Democrats mourn the passing of dictator

Statement From Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on the Death of Hugo Chavez

Rosalynn and I extend our condolences to the family of Hugo Chávez Frías. We met Hugo Chávez when he was campaigning for president in 1998 and The Carter Center was invited to observe elections for the first time in Venezuela. We returned often, for the 2000 elections, and then to facilitate dialogue during the political conflict of 2002-2004. We came to know a man who expressed a vision to bring profound changes to his country to benefit especially those people who had felt neglected and marginalized. Although we have not agreed with all of the methods followed by his government, we have never doubted Hugo Chávez’s commitment to improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen.

President Chávez will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communication skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad to whom he gave hope and empowerment. During his 14-year tenure, Chávez joined other leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean to create new forms of integration. Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half, and millions received identification documents for the first time allowing them to participate more effectively in their country’s economic and political life.

At the same time, we recognize the divisions created in the drive towards change in Venezuela and the need for national healing. We hope that as Venezuelans mourn the passing of President Chávez and recall his positive legacies — especially the gains made for the poor and vulnerable — the political leaders will move the country forward by building a new consensus that ensures equal opportunities for all Venezuelans to participate in every aspect of national life.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • schreib

    Aren’t they happy with the one that lives in the white house?

  • Goon

    Why would any of our ex-presidents be sending condolences to a third world despot like this guy. If anything shouldn’t we be celebrating his passing?

  • RCND

    “….and millions received identification documents for the first time allowing them to participate more effectively in their country’s economic and political life.”

    See, even a lib like Carter believes in Voter ID

  • JoeMN

    The best eulogy the LA Times could muster of a fellow traveler,0,3058426.story
    His popularity with the poor helped propel him to victory in October
    balloting, gaining 55% of the vote despite rising crime, persistent
    scarcities of basic food items, double-digit inflation and unpopular
    foreign aid programs. His reelection was a testament to the
    near-religious devotion of Venezuela’s impoverished to their comandante.

    Chavez nationalized scores of energy, banking and telecommunications
    companies in addition to more than 1 million acres of farmland. That
    caused a steep decline in Venezuelan investment and productivity and
    made the nation ever more dependent on oil sales.

    Despite the vast sums Venezuela collected over the last decade from
    its energy reserves, Chavez was forced to borrow more than $38 billion
    from the Chinese in the final years of his presidency to finance his
    domestic welfare and foreign aid programs. The loans are secured by
    future commitments to sell oil to Beijing.

    “The poor have had more money to spend, but it’s come at a great
    price,” said Jeffrey Davidow, a former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela.
    “The money should have been put to productive use in industry, housing
    or education. So, in the long run, it hasn’t been of much help to


    So history once again repeats itself.

    Socialists claiming Collectivism would work with the right people in charge.

    Unsurprisingly, Davidow is a graduate of the University of Minnesota.