Within hours of the death of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez last week, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued what is arguably the most insensitive statement ever released by one democratically-elected leader about the death of another. The core of the statement consisted of the following proverbial kick-in-the-teeth to the still-warm corpse of the Venezuelan president: “At this key juncture, I hope the people of Venezuela can now build for themselves a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights.” In short, Harper arrogantly bid good riddance to Chávez, not on behalf of Canada, but on behalf of the Venezuelan people. The prime minister’s comments stood in stark contrast to the ones he made when Nigeria’s President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died in 2010, illustrating how Harper’s position is motivated more by ideology than any concern for democracy, freedom and human rights.
Tag Archives: venezuela
According to the Bush administration, it is Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s desire to purchase weapons from Russia that threatens to destabilize the Andean region, not the $3 billion in military aid that Washington has provided to Colombia over the past five years. Likewise, in the Middle East, it is Syria’s efforts to obtain purely defensive anti-aircraft missiles that pose a threat to that region, not the $1 billion a year in U.S. military aid to Israel. And on the nuclear front, while there is no evidence that Iran is intending to build nuclear weapons, it is the regime in Tehran that is threatening to further destabilize the region, not President Bush’s apparent pledge to support any future Israeli attack against Iran. Meanwhile, North Korea’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in order to develop nuclear weapons makes the Asian nation a “rogue state,” but Washington’s abandonment of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) to build its missile defense system, which could lead to the weaponization of space, apparently does not justify the same anti-multilateralist label being applied to the United States.