Pat Robertson has the right idea, but the wrong method
Friday, August 26, 2005 | Center's Waller lays out alternative strategy for deposing Chavez | (Washington, D.C.): Evangelist Pat Robertson has done a public service by drawing attention to a growing menace in our own hemisphere that the Bush Administration has practically ignored: the consolidating regime of an aggressive dictatorship in oil-rich Venezuela that has allied itself with Iran and Cuba and is sponsoring subversion and violence throughout the region. While Rev. Robertson inadvertently gave Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez exactly what he wanted - the specter of a US plot to assassinate him - as an excuse to ratchet up repression and arm his regime with Russian-built offensive weapons, he has forced the public, the media, and the White House to confront the problem while there is still time to act.
Not since President John F. Kennedy asked the CIA to find ways to kill Cuba's Fidel Castro has any US president sought to assassinate a Latin American leader. Even so, Castro has milked the assassination threat for four-and-a-half decades to stay in power and spread his brands of violence. Just as the current administration has done nothing significant to remove Castro, it strains the imagination to think it would strike against Chavez.
But here's something the administration can do, while there is still time: It can atone for its acceptance of Jimmy Carter's phony certification of the voting processes that Chavez manipulated to stay in power, and ramp up a public diplomacy and political warfare campaign to expose the corrupt Venezuelan regime and its threats against its neighbors. It can help the sharply divided Venezuelan people, including the armed forces, to come together and wage their own pitched political battles against the regime to restore democracy and remove a growing threat that is headed for a terrible human catastrophe. It can help the Venezuelan people lay siege to the fanatical and paranoid Chavez regime and bring it down without need of an assassin's bullet. Such recommendations are detailed in a recently published paper by the Center's J. Michael Waller entitled "What to Do About Venezuela."
Or it can follow its present course set by Jimmy Carter.
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