Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bush Urges Latin America on Democracy

President Bush on Sunday urged Latin Americans to reject efforts to reverse democratic progress in the region while choosing representative governments and building constructive ties with other nations...Bush's speech in Latin America's largest nation, which has immense influence on its neighbors, did not mention any leaders by name as heading up an anti-democracy charge. But it was clear his remarks were aimed at Venezuela's leftist leader Hugo Chavez.

Link to AP article

Pat: Chavez won the 1998 presidential election on December 6, 1998 by 56.2% of the vote. After adopting a new Constitution, Venezuela re-elected Chavez with a 59.7% vote. Chavez survived a briefly-successful 2002 military coup because of massive popular opposition to the coup. A 2004 recall referendum was defeated by a 59.25% "no" vote. All elections were declared free and fair by the Carter Center or the United Nations. He's left-wing, yes, but I'm not sure how you can claim a leader who's been voted into office three times is somehow against democracy. And yes, Human Rights Watch has criticized him, but they've criticized Bush for Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Finally, I think a man who experiences widespread rioting and massive protesting whenever he enters a South American nation has more to worry about when it comes to "building constructive ties with other nations" in South America than does the popular Mr. Chavez. And yes, per-capita GNP has declined under Chavez, but that's mostly because the super-rich aren't making money any more, and the money is going towards improving quality of life for the poor majority--and the WHO, UNICEF, and UN have all praised his policies. Which is better than Bush has had. And Tim isn't here today, so he'll just have to complain to me about it later.


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