Yes, that's the same leader who is a student of the Robert Mugabe School of Economics, shut down a TV station that criticized him and just installed himself El Presidente for life.
But hey, Venezuelans, relax! Actor/director/humanitarian Sean Penn isn't concerned that Chavez is on his way to becoming a dictator. So, stop worrying that Chavez will confiscate your home or business and force you to sew “I Heart Holocaust-Deniers” onto his custom-made Commie-red button downs.
In a November 16 article about his new movie, Penn opened himself up for more ridicule as another super-wealthy celebrity who dabbles as a revolutionary wannabe (bold mine throughout):
"You don't know that I have a friendship with Hugo Chavez, you just read it in some piece," is his response to a loosely phrased question about a couple of visits he has made to Caracas. He says his interest is purely for an article he is writing on the socialist leader.
"The first thing I'm going to say is that we know more lies about him in the United States than we know truth. If you want a sound bite from me about Chavez, then I would say that, for the moment, he's much more positive for Venezuela than he is negative." (Penn subsequently appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and described Chavez as "a fascinating guy".)
Is it “much more positive” than negative that Chavez is on his way to creating a Cuba-style dictatorship where there is no private property, free speech or civil rights?
Somehow I don't think Penn would praise Bush as “more positive for America than negative” if Bush announced that his new policy of jailing dissenters and confiscating wealthy Americans' homes and businesses to give to the poor(government cronies).
Of course, it's silly to theorize about how a government modeled after Chavez' Venezuela would effect someone like Sean Penn because those governments always make exceptions for the powerful and privileged, but unlike America,
Isn't Penn worried that Chavez has the makings of a dictator? "He's elected. He's not ruling by decree. The constitution is very clear, and I've read it, cover to cover, two or three times. The Venezuelan constitution is a very beautiful document." [snip]
Ah, yes. That's what Penn falls back on. Sure, Chavez follows the constitution. He wrote it. When you write (and rewrite) the rules, it's pretty easy to follow them.
And yes, we all got that message about Bush. I know, America is the dictatorship. That's why after the premiere of “Lions for Lambs,” Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford were hooded and shipped to Gitmo.
One question, Sean. How easy do you think it would be for the average Venezuelan to criticize Chavez the way you criticize Bush?
Lynn contributes to NewsBusters. She can be reached at tvisgoodforyou2 AT yahoo DOT com