Rep. Connie Mack blasts Venezuela's 'thugocrat'
February 12th, 2011
01:27 PM ET
12 years ago

Rep. Connie Mack blasts Venezuela's 'thugocrat'

Washington (CNN) - Republican Florida Rep. Connie Mack called Venezuela President Hugo Chavez a "thugocrat" during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday where the three-term congressman also called for a "full-scale economic embargo" on the country.

CPAC is the largest annual gathering of conservative-minded activists, which this year is extra-important because it's the first cattle-call of potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates.

"My assignment will be to spend time on a clear and present danger rising on the horizon, a danger that this administration has not previously understood: I'm talking about Hugo Chavez," he began. "For too long administrations, former administrations and the current administration have thought of Chavez as the crown king of Caracas, entertaining throngs so he can rob them."

Mack sounded off on the United States' cordial treatment of Chavez at meetings of the United Nations after Chavez "declared the U.S. to be his enemy." Citing Chavez's "suppression of broadcasters and the press," "throwing DEA agents out of the country," "double-digit inflation," in Venezuela, "aiding and abetting the transit of terrorists, and "making Venezuela an accomplice in the drug trade," Mack compared the Venezuelan leader to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"We ought to treat Chavez the way we treat Ahmadinejad... no ignoring the menace of what Chavez has called the Iranian-Venezuelan axis of unity," he said.

And the congressman had few kind words for Joe Kennedy, who he criticized for working with Citgo, the Venezuelan government-owned and U.S. incorporated oil company. Referring to him as a "low man with a great name," he stated "It is a disgrace that this man is the front man of Chavez's oil campaign here in the United States."

The only action to meet the "clear and rising danger," Mack said, is to cease "financing Chavez's war against us" and put Venezuela on the state-sponsored terrorist list. Instead, he called for domestic drilling "across the United States and in our waters" and an increase in Canadian supply of oil.

"Our story is a story Americans want to hear, not Hugo Chavez's story. It's time to be a defender of freedom," he said.

Filed under: Connie Mack • CPAC 2011
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. NVa Native

    Always trying to change histroy to fit their false anger of the week.
    Here is when using the term "Socialist" would be legitimate and again a Re-thuglican blows his chance to be honest.

    February 12, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. diridi

    Is it step for war with Venezuela????GOP Means war...war...war...and give war guys some money and send them to Florida...

    February 12, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. kyle

    Gas in Venezuela is 12 cents a gallon, at least he is not robbing his people blind every chance he gets like we Americans do.

    February 12, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Shardik

    You know, there's this thing civilized nations like to use called "diplomacy." Because you know how well the "full-scale economic embargo" worked in bringing down Castro.

    February 12, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. Patricia

    These CPAC people are NUTS, and they want to run our country. People please open your eyes. Do you really hate Obama that much? If so, shame on you!

    February 12, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. therealmarie

    These people are such and embrassment to our society. Can only imagine what people all over the world think of us. I hope they realize that these people represent the bowels of this country and not the brains.

    February 12, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. lgny

    As long as the world needs oil, there will never be an effective embargo of Venezuela.

    More importantly, this will work as well as the embargo of Cuba which is now 40+ years old and Castro remains in power. All this does is give him a ready excuse for any failures. Inflation? –> blame embargo! Environmental failures? –> blame embargo?

    Don't they ever learn?

    February 12, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. CaliforniaBC

    I'd be very curious if this guy is in possession of all the facts. YOU listening??

    February 12, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  9. No Partisans!

    Here we go again with the Neo-Confederates thinking they have the right to interfere with sovereign nations. Mack just wants to get paid by his Big $ stooges so they can get exclusive oil contracts or Arms deals. Mack should mind his own business and stop trying to mess with sovereign nations that simply just want to be left alone. Then the Neo-Confed's wonder why Anti-American sentiment rises when they make comments like that.

    February 12, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Clwyd

    Where do these republicans get the idea that they can say and do what they ever want to do? They will create more problems for this country than to help us make it a better world? Republicans have gone off the deep end!

    February 12, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Pat

    Does this moron know that Venezuela provides the US with 10% of its oil and no redundacy? Can't believe the ignorance of American politicians. Its almost as if election to office is a license to be stupid.

    February 12, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. Ramiro Ramirez

    Republican Florida Rep. Connie Mack you are very right.
    Mr. Chavez is an example of how weak USA foreign policy is. Mr. Chavez has implemented an authoritarian regime under the umbrella and with the support of the UN and the OEA and under the very sympathetic USA.
    Venezuela Supreme Court, National assembly and the electoral council are all under Mr. Chavez payroll and then we see this administration backing Mr. Chavez as the head of a democratic state. The people of Venezuela once took him out of power the same way Egyptians dethroned Mubarak, but we were deemed unconstitutional by the UN, OEA and the liberal press.

    February 12, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Jim

    More name calling and foot stomping from a small minded Republican craving some attention. They all seem to want to do nothing but start fights.

    February 12, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |

    Sure Connie. Let's drill baby drill. Where have we heard that before? This shilll is bought and paid for by the Koch Bros.

    February 12, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. Lee from NJ

    This is so funny. We've supported far far worse. Connie Mack is merely posing for the CPAC nut cases, where every speaker tries to be crazier than the one before.
    These CPAC people are thugs in their own right, and as long as they can rule, they would rule over others with an iron fist just as well.

    February 12, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Bob

    Well, Republicans are the experts at being thugs, so maybe he knows what he's talking about.

    February 12, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. njemnu

    Embargo? Good way to lose business and let China and Russia get more than they get today. Absolutely boneheaded.

    February 12, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. NameRita Bubb

    I thought Chavez was really a thuglican all this time.

    February 12, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. Old Timer

    Settle down Connie. The more influence we try to exert on Venezuela, the more Chavez will use us as a scapegoat for their domestic problems. Like idiots, we constantly allow ourselves to be baited in by foreign powers and then the regimes in place simply point out that they are simply "defending their sovereignty" from foreign influence. This allows them to foment nationalism and they stay in power much longer than they otherwise could.

    February 12, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. OCD

    So with all the domestic problems we face here in our country, this clown wants to pick a fight with another clown in venezuela by turning him and the country into another castro/Cuba,....Stellar. We all know how well our policy own Cuba has worked. I guess he'll call it "Cuba redux". The fear card is the only card repubs know how to play. They always have to find a boogeyman, real or imagined.......Its usually the latter.

    February 12, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. fideauxdon

    "Thugican" would be more appropriate. Mack obviously would like to forget the angry mob assembled by his party to storm the polls in 2000 and force delay of the presidential Gore vs. Bush counting process until the Supreme Court GOP partisans could "award" the election to Bush.

    February 12, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. jim

    it seems to me, all we need to do is develop alcohol fuel and alcohol fueled vehicles. venezuela then becomes a non-issue.

    February 12, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. Lisa Mitchell

    If America wasn't so busy paying people to like us, and funding corrupt governments (Mexico, Afganistan, Venezuela) perhaps we could, now this is just random speculation, create jobs, feed our hungry children, afford health care reform, house our homeless, treat our addicts, stabelize our economy. You know, all the stuff these circus clowns are supposed to be doing.

    February 12, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. johnrj08

    All these tough-talking right-wingers want the US to be a bellicose and judgmental nation that doesn't care what the rest of the world thinks of us. This is their idea of making us safer and more secure. Intemperate statements like Mack's do nothing to make things better for this country. They're just political grandstanding.

    February 12, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. TripleA

    So that’s all CPACT is offering to America as a foreign policy, Jingoism? That’s the best they got? Isn’t that just playing into the hands of the propaganda machines of nations like Venezuela, and Iran, that portray Americans as evil, self-centered, imperialist, xenophobes, who’s only concern is the care and feeding of the American rich?

    February 12, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |