Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hugo Chavez And Citgo

Just today I got a forward that is evidently making the rounds that is so obvious anybody should be able to tell what it’s purpose is, plainly put, pure propoganda. The target of this smear piece is Venezualan President Hugo Chavez, and as if to make some kind of point as to it’s sinister implications, it includes a photo taken of the Venezualan Socialist dictator in the company of the American Iraqi War protestor Cindy Shehan.

As stated, however, the text of the forward is a warning about how Chavez suppossedly wishes to bring down the government of the United States. It goes on to remind the reader, if unaware, that Venezuala is the government owner of the Citgo convenience franchise, which owns a string of combination convenience stores and gas stations throughout the United States. It suggests that by patronizing Citgo, a customer would by proxy be supporting a company owned by a government whose stated purpose is the overthrow of the United States. In effect, the profits of the company would either directly or inadverdantly go toward this purpose. Obviously, the patriotic thing to do would be to rufuse to shop at the Venezuelan owned company.

Okay, there are several problems with this story. For one, Chavez never, to my knowledge, advocated the overthrow of the Untied States government, he merely advocates overthrow of United States imperialism, and in point of fact, his main objection to United States influence in South and Central America would seem to be in oppossition to such free trade agreements as NAFTA and CAFTA. That is a distinction with quite a bit of difference, at least in practical terms, if not in sentiment. Of course, Chavez is a Socialist, and would like to see the United States eventually become Socialist, as would Fidel Castro-another name brought up in the forward as an earstwhile ally of Chavez. Then again, the US government would, undoubtedly, be happy to see Venezuela adopt a more Democratic style of government. Of course, Chavez came to power by way of a democratic election, so let’s be clear. What the Bush Administration wants, wtih a Democratic veneer, is what it wants here, and what it wants there, and what it damned well wants everywhere-

Unregulated Capitalism!

Yeah, what moves this country has made in that direction over the course of the last twenty five years has worked real well, hasn’t it? Uuuhh-not really. Not unless you can with a good conscience discount that 8 trillion dollar national debt that just keeps piling up. But who’s counting?

Chavez wants an end to free trade, it would seem, as do I, as do the majority of Americans. So how is he our enemy? The answer is, of course, he is not, he is merely the foe of all those American corporatists that want to insure a continual flow of cheap foreign labor into our borders, and open permission to establish production facilities in countries where they can produce their goods at a fraction of the cost of what they would have to pay to produce them here, with American workers. I’m not so naïve, of course, to suppose that Chavez cares one whit about the American people. I will, however, give him credit for caring about his own, and certainly he cares about the prospect of his power in the region being maintained, and not undermined by American Realpolitik, as he suspects was the case when he was briefly overthrown, before staging a quick recovery of his power and position.

So who is behind the propoganda? It would be too easy to say pawns of the Bush Administration, but this ploy is too cheap for a major government operation. It is tempting as well to attribute it possibly to a ploy by Ameican oil companies, trying to seize the opportunity to marginalize to as great an extent as possible a competitor, one who will not fall into line with their price fixing schemes and manipulation of the markets.

Something this cheap, this cheesey, looks more like the work, to tell you the truth, of a regional BP manager,for example, out to increase his revenues. A regional ploy, which brings me back to Ms. Sheehan, whom I mentioned at the start of this post. I myelf have had my criticisms of her-and still do-but I like to consider that they are thoughtful, not foaming at the mouth vendettas that are typical of so many on the Far Right, who fall into line with anything certain ones tell them-certain ones like Pat Robertson, for example.

And that is pretty much where it stands. The irrelevance of Cindy Sheehan’s inclusion in a circulated internet drive to encourage a boycott of Citgo marks it as a Far Right ruse, if not by Robertson or his ilk, then probably by a minor player, like my mythical regional BP manager.

And what it all boils down to is this- I will purchase my gasoline from whatever company offers me quality product at the most affordable price. Now that is something any business person should be able to appreciate-the Bottom Line


Rufus said...

For some reason, once somebody gets convinced that they possess complete moral clarity, they start foaming at the mouth. Something like rabies, I think.

The Pagan Temple said...

I admit there's something about her that ticks me off, I guess she comes across sometimes as just another shill, something I just can't abide, either on the Left or the Right. I do, however, try to be consistent.

Speaking of which, I hope you notice that a great lot of these people that are so up and arms about the Mexican American border situation are the same ones in a lot of cases that attack Chavez, when really he is or should be a potential ally in the battle against the "Free Trade" philosophy.

But, alas, he's an "evil" Socialist, so they see no good in him. A perfect example of those who would cut off their noses to spite their collective faces.