Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bush “Obsessed” About Chavez, Will Make "Demands" in Latin Trip

With President Bush set to take a trip through a few of the (few) friendly Latin American countries this week, there has been an avalanche of highly interesting, yet mostly laughable tidbits coming out.

Perhaps we should first look at the notion of WHY Bush feels compelled to go South at this moment. Anyone paying attention knows that Bush has presided over a time of increasing US irrelevance and anti-capitalist political gains, symbolized by the inroads made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and other socialist governments.

Despite this, Bush administration officials have taken pains to reject the obvious notion that the president's longest trip to the region is aimed at checking the influence of Chavez. Instead this is said to be a “positive” trip highlighting the Bush Administration as “social reformers committed to alleviating poverty and social injustice.” (cough, cough) As proof we heard the President mouth the words “social justice” no less than 5 times in his speech before the only friendly Hispanic audience he could find – the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Chavez was not mentioned at all. Stephen Hadley, Bush’s National Security Advisor was asked how much of this is an anti-Chavez tour. “It's really not,’’ he said.

But this differs 180 degrees from those those in the know. Quoting "people who met recently with Bush," a respected Brazillian newspaper claimed over the weekend that the US ruler is "obsessed" about the Chavez’s ascent in the region. Further, it suggested that Washington is using Bush' visit to Brazil next March 8-9 to "demand" Brazilian ruler Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to take "a clearer and tougher stance vis-à-vis Chávez."



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