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Not the Worst of Men

Hugo Chavez, the late President of Venezuela

Hugo Chavez, the late President of Venezuela

Not all dictators are uniformly bad. Okay, there were Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao—not to mention the horrendous Kim dynasty of North Korea. But think for a second: Would the world be in this ISIS/ISIL/Daesh mess if Saddam Hussein were still alive? We hanged him for being a bad dude, but worse dudes were to follow.

If there is any country in the Western Hemisphere that is an abysmal basket case, that country would be Haiti. After the 2010 earthquake that leveled half the country, all the NGOs moved in with their shiny SUVs and their air of moral superiority. One country, however, donated money to Haiti—admittedly much of which went into the wrong hands—but the recipients did not have to grovel for it. That was Venezuela, which at the time was basking in oil wealth. Through its Petrocaribe alliance with several other states, Hugo Chavez gave millions to the devastated country.

Now Venezuela is in dire straits and Hugo Chavez is dead of cancer. As much as his regime bad-mouthed the U.S., I salute Chavez for having a heart that was often in the right place.