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Why Europe shouldn’t embrace Hugo Chavez

By Aleksander Boyd

22.05.06 | Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez once described European electoral observers as liars, who acted against the people and conspired against Venezuela. His remarks came on the aftermath of the release by the European electoral observation mission of its preliminary report of last December legislative election, that stressed the profound distrust that exist between a large portion of Venezuela’s electorate and the country’s electoral authorities. As opposition parties withdrew from a race they consider not transparent all 165 members of the Venezuelan Assembly are chavistas.

Disturbing news came out from the recent EU-LatAm meeting in Vienna, where President Chavez and his Bolivian sidekick President Morales reaffirmed their willingness to press ahead with nationalisation of resources and confiscation of foreign-owned assets, ruling out any form of compensation to aggravated parties.

Such illegal practices that run counter to international and contract law are, primarily, the trademark of President Chavez, a man who, banking on and misusing his country’s enormous oil income, seeks to impose his brand of socialism driving away foreign private investment from a region that needs it desperately. This hostility vis-ŕ-vis property rights has hurt European firms.

Europe, a continent that basks on free movement of people, goods and services, where companies operate successfully without country boundaries and where democracy and the rule of law flourish should not embrace militaristic enemies of its companies and tenets.

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