Rise Up Against the Empire — President Hugo Chavez, Address to the United Nations, 09/19/06 (thanks to the Legal Activists of Color blog for this link)

While I’m not really down with calling Bush the devil (because I think violent and insulting language causes more harm than good), I pretty much agreed with just about everything else that Chavez said in his speech, and I am incredibly encouraged to hear such an eloquent speaker for the interests of the peoples of the world who are oppressed by the American Imperial regime.

And as for the name calling, the Bush administration should get off its high horse. Bush’s folks not only have called Chavez names but also tried to have a military coup remove Chavez from office. Chavez might be calling Bush names, but the last time I checked he wasn’t using military force to remove him from office.

FoxNews: Chavez Repeats ‘Devil’ Comment at Harlem Event

. . . Chavez was visiting the church as part of ceremonies to announce the sale of discounted home heating oil to qualified low-income families.

The appearance came after reports circulated early Thursday morning that the Venezuelan president had left the country overnight after delivering an insult-riddled speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday in which he called President Bush the ‘devil.’

The crowd chanted “Chavez, Chavez, the people are with you” in Spanish as he walked into the Mount Olivet Baptist Church on Lenox Ave. in Harlem.

. . . The event, one of a series designed to boost the Venezuelan leader’s popularity in the U.S., was organized by Citgo, a Houston-based energy company that is owned and controlled by the Venezuelan government. Under a Citgo program, and in partnership with Citizens Energy, a program started and run by former Congressman Joe Kennedy II, families from low-income neighborhoods in New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia have the ability to purchase discounted home heating oil over winter months.

Venezuelan officials and Citgo employees handed out T-shirts prior to the event with the name of the program — “From The Venezuelan Heart To The U.S. Hearths” — printed across the front.

Yet one more reason why folks should buy their gas at Citgo (but only if you have to buy gas).

Reuters:Leading Nancy Pelosi calls Chavez a “thug”

“Hugo Chavez fancies himself a modern day Simon Bolivar but all he is an everyday thug,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference, referring to Chavez’ comments in a U.N. General Assembly speech on Wednesday.

“Hugo Chavez abused the privilege that he had, speaking at the United Nations,” said Pelosi, a frequent Bush critic. “He demeaned himself and he demeaned Venezuela.”

I find it ironic that Rep. Pelosi is calling Chavez a thug, when Bush’s folks tried to remove Chavez from office with military force. Who is the real thug here? (and why is that the Democratic leadership is folding so quickly? The Democratic party IMO is led by cowards who are afraid to acknowledge the truth of what Chavez said.)

But wait, there’s more from the so-called leaders of the American left…

Townhall Blog: Shout at the Devil Again: Hugo Encore (Update: Rangel Denounces Chavez)

Update: Just saw this on Fox. This is more than I expected from Charlie Rangel. He’s gonna catch heck on Kos over it, but the statement was forceful and appropriate. – “They can do what they see fit to do, but you do not come into my country, my congressional district, and you do not condemn my president. If there is any criticism of president bush, it should be restricted to americans, whether they voted for him or not. I just want to make it abundantly clear to hugo chavez or any other president, but do not come to the united states and banked because we had — and think because we of problems with our president that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that americans do not feel offended when you offend our chief of state.”

Why shouldn’t Chavez call Bush on the carpet? Like it or not, the American Imperial regime affects every person on planet earth. Americans should of course show resposibility when they vote, but many Americans don’t bother to vote, and the rest vote irresponsibly (how else can you explain the reelection of Bush, or for that matter the Democratic party’s nomination of a total tool like Kerry), so I think Chavez and other leaders from the non-aligned countries should speak out on their peoples behalf and frankly on our behalf. Chavez in his address to the UN said these words which I think are something we as Americans should remember…

. . . Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious American and world intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, and this is one of his most recent books, ‘Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States. ‘” [Holds up book, waves it in front of General Assembly.] “It’s an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what’s happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet.

The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads. I had considered reading from this book, but, for the sake of time,” [flips through the pages, which are numerous] “I will just leave it as a recommendation.

It reads easily, it is a very good book, I’m sure Madame [President] you are familiar with it. It appears in English, in Russian, in Arabic, in German. I think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their threat is right in their own house.

I am reminded of something that I heard Carlos Arrendondo share with us when I was visiting Camp Casey. He said that American citizens have a great responsibility because they are given a voice in this system. The question is, will we use it? And will we recognize that we vote not only for our own interests but for those of the whole world? The oppressed and downtrodden, the victims of violence, war and economic exploitation, depend on us to do the right thing.

They are suffering today, in large part because we have failed them. I hope to God we repent and act in a more loving way.