Tin Shop Tartan - Randolph County Alabama's Own Snarky and Surly Scot Gets All Native

Blogging from the suburbs of the Tin Shop community, Captain Plaid brings Progressivism, and a share of Quixotic angst, to the ridges and hollows of Randolph County, Alabama. Hardly a booster yet rooted here enough to fight, Plaidsters can perhaps find like cause in trying to build local solutions to global concerns. Education, environment, economy, entertainment, engagement ... Trust the Tartan!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Tartan Turns to The Leader on Chávez & Iraq

I am in the process of mailing my very first "Letter to the Editor". The letter, likely sans links if it gets printed at all, appears below. I am wondering how the Corson's and SIFAT might view Chávez. They'd likely know more than me and yet I've tried to grab a decent set of sources before writing the piece. Here's my letter ...
While Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez might not be an ideal neighbor, he’s at least partially seeking justice for the many poor people in his country. Most of these poor are a blend of indigenous and African peoples. Chávez has pledged “sembrar el petróleo” (meaning “to sow the oil”) yet this country of haves and have nots has split on their support. Chávez is seemingly very popular with the many peasants of his country. Of course the oil will eventually run out, for Venezuela and the entire world, yet Chávez seems consistent in how he uses the vast majority of his nation’s oil revenue.

Chávez was originally elected in 1998 after a previously failed coup. Chávez has since been re-elected or survived recall efforts that have been observed by The Carter Center. Chávez survived an attempted coup in 2002 that he claims was at least partially supported by Washington. CITGO, based in Houston, is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Chávez is a socialist and rather anti-imperialist. His stand against neo-liberalism (free-market capitalism) has frustrated many wealthy people in Latin America and beyond.

Chávez is hardly a threat to the United States. When some U.S. Senators sought help last fall from the major oil companies on heating fuel costs for their lower income residents in northern states only CITGO responded. Ruffling some feathers of President Bush might have been the goal. Truly this populist also knows the value of stoking the significant anti-Americanism in Latin America. Chávez is close to Fidel Castro which has angered many in the Cuban-American community.

The bottom line is that CITGO employs thousands of Americans and supplies fuel to many small independent distributors. Boycotting in a global marketplace will do little for your “cause” Mr. Hurst but hurt local suppliers of a fungible asset traded on a global scale that neither you nor I can likely fathom.

As for Mr. Spec and Miss Lissa, I’m somewhat disappointed in your claim that “nasty Mid-Eastern oil barons” are involved in Iraq or Iran. Iran is a Persian nation with a Shiite theocracy in power. They are hardly close to the “barons”. Iraq was a rather secular society with a majority Shiite population controlled by the Baathist of Saddam Hussein. Sunnis were the minority yet they held a disproportionate amount of power. Kurds to the north had autonomy. Iraqis, and certainly Saddam Hussein, had a negative relationship with “Mid-Eastern oil barons”. The UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Oman were in Bu$h the Elder’s Coalition. Some islamists and insurgents in Iraq perhaps were educated in madrassas funded by “Mid-eastern oil barons”, often Saudi’s advocating “wahhabism”, yet they were hardly there before Bu$h’s ill-conceived war.

I first blogged on this issue at http://tinshoptartan.blogspot.com/2006/03/alan-and-spec-you-are-truly-reaping.html. Please visit for links to sources and further commentary. I’d emailed Mayor Bonner on the above post, and even personally asked him to reply, yet I’ve yet to hear from him.

Surely I could offer more yet The Randolph Leader limits me, appropriately I'd think, to 500 words. And without hyperlinks to drop in the writing gets a lot tougher. Truly blogging can be in many ways superior to traditional print media. Peace ... or War!