My fridge crapped out on me some months ago. I bought a new one from Sears and paid extra to have the old one hauled away to the dump. They contracted the heavy lifting out to a couple of guys with their own truck.
When they showed up I noticed two things right away. The first was that they had heavy Latin American accents, which is hardly surprising considering that both were from Venezuela. The second is that they were very surprised that I was willing to help them with the grunt work.
All of the doors in the house were too small to get the old fridge out. (How did it get in there? When they were building the house, did they install the kitchen appliances before framing the doors?) I dumped the box on the floor and took my ten pound sledge to the cooling coils on the back, pounding them flat. The contractors stood around and chatted with me while I worked out my frustrations.
It seems that both of them had immigrated to the US in order to avoid the odious Chavez regime in their native land. They painted a pretty grim picture of a society free falling on the way to what could be a repressive dictatorship. And then they both started to angrily denounce the United States for sitting by and not doing enough to unseat Chavez from power.
This got my dander up so I paused to give them the American point of view. I pointed out that we have limited resources and canít do everything, Venezuela society has so many problems that removing Chavez is unlikely to do any good, there really isnít that much by the way of American interests in the country to motivate us except for oil, and that we arenít really inspired when lectured by people who ran away from their own country instead of sticking around to try and bring about change from within.
They raptly listened to me, which probably has more to do with the fact that I was a big olí hairy-scary fellow with a sledge hammer dangling from my fist than from the superior logic of my position. But, hammer or not, I think my take on the situation is a pretty cogent one. Chavez is more an annoying gadfly than anything else. The only real danger I can perceive is that his regime is well placed to encourage anti-American feeling in other South American countries. While I am moderately alarmed at the way those societies are embracing hard-line Socialism, I also realize that we have bigger fish to fry right now.
Every so often, gadflies can be downright amusing. Take this news article from the Associated Press which was written by Christopher Toothaker, which is funny even if you didnít know the authorís name.
It seems that a new first-person-shooter video game is about to be released. Entitled ďMercenaries 2: World in FlamesĒ, the plot is that a dictator has taken over Venezuela and the country has to be invaded to ensure the flow of oil. Chavez supporters have denounced the game as a propaganda ploy by the US government, a subtle mind control exercise designed by the Bush administration to generate public support for inevitable military action.
Something tells me that elected officials in Venezuela overestimate the impact that violent video games have on the voters.