Aug 29, 2005
On August 22, Pat Robertson, the head of the Christian Coalition, called on the U.S. government to assassinate the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. "Take him out!" declared Robertson on his television program, "The 700 Club."
His remarks set off a political firestorm, which the Bush administration quickly tried to put out. No less than Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the architect of the bloody U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, pretended that the U.S. would never assassinate a foreign leader. "Certainly it's against the law. Our department doesn't do that type of thing," said Rumsfeld, probably crossing his fingers.
Chavez was undoubtedly NOT reassured. Almost since Chavez was elected Venezuela's president in 1998, the U.S. has gone after him, including by openly sponsoring a military coup against him. The coup failed – but only because of an outpouring of opposition from the poor masses in Venezuela's capital, Caracas.
Why has the U.S. targeted Chavez? Quite simply – he has tried to take a slightly independent stance; that is, he showed that he was not willing to blindly do the U.S.'s bidding. His government did not endorse Plan Colombia, the U.S. war in Colombia, and he has opened up and expanded diplomatic and economic ties with Castro's Cuba. And Chavez dared to sell a small amount of oil to Castro's Cuba at reduced prices! Chavez's independent stance was especially unpardonable for the U.S. since Venezuela sits on some of the largest oil reserves outside the Middle East. In fact, it is the fourth largest exporter of oil to the United States.
The fact that Robertson would call on the U.S. government to assassinate Chavez is hardly a surprise. Robertson has embraced every military dictator, every bloody U.S. intervention throughout the world, especially in what Robertson calls "the U.S. backyard," Latin America. In the 1980s in Central America, when the U.S. was fighting to tighten the screws over those small countries, Robertson was an avid supporter of the U.S.-sponsored Contra terrorists against the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, a war in which the Contras killed more than 50,000 people. He strongly backed General Rios Montt, the dictator of Guatemala, who paraded around as a born-again Christian while he carried out wholesale massacres of tens of thousands of people. And Robertson supported the dictatorship in El Salvador during the time of the death squads, when they were killing 1,000 people per month.
For decades, this has been Robertson's role: using his Christian Coalition, with its vast empire of television and radio stations and its network of churches throughout the country, to curry support for the most bloody and reactionary policies of the U.S. capitalist class – and not just abroad, but obviously, here as well.
The U.S. ruling class has always made use of religious mouthpieces to justify their most criminal policies.
And, Robertson, with all kinds of connections to the capitalist class as a whole, is perhaps one of the biggest. These connections nourish his movement with money and access. After all, Robertson spouts his poison on "The 700 Club" not just on his own Christian stations, but on the Walt Disney Company's Family Channel.
That's right. The most blatant lies and reactionary prejudices pumped into the home by Disney as . . . "family" entertainment.