But the progressive left was aghast at the predictable demise of the cancer-riddled strongman.
Michael Moore tweeted about his giving oil money to the poorest of the poor. Leftist movie director Olive Stone praised him as a great hero. Liberal movie actor Sean Penn praised him as a “great friend American never knew it had.” And, last but not least, Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY) sent this tweet:
Amazing that these progressive, naive’ individuals would praise a tyrannical dictator like Chavez. So disturbing was their praise for the murderer and strongman that the liberal website Think Progress even took to its pages to warn Democrats against praising Chavez. Zack Beauchamp wrote a little about what we should know about Chavez and why praising him
might should hurt Democrats:
While even Chavez’s critics admit that he did attempt to address the plight of Venezuela’s poorest, the decline in economic inequality in Venezuela reflected a broader egalitarian trend in Latin America, and can’t be fully credited to Chavez’s policies.
However, Chavez’ policies harmed Venezuela’s poorest in other ways: the value of the Venezuelan currency dropped while prices soared, making it harder for people to buy basic necessities, and crime skyrocketed.
Moreover, Chavez hurt the vulnerable in Venezuela in other ways. Chavez’s state-run media hounded Venezuela’s small, beleaguered Jewish population — he himself once said “Don’t let yourselves be poisoned by those wandering Jews.”
A study released by the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University found that Chavez’s rule “witnessed a rise in antisemitic manifestations, including vandalism, media attacks, caricatures, and physical attacks on Venezuelan Jewish institutions.” Indeed, roughly half of Venezuelan Jews fled the country because of “the social and economic chaos that the president has unleashed and from the uncomfortable feeling that they were being specifically targeted by the regime.”
Chavez also attacked Venezuela’s democratic political system. Human Rights Watch reported in 2012 that “the accumulation of power in the executive and the erosion of human rights protections have allowed the Chávez government to intimidate, censor, and prosecute critics and perceived opponents in a wide range of cases involving the judiciary, the media, and civil society.”
Contra Serrano, Venezuela’s elections were not certified as “free and fair” by international monitors of late: Chavez had not allowed international election monitors to observe Venezuelan elections since 2006.
Indeed, an anti-semitic dictator. Someone worthy of praise by the likes of Moore, Penn, Stone and Serrano. You are known by the friends you keep.