From Kevin Spacey to Sean Penn and Danny Glover, they all pillage their hearts for Hugo Chavez.
President Obama may have plenty of vocal defenders in America’s media-entertainment complex, but so does Venezuela’s aspiring president-for-life.
The American friends of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez seem caught in a time warp, spouting foolish Marxist rhetoric to justify the buffoonish behavior of their hero. But Venezuela’s head of state is no fool, and his brand of leftist politics seems to be on the march in Latin America.
Recently an emboldened Chavez called Obama a “poor ignoramus” and handed the beaming leader of the free world a copy of Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. The book is a leftist, anti-American tract from Marxist publisher Monthly Review Press.
It is unclear why Chavez didn’t give Obama Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance, by Noam Chomsky, the book he brought to the United Nations in 2006 when he called President Bush “the Devil” and made the sign of the cross.
Conservatives criticized Obama for shaking the Venezuelan strongman’s hand, and naturally, Hollywood leapt to the defense of both leaders.
This should surprise no one. Hollywood is in love with Obama, and Chavez, who has allowed Iran-aligned Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas terrorists to open offices in the Venezuelan capital, is the kind of anti-American that certain kinds of American leftists swoon over.
Take actor Sean Penn, the recent Oscar laureate for Milk.
He’s among those who believe Obama can charm his way through the perilous waters of foreign policy. “With a friend, or an enemy, our president will gain greater strategic position with a smile,” wrote the co-star of Shanghai Surprise (currently 2.5 stars out of 10 at IMDB.com).
“I applaud an American President who’s tough enough…to smile,” wrote Penn, who appears not to know the difference between the verb infer and the verb imply. (“When President Obama today inferred consideration of holding former administration officials accountable to law…”)
However, Penn’s admiration of his own president pales when compared to the love he shows for the man who, oddly enough, considers himself the reincarnation of anti-socialist Simon Bolivar:
I know President Chavez well. Whether or not one agrees with all his policies, what is certainly true of Chavez is that he is a warm and friendly man with a robust sense of humor (who daily risks his own life for his country in ways Dick Cheney could never imagine). To treat such a man coldly is akin to spitting on him. As a country we’ve done enough of that. Say what you will, but it has only resulted in the self-celebration of our smirking spitters, while costing us international respect, American lives, and left wounds in the hands of our children’s future. The Cheneys, down to the O’Reillys and Hannitys and Limbaughs, effectively hate the principles upon which we were founded. They are among the greatest cowards in all of American history.
Penn also previously called the Chavez-crafted constitution of Venezuela, which gives the president the power to rule by decree, “a very beautiful document.”
The Fast Times at Ridgemont High star is hardly the only member of the glitterati to glamorize Chavez.
As Ana Maria Ortiz and I wrote last year in Organization Trends, the oil-reliant Chavez regime enjoys passionate support from actors Danny Glover, Kevin Spacey, Ed Asner, singer Harry Belafonte, and supermodel Naomi Campbell. South American newspapers reported Campbell was having a romantic affair with Chavez — a claim she denies — but there’s no denying she is enamored of him politically. Campbell rhapsodizes about Chavez, speaking of her “amazement” at the “love and encouragement” that Chavez pours into social welfare programs. Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Marxist writers Howard Zinn and Naomi Klein are also proud chavistas.
Chavez’s compliant Congress returned Hollywood’s favor in 2007 by approving at least $28 million in financing for two films by Glover, who has been a business partner with Chavez for years. One of the movies is The General in His Labyrinth, about Simon Bolivar, and the other is Toussaint, a biopic about the 18th-century Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture.
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