Sean Penn Defends Hugo Chavez, Asks U.S. to Lift Venezuela's Economic Sanctions

Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn is a well-known proponent of despots the world over.

On Sunday, he wrote another piece for the Huffington Post extolling the wonder that is Hugo Chavez while asking America to withdraw its recently imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela:

There has been a systemic barrage of misreporting and context-shifting within the U.S. media and espoused by many U.S. Representatives relative to Venezuela and its democratically elected President Hugo Chavez.

The American people have grown accustomed to hearing the Venezuelan president referred to as a dictator, not only by media representatives but by members of the leadership in both parties. This is a defamation, not only to President Chavez, but also to the majority of Venezuelan people, poor people who have elected him president time and time again.

Yeah, Chavez is a sweetie-pie, isn't he. If only we had presidents like him here.

But Penn wasn't done:

The United States, and indeed, all capitalist nations, engage in largely unrestricted trade with numerous nations, both secular and theocratic, traditionally associated with social and political oppression, and indeed contributors (suspected or acknowledged) to nuclear proliferation. While it is noted that Iran is such a nation, and that it is due to Venezuela's oil trade with Iran (actual or alleged) that they have been listed, it should also be noted that an entity in the state of Israel has also been named among the seven sanctioned.

Color me very unsurprised this despot-lover would figure out a way to tie Israel into this.

For those unfamiliar with this issue, Fox News Latino reported just two weeks ago:

The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company for activities in support of Iran's energy sector.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton named seven companies for sanctions under the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) of 1996, the State Department announced on Tuesday.

The report cites Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) for delivering at least two cargoes of reformate to Iran between December 2010 and March 2011, worth approximately $50 million. Reformate is a blending component that improves the quality of gasoline.

If you hadn't guessed, this is part of the U.S. trying to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons. Florida Congressman Connie Mack issued the following press release on Feb 23:

Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14), Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, responds to public reports displaying documents signed by the Venezuela state-owned oil corporation Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) and National Iranian Oil Company authorizing two cargo shipments of gasoline from Venezuela to Iran. This activity is in direct violation of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA).

Mack said: “I have repeatedly said that Venezuela is violating U.S. sanctions on Iran- now, you don’t have to take it from me. Hugo Chavez and PDVSA are actively helping Iran bypass both U.S. and international sanctions in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. These sanctions were carefully crafted as a nuclear determent strategy to protect U.S. interests and allies. If it were important to the Administration, it would act immediately.”

Obviously, the Chavez-loving Penn couldn't care less about the possibility that this despot's actions are aiding and abetting Iran.

Iran Venezuela Huffington Post Sean Penn Connie Mack
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