7 Famous Supporters of the Chavez Regime

6. Gregory Meeks

This Democratic congressman from New York was part of the U.S. delegation sent to Chavez's funeral last year (of note, the same honor was not given to Lady Margaret Thatcher). The New York Times discussed their cozy bond:

The relationship between Mr. Meeks and Mr. Chávez has been the subject of some scrutiny. In 2006, one of the representative’s donors, R. Allen Stanford, asked Mr. Meeks to make Mr. Chávez aware of a legal dispute he was having with a top banking official in Venezuela. Mr. Meeks reportedly agreed and traveled to Venezuela to meet with Mr. Chávez, according to published reports. The banking official was eventually indicted in Venezuela.

7. Reverend Jesse Jackson

After the death of the Venezuelan strongman, Jackson offered a prayer at his funeral. On Wolf Blitzer's The Situation Room, Jackson hit back against those who called Chavez a dictator, comparing the brutal suppression to the fact that the first 15 presidents owned slaves. Politico reported on the statements:

“I just want to be precise,” Blitzer said in a follow-up question. He continued, “Are you really comparing Hugo Cháez to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson or James Madison? That’s what I was hearing. But I want you to explain.”

Jackson, who leads a Chicago-based social justice organization and is the father of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), didn’t walk back the comment.

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“Well, democracies evolve,” Jackson said, speaking from Caracas, Venezuela. “My point is that our first 15 presidents owned slaves and called it democracy for [about 200] years. We’ve come a mighty long way.”

He called for engagement with the new Venezuelan government, adding that there are trade opportunities with the oil-rich country and that Venezuela could serve as an ally in fighting the drug-trafficking war.

“So democracies evolve and if we’re engaged, we can help it evolve in the right direction,” Jackson said.

We've seen where the Venezuelan "democracy" has evolved. We can thank the American lovers of Chavez mentioned above, and many more, for the bloodshed we're seeing in Venezuela today.

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Image sources: Huffington Post, Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian, Time, NY Daily News, CNN