You Go, Hugo, and Take Your Goody-Goody Goodie Bags With You

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

Mark Drolette writes in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Mark, or visit Mark's website.

12 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. rjones2818 said on September 16th, 2008 at 11:48am #

    Any chance Hugo might want to invest in AIG or WaMu?


  2. Dave Silver said on September 16th, 2008 at 4:10pm #

    Drolette is neo=con, a gusano type and political garbage.
    Viva Chavez

  3. Dave Silver said on September 16th, 2008 at 4:10pm #

    Viva Chavez down with the neo-liberals.

  4. ceti said on September 16th, 2008 at 4:42pm #

    Oops Dave you didn’t get the satire! And also, Viva Chavez!

  5. Socialism: Next Stage in Political Systems. Socialism will come to USA wether capitalists like it or not !! said on September 16th, 2008 at 7:18pm #

    shit what a depressive reality, my reality, i wish i had plenty of spare money to go to Wal Mart and buy some food and protein i need. i call my situation “poverty trap”. Only a small-minority in USA is able to travel freely, to go to theme parks, take cruise ships, weekend resort packages in the carribean, to go to Spas, nice gym memberships, shop goodies at the mall, go out at night to bars, cafes, operas. but for the majority life is a living hell.

    The US economy is a living hell for the majority of americans, only a small minority of the haves are self realizing themselves. i might have to move out of USA indeed

  6. rosemarie jackowski said on September 17th, 2008 at 6:36am #

    Mark…What a great article. I will be smiling all day. Here is one of mine on the topic.

  7. rosemarie jackowski said on September 17th, 2008 at 7:58am #

    Socialism…It’s all your Mother’s fault. She should have raised you to be a Hedge Fund Manager. You would be off in your yacht, instead of scrounging in Wal-mart for protein. Ahhhh, the Golden Parachutes that most of us have missed…..

  8. Socialism: Next Stage in Political Systems. Socialism will come to USA wether capitalists like it or not !! said on September 17th, 2008 at 10:59am #

    rosemarie jackowski: i think u are wrong on that. Capitalism is like a caste system, where the rich stay rich and get richer, and the middle and lower classes stay poor and get poorer and cannot become rich. American capitalism is almost like a monarchy, dynasty and caste system. Social mobility is impossible in USA.

  9. rosemarie jackowski said on September 17th, 2008 at 11:54am #

    Socialism…Sorry, I thought that maybe your mother was a Hedge Fund manager and the golden parachute trickled down on you.

    Seriously, Yes, of course Capitalism is a caste system. I never assumed otherwise. If there is enough chaos on Wall Street, we will witness the demise of Capitalism. Unfortunately the master Capitalists continue to bail out Wall Street. Bail outs are just a massive money transfer from the working class to the yachting class.

    Unbelievable that there are not massive protests going on now. Where is everybody? Probably too busy working to survive – no time to protest.

    A quick and easy form of protest is voting for the right candidate. Never vote for an incumbent. Never vote for a dem/repub. They are the ones who got us where we are now.

  10. Arch Stanton said on September 17th, 2008 at 11:57am #

    Hugo Chavez, George Bush and the ghost of Emma Goldman walk into a bar … Oops, I better not go there.

  11. Poilu said on September 17th, 2008 at 6:58pm #

    “Hugo Chavez, George Bush and the ghost of Emma Goldman walk into a bar …”

    Arch: By all means, PLEASE continue! I’ve been desperately in need of a good joke for some time. And the suspense is killing me. 😉

    EXCELLENT satire by Mark. And indeed: Viva Chavez!

  12. DRL said on September 18th, 2008 at 12:25pm #

    One of Drolette’s best, to date! Merci. And, yes, vive Chavez.

    Oh, la, la. But, boy, the shit-stirrers sure are back in action in South America, these days. Venezuela’s care, not only for its own but Costa Ricans as well, and Cuban doctors’ roaming and treating all over the SA continent and LatAm. Omg, they’re cutting out middle men, like insurance companies and, given Cuba’s investment in medical research, the pharmaceutical cabal as well! That’s may be getting close to the last straw … “It creates the WRONG precedent. WRONG, you hear!”.

    I dunno, though. With the current unraveling of world finance and, surprise!, bombs going off in strategic geopolitical locations across the globe, one almost senses a whiff of urgency amongst the power-wielders, as though their position of unchallenged legacy of control … were being challenged.

    May it be so. This looks to be the precise moment to extract the the beat’s claws from our flesh, while it’s upset.