Who is the Real Threat?

Adriana Didas

 

When I heard for the first time what Pat Roberson had said on TV, I couldn’t believe it.  Robertson is a religious leader and founder of the Christian Coalition in the United States. He has a TV show called The 700 Club, which has more than one million daily viewers. During a recent live program, he had the audacity to call for an assassination of the constitutional president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.  Being a Venezuelan citizen, I was shocked.  In the past few years, I’ve watched the relationship between the governments of Venezuela and the United States slowly decline.  Instead of Robertson using his high profile position for reconciliation and peace between the two countries, he put his personal interests first and only added fuel to the fire. 

 

Pat Robertson’s words were “… if Hugo Chavez thinks that we (US) are going to kill him, I think we should do it.  It is cheaper than to start another war that will cost us $200 billion…”  (www.analitica.com, August 24, 2005).  He’s not just telling his millions of viewers that Chavez is a bad person; he’s expressing his feelings to the world to kill another human being.  He’s blatantly violating two of the ten commandments: “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”  I always thought that to deserve the favoritism of millions of people (religiously speaking) that you need to be a person with intellectual and moral attributes.  You need to follow the word of God.  You need to be compassionate, caring, and looking for reconciliation and peace.

 

He’s also saying that war could be an alternative, but more expensive.  Robertson goes on to mention that Chavez “has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for Communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent."  Whether those are Chavez’ intentions or not, he is a human being and has the right to be tried in court.  To me, Robertson sounds like a terrorist.  According to the Collins Cobuild Dictionary, “terrorist” is defined as a “person who uses violence in order to achieve political aims.”  It is very clear to me that Pat Roberson fits this description.

 

 

When I heard the response from the White House, I just shook my head.  According to Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, “political assassination is against the law and is not U.S. policy”.  He also added that Roberson is “a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time.”  Pat Robertson is no ordinary citizen:  he was nominated for presidential elections in 1992; he is the leader of the Christian Coalition with over two million members.  Bush’s win in the primary elections in South Carolina was a direct result of Robertson’s efforts.  He is a leader who controls and influences a large mass of people through a TV show and other events.  I ask myself: what if during his show he quietly claims that any other leader that does not share his ideas should be killed?  Would the US government have the same reaction?  What about the members of the Christian Coalition – do they have an opinion about it?  It would be disappointing to think that he is speaking on behalf of the entire Christian community in the US. 

 

I’m sure there are a lot of members with values and morals who do not share Robertson’s aggressive attitude.  Hopefully, they realize that one of their most important representatives is exchanging religion for politics.  Robertson is putting personal ideas and interests ahead of the community that he leads;  he is forgetting that he is a “man of God” and that religion and politics cannot walk together.

 

I have to be honest: I do not agree with Chavez’s political position.  As a Venezuelan citizen, I have seen my country going downhill in the past ten years.  The economy is a disaster.  Eighty percent of the population is considered living in the lower class.  How can this be possible?  This is a naturally rich country with much petroleum to be exported.  Many fingers seem to point at Hugo Chavez; his policies are directly affecting foreign investors and leaving no chance for the citizens to improve their life.  But who should be in charge to change this situation?  I would say by constitutional way (elections) the Venezuelan citizens.  The problem is not necessarily who the president is or how the people live down there; the big problem is that this small country controls the exportation of 1.4 million barrels of oil daily to the U.S. (almost half of Venezuela’s daily production).  So I ask to myself – wouldn’t it be easier to talk things out and make the best of this international arrangement? 

In order for an improved relationship between the governments of the US and Venezuela, both countries need to take action.  There needs to be mutual effort, respect, and understanding of common goals. 

 

To begin, Venezuela should not be restricting the exportation of oil in times of need to the US.  This “semi-embargo” is crippling the US economy and creating an increasing animosity towards Venezuela and ultimately Hugo Chavez.  By opening the flow of oil, they will begin to form a stronger bond while at the same time increasing their country’s revenue.  This arrangement would also stimulate international business in Venezuela and most likely encourage tourism.  The more Venezuela can open their arms and doors to engineers, doctors, exchange students and tourists, the faster their country will develop into an international powerhouse.

 

As for the United States, they need to respect the government of Venezuela and stop threatening to interfere with their politics.  Oil supply is the major concern of the U.S. involvement.  The U.S. should be focusing their efforts on researching new and more efficient fuel sources.  Rather than being in the vulnerable position of depending on other countries to supply the outrageous amount of fuel consumption, the US should pioneer new technology.  This will alleviate much of the tension between the US and Venezuela, not to mention the Middle East.  If the U.S. can be a pioneer and educator in harnessing an endless fuel source, perhaps these two countries can coexist in peace.

 

 

 

Adriana Didas

English 101

Tuesday and Thursday 3:05-4:20