Venezuela’s Marxist president, Hugo Chavez is the darling of the the young left. These are the people who laugh at the old pro Soviet left and won’t have a bar of the Chinese.
Chavez is different. Chavez is for “21st century socialism“. He represents the future.
So why then does Chavez make friends with the world’s old fashioned tyrants? Mugabe, Castro, Hu Jintao, Putin and now Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko.
From Yahoo News 24.7.06
MINSK, Belarus – Leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez exchanged declarations of solidarity Monday with the authoritarian leader of isolated Belarus, who shares his anti-U.S. views.
Chavez, a frequent and harsh critic of the United States, made Belarus the first stop on a major international tour that will also take him to Russia,Iran and Vietnam.
He was greeted at the presidential palace in Minsk with an honor guard, a military band and warm hugs and smiles from President Alexander Lukashenko— a man known in Europe and Washington as “Europe’s last dictator.”
“Here, I’ve got a new friend and together we’ll form a team,” Chavez said before one-on-one talks with Lukashenko. “I thank you, Alexander, for solidarity and we’ve come here to demonstrate our solidarity.”
“Our two nations have a lot in common, we can form a strategic alliance,” Lukashenko said.
Chavez has courted foes and critics of Washington in what he calls an effort to create a global counterbalance to U.S. domination. He has crafted a socialist trade bloc with Cuba and Bolivia, signed a series of deals with Iran, and supported North Korea’s right to test-fire missiles.
Chavez also was slated to visit Qatar and Mali. He has abandoned plans to travel to North Korea.
Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a Washington-based think-tank, said Chavez intends to secure oil deals, enlist support for a non-permanent UN Security Council seat, and bolster Venezuela’s international standing — all at Washington’s expense.
The U.S. government, which frequently clashes with Chavez, is lobbying to block Venezuela’s council seat bid, backing Guatemala instead. The General Assembly will decide the issue in a secret ballot in October.
Chavez has cast himself as the voice for smaller, weaker nations
During the talks with Lukashenko, the two sides signed seven agreements on military-technical cooperation, economic and other ties as well as a declaration pledging a strategic partnership. Bilateral trade was just under $16 million in 2005.
Lukashenko, an open admirer of the Soviet Union, has been in power since 1994, quashing dissent, jailing opponents and extending his time in office through votes widely considered illegitimate. The United States and European Union imposed sanctions and a visa ban on him and other top officials following March presidential elections that the opposition denounced as fraudulent.
The highlight of Chavez’s trip to Russia is to be a signing ceremony for a series of major Russian weapons contracts. On Friday, Russia’s defense minister announced a deal worth more than $1 billion to supply Venezuela with 30 Su-30 fighter jets and 30 helicopters.
The Bush administration in May announced a ban on U.S. arms sales to Venezuela because of what it called a lack of support for counterterrorism efforts.
Chavez nonetheless has been using surging oil revenues to modernize Venezuela’s military, signing multibillion defense deals with countries including Russia and Spain. Venezuela earlier reached a deal to buy 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and is hoping to set up factories to produce the rifles under license.
New Zeal Chavez looks just like one more in a long line of communist would be dictators to me.
Hat Tip Clint Heine