Bush, Haiti & Venezuela: A Children's Tale

CARACAS, VENEZUELA, MARCH 6, 2004: There are three very short words in Venezuela that often provoke smiles when they are spoken: "No fui yo!" (It wasn't I).  They are heard when someone releases gases from their stomach and doesn't want to own up to it.

The March 1 edition of the Caracas daily, Ultimas Noticias, has a photo of the ambassador of the United States to Haiti, Brian Foley, with his hands open and an interesting look on his face.  I cannot see the words that are coming out of his mouth but "no fui yo" would seem very suitable for the moment.  And he would be speaking the truth.  He is only a part of the machine that crushed Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The night before I received an email from a reporter friend whom I respect very much.  He is a young hard-working journalist and graduate of the first Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, Reed Lindsay... The email was a copy of an article that he had written from Haiti.  But he had a preface.  He said his article was:

An unfortunate postscript that hopefully provides some context that is absent from the images of Haitians (in reality, a small minority who sympathize or belong either to the nation's wealthy elite or the drug traffickers, gangsters and murderous thugs now converging on the capital) celebrating the removal of Aristide...

I sense that the U.S. government is setting a similar stage for this country.

Here it is the elite and the old political leaders whose corrupt parties were thrown out of power by Chavez who want to celebrate his ouster.  It is the wealthy (yes, the wealthy) mischievous youth in their twenties, thirties and forties who are in the streets. (Please, don't call them "thugs."  They are the "elite" of Venezuela.) And it is in the affluent parts of the city (yes, the affluent parts) where they are burning trash and tires in the streets while the police who serve as their bodyguards do nothing to stop them.

While President Chavez was surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people in the center of the city, these fine citizens were expressing their unhappiness because the National Electoral Council (the CNE) has called into question over a million signatures they received to call for a presidential referendum. The opposition seems to be asking, why shouldn't the dead be able to vote? Or, why can't one person sign other people's names? How dare anyone call into question the activities of these members of the "civil society," as they like to call themselves. After all, their organizations were worthy of receiving millions of dollars from the United States for their activities.  (Take a look at the work of Jeremy Bigwood at www.venezuelafoia.info.)

To better understand this world situation and the United States' role in it, for the past few days I have been carefully reading "Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants."  The book, published by Scholastic Inc., is "The Fourth Epic Novel by Dav Pilkey." It is a well-known book in the United States, widely read, studied and enjoyed by elementary school children at about the fourth or fifth-grade level.

Professor Pippy P. Poopypants is a very intelligent and creative scientist who comes from a country where everyone has funny names. But as a result, when he tries to present his inventions to the international scientific community, all his peers laugh at his name and don't take his work seriously.

Lacking money and frustrated, he encounters a job as a science teacher in an elementary school. He takes the position with the idea that children are kind and don't pay attention to incidentals, such a funny names. He is wrong as the children laugh for a week without stopping after he introduces himself.

Finally, he quiets them down by showing the children one of his inventions. But when a child asks him his middle name, he reveals that it is "Pee-pee" and the roaring laughter begins again.

As a result, Professor Pippy Pee-pee Poopypants becomes very angry and decides to take over the world. He begins by using his machine to shrink the school and everyone in it. He then decrees that all people must change their names in accordance with a system he has prepared.

Now, let me move from Pilkey's book and to the real world dominated by another mad scientist: George W. Bush. According to Professor Poopypants, his name would now be Fluffy Toiletshorts and the vice president, Richard Cheney, would be Loopy Gigglebrains.

It is not hard to imagine how angry they would become if they had to go through the rest of their lives with these names. Having a funny name can cause people to act in irrational ways.  But, wait! This brings us to an important question:  Was it a terrible mistake for the press to call the president "Dubya?" Could that be what started him on the maniacal course of trying to take over the world?

In the book the school principal, Captain Underpants, saves the day and
Professor Poopypants, from his prison cell, even says he is sorry for what he did.

Unfortunately, I don't think we can expect such a happy ending to what is going on in the world today. Some day when all the truth surfaces about Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and Venezuela, my only expectation is to see a photo of President Bush with his insidious smile, hands open, and saying in his best Spanish accent, "No fui yo."

And, lest I forget:  for those of you who are wondering what name the Professor would have given me, you will have to buy the book to find out. However, I have been called much worse names through the years and, above all, don't worry. I have always lived far enough from Washington D.C., Texas and Halliburton that I don't think there is much chance that I will ever have the Bush-Cheney-takeover-the-world syndrome.

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