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While Bush prevaricates, Venezuela offers help to US poor

Saturday 3 September 2005

by Jorge Martin

Venezuela was the first country to offer help to the United States in dealing with the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Chavez has offered money and personnel to help in the relief operations. The answer of an unnamed "senior State official" was that “unsolicited offers can be counterproductive." They would rather some of their own people died than have the people of the USA see Venezuela for what it is, a country where its people are challenging the very capitalist system upon which so much poverty and devastation is based.

Venezuela was the first country to offer help to the United States in dealing with the effects of Hurricane Katrina. On Wednesday, August 31st, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez announced that Venezuelan state-owned CITGO Petroleum Corporation had already pledged US$1 million for hurricane aid. "It’s a terrible tragedy that our North American brothers are living through," Chavez said. "We have a battalion from our Simon Bolivar humanitarian team ready in case they authorize it for us to go there, if they give us the green light." He offered humanitarian workers and fuel to help. "We are willing to donate fuel for hospitals, for public transport, everything we can do," Chavez said.

But at the same time Hugo Chavez sharply criticised US president G W Bush for his handling of the Hurricane crisis. "As more information comes out now, a terrible truth is becoming evident: That government doesn’t have evacuation plans," Chavez said. Putting words to what many in the US must be thinking, he added that Bush, "there at his ranch, said nothing more than ’you need to flee’; he didn’t even say how - in cowboy style." He also pointed out that the lack of a clear strategy on the part of the government hit the poorest sections of the population hardest. "We all saw the long lines of desperate people leaving that city in vehicles, those who had vehicles," he said, noting that the areas worst affected are amongst "some of the poorest in the United States, most of them black."

In contrast with the lack of action on the part of the US government, the Venezuelan government was able to help hundreds of Lousiana residents. CITGO, a company in the US owned by the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA, has a network of refineries and gas stations in the United States. One of these is based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and was opened to give shelter and aid to some 2,000 residents of the area.

Felix Rodriguez, the president of both PDVSA and CITGO who was visiting the Lake Charles refinery, said that the funds from their donation would be directed to aid organizations in affected areas.

According to, sources at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC said that "apart from the million dollars in monetary assistance, Venezuela is offering two mobile hospital units, each capable of assisting 150 people, 120 specialists in rescue operations, 10 water purifying plants, 18 electricity generators of 850 KW each, 20 tons of bottled water, and 50 tons of canned food."

In his statement Chavez also noted the contrast between the way Cuba and the US deal with these kinds of natural catastrophes. Here we can see again the advantages of a system where the private profit motive was abolished after the 1959 revolution. While there are very few victims of hurricanes in Cuba, and the contingency plans are properly organised, in the most powerful capitalist nation on earth, thousands die, most of whom could be alive today if the necessary measures had been taken.

Chavez further made the link between the fierceness and frequency of recent hurricanes and global warming, for which he blamed capitalism and criticised the US for refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol on the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Not surprisingly, coverage of this offer for help from Venezuela was very scarce or non existent in the US media. The only reaction from the US administration was from an unnamed "senior State official" quoted in the Washington Times as saying that “he was not aware of Caracas’ proposal” but noted that “unsolicited offers can be counterproductive." The Bush administration cannot really accept this offer for help which would destroy the image they are trying to create of Chavez as an evil dictator.

Venezuela’s offer comes a week after the statements by right wing fundamentalist preacher Pat Robertson, who said on his TV station that Chavez should be assassinated. The Bush administration has so far not condemned this statement and not taken any legal measures against Pat Robertson. The furthest they went was when Rumsfeld said that he did not agree with the declarations of Robertson, but that any private individual is free to say whatever he wants.

In the last week, Venezuela has also offered cheap gas and fuel to poor communities in the US, the hardest hit by the recent increases in the price of oil. "We want to sell gasoline and heating fuel directly to poor communities in the United States". Chavez explained that the exorbitant price of oil is mainly caused by speculation on the part of the multinationals and intermediaries, and that if these were cut out, prices would be much cheaper. He explained how in Venezuela gas is even cheaper than bottled water and that Venezuelans can fill their tank for about $2. According to the Venezuelan Embassy in the US, more than 1400 organisations (churches, charities, counties, hospitals) have already contacted them to enquire about the details of the offer.

This is not the only offer that revolutionary Venezuela has made to the United States people. When Chavez attended the graduation of the first promotion of the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba (ELAM), he also offered to bring tens of thousands of US citizens to Cuba to be operated on their cataracts, extending the "Mision Milagro", which has been dealing with Venezuelan patients, to a 150,000 poor US-Americans a year. The offer was also to train thousands of doctors at this ELAM school. "We are deeply concerned about the poverty which is increasing in the United States," Chavez said.

The attitude of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez towards the US is thus very clear and has been so from the very beginning of the Bolivarian revolution: opposition to imperialism and the attempts of the US administration to overthrow the democratically elected government in Venezuela, while at the same time solidarity and links with ordinary working people in the United States.

These offers of help also expose the inability of capitalism in the US to provide the basics for their own population: health care for all, relief in case of emergency, cheap fuel for heating in the winter, etc. This is a further argument against those who say that the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela must proceed cautiously, not to provoke imperialism, etc. In fact the best defence against imperialism is taking measures like these which will show ordinary working people in the United States what can be done and will make them think what kind of government they would rather have: one that puts war and private profit before peoples’ basic needs, or one that invests the country’s natural resources to improve peoples’ lives.

This example would be even more powerful if the Venezuelan revolution were completed and the whole of the economy put under the democratic control of the workers, the only way in which the Bolivarian revolution can succeed.

Forum posts

  • Another Disaster in the USA once again the results are as usual no matter to what extents the disasters are they always come out to have an evil greed point from to the end.

    While Government is calculating what they will profit off this disaster their prolonging leaves the real expense on the people but the people are only with greed intentions themselves.
    The typical actions from a typical American usually include first instinct of evil this because the devil has entered most of the Americans.
    The first reactions are evil, greed, selfishness and ignorance brought by the Government of the USA by brainwashing the people to be evil to only care about getting, taking stealing what ever they can only to benefit them this is the poison that the society has conflicted to the people here in the USA and the Government is trying to spread their evil across the world and it is time to be stopped.

    The giving the generosity of the people donating is not a pure act from their hearts and souls.
    It is only a reputation and tax deductible reaction out of evilness.

    The government hesitated to wait so the people can contribute so they can accumulate the monies and steal.
    The government wants the media to make this disaster into a show to spice it all up on the count of thousands of lives and all of you are to blame for letting this evil government here in the USA exist.

    This is an opportunity brought by GOD to show you people that you need to decide you have a chance to lead your lives in the right direction and that is not in any way of what the society of the USA leads you or brainwashes you in.

    This is an opportunity for you to know the true meaning of life, and that is not at all anything to do with evil money greed and materialism it is an opportunity for each and every one of you to know and appreciate life and to learn and to know the true values and principals in life.

    The typical American takes everything for granted they have no appreciation of anything and even though thousands of you have a great opportunity to know this and have a chance to direct your life the right way in only a few days the evil government will brainwash you with their materialism and lies and you will be back with the devil, but if this disaster has effected only one of you and has put you on the right track of life there has been made progress and the disaster was well worth it as this disaster with this one person could prevent a bigger disaster in the next day or year, remember everything happens for a reason.

    Only God knows your real intentions from within side of all of you so none of you are fooling anyone and there is a way higher percentage of evil in the people of the USA if there wasn’t then these disasters would not exist.

    The understanding is with all of you that the people in the USA do not have a true Leader but when you are able as individuals to know right from wrong there is no excuse.
    The USA does need a leader and it needs one fast or soon there will nor be any more USA just by GOD alone he will assure this.

    It is sad this disaster happened it was sad of the 9 -11 disaster but how many will it take to wake all of you up and to know what the importance in life is?
    How many disasters will it take?
    Maybe all of you are so caught up with the Devil there is no hope and disaster after disaster will never help you but it will keep coming none of you are stronger then GOD.
    The only sure way to change your evil ways is for a real true great leader one who cares enough to changer your evil ways and to lead all of you in the right direction that will be the time when good, pure good changed will be made and I hope that GOD allows me to be able to do this for the people not only of the USA but for the world, I hope that all of you will also give me the chance by directing yourselves in the right direction because if you do not start then there will be too many disasters, destructions and death and then there will be no more USA and for one minute don’t any of you dare to think that any of this destruction will come from people that you so call terrorist as you call Iran terrorist those holy people are taking their own lives to help show and direct you in the right way of life this something that is premature at this time for any of you with the devil in them to be able to comprehend.

    But the first step for any one of you who care to lead your life and redirect it in the right way then you must have examples and leaders to lead you on you need to study and then compare and have comparisons to make your decisions to make the right decisions and the very first decision that all of the American people must make and must realize is that the government Bush and all of his followers must be ousted out, they must be made to leave their positions as it stands the people are the ones that come together to help each other as all of you are so called claiming and if you want to carry that through then you must see that Washington needs to be stopped from all of their lies, killings, invasions and their stealing.
    Washington has been no help to any one of you only by greedy relative ways Washington is doing nothing but letting your people die and killing other good people around the world only to gain for their own selfish reasons not for the lies of the brainwash things that they feed you with.
    The people of the USA government care nothing about any one of you they only care about what they can get and take.

    I plead and beg with all of you take this opportunity and go to the libraries go study of other countries others ways of living you go and you compare them from your heart and soul and I guarantee you that you will see think and act different you will become aware of the real truth the truth of what the true meaning of life is and what it means in values, principals and meaning, I guarantee you if you let the devil leave from your presence for one minute you will connect and see life in a entire different way.

    I may suggest that you read of the Countries of Iran with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela with President Hugo Chavez.
    After all of the brainwashing that Bush and Washington has made you believe that they are bad but will come to find out that they are indeed the good the pure from the heavens above.
    You will learn from them of what life is truly about and of what is really important and significant, those are the two great men in this world that truly cares for their people in every way and if you give them a chance you see that they care about each and every one of you but at the same time while you are under the devils spell you are an enemy the Devil is the enemy of GOD so please do not question any actions that these people from other countries have to take against any American as you will learn the American way is the wrong way it is the devils way.

    Mr. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is truly a great remarkable man and he alone could and will change this world into the world that GOD has been longing for and I by his side will be there to help this long needed time change come to reality for your preparation and a true understanding you should have a sense of awareness and knowledge to the true meaning of life and be ready to change your life for the better to the right direction and for the most it is time to let the devil out of all of you it is time that you release the devil and accept GOD as in time you will have no choice and by this time it will be too late you must begin repenting yourselves and get ready and accept that the world needs to change and it is coming to a change and if you want to be apart of it and exist here on this earth then you must now release the devil the USA government and accept the others ways of living and learn their ways.

    Alison Shunstrom

    Author of World Peace

    • The religious right uses God as a brainwash. No doubt if you are wrong but you mention God - you can’t be wrong - right? Logic - common sense are taken away.

      Chavez comes from an Indio cultures which was almost erredicated, so this guy has more mercy, but he doesn’t mention God! Coincidence?
      Those who are with the institutionalized churches of any flavour are liars and crooks.

  • Commentary on AP’s "Venezuela’s Chavez Offers Hurricane Aid"
    By Pedro Mario Burelli

    02.09.05 | PMBComment: In times of tragedy it is fair to help your enemies, but what is not acceptable is to callously take political advantage of human tragedy. In a country in which the media, and obviously their audiences, love the odd or sensationalist story, Hugo Chavez’s offer to help the US has captured the attention of many ill informed talking heads in the US. This AP report is one of the first that starts questioning Chavez’ motivation and provide a little bit of very relevant background. In December of 1999, after days of non-stop rains, Venezuela suffered its worse natural disaster in history. Simultaneous mudslides wiped out large sector of Vargas State, the destruction was hard to comprehend and the death toll topped 15,000. Venezuelans of all walks of life rushed to help as did many nations in the world, including of course the US. Let’s examine what Hugo Chavez did during those days:

    1. He was out of the country - unbeknownst to anyone... He was receiving "mental healing" in La Havana after one of his frequent breakdowns.

    2. No evacuation orders were given despite the evidence that rock slides had been detected in the mountains and the fact that it had long been known that great swaths of shoreline were at risk of mudslides (it had already occurred on a smaller scale in the 50’s).

    3. He did not return to Venezuela. An F16 from the Venezuelan Air Force was sent to bring back a crudely taped message to the nation which the government tried to pass as a live message from the Presidential Palace.

    4. The President returned to the country almost 48 hours after the crisis began.

    5. At the request of the government and coordinated by the Venezuelan Army, the US rushed to send two navy vessels with hundreds of members of the Army’s Corp of Engineers with military bridges, tents, and water treatment and desalinization plants. With one of the ships at sea and the other about to sail, Chavez was advised by Fidel Castro not to accept the US offer... Two reasons were apparently given: the contingent would include a number of CIA spies and there was the risk of the US earning goodwill among Venezuelans. This incident created a major diplomatic incident. It would be interesting to hear Ambassador Maisto shedding some light to the US press and public about this precedent of Chavez playing with human misery.

    6. The political police - DISIP - was accused of having executed a number of people in their untimely and sloppy effort to control looting.

    7. Tens of millions of dollars contributed by the international community disappeared... Many Caracas-based Ambassadors tell stories of graft and incompetence associated with their donations.

    8. Six years after the tragedy the reconstruction of Vargas has gone nowhere. I invite anyone to tour Vargas and reach their own conclusion about the state of that state.

    So, we have another case of Hugo Chavez being advised by Ricardo Alarcon (President of Cuba’s national Assembly and the Castro’s regime top "americanologist") and their accomplices among the US lobbyist/apologist community, on how to put the Bush Administration on the defensive. While Bush and his team have a great deal to respond for what looks like a series of serious gaffes, Hugo Chavez has no moral authority to accuse anyone of lack of preparation and he should not be allowed a free ride with his blatant attempt to sell snake oil to the American people. Patton Boggs must know - and therefore advice their client - about what happens to people who live in glass houses when they opt to throw stones. PMB

    • So you are saying that the U.S.A.’s response to Venezuela’s disaster was instantanious, where as the U.S.A.’s response to the U.S.A.’s disaster, Katrina, took 5 days? What would make the U.S.A. respond to the Venezuelan’s with efficient and quick help, yet when it is our own people who need help, they do not respond at all for 5 days and then it is like a Chinese firedrill when they do.

      Maybe our government just doesn’t give a shit about the people here, but they jump right to it when its Venezuela that needs our help, right?. Or more likely Jorge is just full of shit and a liar like those who own Bushco.

      A couple of months ago, several bloggers reported seeing a request on some military sites for people to take jobs as anti anti war bloggers to visit "progressive" sites and post lies for Bushco for money. Like the Armstrong Anderson scandal where Bushco paid (with our tax money) a "news anchor" to praise Bush’s education fiasco (no child left behind where the military is given free access for recruiters to get to the kids) . There have been others caught pushing propaganda for Bushco too, paid journalists to push Bushco’s agenda (Fox news is famous for it, it’s owner is a Republican who campaigned for Bush and gave him huge contributions. So I wouldn’t believe a word written here, its probably bought and paid for by Bushco and you are probably a paid shill for them.

    • Jorge Martin you better listen well you are a typical ignorant American who does not like to beleive the truth.

      I do not get paid by any body to write the TRUTH.
      I honor the great ALLAH, he GOD as you stated that Mr.chavez does not say in his words if you know of Mr. Chavez you will see he speaks of the same words as I, the people in the USA are evil and they need to be stopped the great ALLAH is given you a chance if you do not want to beleive and respect and turn your evil ways then let there be no mercy upon you and all others here in the USA that want to keep their evillness inside of them.

      But the time has come that you will be stopped in sreading your evillness and poisining other people across the world with it.

      The great ALLAH has spoken and all of you will have no choice but to listen.

      In the USA I say GOD because this is how the people in the usa say ALLAH, for I am proud to carry out ALLAHS wishes and to tell people the truth and to give them a chance to turn their ways and that is the ways of ALLAH in time you all will see the Muslim way is the right way you all will turn to the Islam way either by ALLAH himself or by his people that he has chosen.

      The Americans need not to fear the Muslims as we are kind and good.
      The Americans are known to not accept the truth they live off of only lies, greed they survive by stealing, cheating. invading and killing they are possesed by the devil and they need to be directed to the right path of life not by greed but by principals and values the GREAT ways of ALLAH.

      Alison Shunstrom

  • Everything that the Bush administration does is based on their ruling ideology. This ideology supports anything which furthers the establishment of unfettered, unregulated, predatory capitalism. In their vision they see a society in which everything is privately owned, and access to all human endeavors and all human needs is controlled by a profit seeking middleman. This requires the defunding and eventual elimination of the entire public sector. In their world there is no money for Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, health insurance, fire departments, police departments, public power and water, or even for disaster relief......

    "Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into..... an oversized entitlement program." — Budget Director Mitch Daniels announcing the Bush administration’s goal of privatizing FEMA. April 2001.—

    Wages will be taxed but not "income" (stocks, bonds, capital gains, estate inheritances).
    Any money not already looted from the treasury will be used to wage war and provide tax breaks and subsidies for the wealthy and the large corporations.

    Basically, their vision, their "ownership society", foresees a return to feudalism. Those who already own most of America will be the nobility, the royalty. The rest of us will be the peons.

    We need a Hugo Chavez here in America.

    J. C. Bolton, New York City