Chavez Was A Dangerous Man; The People Of Venezuela Are Better Off Now

March 6, 2013 - 12:15 PM

The death of Hugo Chavez presents an opportunity for the government of Venezuela to abandon its long-standing oppression of its people.  Chavez was a dangerous man with a dangerous mind, and the people of Venezuela are better off now that his reign has ended.

Hugo Chavez called the United States the "greatest terrorist nation," served as Fidel Castro's benefactor in Cuba upon the demise of the Soviet Union, and meddled in the politics of other Latin American countries to try and align them with his anti-American policies.  And he expanded his anti-freedom vision by joining alliances with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The United States must stand up for the people of Venezuela.  The Obama administration hasn't shown any strength in standing up to Chavez.  Four years ago, when Honduran democratic institutions were fighting a proxy battle with Hugo Chavez, our government sided with the Chavez ally.  We also sat idly by as Chavez nationalized U.S. company investments, shut down the free press, harassed Jews and Christians and jailed opponents.

While negotiating with Chavez would have been futile, we now have the chance to encourage Venezuelan leaders to end their partnership with state-sponsored terror regimes like Syria and Iran, and stand as a model of freedom to Latin America.

Most importantly, Venezuela must return to a commitment of basic freedoms for its own people that include a fundamental understanding of human rights and dignity.  For years, Venezuelan families and children have experienced the utmost fear in their everyday lives.  It is my hope that a future Venezuela promotes ideals based on freedom for its people and a bright future for its children.

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