"CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela called President Obama 'ignorant' on Sunday, saying he has a lot to learn about Latin America.
"Mr. Chávez said he had been ready to name a new ambassador in Washington, but put it on hold after the new American president accused him of 'exporting terrorism' and being an obstacle to progress in the region...." (AP, via The New York Times)
President Hugo Chávez and the American Exporter of TerroristDoes that "ignorant" epithet sound familiar? It should. People who aren't in line with some political views are "ignorant" - according to those who are convinced that their views are the only possible ones. Other adjectives get used, too, like "irresponsible," but "ignorant" seems quite popular.
As for what Chávez (Chavez, for those who don't have extended fonts) says, part of it is true. I'm sure that President Obama doesn't know everything there is to know about Latin America. To some extent, I think everyone is ignorant in the sense that each of us lacks omniscience, even in relatively restricted areas of knowledge.
The rest: nothing new here, except this time it's Obama in the White House.
There is a debatable point in Chavez' complaints about President Obama. Cuba isn't invited to the 5th annual Summit of The Americas in Trinidad and Tobago this April. Hugo Chavez says Cuba should be there.
In a way, with a careful selection of facts, he's got a point. Cuba has a very stable government: Cuba's only had two leaders since 1959, both Fidel's and Raul's title was "President," and Cuba has elections. So, someone could say that Cuba is a stable democracy. I think that person would be missing a few vital points, but that's another matter.
I think this news is interesting, but not important.
About two and a half millennia back, Heraclitus said: "Nothing endures but change." These days, you might be more likely to hear, "the more things change, the more they stay the same," but I'd say that Heraclitus still has a point. ("The more things change..." is attributed to Alphonse Karr. What he actually wrote was "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.")
Calling someone "ignorant" because he or she doesn't agree with you has been common all my life, and doesn't show any signs of fading away.
More-or-less related posts:
- ""Axis of Oil" - Slippery Situation for Next President"
(October 3, 2008)
- "The War on Terror: Yes, It's Important"
(July 20, 2008)
- "Just When You Think it Can't Get Weirder"
(April 8, 2008)
- " 'Liberal Fascism Explained:' This Book Should Get More Attention"
(February 7, 2008)
- (No, I don't think all liberals are fascists)
- "Iranians at Monkey Point: Economic Development, or Monkeying Around?"
(December 18, 2007)
- "In the News: Anxious Republicans, Castro and Chavez are Friends, and, oh, yes: Israel Destroyed Syrian Nuclear Reactor"
(October 14, 2007)
- "Chávez Denounces Obama as 'Ignorant'"
The New York Times (March 22, 2009)
- "Venezuelan president questions Cuba's exclusion from Americas Summit"
Xinhua (March 23, 2009)
- "Obama is a 'poor ignoramus': Chavez"
The Age (Australia) (March 23, 2009)