The Death of Hugo Chavez

Chavez has been President of Venezuela since 1999.  Like Muammar Khaddafi of Libya, Hugo Chavez loved to break rank from time to time, telling a tale or two out of school.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez

Both men were outrageous in their own way and each man had the courage to tug at the tiger’s tail.   Consider this vignette: “Chávez was a highly controversial and divisive figure both at home and abroad, having insulted other world leaders and compared US president George W. Bush to a donkey, and called him the devil.”   G.W., a donkey, a devil?  Now there’s a towel snap to the ass if there ever was one (pun alert).

Many years ago, during the Nixon administration, we had such a character in American politics.  Her name was Martha Mitchell, the irrepressible wife of then Attorney General, John Mitchell.  My, she could talk.  More about her later.

Mae Brussell wrote for a publication known as the Realist back in the 1970’s. In her article titled “Why Was Martha Mitchell Kidnapped”?, Brussell observed; “Whenever a populist candidate appears to win an election which could bring about economic or social improvements for the masses, that person must be removed”.  Now, interestingly, here is what Wikipedia says about Hugo;

Under Chavez, Venezuelans’ quality of life improved according to a UN Index and the poverty rate fell from 48.6 percent in 2002 to 29.5 percent in 2011, according to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America”.

“Between 1998 and 2006 malnutrition related deaths fell by 50%.In October 2009, the Executive Director of the National Institute of Nutrition (INN) Marilyn Di Luca reported that the average daily caloric intake of the Venezuelan people had reached 2790 calories, and that malnutrition had fallen from 21% in 1998 to 6%”.

Well, we can’t have that, can we?  Probably, Chavez’s boldest move was to nationalize Venezuela’s oil fields.  And we can’t have that, either.

Martha Mitchell

Martha Mitchell

When the Watergate scandal broke, Martha Mitchell had a lot to say.  Dubbed “the mouth of the south”, she at first was an outspoken advocate for Richard Nixon and his administration, but turned on Nixon when her husband was being thrown under the bus during Watergate.

Famed reporter, Helen Thomas wrote of Martha, ” I do remember her telling me early on in her time in Washington, “Politics is a dirty business,” and I remember equally well a memorable remark her husband made shortly after they arrived: “Watch what we do, not what we say.”  Excellent advice.

Ms. Thomas also reported this disturbing incident; “On Thursday at about 9:00 P.M., Doug and I were at home, just finishing dinner, when the phone rang. It was Martha. She sounded calm, sad and uncharacteristically subdued. We chatted for a little while and I asked her about Watergate.
    “That’s it,” she said. “I’ve given John an ultimatum. I’m going to leave him unless he gets out of the campaign. I’m sick and tired of politics. Politics is a dirty business.”
    Then suddenly, her voice became more agitated and she yelled, “You get away. Just get away,” and the line went dead.      I tried to call back several times without success and then called the switchboard operator. I was told that “Mrs. Mitchell is indisposed and cannot talk.”

Thomas continued, “In an interview later, Martha told me, “I want to be sure my side is revealed and that people know I’m not sitting here a mental case or an alcoholic.”    What happened in that villa? She later told me a hair-raising story: “They threw me down on the bed—five persons did it—a doctor, a nurse, Lea Jablonsky . . . pulled my pants down and stuck a needle in my behind, the longest needle you ever saw. I’ve never been treated like this before.” She had a gash in her hand that she said required eleven stitches”.

Martha died of cancer on May 31, 1976.  Nixon later told interviewer David Frost (in September 1977 on Frost on America) “If it hadn’t been for Martha Mitchell, there’d have been no Watergate.”  More accurately, if it hadn’t been for Martha Mitchell, Nixon would have been able to make Watergate go away.

Mae Brussell had come to an interesting conclusion.  Keep in mind, this was back in 1972.  She wrote;   “A shadow fascist government is being run by the CIA with Richard Nixon as the front puppet….the recently installed fascist Greek government is tied to the oil interests that are funding Nixon’s campaign, which is why Nixon selected Spiro Agnew as his running mate. He had been told that if he didn’t, the oil money contributions would stop”.  Imagine that, a shadow fascist government run by the CIA.  What a revelation.

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the U...

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No doubt, Chavez suspected that he was given his cancer in some way.   His last words, unlike Steve Jobs’ “Wow… wow… wow” were “I don’t want to die”.