Hugo Chavez has died. The Washington Post calls him “passionate but polarizing.” That’s a way of putting it, I suppose.
Eventually, the Post provides a few examples of Chavez’s polarizing passion:
He criticized the U.S.-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and, in a speech at the United Nations in 2006, said President George W. Bush was “the devil.” He called Tony Blair, then Britain’s prime minister, “an imperialist pawn who attempts to curry favor” with the Americans. He accused Israel of genocide, saying its treatment of the Palestinian people was akin to a “new Holocaust.”
Mr. Chavez sought out relationships with assorted rebel groups, rogues and pariah governments. He exchanged letters with Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, a Venezuelan-born terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal, who was held in a French prison. He asserted that Moammar Gaddafi’s Libya was a model of participatory democracy.
Closer to home, Mr. Chavez expressed affinity for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a potent guerrilla group fighting Colombia’s U.S.-friendly government. His closest aides built a close relationship with FARC commanders, according to Colombian officials, rebel documents seized in army raids and former rebels.
But Chavez’s softest spot was reserved for Cuba.
After taking office, Mr. Chavez began providing 100,000 barrels of oil a day to Castro’s government at subsidized rates; in exchange, Castro shipped thousands of Cuban workers, from intelligence agents to doctors and sports trainers, to Venezuela.
And let’s not forget about his friendship with the odious Iranian regime. In Ahmadinejad, almost as much as in Castro, Chavez found a soulmate.
With Chavez gone, the focus turns to succession. I wrote here about how the Obama administration has cozied up to Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s vice president and the architect of some of the Chavez regime’s worst anti-American policies, including its tilt to Iran.
Sooner or later, we can expect a power struggle. I wish I had confidence that Obama will take the anti-hard left side in that struggle, but I don’t.
Tone down the rhetoric in the quotes above from Chavez pertaining to U.S. policy in Iraq, Great Britain’s involvement, and Israel’s treatment of the Palentinians. How far away from Obama’s real views are you? Not very, in my opinion.