After more than a week of intense sabre-rattling by Washington against Hugo Chavez in which diplomats have been expelled, Pat Robertson, the notorious American Christian fundamentalist, has renewed his call for Chavez’s assassination and Rumsfeld has compared Chavez to Adolf Hitler, now Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister and lapdog of US imperialism, has joined the affray.
Late on Wednesday in the House of Commons Colin Burgon, a Labour MP representing Elmet, asked the following question: “I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister shares the satisfaction that is felt by many on the Labour Benches about the shift to the left that has taken place in Latin America. To use a phrase, this is bringing Governments into power who will be in the interests of the many and not the few. Does my right hon. Friend agree with me that it would be bad news for all concerned if we allowed our policy towards those countries, especially Venezuela, to be shaped by a really right-wing US Republican agenda?”
As usual, the Prime Minister used the occasion not to welcome “the shift to the left” in Latin America, which is abhorrent to George W Bush and the reactionary clique that controls the White House, but to attack President Chavez. Adopting a high moral tone, Blair, like some pompous second-rate school master, proceeded to lecture the naughty Mr Chavez on his bad behaviour for daring to stand up for the Venezuelan people against the dictates of US imperialism. “Up to a point”, stated the PM. “It is rather important that the Government of Venezuela realise that if they want to be respected members of the international community, they should abide by the rules of the international community.” In other words, Venezuela must learn to buckle down and accept the wishes of American imperialism and its great leader and moralist, George W Bush.
Then Blair went for the throat, in the nicest possible way, as is the cant of the British House of Commons. “I say with the greatest respect to the President of Venezuela”, said Blair meaning the reverse, “that when he forms an alliance with Cuba, I would prefer to see Cuba a proper functioning democracy.” Here Blair, smiling like a Cheshire cat, fully supports Bush’s line over Cuba. In other words, he favours the overthrow of Castro, the restoration of the Miami gangsters and the introduction of capitalism into Cuba, all under the “principles of democracy”. They want to transform Cuba, as well as the rest of Latin America, into a colony of the United States and are grinding their teeth at the warm relations between Caracas and Havana.
These “democratic” principles, so highly praised by the imperialists, were used to invade Iraq and subjugate Afghanistan. They are used as a cover for imperialist aggression around the world.
In response, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused Tony Blair of opening up a European front in his attacks on Venezuela. He correctly described Blair as “a pawn of imperialism, trying now to attack us from Europe”, and “the main ally of Hitler”, a clear reference to George Bush.
Relations between Venezuela and the US worsened last week when both countries expelled one another's diplomats, after Venezuela accused the US embassy in Caracas of spying. Afterwards US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld compared the Venezuelan president with Adolf Hitler. Chavez hit back saying: “The imperialist, genocidal, fascist attitude of the US president has no limits. I think Hitler would be like a suckling baby next to George W Bush.”
Chavez then turned to Britain in the latest twist of events, and retorted: “Stay in your place, Mr Blair, you do not have the morality to call on anyone to respect the rules of the international community.
"You are precisely the one who has flouted international law the most... siding with Mr Danger [Bush] to trample the people in Iraq."
"Venezuela is a free nation. Do you believe we're still in times of imperialism and colonialism?"
Chavez noted the statement came shortly after Bush had called for increased funding for a US radio station broadcasting pro-American messages in Latin America. “This is not a coincidence, this a part of the imperial aggression,” he said.
The ranks of the British Labour and Trade Union movement look with great sympathy on the Chavez government. They instinctively understand what is at stake. That explains why so many trade unions and trade unionists have given their support to the Hands Off Venezuela campaign. They compare the genuine reforms, in education, healthcare, help for the poor, they see the expropriations of several companies that have been placed under workers’ control in Venezuela and they compare this to what we have in Britain, i.e. cuts in education, healthcare, privatisation of almost everything that could be privatised. They know which side they are on.
Blair also sees these things but his reaction is different, in fact it is the complete opposite. He sees the reforms in Venezuela as a threat, a threat to the profits of his masters. He sees Venezuela as a dangerous example that is infecting the whole of Latin America and also getting an echo around the world. He sides with Bush against the workers and poor people of Venezuela. We side with the Venezuelan masses against imperialism.