From the March 2005 Idaho Observer:

What’s right and who’s left?

Venezuela’s Chavez, branded a leftist by his detractors, is doing right by his peopleThere are only four basic philosophies that guide the governing of people: Collectivism (the needs of the whole are held in higher regard than those of the individual); individualism (the rights of the individual are held in higher regard than the rights of the whole); capitalism (the creation of capital is THE right that trumps all other considerations) and; anarchy (the absence of all forms of human governance). The written history of civilization is largely the story of how variations of these four basic philosophies have failed. In each case, regardless of the foundational philosophy(s) upon which it was built, the failure can be directly attributed to the actions of people—not the inherent evils of one system or another.

All systems of government—anarchies, theocracies, democracies, republics, socialist states, communist states, fascist states, military dictatorships, colonies—have failed or are in the process of failing. The reason governments fail is the same, over and over again: They step outside the boundaries of good government (one that serves to protect the interests of all its law-abiding people) and into the realm where it serves to protect the interests of only certain, special privileged classes of people.

Since all peoples have different cultures, traditions and spiritual beliefs and all countries have different climates and resources, there will never be one form of government that works universally.

Ponder the paragraphs above and realize how understanding them simplifies our world. We no longer have to be concerned if someone is labeled a communist or a capitalist, a leftwinger or rightwinger, a liberal Democrat or conservative Republican, an elected public servant or a ruthless dictator; we don’t even have to make a judgment of what form of government is better than another. All we have to determine is whether or not the actions of leaders improve their people’s general health and well-being or promote the creation of privileged classes authorized to oppress the non-privileged.

Though we cannot peer inside the heart of Chavez to see what his ulterior motives may be, if he has them, we can see that his people’s general health and well-being are improving and the privileged classes have failed in at least two attempts to have him removed from office. Where in the past Venezuelan governments maintained order and a privileged-class status quo with police state brutality, Chavez is training and arming his people to protect themselves and their country from those who seek to remove him from office, repeal their Constitution and reestablish class privileges and oppression.

Having survived a coup attempt and a recall, Chavez is now confident that his country is behind him. He is making statements that are undoubtedly making the Bush administration nervous. Keep the thoughts on this page in mind during the next several months as the Bush administration and its media mouthpieces intensify the campaign to vilify the democratically-elected leader of this sovereign nation.

Preparing for the common defense

In recent months, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been buying arms from Russia for its national defense. Though Venezuela is not threatening aggression against any foreign nation, the Bush administration has voiced its concern over the purchases to Russian Premier Vladimir Putin.

Even Columbia, with whom Venezuela shares a disputed border, has expressed alarm over Chavez’ recent buying spree for military hardware.

Venezuela defends its right as a sovereign nation to purchase weapons to provide for its own national defense. Venezuelan officials’s response to the U.S. and Columbia is that the arms purchases are being made partly to replace outdated and obsolete armaments and partly to do what both the U.S. and Colombia have requested: Better defend the border against incursions by Colombian leftist guerrillas, rightist paramilitaries and drug-traffickers.

Among the purchases reported are 40 Mi35 helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles.

Chavez is also negotiating for up to 24 Brazilian Super-Tucano ground-attack planes and four Spanish naval corvettes.

He has ordered Venezuela’s armed forces to draw up a new home defense strategy, modeled after the one that has apparently been in place in Fidel Castro’s communist Cuba. Castro, and now Chavez, believe that being prepared to fight a war of resistance against a hypothetical invasion by the U.S. is in their nations’ best interests.

To this end, Chávez has reportedly ordered the doubling of the army reserve to more than 100,000 troops. "Popular defense units" of 50 to 500 civilians are also being trained and provisioned in work places and on farms to provide for the common defense if necessary.

Bush administration already seeking to "contain" Chavez

The March edition of The IO has not even gone to print and its predictions regarding the Bush administration-led media campaign to demonize Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is already underway.

It was announced March 13, 2005, that senior officials in the Bush administration are reportedly working on a strategy to "contain" Chavez whom they allege is attempting to "subvert" Latin America’s unstable states. "Chávez is a problem because he is clearly using his oil money and influence to introduce his conflictive style into the politics of other countries," deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of Defense Roger Pardo-Maurer said in an interview with the Financial Times. "He’s picking on the countries whose social fabric is the weakest," Pardo-Maurer said, calling some of Chavez’ tactics "...downright subversion." He also claims Chavez is employing a "hyena strategy in the region."

Curiously, Chavez’ popularity is based upon his Bolivarian beliefs that South American nations should be given the opportunity to defend their sovereignty from foreign exploitation.

A strategy intended to isolate Chavez is apparently being prepared at the urging of President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Recent comments from Chavez, which are being applauded by people and nations all over the world, have placed the creation of an aggressive "containment" policy regarding the growing Chavez question to the front of Bush’s priority list. Chavez intends to stop oil shipments to the U.S. if the U.S. attempts to "destabilize" his country.



Era of low-cost oil is over says Chavez

OPEC could fix crude at $40-$50 a barrel

On a state visit to New Delhi with India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told reporters that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could agree to fix the barrel price for oil in the $40 to $50 range. Chavez’ comments came March 5, 2005—11 days before a crucial OPEC meeting in Iran March 16.

Imagine what life in the U.S. will be like when gasoline hits $4 a gallon. The News and Observer reported March 6, 2005, that Chavez also told reporters, "The world should forget about cheap oil."

The News and Observer also noted that, "Crude oil futures traded above $53 a barrel again on Friday [March 4].

Venezuela is the world’s fifth largest oil exporter, producing more than 3 million barrels a day. The Venezuelan delegation to OPEC has been on record as calling for the organization to demand higher prices for oil.

It is interesting to note that it is being openly reported, primarily in foreign presses, that nations are excluding the U.S. in high-level negotiations discussing oil commerce and military alliances amongst each other. It appears that the nations of the world are realigning along the common theme of distancing themselves politically, economically and militarily from the U.S.

During his four-day visit, the two countries agreed to cooperate in the energy, biotechnology, space and railroad sectors.

Afterwards, Chavez flew to Calcutta, where he told reporters that he was considering a plan that would increase oil trade with countries like India and China to ensure their fast economic growth. "Venezuela will now help the Southern Hemisphere countries with its oil more than it has helped the United States," he said. "America wants to keep all the good things in the world for itself. But we will not let them do it."

In "A Century of War," historian William Engdahl documented how oil and the industrialized nations’ quest to secure adequate supplies of it, have been the underlying cause of perpetual conflict on earth since the turn of the last century.

Relations between the U.S. and Venezuela have deteriorated steadily since Chavez was popularly voted into office in February, 1999. The Bush administration claims that Chavez is a ruthless socialist dictator whose best friend is U.S. nemesis Fidel Castro of Cuba; Chavez claims that Washington, D.C., has been trying to destabilize his government and had a hand in the 2002 coup attempt—an accusation flatly denied by the U.S. State Department.

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