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A Look At Hugo Chavez

A former Venezuela-based foreign correspondent, David Paulin, explains one reason why Hugo Chavez is so virulently anti-American as he sits atop the only OPEC member state in the Western Hemisphere.

Hugo Chavez’s bizarre anti-American rant at the United Nations has got Americans asking, “What makes Chavez tick?”

To understand him, stop thinking of oil-producing Venezuela as a Latin American country. Think of it as a dysfunctional Middle Eastern petro-state. Doing that is the key to understanding Chavez and Venezuela.

Chavez is not alone in his thinking, which can be considered a manifestation of outward hatred diverted from internal failings.

Chavez’s anti-Americanism, moreover, achieves the recognition he never could attain by providing mundane things such as decent public services, crime control, and serious anti-poverty programs. It’s no wonder that Chavez gets along so well with oil-rich Middle Eastern thugs, who also are adept at the blame game, as they accuse Israel, America, or whatever they can come up with to excuse their dysfunction.

No wonder so many Third World delegates in the U.N. applauded Chavez's anti-American rant. They, like Chavez, find it easier to blame America than to accept responsibility for their personal and collective failures.

Yet while Chavez is enjoying his increasing celebrity status abroad, this appears not to be the case at home in Venezuela.

Some may be curious if you still buy your gasoline at Citgo...


Venezuela is NOT the only non-Middle Eastern OPEC member state. ECUADOR, also located in South America, is also a member of OPEC.


Not sure why you are yelling at us with capital letters, but Ecuador withdrew from OPEC in 1992.

You might have criticized with Gabon, also not Middle Eastern (West African Coast), but they withdrew in 1995.

However, Nigeria is certainly not Middle Eastern (West African Coast) and a current member of OPEC.

Thank you for pointing out the inaccuracy. The post will be changed from "only non-Middle Eastern OPEC member" to read "only OPEC member state in the Western Hemisphere."

Chevez's rant against the US may have more to do with Chile and Allende. Chavez being an avowed socialist probably remembers how the US fomented the ouster and assasination of Allende during the heyday of anti-socialism in the western hemisphere led by the US.