Parade Asks Dumb Question: 'Hugo Chávez – Friend or Foe?'

You have to wonder sometimes who comes up with the stuff in the news these days when it comes to Hugo Chávez. The October 21 issue of Parade Magazine dismissed the perception that Venezuela under the leadership of Chávez is all that bad. “Instead, trade between the two [United States and Venezuela] is soaring, with our exports tripling between 2003 and 2006,” Parade said. “Car sales to Venezuela grew from $9.3 million to $323.9 million, where exports of computers and related accessories rose more than 400% and organic chemicals increased 800%.” If trade between the United States and Venezuela is so wonderful, why are there so many economic issues plaguing the Chávez socialist regime? Why are many Venezuelans fleeing the country and inflation rising at an incredible 18 percent per year? Parade also pointed out how much U.S. oil comes from Chávez’s nation: “During the same period [from 2003 to 2006], U.S. imports from Venezuela more than doubled, fueled by the purchase of more than $27 billion of crude oil in 2006.” However, the article missed the central point – the dollar amount of oil imports has increased because the price of oil has increased. But according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the amount of oil imported from Chávez’s socialist nation has decreased – from 569 million barrels of oil in 2005 to 518 million barrels in 2006. The United States is on pace to import 494 million for 2007.