If the Venezuelans are looking for high-powered pallbearers to carry a tyrant to his final resting place, filmmakers Michael Moore and Oliver Stone and actor Sean ‘Harvey Milk’ Penn would probably be anxious to do the honors.
Moore, Stone, and Penn have made millions from the type of capitalistic box office competition ‘Dead Man Walking’ Hugo Chávez decried. Yet, after hearing about Chávez’s passing, Oliver Stone’s reaction was “I mourn a great hero.”
Stone first met Chávez in December of 2007. Then in 2009, he defended the dictator in South of the Border, a documentary that explored political and social changes in South America. The film was an attempt to portray Hugo Chávez as something other than the “strongman…buffoon…clown” that he was.
Hearing of Hugo’s demise, Oliver Stone, whose net worth is $50 million, said “I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place. Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chávez will live forever in history.” Bidding adieu, the fact-challenged filmmaker added, “My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned.”
In response to Chávez’s death, pudgy Michael Moore took it upon himself to lead the charge to bring balance to what he predicts will be the American media’s vitriolic response to Chávez’s passing. Moore began by tweeting the following:
Hugo Chávez declared the oil belonged 2 the ppl. He used the oil $ 2 eliminate 75% of extreme poverty, provide free health & education 4 all. That made him dangerous. US approved of a coup to overthrow him even though he was a democratically-elected President.
Maybe on his next trip to Venezuela, Michael, who vacations in a $2 million Torch Lake, Michigan, mansion, should pay a visit to Los Corales, where victims of a mudslide that happened 10 years ago are still living in ruins amid stray dogs, rubbish, and sewage. So much for Hugo Chávez eliminating 75% of Venezuela’s extreme poverty.
Yet Moore, who also is worth $50 million, is correct on one count – Chávez was indeed dangerous. After 14 years of advocating for the poor, and despite presiding over what Moisés Naím of Bloomberg Business Week called the “longest and most exuberant increase in oil revenue,” Chávez managed to ruin the economy and established a “competitive authoritarian regime,” which undermined the very “autonomy of the institutions of [the] democracy” that he himself touted.
As for the Bolivarian Republic’s economy that Moore lauds, Naím also claims Venezuela has “one of the world’s largest fiscal deficits, highest inflation rates, worst misalignment of the exchange rate, fastest-growing debt, and one of the most precipitous drops in productive capacity—including that of the critical oil sector.”
Meanwhile, Chávez’s “boliburguesía,” an oligarchy comprised of close allies of the regime’s leaders, their families, and friends, which Moore would likely be amongst, accumulated massive wealth under a corrupt leader who died having amassed for himself a $2 billion fortune.
Moore continued his tweet by adding:
Before they cheeleaded [sic] us into the Iraq War, the US media was busy cheering on the overthrow of Chávez. 54 countries around the world allowed the US to detain (& torture) suspects. Latin America, thanks 2 Chávez, was the only place that said no.
While sharing anti-torture sentiments, is Moore aware of Barack Obama’s belief that he has the liberty to command independent drone attacks on American citizens on foreign and domestic soil?
Either way, in memoriam, Moore displayed Venice Film Festival photos of his porkulent self, sans baseball cap, cavorting with Hugo in 2009. Moore shared: “We spoke for over an hour. He said he was happy 2 finally meet someone Bush hated more than him.”
Being someone an American president hated more than a socialist dictator is certainly an accomplishment worth bragging about.
Upon learning of ‘commandante’ Chávez’s demise, Penn was quoted as saying “Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion.” Evidently, the Academy Award winner is unaware that the American people already have someone implementing “socialism for the 21st Century.”
A friend since 2007, in December the admitted agnostic attended a candlelight vigil in Bolivia to pray for Chávez’s health. It was there that the left-wing political activist Penn said of Chávez, “He’s one of the most important forces we’ve had on this planet, and I’ll wish him nothing but that great strength he has shown over and over again. I do it in love, and I do it in gratitude.”
As of March 5th the objective of the prayer vigil failed, and now Penn is saying, “I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chávez and the people of Venezuela.”
Attempting to reassure the insurgency, Penn did add, “Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President Maduro.” If by “revolution” Penn means Madura will continue to persecute “political adversaries and critics, restrict media freedom, undermine the rule of law and property rights, militarize the government, and try to destabilize neighboring Colombia,” then clearly Sean Penn’s vision of his beloved amigo muerto will live on.
Nonetheless, in the wake of Chávez’s untimely death, there are still two things left for Sean Penn to do.
The first is to ask Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Naomi Campbell, and Noam Chomsky to join him and Iran’s anti-colonialism/imperialism-hating president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Chávez’s funeral this Friday. Then, in Hugo’s memory, Penn can propose that Barack Obama follow in the deceased dictator’s footsteps by securing for himself a Chávez-style third term.