[Marxism] Macon Georgia Mayor declares solidarity with Pres. Chavez

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 10 11:11:43 MDT 2007

The Macon Telegraph
Friday, Aug 10, 2007 
Posted on Fri, Aug. 10, 2007 
Ellis declares 'solidarity' with leader of Venezuela
By Matt Barnwell


Friday, Aug 10, 2007 Posted on Fri, Aug. 10, 2007 Ellis declares
'solidarity' with leader of Venezuela By Matt Barnwell Macon Mayor
Jack Ellis has sent a declaration of "solidarity" to Hugo Chavez, the
fiery populist leader of Venezuela who has labeled President Bush
"the devil" and pals around the world stage with Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Cuban President Fidel Castro. Ellis said
Thursday he sent the proclamation not only in his capacity as mayor
of Macon but also as the vice president for tourism for the World
Conference of Mayors.

"We commend President Chavez for the things he's done in this
country," said Ellis, citing Chavez's efforts to subsidize the cost
of heating fuel for low-income residents of the United States. "We
want to work for peace and harmony ... through the mayors of

Ellis said he sent the pledge to the South American nation by courier
two to three weeks ago. Chavez on Sunday apparently read the
proclamation during the weekly broadcast of his public television and
radio show, "Al-, Presidente."

According to venezuelanalysis.com, a Caracas, Venezuela-based Web
site that aims to provide news and analysis of Venezuelan politics,
Chavez spent a record-breaking eight-hour broadcast calling for "a
global 'alliance of civilizations' to resist the attacks of U.S.

During the lengthy address, the Web site reports that Chavez "thanked
Jack Ellis, mayor of the city of Macon, Georgia, in the US, for
sending a declaration of solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela, describing it as 'within the framework of a human
interchange and positive character. All is not lost.' "

He added, " 'There are social organizations which rise and which will
impel the change that the world requires,' " according to the Web

Community leaders in Macon seemed perplexed - but not necessarily
surprised - by the mayor's action.

"I think the term is 'megalomania,' " said Councilwoman Brenda
Youmas. "Well, it's only August. You got three more months. ... The
best is yet to come."

Bibb County Commission Chairman Charlie Bishop said he didn't want to
get involved in the issue. "What can I say?" he asked. "That's one

Chip Cherry, president and CEO of the Greater Macon Chamber of
Commerce, said on occasion the mayor's controversial actions have
drawn attention.

"Some of his statements, people ask how relevant they are," Cherry
said. "But obviously, that's the mayor's prerogative as to what
statements he wants to make."

Chavez generally is not a well-liked figure in the free world, and
U.S. officials have regarded him with a wary eye.

A career military officer who spent time in prison for staging a
failed coup d'etat in 1992, Chavez was elected president in 1998 and
then re-elected in 2000. The Carter Center in Atlanta, which
monitored Chavez's rise to power, characterized the 2000 elections as

A coup in 2002 nearly toppled Chavez, but a popular uprising kept the
president in office. Chavez accused the U.S. of orchestrating his
attempted removal from office.

Last fall, Chavez set off a national uproar in the United States when
he spoke to the U.N. General Assembly the day after Bush delivered
his speech to the international body.

"The devil came here yesterday," Chavez said during his speech,
referring to Bush. "And it smells of sulfur still today."

He and Ahmadinejad, whose country is in a standoff with the United
States and Europe over Iran's nuclear program, have pledged mutual
support for one another. Chavez has supported Iran's right to develop
a nuclear program, which Washington opposes. Chavez does have his
celebrity sympathizers though: The day after delivering his U.N.
speech, actor Danny Glover introduced Chavez at an oil-for-the-poor
event. Glover also has appeared on "Al-, Presidente." And during the
past few days, Chavez has escorted actor Sean Penn on a tour of the
Venezuelan countryside.

Ellis said that regardless of disagreements that may occur between
Venezuela and the United States "in the upper echelons of
government," local mayors in the two countries can stand together in

The mayor said Chavez, through the country's embassy in the United
States, has offered to look at donating fuel to needy senior citizens
in Macon. Venezuela, one of the world's top producers of petroleum,
controls the oil company Citgo.

Ellis said Chavez also has invited him to come to Venezuela, though a
trip has not yet been scheduled.

"We're working on that now," Ellis said.

Telegraph staff writers Keich Whicker and Phillip Ramati contributed
to this report.

To contact writer Matt Barnwell, call 744-4251.

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