route from Iran to Venezuela.
“Experts from Turkey’s Atomic Institute determined there were no traces of radioactive material, but said the equipment was enough to set up an explosives lab,” said Suleyman Tosun, a customs official at the Mediterranean port of Mersin. ...
An anonymous Iranian official told the Associated Press that the shipment contained “nothing important.” (Iran Sends Explosives Lab to Venezuela, January 8, 2009.)

Last month, Russia let off a shot across President Obama’s bows when the chief of staff of Russia’s long-range aviation, Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, told reporters that Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez had offered “a whole island with an airdrome, which we can use as a temporary base for strategic bombers.” Zhikharev also included Cuba as another option for hosting the long-range nuclear bombing planes. That ought to give the foreign-policy shapers in the new president’s cabinet a deal of food for thought! (Ron Fraser, Reaching Out to Our Enemies, April 20, 2009.)

The Israeli Foreign Ministry document states: “There are reports that Venezuela supplies Iran with uranium for its nuclear program. Bolivia also supplies uranium to Iran.” The report concludes that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is teaming up with Iran to undermine Washington. (Venezuela, Bolivia Accused of Sending Uranium to Iran, May 27, 2009.)

Now in Honduras, a “stand with democracy” means propping up South America’s false democracies—legitimizing Chávez, Castro, Correa, Morales and the lot. It means nullifying what are supposed to be the political checks on despotism—in this case a legislature and Supreme Court unanimously opposed to the president, with a military solidly behind them. It means trashing the rule of law. ...
Regardless, on Honduras, Mr. Obama’s “stand with democracy” aligns with that of Chávez. And Daniel Ortega. And the Castro brothers. And the Organization of American States (“which, by admitting Cuba, is no longer an organization of democracies and now, through its radical membership, tries to dictate how other countries run themselves,” says Investor’s Business Daily). And the United Nations, which invited Zelaya to attend as it passed a resolution calling for his “immediate, safe and unconditional” return to power. (Joel Hilliker, “Stand With Democracy” in Honduras, July 1, 2009.) 

Iran and Venezuela signed three energy agreements on Sunday during a visit by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to the Islamic Republic. This was the seventh official visit to Iran for Chávez, as Caracas and Tehran continue to strengthen their relationship. (Venezuela and Iran Continue to Boost Ties, September 10, 2009.)

Could you imagine if Iran, a terrorist-sponsoring, vilely anti-American state on the precipice of attaining nuclear weapons, was situated just below America’s southern border?
Pretty soon you might not have to imagine it; Hugo Chávez wants to make it a reality. ...
But apparently there’s no reason to be worried about South America’s preeminent anti-American, terrorist-sponsoring nation acquiring nuclear technology: “We’re not going to make an atomic bomb,” Chávez said on state television last week. “We’re going to develop nuclear energy with peaceful purposes.” (Now Venezuela Wants to Go Nuclear, September 15, 2009.)

Venezuela is “carrying out the first studies” toward building a nuclear energy program, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced on September 27. “We’re taking on the project of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and they aren’t going to stop us,” Chávez told a news conference.
Venezuela also has a deal with Moscow for Russia to build a nuclear reactor in the country. Yet these are probably not the most concerning of Venezuela’s nuclear projects. (Venezuela’s Nuclear Projects, October 7, 2010.)

Most of China’s Latin American oil investments have been with Venezuela—a country that currently supplies the U.S. with 10 percent of its oil imports. “All the oil that China needs for the rest of this century is underneath Venezuelan soil,” stated Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez last December.
This statement is definitely an exaggeration, as China will require much more oil than Venezuela alone can produce. This, however, is all the more reason for U.S. citizens to be concerned. The anti-American Chávez has never been happy at the fact that he has to sell his oil to the U.S. in order to keep Venezuela’s economy afloat. He would be more than happy to redirect oil exports away from the U.S. and toward China if an opportunity presented itself. (China Moves to Secure Latin American Oil Reserves, March 1, 2010.)

Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez picked a fight with the Vatican this week. The South American strongman ordered a review of Venezuela’s ties with the Catholic Church amid growing tension between his administration and bishops within the country. An accord with the Vatican gives privileges to the Catholic Church not enjoyed by other churches. Chávez challenged the pope’s authority, saying Benedict was the Vatican’s head of state but not Christ’s emissary on Earth. The leader of the Venezuelan Catholic Church, Cardinal Jorge Urosa, has been publicly critical of the Chávez government, most recently decrying the authorities’ handling of a corruption scandal over spoiled food. Chávez has accused church leaders, whom he has labeled as “troglodytes” and “cavemen,” of siding with the opposition. He said they should stay out of politics and stop trying to instill fear in people by calling him a Marxist. Chávez may be starting a fight he cannot win in the long run. (The Week in Review, July 16, 2010.)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has announced he is repatriating his country’s gold reserves from Britain, the United States and Canada. The move may be the largest gold transfer in modern history.
According to the Financial Times, Venezuela holds the world’s 15th-largest gold stockpile, most of which is stored at the Bank of England. Now, Chávez is asking for it all back—more than 200 tons’ worth. He has asked depositories in the U.S. and Canada to release smaller amounts as well.
That means over 17,000 400-ounce bars will need to be moved. ...
Although announcements from unstable leaders such as Chávez need to be judged with an amount of skepticism, there does seem to be a growing movement to repatriate national gold reserves from the gold centers in London and New York. (Robert Morley, Venezuela Asks for Its Gold Back, August 24, 2011.)

After that trip, American analysts expressed concern that Iran’s relationships with Chávez, Ortega, Castro and others threaten to upset and destabilize the Western Hemisphere. ... The Iran-Venezuela relationship has steadily strengthened since a 2006 bilateral trade agreements between Chávez and Ahmadinejad. In 2008, Tehran and Caracas signed 15 cooperation agreements in the areas of energy, construction and agriculture, and announced the creation of a shared bank. The relations between the two sides have solidified primarily due to their common antagonism toward the U.S. (The Unholy Union of ALBA and Hezbollah, April 20, 2012.)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died on Tuesday afternoon after a long and difficult battle against cancer, leaving the world to wonder who will become the next leader of the oil-rich Latin American nation. ... During his long presidency, Chávez distanced the Venezuelan government from the Vatican, which caused Pope Benedict XVI to reportedly view Chávez as a dangerous man, and to express deep concern over Latin America’s slide to the left. (Jeremiah Jacques, Venezuela: What’s Ahead After the Death of Hugo Chávez, March 5, 2013.)

World leaders paid their last respects to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday. More than 30 political leaders were in attendance at Chavez’s funeral. Among them was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Chavez reportedly succumbed to a respiratory infection after his two-year battle with cancer. The 58-year-old leader’s death has left the country in uncertainty. ... Venezuela is deeply divided, and Chavez’s death could usher in big changes for the government in Caracas. Under Chavez, Venezuela has distanced itself from the Vatican and grown close to Iran. (Hugo Chavez’s Death—a Turning Point for Venezuela?, March 14, 2013.)

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