Even as he undergoes chemotherapy, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez still defends Arab dictator-friends such as Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. While Libyan women and children are killed every day by Gaddafi's army in a war that does not seem to find an end, Chavez applauds the Libyan dictator and urges him not to surrender, but rather to resist and keep on fighting.
Chavez, who has been under treatment for cancer, has been suggesting to Gaddafi that the only option he has is to continue oppressing and murdering his own citizen, as stepping down from power should never even be taken into consideration. "There is Gaddafi resisting. Until when will this outrage last?" the Venezuelan President said at a meeting of his ministers, broadcast on the state-owned channel VTV. Then, referring to the U.S. as the "empire," Chavez added: "Libya is a country of free and restless people that responds only to itself, and not the interests of the empire, or of the old or of the new empires. Long live Libya and its independence!"
The Venezuelan President, who apparently wants to follow Gaddafi's dictatorial path by running again for the presidency in 2012 to seek a six-year mandate -- he' has been in power since 1999 -- had comments also on European countries involved in the war in Libya: "European leaders, take care of the crisis that you have within," he said, complaining that France, Britain, Italy and Spain are now opposed to the Libyan regime, "when just a year ago they were doing business with Gaddafi." Chavez then said: "There is old Gaddafi, resisting. Take courage, Gaddafi, take courage, Libya!"
Venezuela on OPEC and Libya
To challenge the U.S. economy, Chavez wants OPEC to raise the price of oil. Venezuela, which is going through an economical crisis, recently stressed again its opposition as an OPEC member to increase production quotas to make up for the loss of oil production due to the conflict in Libya. The AFP reported that Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez had said there should be no production hikes "above all because we cannot give a blank check to NATO so that it can bomb any nation over oil. We are not going to do that; Venezuela will not do that." Chavez has accused NATO of attacking Gaddafi to gain control over Libya's oil.
Venezuelan foreign minister: the U.S. wants to attack and frighten Vemezuela
The Venezuelan President, however, has been accusing the U.S. of "imperialist behavior" not only against Libya, but also against the "progressive governments in Latin America."
During an event on July 25, at the White House, U.S. government security officials said that Venezuela "creates a permissive environment for drug-traffickers and terrorist organizations." In response, a response, Venezuela's Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro, said that Washington "pretends to attack and frighten us in the path towards independence and sovereignty."
The Venezuelan Minister of Interior and Justice, Tareck El Aissami, who allegedly entertains relations with Hezbollah, regretted, instead, that the U.S., as a country considered one of the main military powers of the world, "uses its force to invade counties instead of fighting drug-trafficking and guaranteeing security for citizens." Bolivian President Evo Morales echoed El Aissami's words, stating that Venezuela and Bolivia are not creating any permissive environment for drug-trafficking, but that it is the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) which is not doing its job, as its control of drug trafficking is influence by "political purposes."
Chavez: "Well, I'm not going away in 2021 or anything."
Chavez claims that there is an American-imperialist plan to overthrow his government, to transform Venezuela into a "Yankee's colony." According to him, the U.S. is also trying to colonize Libya and Syria by fuelling the demonstrations in these countries to exploit their economical resourses. "The same is happening in Syria; in Syria the Imperialist aggression [against the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad] keeps on. Until when will this aggression go on? [The Imperialist powers] should respect the sovereignty of people," Chavez said.
For the Venezuelan President, respecting the people's sovereignty means their giving a leader carte blanche to stay in power for all of his life. This is what Chavez basically said during the recent celebration of his 57th birthday. "Next year [in 2012], we will win the presidential elections once again! Strength, unity!" Chavez said. And then he added: "I invite you all to celebrate my 77th. I had said I would leave in 2021. Well, I'm not going away in 2021 or anything. Maybe in 2031".
Chavez at least honestly admits that he wants to stay in power at least 32 years, from 1999 to 2031. A very modest goal, considering that his friend Gaddafi, who took power in a coup in 1969, has been ruling Libya for 42 years, and that Fidel Castro in Cuba has been holding the Caribbean island in his grip for more than 50 years. Members of Chavez's party were reported to have started a power struggle to succeed the Venezuelan President, due to his health condition. However, Chavez has expressed no willingness to delegate his powers, and even less willingness to open his party to primaries. He appears to intend to keep up with the one-man-show transforming of Venezuela into a totalitarian dictatorship, just as his allies from Gaddafi, Castro and Assad did in Libya, Cuba and Syria.