WASHINGTON - August 24 - By Bill Fletcher, Jr., President
on behalf of TransAfrica Forum
Just when one thought that the US political situation could not get any loonier, right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson has issued a call for the assassination of democratically elected President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. With the arrogance so typical of the US political Right, Robertson seems to believe that it is up to the United States to make the decisions for each country as to who its leaders should be. Further, that should the USA disagree with a people’s choice, the USA has the right to carry out an assassination against their leader.
How could a self-professed “man of the cloth” call for an assassination? Religious community leaders should shun a man like this for making a statement in contradiction to basic and nearly universal sanctions against murder. In addition, Reverend Robertson used the airways to call for violence. The FCC has rules against using the broadcast airwaves to insight violent action. There should be an investigation.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the Bush Administration condemns Robertson's comments as "inappropriate" and continued that the remarks were from a private citizen and did not represent the U.S. government position. Not good enough!!!
In no uncertain terms the Bush administration must come out and sharply and unequivocally condemn Robertson’s threats. Further, it must make clear that assassinations of other nations’ leaders are simply not an option for the United States and its foreign policy.
As the Venezuelan Vice President emphasized, at a moment when President Bush proclaims a so-called war against terrorism, Robertson demonstrates that he—Robertson—is not above support of terrorism for his own maniacal motives. The question facing the people of the USA, and indeed, the people of the world, is whether President Bush will take a stand against such outrageous and provocative rhetoric, or if, instead, he is prepared to take a pass in the name of advancing the political objectives of his administration.
What Robertson must understand is that by calling for the assassination of the leader of a sovereign country, he is indeed opening the door for the chickens to come home to roost. These chickens, however, could possibly unhinge the democratic processes Rev. Robertson professes to live by.
Bill Fletcher is the President of TransAfrica Forum. TransAfrica Forum is the leading advocacy organization for Africa and the African Diaspora in U.S. foreign policy. TransAfrica Forum led the world protest against apartheid in South Africa and today works for human and economic justice for African people on the continent of Africa, in Latin America and in the Caribbean.