Obama Speaks the Truth on Venezuela…
…and will likely be excoriated in some quarters on the right as a result.
In an interview with a Miami TV station, the President said:
"We’re always concerned about Iran engaging in destabilizing activity around the globe. But overall my sense is that what Mr. Chávez has done over the last several years has not had a serious national security impact on us," Obama said. "We have to vigilant. My main concern when it comes to Venezuela is having the Venezuelan people have a voice in their affairs, and that you end up ultimately having fair and free elections, which we don’t always see."
While there is no doubt in my mind that Hugo Chávez has been bad for Venezuela and has damaged Venezuelan democracy (although he had help from the corruption of his predecessors), the fundamental truth has long been that he has posed no serious national security threat to the United States nor to its basic interests.
The organization of ALBA hardly ranks as all high on the list in the grand scheme of things. I could certainly make a list of actions that, no doubt, the US government found annoying or problematic, but the notion that Chávez has ever been a serious national security threat has always been a paranoid and ill-informed view.