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Miguel Perez
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Gadhafi's Three Amigos

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Just when we thought Moammar Gadhafi was totally isolated, when his crimes against humanity became so repulsive that no one would dare still call him a friend, it turns out that the Libyan madman still has at least three amigos in Latin America.

Genocide is sweeping over Libya; world leaders are expressing their outrage; the United Nations is issuing sanctions; but the leaders of the Latin American axis of evil — Cuba's Fidel Castro, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez — still are supporting the Gadhafi regime.

Mind you, these are leaders who claim to be men of the people, supporters of revolutions! Yet when the people rebel against the leaders' dictator allies, when their fellow anti-American zealots are under attack, when the people cry out for freedom and democracy (as is the case in Libya), the three amigos stand with the dictators.

"We support Libya's independence, its government," Chavez said in a televised speech. "We want peace for Libya."

But keep in mind that when the Venezuelan president refers to Libya's "independence," he's not talking about freedom for the Libyan people; he means the Gadhafi regime's independence from what he sees as their common enemy: American imperialism. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro issued a statement noting that he had spoken to his Libyan counterpart and expressed hopes that Libya can find "a peaceful solution to its difficulties ... without the intervention of imperialism, whose interests in the region have been affected in recent times."

Castro, as usual, tried to blame the United States. In his warped mind, the Libyan revolution is a pretext for an imminent U.S.-led NATO invasion of Libya, an excuse for grabbing Libya's oil.

"The government of the United States is not concerned at all about peace in Libya, and it will not hesitate to give NATO the order to invade that rich country, perhaps in a question of hours or very short days," Castro wrote.

And Ortega went as far as telephoning Gadhafi to express his solidarity.

The Nicaraguan president said he told the Libyan leader that "difficult moments put loyalty to the test."

Yes, and "difficult moments" also help to expose the extent to which these enemies of humanity are willing to lower themselves. In Spanish, we have a saying — "Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres" — which means, "Tell me with whom you keep company, and I'll tell you who you are."

Well, if you are with Gadhafi now, if you condone his security forces murdering hundreds of people, I say that you, too, are a genocidal maniac.

Yet Chavez said Monday, "I'm not going to condemn (Gadhafi). I'd be a coward to condemn someone who has been my friend." Chavez also echoed his master, Fidel, when he claimed that the United States is "exaggerating and distorting things to justify an invasion."

Of course, Gadhafi has been building close relations with (and buying loyalty from) all the Latin American despots for years. He has numerous trade agreements with all of them. A few weeks ago, for example, Libya forgave $195.8 million of Nicaraguan debt.

Perhaps that is why, while other Latin American and world governments are demanding an immediate halt to government repression in Libya, the three amigos have taken such a repulsive position.

They also are close amigos with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, of course. As long as you hate the United States, even if you are a mass-murdering lunatic, the three amigos will be there for you, watching your back.

But let's face it; this shouldn't surprise us. After all, in recent years, these shameless cynics — Castro, Ortega and Chavez — all have been awarded the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights. Need I say more?

To find out more about Miguel Perez and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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