Originally posted at American Thinker.
On many levels, thanks to Venezuelan president Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, Americans are in the midst of a teachable moment. If President of the United States Barack Obama pays attention, maybe he can learn a thing or two from the experiences of a man whose politics mirrors his own.
Just last summer, Hugo Chávez revealed that “Cuban doctors had removed a cancerous tumor from his abdominal region.” The socialist, totalitarian tyrant has had three operations in less than one year and recently spent time receiving treatment in Cuba, a country other than the one whose health care system imprisons the 29 million people he leads.
Unlike their leader, if Venezuelans get sick, they don’t have the luxury of choosing the quality and quantity of treatment. Statistics show that only 4% of the Venezuelan population is aged 65 or older — for the 4%, that’s indicative of good genes, not good medicine. At 57 years old, apparently Mr. Chávez is part of the unfortunate 96% because as it stands, it appears unlikely that he’ll see his 58th birthday.
Like all mortal flesh, Hugo Chávez is desperate to survive…so much so that rather than receive treatment in Venezuela — a country that, thanks to him, provides shoddy “free” health care to its citizens — the socialist leader is availing himself of Fidel Castro’s high-quality medical services, where, for lack of ambulances, people are sometimes transported to the hospital in wheelbarrows.
Venezuela’s “youthful state government has criticized Chávez for choosing to be treated abroad, saying it sends a bad message to ordinary Venezuelans if he does not trust local doctors.” But why should he? Does anyone recall Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams circumventing the Canadian health care system and coming to the U.S. for open-heart surgery?
It was just last year, after being treated in Cuba, when Hugo Chávez expressed that the goal of Venezuelan government to provide a free and comprehensive health care system to ensure the “lives” and “happiness” of the Venezuelan people. He reminded his country’s citizens that “this is what the socialist motherland is about.”
Failing to find a remedy for his cancer in Cuba, rather than receiving treatment at home, Chávez now heads toward Brazil, which is a hint that in the “socialist motherland … [the] free and comprehensive healthcare system” must be pretty darn scary.
Thus, the share-the-wealth crowd should pay heed. All those here in America who think they’ll be getting something of value for nothing may one day find it costly after all. Just like in Venezuela, it will be too late to change things if one day Barack Obama chooses to go elsewhere for medical care rather than chance his survival on the shoddy medical system he’s imposed on everyone else.
Chávez’s opponent in the upcoming October election, right-wing rival 39-year-old Henrique Capriles Radonski, in a recent interview expressed the opinion the ailing leader, also known as Esteban de Jesús, believes he cannot lose the election, because “[Chávez] believes he is God.”
Riddled with cancer, Esteban de Jesús is finding out that he’s not God and appears to slowly be grasping the reality that “[a]ll men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall.” And despite the best that Cuban medicine has to offer, Hugo Chávez’s grass is apparently withering.
Even still, Henrique Capriles refrains from expressing his opinion about the president’s health. However, what he does take issue with is Chávez’s belief that “Jesus must have been a fellow leftist radical,” a view similar to that of President Barack Obama. Something America’s self-proclaimed Christian president, baptized by Reverend Jeremiah Wright should also take to heart is Caprile’s assertion that “Christ was neither socialist nor capitalist.” And, contrary to Democrat opinion, He does not hail from Chicago.
Nonetheless, Chávez may not fully realize it just yet, but the inescapable principle of sowing and reaping is a harsh one. Arinda Cuellar, 65, a Capriles supporter, said of Mr. Chávez that “this man has me suffocated…we have nothing. There has to be a change.”
The reality is that over the years, Hugo Chávez has made all kinds of promises he failed to deliver on to the destitute people of Venezuela. Now, after having “faith that his cancer would not return after his first two operations last year — which removed a baseball sized tumor from his pelvis,” it’s his own expectations that are not being realized.
Appearing at a church service in his hometown of Barinas, Venezuela, humbled by the frailty of his own mortal frame, Chávez, whom some call the “mastermind of mimesis,” seemed as confused as ever.
The Venezuelan despot “cried and his voice broke as he eulogized Jesus, revolutionary fighter Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and South American South American independence hero Simon Bolivar.” Chávez’s skewed mixture was as odd as Barack Obama choosing one day to cite the trio of Jesus, Black Panther founder Huey Newton, and General GeorgeWashington of the Continental Army.
Standing underneath an image of the crucifix — because, unlike Barack Obama, ironically Chávez chooses to display religious icons when speaking — the Venezuelan president compared his sickness and suffering with the suffering of Christ, and prayed out loud, “Give me your crown, Jesus. Give me your cross, your thorns so that I may bleed. But give me life, because I have more to do for this country and these people. Do not take me yet.”
Publicly begging God for a level of mercy, he failed to extend to the violent, impoverished nation he leads, Hugo Chávez professed that “[t]oday, I have more faith than yesterday. Life has been a hurricane … but a couple of years ago my life began to become not my own anymore.”
Whoa, now that’s a switch! Control freak El Commandante now finds himself at the mercy of a force he cannot command, with an outcome that will surely be determined by a power greater than his own.
Chávez’s ongoing battle with illness shows that dictators forcefully promote socialized health care until it’s their own lives hanging in the balance, at which point, rather than take a pain pill, they seek medical help elsewhere. But mainly, watching Dictator Hugo Chávez struggle with his mortality reminds us that even tyrants eventually find out what it feels like to be forced to surrender control of their lives.