Reports on the condition of Fidel Castro are contradictory. Some state that his condition is worsening. Others suggest that he may even have a possibility of full recovery. Whatever the truth about his medical condition, Manuel Vasquez Portal wrote last week in the Miami Herald:
"Castro has died because his time expired. It makes no difference if he languishes as a convalescent or recovers physically to vegetate eternally in a meaningless limbo. He is a phantom who roams through an era of ghosts. A goblin who wanders through a nonexistent land. Castro does not exist, and neither does the country he destroyed while hallucinating that he was the supreme benefactor. All that's left is oblivion, an abyss of shadows, a web of atherosclerosis."
Yet, even as the half-century era of Castro's tyranny ends, another Latin Amerian despot tightens his political grip. In Venezuela, the political parties opposed to Pesident Hugo Chavez made a huge miscalculation by boycotting the 2005 elections to the National Assembly. As a result, the entire National Assembly, every seat, is held by a Chavez ally. Chavez apparently has decided that even that legislative advantage is insufficient; today Venezuelan lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill that would authorize Chavez to rule by presidential decree for 18 months. In addition, Chavez is seeking an amendment to the Venezuelan Constitution that would remove presidential term limits, thereby allowing him to serve as President for life.
Like any perceptive tyrant, Chavez knows that control over the media is critical to maintaining unchallenged power and authority. Therefore, this past Saturday Chavez announced that the government will not renew the broadcasting license of Radio Caracas Television, the oldest private television station in Venezuela, and a staunch opponent of Chavez, when the license expires on May 28, 2007. As reported by CBS News, Chavez gloated:
"Their days are numbered. Squeal, kick, whatever they do: the license of that fascist channel is gone. RCTV's signal will be nationalized for Venezuelans."It would be difficult to overemphasize the danger that the Chavez regime poses to the United States. Since the decline and fall of the Soviet Union, the impoverished Castro regime in Cuba has posted little security threat to the United States. In contrast, Venezuela is a leading petroleum exporter, the fourth largest supplier of oil to the United States. This is a foe with economic power that Castro only dreamed of. As the photo that accompanies this post shows, Chavez has allied himself with another oil-rich tyranny, the radical Islamic regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran. With Iranian assistance and encouragement, the potential for Venezuela becoming a training base, staging center and safe haven for anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism in the Western Hemisphere is real and frightening.