Obama allows Hugo Chavez a moment at the Fifth
of the Americas in Trinidad, April, 2009.
Diario de Cuyo, Argentina
Hugo Chavez and
Barack Obama: A Common Electoral Challenge
and Barack Obama have one battle in common: end-of-year elections. Both are
preparing for them in grand form and at a time when their opponents are
struggling to coalesce around a single candidate.
Both Chávez and Obama have
begun setting up obstacles for their opponents - obstacles that are typical for
the electoral process.
Chávez announced on Friday
that Venezuela will close its Miami consulate in retaliation for the U.S. State
Department's decision to expel Consul Livia Acosta Noguera, after the Univisión
TV network revealed that Noguera had conspired with cyber-terrorists to spy on
U.S. nuclear plants while she visited to Mexico.
The expulsion gave Chávez a
good excuse to make his Friday announcement. In fact, this strategy comes in
handy, because South Florida is home to thousands of native Venezuelans, and
the closure of the consulate eliminates any chance of votes in the area being counted. In the October elections, Chávez has effectively diminished voting from abroad.
On the other hand, Obama
knows that candidate Mitt Romney, having already won primaries in New Hampshire
and Iowa and apparently headed to victories in South Carolina and Florida over
the next two weeks, is a very strong candidate. So Obama has begun attacking
him - and attacking him hard, for the same things critics in Romney's own party
have: for buying out crumbling companies, reorganizing them by firing
employees, and then selling the remains to the highest bidder. It is really
quite a feast for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
But Obama doesn't stop there.
Knowing that the economy will reign in this year's election, he has begun
blaming others for his own inefficiency, asking Congressional Republicans to
authorize a reorganization of the federal government by merging agencies in an
effort to improve efficiency. And one wonders: Why did he wait until almost the
end of his term to reduce the bureaucracy that actually rose during his first three
years in office?
President Hugo Chávez is facing tough criticism from The Economist.This revered publication published a report
in which the Chávez Administration is ranked second on the world's "misery
index." Elaborated in its findings are mentions of inflation,
unemployment, a lack of financial investment, the waste of oil revenue and the
punishment of free enterprise.
No one really understands how
a country as wealthy as Venezuela, with its tremendous oil revenue, can waste
such a historic opportunity for growth.
The Chávez Administration
can't simply shift blame to what occurred in the past, nor can it blame the
opposition, especially after more than a decade of monopolizing every
government institution and the passage of legislation by lawmakers allied with
Nor can it blame imperialism,
since the U.S. is one of the countries that would benefit most from a better
balance of trade.
Chávez alone is responsible
for this squandered opportunity.
*Ricardo Trotti is a journalist and
artist born in Argentina's Cordoba Province. He has worked out of his Miami
studio since 1993.
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