In an interview with WLTV Univision 23 in Miami (13 Dec 2012) Obama had a message for the Venezuelan people:
"The most important thing is to remember that the future of Venezuela should be in the hands of the Venezuelan people. We've seen from Chávez in the past authoritarian policies, suppression of dissent." "We would want to see a strong relationship between our two countries, but we're not going to change policies that prioritize making sure that there's freedom in Venezuela…"
In the recent Venezuelan election 97% of the voting age population were registered to vote and 81% of registered voters voted. 100% of these were Venezuelan people. A great many of them voted for opposition parties who campaigned freely and vociferously on the streets and in the media. There were some negative events but the election got international praise for its fairness and openness.
The same Venezuelan people rescued Chávez from a US backed coup in 2002 and have now elected him as president for the fourth time.
Contrary to Washington cocktail party gossip, 70% of the media in Venezuela are opposition-owned and range from strongly to rabidly anti-Chávez. The TV station he allegedly closed down is equally a chattering classes myth. RCTV egged on the 2002 coup attempt, and broadcast fake video footage of Chávez gunmen 'shooting' at opposition demonstrators. He didn't close it down. Five years later the government, supported by the supreme court, refused to renew its licence when it ran out. It continued to broadcast by satellite. If such a coup had been attempted in the US it's pretty hard to imagine the perpetrators not being charged with treason, which carries the death penalty in the US – if they survived long enough to be put on trial.
The Venezuelan Foreign affairs Ministry in a statement rejected Obama's "outrageous declarations" and demanded respect from him for the dignity of the Venezuelan people and their president. Venezuela is "an authentic democracy, thanks to which the people of Venezuela freely exercise rights and freedoms that U.S. society is still far from achieving."
The people of the U.S. get to choose every four years between two 'parties' that represent corporate power, differing almost solely in style. Or as Noam Chomsky puts it two factions of one business party. The current president commits war crimes, murders his own people and many others, supports torture, continues state terror in the name of a 'war on terror', undermines democracy at home, has intensified the surveillance of the U.S. population in a country already classified as an 'endemic surveillance' society.
Against the popular revolution in Egypt he supported Mubarak until he was dead in the water then switched like a dictatorship junkie to Mubarak's torturer-in-chief Suleiman; he continues to support the remaining zombie medieval fiefdoms in the middle east. He stood by in silence while Israel slaughtered 1400 Palestinians in the 2008-9 attack on Gaza.
In Latin America he backed a right wing coup in Honduras and an attempted coup in Ecuador, having declared before he even got elected for his first term that Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, all countries with popular, democratically elected governments, were a "vacuum to be filled"…
…all that and more, most of it against the will of the American people, whose future should be in their hands, gives Obama the moral right to lecture others from a very high place about democracy and freedom. How often does this man have to declare, loudly and clearly, by word and deed, as he has done repeatedly since before his first term as president, that he is deeply conservative, and morally blind, before everyone believes him? If he were white and European, as soon as he opened his mouth in any European capital, everyone would know right away that he makes Berlusconi sound like a pinko and Merkel like she's just been reading up on Che Guevara.
Come on, give the guy a chance – he says what he thinks (in between 'talk left' platitudes) – believe him! He's been living under a rock, right next door to the one Mitt Romney lives under, just maybe a bit sunnier and friendlier. Tell him to crawl back under it.
And look elsewhere for real change.