Amicus, Britain's second-largest trade union, boasting 1.3 million members, has voted to throw its support behind the increasingly authoritarian government of Hugo Chavez, proclaiming that "International solidarity with the people of Venezuela is vital if the revolution is to survive."
This Conference notes that the government of Hugo Chavez since its was first elected in 1998 has brought health care to the sick, education to the illiterate, housed the homeless and redistributed millions of acres of land. The constitution guarantees the public ownership of the oil industry and the distribution of wealth to all citizens.
This Conference congratulates and supports the colossal advances being made by the Venezuelan Revolution under President Hugo Chavez in carrying out policies, which benefit working people, the poor and the landless.
[This] conference views with alarm the bellicose threats from the US Administration and its imperialist puppets, including the Venezuelan oligarchy and the Colombian Government, which pose a real threat to the life of Chavez as well as the Revolution itself. Conference therefore opposes all outside interference in the affairs of Venezuela.
That the "Bolivarian" government has dramatically reduced illiteracy is not supported by any independent data (pdf link), and the success of Hugo's vaunted "health care revolution" is based on dubious government statistics. Besides, the doctors imported into Caracas's barrios have a tendency to get lost on their way to the clinic, often winding up, by pure chance, at the American embassy in Colombia. According to the Los Angeles Times, "The desertion rate among the estimated 26,000 Cubans in Venezuela may be the highest of any [overseas] mission."
Amicus General Secretary Derek Simpson has previously said that his union was "horrified by the atrocities being carried out in Zimbabwe," and urged the European Union to keep Mugabe from attending a summit in France. So perhaps it is worth reminding him that Chavez recently called Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe a "freedom fighter," adding that "He is my friend. I think he has been demonized too much."
Start your day with Reason. Get a daily brief of the most important stories and trends every weekday morning when you subscribe to Reason Roundup.