Sunday, June 17, 2007

US Cosies Up To Musharraf and Attacks Chavez

An interesting difference in the attitude of the US government to Venezuela and Chavez in the light of the recent controversies surrounding the media in the respective countries. First, we have John Negroponte, the man who sent the orders for Saddam to be executed (he flew into Iraq for secret talks two days before Saddam was sentenced - coincidence?), and his warm words for President Musharraf.

John Negroponte, the US deputy secretary of state, has backed General Pervez Musharraf, saying it was up to the Pakistan president to decide when to quit as army chief.

Negroponte held talks with Musharraf on Saturday amid a tense political crisis over the suspension of Pakistan's chief justice.

Negroponte said at the US embassy in Islamabad: "The message I brought was one of a strong friendship and trust for and with the government and people of Pakistan."

Those opposing Musharraf have seized on the unrest to press the president to give up his dual role as president and head of the military by the end of the year, when he is constitutionally obliged to.

When asked if he had talked with Musharraf about the removal of Iftikhar Chaudhry, the Pakistan supreme court chief justice, Negroponte said he had discussed the "general political situation" in Pakistan.

Critics accuse Musharraf of suspending Chaudhry to remove obstacles to his re-election as president-in-uniform by the outgoing parliament, in defiance of the Pakistani constitution.

"I think this is something that President Musharraf himself is going to want to decide and this is a matter that is up to him," Negroponte said.

No condemnation for the recent attack on Pakistan's media, merely words of support and 'friendship'. Compare this to the latest attack on Chavez by the Bu$hleaguers:

Robert Zoellick, almost certain to be the next head of the World Bank, on Saturday took aim at Venezuela's leftist president, Hugo Chavez, warning that his oil-fueled socialist revolution was headed for trouble.

"It's a country where economic problems are mounting, and as we're seeing also on the political and press side it's not moving in a healthy direction," Zoellick told reporters during a visit to Mexico.

So Pakistan, a country whose police raided the offices of a critical media network and shut it down, is worthy of 'strong friendship and trust', while Venezuela, a country that refused to renew the licence of a channel that was heavily involved in the failed 2002 coup, is 'not moving in a healthy direction'. An interesting interpretation of events, I'm sure you will agree.