National Security Expert to Newsmax: Corrupt Chavez No Great Leader, Despite Celebrity Praise

Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013 04:17 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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A top national security expert says it is “sickening’’ to listen to all the praise being given to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died Tuesday.

“[Chavez led] a completely corrupt socialist enterprise,’’ James Robbins of the American Foreign Policy Council, told Steve Malzberg on Newsmax’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’

“It’s pretty sickening to hear all this praise being heaped on a guy who looted $2 billion from his country,’’ Robbins said. “Couldn’t that $2 billion have been used to feed people, to build schools, to buy healthcare or whatever else?’’

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Robbins, the council’s senior fellow on national security affairs, agreed that anybody who criticized Chavez in Venezuela would be tortured or killed — and said he can’t see why celebrities like Sean Penn praise him as a great leader.

“The Sean Penns of the world, what do they say about the fact that journalists there were intimidated, thrown in jail, tortured?’’ he said, referring to other Chavez sympathizers such as Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, and Harry Belafonte.

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“What would they say about the armed gangs that Mr. Chavez put together to roam the streets during elections and beat people up who were with the opposition or in some cases they’d shoot and kill them?

“Is this the type of political behavior that these types of people say is appropriate, is that the end justifies the means? Which I’m sure is what they would argue.’’

Robbins said Chavez “must have loved the poor because he kept creating them, right? He evened out the differences in wealth by making everybody less affluent. He lowered it.’’

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