Michelle Norris opens the smear-commentary on Venezuela by Ana Flaster, whose family left Cuba in the 1960s. Norris says:
"Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is known for picking fights with other world leaders like...his criticism of President Bush....Flaster and NPR need a serious reality check here. There is, in fact, one huge, overwhelming difference between the two leaders: Chavez has been elected repeatedly in open, free and fair elections.
She [Flaster] says her relatives are obsessed with Chavez. He reminds them of Cuba's Fidel Castro, but she says there's one big difference: Venezuela's oil wealth makes the Chavez rhetoric more powerful."
Of course NPR doesn't like to look much into elections: they might discover that some countries get an incompetent, mean-spirited, authoritarian, relgious wacko for President with the help of Brother Jeb, Supreme Court interference, mob action, vote fixing, disenfranchisement, etc.
Wouldn't it be great to hear a commentary on NPR that examined the social justice accomplishments of Chavez in Venezuela. Or if they want to obsess on Castro, I'd love to hear one comparing the dreaded Fidel to some of the lovely Latin American leaders that the US has backed in during his time as the head of Cuba. NPR could compare numbers: opponents jailed and killed, literacy improvements, nutrition, health care, human rights, elections, political prisoners etc. True, Fidel would come out as a dictator with many flaws, but his crimes would barely register on the old tote board. US "friends" and allies in the region would outstrip him in every category - except for the ones involving improved standards of living.
That's a commentary I could listen to.