Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has held on to power as he and his predecessor Hugo Chavez ruined the strongest economy in Latin America with their “Socialist Revolution.” They combined disastrous economic policy with a crackdown on civil liberties, including unrelenting attacks on journalists and political dissidents. With the vast majority of the nation calling for his resignation and new elections, Maduro and his cronies in government have delayed any elections while allowing the country to descend further into economic and social chaos. However, it is not like he is doing nothing. He has created a new award: the Hugo Chavez Peace Prize. The first winner? The paragon of peace . . . Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin’s own crackdown on political dissent and journalistic freedom made him a natural for the Hugo Chavez prize. His invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine must have only sealed his reputation as a Prince of Peace.
Maduro who seems intent on making himself a laughing stock of the world proclaimed that Putin is a “fighter for peace.” No contradiction there.
The award seems to be a fit of anger after the Nobel Committee awarded its annual Peace Prize to Juan Manuel Santos, president of neighboring Colombia, for his role in negotiating a peace agreement with Marxist FARC rebels. Santos is facing huge opposition to his plan but has pursued peace despite the political costs.