With the recent expulsion of the U.S. ambassador from Venezuela, thus greatly reducing the chances of promoting a coup, I mean, cooperation there, I see that the anti-American, thrice freely-elected dictator, Hugo Chávez, is at it again. His belligerent refusal to play fair-and-square by doing things the right way — ours — brings to mind something I read about the underhanded, overly-informed oppressor a couple months back in Costa Rica’s leading English-language newspaper, The Tico Times. The article lead, “[S]ome 800 (Costa Ricans) have traveled to Venezuela for free eye surgery over the last few years, 93 (in June) alone, on a gift from President Hugo Chávez’s government.”
Clearly, socialistic schemes like this are a direct threat to the American way of life, for who else but an anti-democratic, manipulative low-life like Chávez would give people something for nothing just because it’s, like, the right thing to do? Please! Everyone in a free country, or America even, knows people improve their lousy little lives only when they start taking personal responsibility seriously. If Costa Ricans want better eyesight, then instead of lazin’ around under pineapple trees all day long they oughtta go to medical school and learn how to operate on their own damn selves. When I get a splinter you think I whine and say: “Oh, please, please, please, Mr. Dictator, fly me to your decrepit little country and take my sliver out, free of charge?” NO! I go to the country club and ask one of my doctor friends there to remove it, just like everyone else.
The article again: “Under (the program), Venezuelan doctors travel to Costa Rica to examine (Costa Ricans) with eye trouble. Patients with cataracts or pterygium — a benign growth on the eye — qualify for a trip to Venezuela.” An opthamologist explains that “cataracts and pterygium are common in Costa Rica, in part because of the strong sun.”
This is exactly my point about taking charge of one’s own life. Hey, Einstein-itos, here’s a thought: Stay outta el sol! Didja ever think about only going out at night? Or working graveyard? Or working period? Just like I would do if, you know, mummy hadn’t left me that sizeable trust fund.
There’s more: “The Venezuelan government pays for the charter airplane, the surgery and housing and food during the patients’ 10-day stay in Venezuela. (Costa Ricans) need only pay the $26 Costa Rican airport tax.”
Hmph. If Helpin’ Hugo were really sincere, he’d eat that departure tax, too. Whassa matter, Huey, keepin’ some el dough-o for yourself-o for a bunch o’ new red camisos, or maybe more copies of that Venezuelan constitution your nannified citizens just love to sit around and read? You’d never catch industrious Americans doing that, no sir-ree, not even back when we had a constitution.
My favorite: “Each patient also receives a goodie bag with pajamas, underwear, slippers, deodorant, soap, shampoo and talcum powder.”
Goodie bag?? How low can Chávez go? Even lower, apparently, than last winter’s tawdry little stunt, when, according to former Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy* whose non-profit corporation provides energy assistance to 250,000 poor people in fifteen U.S. states and the District of Columbia, Chávez was the only one among every “oil company…, OPEC nation and…major crude oil exporter in the world” contacted by Kennedy to respond — by discounting $100 million worth of heating oil.*
So, what do we get this year? That’s right, the oldest trick of the tyrant trade: free toiletries.
Poorly-sighted Costa Ricans benefiting from Chávez’ largesse may be blind to his true commie colors, but not so Venezuela’s neighbor. Seems a laptop found in the jungle last March proved irrefutably Chávez had given FARC revolutionaries, I mean, terrorists, $300 million to fight the death squad-supporting, check it, American-friendly government of Colombia. Sure, it turned out later the story was utterly fabricated but, still, it doesn’t diminish how damning it would’ve been if it had been true.
Doe-eyed Chávez supporters even unbelievably paint the silver-tongued despot as some sort of peacemaker, citing his indispensable assistance last January in getting FARC to release two long-held hostages. Well, if Hugo’s such a miracle worker let’s see him mediate my divorce. Which, come to think of it, reminds me of at least one person FARC can keep in the jungle for several years, or until the statue of limitations on spousal abuse expires, whichever comes last. (My attorney tells me that was a joke. OK.)
Chavez is shameless when it comes to advancing his subversive agenda of compassion and fair play. Articulate, funny, charismatic, innovative, popular, intelligent — hell, if we’d wanted someone like that directing our policies, you think we’d have elected George W. Bush, even though we didn’t?
And let’s not forget impressionable American kids who might read about Chávez’ “good” deeds — that is, if they could read. Do you want them thinking it’s acceptable for the leader of a nation with eleven percent of our oil to squander revenues from same on wild extravagances like, say, free education and universal health care, as if people are actually entitled to those things? Remember: Dealings, not “feelings” (yecch!), make America the great corporation, er, country it is today.
Free eye care for Costa Ricans, cheap heating oil for Americans, peacemaking efforts in Colombia — unchecked, Chávez’ leftist namby-pambyism squarely targets that greatest of American values, the profit motive. Kill that and you’ve killed profit — and that, people, is as un-American as it gets.
Copyright © 2008 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.
* As reported by Maria Bartiromo.
* * This article was published originally in the free weekly Because People Matter, Sacramento, CA