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To the editor: The prettiest picture I have seen in eight years was my president reaching out to shake hands with Hugo Chavez at the Latin American summit last weekend.
I wish rightwing pundits would present the picture against the backdrop of eight years of U.S. interference in Venezuela. Chavez, an indigenous man, was democratically elected in 1998, and in every election since, with around 59 percent of the vote. And every election has seen U.S.-funded opposition and infiltration of Venezuelan news media, especially RCTV, the Venezuelan version of FOX.
An April 2002 U.S.-sponsored coup removed Chavez from office until his people reinstalled him two days later. Also, the U.S. forced a recall election, which Chavez won handily, (attested by OAS and the Carter Center). President Carter personally audited the vote, calling it the cleanest election he had ever seen.
Considering numerous U.S. assassination attempts also, it’s encouraging to see Chavez welcome a civil relationship, even rushing to post the picture of himself with Obama in Venezuelan media. That act alone belies the rightwing spin that Chavez opposed the U.S. It was not the U.S. he despised; it was Bush’s quest to depose and/or kill him, to pillage Venezuela’s oil.
The book Chavez presented to Obama, “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent,” jumped from No. 54,000 on Amazon to No. 2. Hopefully, U.S.-Americans and our president are reading that book.
I salute two brave men in a memorable picture, hopefully heralding our future.