David Adlerstein’s tribute to Lydia Countryman and the late Tamara Suarez (See Feb. 6 Times "Two mighty women with torches ) was an excellent piece, well written, sweet, and quite welcome. But please, David, it was not a proper venue to contribute to the media’s attempt to demonize Venezuela, as in "Not like Venezuela, now in the hands of a dictatorial government... " I know you were just writing familiar words, but this "dictator" meme is dangerous.

The Maduro government is not particularly "dictatorial." In fact, it was not only democratically elected, but is involved in a righteous attempt to undo the past centuries of truly "dictatorial" colonial oppression. Although not reaching the levels of China, Venezuela during the Bolivarian Revolution has dramatically reduced poverty and improved the living conditions of millions of Venezuelans by diverting oil revenues from the rich to the poor. That it has done so at the expense of the oligarchs and Yanqui interests has brought nothing but enmity, especially the charge that the government is illegitimate, which for Americans, is what is meant by "dictatorial."

The issue seems to be that the recipients of the Bolivarian largesse are not people identified as "white." so that the slander of the Revolution involves race as well as class. It is easy to notice that the American ruling class and their agents do not like governments that do not conform to their notion of rule and business, and the traditional Venezuelan ruling class, inheritors of the Conquest, definitely identify as "white" and oppose the Bolivarian Revolution.

I had many discussions with Tamara Suarez about Venezuela. She did not like Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution at all. Tellingly, though, she had no use for Juan Guadó and his Yanqui-inspired coup attempt. I believe that her sense was that Venezuelans can handle Venezuela without outside help.

Noam Chomsky famously introduced the idea of "Manufactured Consent" in which the propaganda arms of governments through the media train the public to accept policy, such as we saw in the run-up to the Iraq War. In this case, we Americans are accepting brutal sanctions, acts of war causing massive suffering, against nations we don’t like, especially Venezuela. I have to ask you, David, please don’t join in with this charade, not even a little bit.

Ted Tripp