Gary L. Bauer
Campaign for Working Families
No sane person will miss Mr. Chavez. He was a brutal thug and a dictator. Sadly it appears his cronies will try to maintain their grip on power.
But what jumped out at me is that so many of our liberal media and political elites are mourning his passing. Larry king described Chavez as "fascinating" and "huggable." I doubt if many of his political prisoners in jail or those whose assets he stole would feel that way.
Jimmy Carter released a statement praising Chavez for his "vision to bring profound changes to his country." It went on to note that as Venezuelans mourn his death, they will "recall his positive legacies."
Actor Sean Penn said in a statement, "Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion. I lost a friend I was blessed to have." Director Oliver Stone said, "I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place."
And what in the world was Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY) thinking when he tweeted, "Hugo Chavez was a leader that understood the needs of the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless. R.I.P. Mr. President"?
This kind of mindless adulation reminds me of the praise that many world leaders heaped upon Hitler for rebuilding Germany's economy during the 1930s. Many leaders at the time thought his Nazism -- national socialism -- was the wave of the future.
Chavez was a thug who suspended constitutional liberties, shut down critical media outlets, had no understanding of economics and stole from his own people. It is estimated that Chavez and his family amassed a fortune well into the billions of dollars!
As the Miami Herald notes, his socialist policies destroyed the country economically. Venezuelans have suffered repeated currency devaluations. It is an energy-rich nation with frequent blackouts. And it has a murder rate today that is four times higher than the year before he assumed power.
It speaks volumes that Iran's oppressive regime has declared a day of national mourning in Chavez' memory. Sadly, many of America's left-wing elites will be joining in.