Harvard Square Observer:
The Venerable Harvard Square Commentary

Ernest Cassara

By jolly, I realized the other day that our HSC has been in cyberspace since October 2003.  Having discovered this, in coming issues you will suffer the repetition of some pieces that Ye Olde Observer considers worth repeating, such as the following, from the issue of 23 August 2004.  Some things never seem to change!

The US and Venezuela

This observer has the distinct impression that the Bush administration, while preaching the virtues of democracy, really has something else in mind.  In fairness, it is not the first administration to confuse democracy and capitalism.  In the run up to the referendum on the presidency of Hugo Chavez, the US poured money into our neighbor to the south, supporting those who sought to oust him.  You will recall that when, earlier, he was ousted in a coup, the U. S. immediately recognized the new regime.  Quite embarrassing!  For the coup did not take, and Chavez remained in office.

So, now Chavez has been confirmed in office by a substantial vote against his removal. What irks his opponents is that his priorities are quite different from theirs.  To take one example: He is using a great deal of the money that the country earns from oil to uplift the conditions of the poor.  This is bitterly resented by the upper classes, who are used to getting their own way.

I must plead ignorance.  I have no first hand knowledge of conditions in Venezuela. But, by extension, I tend to think they cannot be so different from those in Brazil, which I was able to observe some time back.  There, the poor live in appalling conditions, while the upper classes live in gated communities.  These inequities do not bother the ilk of Dubya and his friends.  What bothers them is when people such as Hugo Chavez attempt to level the playing field.  Then, they cry that he is “undemocratic.” Translation: He puts people before capital!

The Situation in 2006

Now to today’s actions by Chavez and our president and company.  It is so interesting, and must be so aggravating to the Bush administration, that Chavez is helping the poor of the United States - yes, the United States -  by supplying cheap oil.  One example of one benefitting is the organization run by Joe Kennedy, which supplies heating oil to economically marginal folks in the Boston area.

By the way, one tiny way you can add to the irritation of the Bushies, is to buy your gas from Citgo, which is owned by Venezuela.

I believe I mentioned some time back that there is a huge, venerable Citgo sign that dominates the landscape around Kenmore Square in Boston.  When the present U.S. administration was babbling its displeasure re Chavez, there were those who wanted to pull it down and replace it, say, with an American flag.  Bostonians would not hear of it!



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Harvard Square Commentary, January 1, 2007