Venezuelan columnist Jose Toro Hardy is upset. Why? Because, according to him, President Hugo Chavez’ embrace of Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not only puts Venezuelans at odds with almost the entire developed world, it goes against Venezuela’s historic strict adherence to neutrality when it comes to conflicts it has nothing to do with.
For Venezuela’s El Universal, Jose Toro Hardy starts out this way:
As I write these words, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is arriving in Venezuela. It is incomprehensible that a leader, who represents the greatest threat to world peace and – why not just say it – to Venezuela’s interests, is to be welcomed, and in this way involve us in a conflict that we have nothing to do with.
I refer to only the most recent confrontation, the type of which frequently erupts in Muslim oil-producing countries and that threatens the supply of that vital energy source. Such conflicts always originate in circumstances completely beyond our own idiosyncrasies and that go back to the very dawn of history. This senseless and centuries-long shedding of blood has stretched from Exodus to the Holocaust, and includes the assassination in Karbala in 680 of Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, which provoked the thousand-year confrontation between Shiites and Sunnis; the breakdown of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 which destabilized the entire Middle East for all time; and the creation of the State of Israel by the U.N. in 1947.
In fact, up to now, Venezuela had declared itself neutral in conflicts like the conflict that erupted in 1956 among Egypt, Israel, France and England over nationalizing the Suez Canal; the Six-Day War in 1967 and its consequences, the blockade of the Suez Canal between 1967 and 1975; Moammar Qaddafi’s toppling of King Idris in 1969 and Libya’s subsequent oil embargo of Europe in 1970; the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and its result – the Arab oil embargo of 1973; the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979 that resulted in the advent of Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the “second oil shock”; the Iraq-Iran War from 1980 to 1988 that ultimately led to the invasion of Iraq and Kuwait in 1991, etc.
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