Recently Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made numerous condemnations of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias. She has referred to him as "dictator" and the Bush administration considers him "hostile" As a person of African descent who reasonably keeps abreast of current events I find Ms. Rice's comments inaccurate, distasteful and downright embarrassing. Mr. Chavez has been subjected to many derogatory invectives like "monkey" and "gorilla" from some fair skinned Euro-Venezuelans because of his race. Many African-Americans are all too familiar with this type of behavior from segments of the Caucasian population of the United States. I would think that since Ms. Rice grew up in Mississippi she should know something about racial prejudice.
The person Ms. Rice calls a "dictator" just happened to be elected president four times
in his country. This seems to be very hypocritical since her boss' (George Bush) two presidential elections came under clouds of controversy. The Bush administration has done everything in it's power to sabotage the Chavez government. The notorious National Endowment for Democracy has funneled millions of dollars to the opponents of Chavez, this in turn led to crippling strikes and demonstrations, but through it all Chavez prevailed. The
highly respected New York Times showed us that 100,000 people were protesting the Chavez government, yet they conveniently left out the fact that 500, 000 people took to the streets in favor of it. This makes one question the integrity of the New York Times, or wonder
if the administration is telling the paper what to print. It seems as if Mr. Chavez's unpardonable crime is that he has taken the revenue of the oil profits from the upper classes and given them to the lower classes for education, housing and improved infrastructure. The blacks and browns are going to share the petroleum income with the whites. I wonder if Ms.
Rice can see why I, as an African-American see Mr. Chavez as a hero. In this country the
gap between the rich and the poor is widening. All attempts to level the playing field are being
attacked: affirmative action, Medicare and overtime pay. The Bush Administration has mastered the art of double speak; "No Child Left Behind" does just the opposite of what it says as does the "Clear Skies Act" which seems to be designed to clear the skies of birds.
But perhaps the unkindest cut of all was the 40 million inaugural festivity, of which 12 came from the pockets of the residents of Washington D.C.(most of whom are African-American) who are heavily taxed but have no representation in Congress. Under this Bush administration half of the Black male population in the nation's largest city is unemployed while the blacks continue to be incarcerated in numbers far greater than their percentage of the population. I am certain that Ms. Rice is aware of the voter suppression in the Black community that eventually led to Mr. Bush's victory. History is filled with people who collaborated with oppressors to the detriment of their own people. Mohandas Ghandi was killed by a fellow Hindu. Martin Luther King was stabbed by a Black female. During the civil war there were blacks who voluntarily fought alongside the Confederate Army. Ms. Rice I
regretfully must acknowledge that you can be placed in this category as well.