Venezuela has challenged U.S. consolidation of its dominion over the world ever since Hugo Chavez was elected President in 1999. In his famous 2006 speech at the U.N. General Assembly, he declared that the U.S. government was “putting at risk the very survival of the human species.” Crossing himself and sniffing the air, he remarked that he could still smell the sulphur lingering in the air from George W. Bush’s presence the previous day. He admonished the American people to beware, because “here, he is in his own house.”

Chavez was fearless and charismatic. Maduro is less so, and his problems are greater: hyperinflation, swelling mass protests, ruinous sanctions, and plotters subsidized by the U.S., which have driven him to autocratic behavior in order to save the Bolivarian revolution.

And what is that revolution? In Chavez’s words, “a new type of socialism which puts humans and not machines or the state ahead of everything.” Which redistributes lands to the dispossessed, and rectifies inequalities in education, health and life’s opportunities to pursue happiness.

President Trump recently called on all nations of the world to defeat socialism. Mike Pompeo, echoing the war cry, targeted the “troika of tyranny.” Security Advisor John Bolton gloats with jaw-dropping candor over the oil we can seize. Nancy Pelosi and the enfeebled Democrats squeak about the cruel dictator who must be overthrown.

And now, again, the spectre Elliott Abrams brings the coup de grace. People, remember Chavez’s warning, because Abrams, too, is in his own house.

Ellen Taylor, Petrolia

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