Latin American countries laughing their heads off at U.S. financial problems.
With the Bush administration's Treasury Department resorting to government bailout after government bailout to keep the U.S. economy afloat, leftist governments and their political allies in Latin America are having a field day, gloating one day and taunting Bush the next for adopting the types of interventionist government policies that he's long condemned.
"We were just talking about that this morning on the floor," said Congressman Edwin Castro, who heads the leftist Sandinista congressional bloc in Nicaragua. "We think the Bush administration should follow the same policies that they and the International Monetary Fund have always told us to follow when we have economic problems — a structural adjustment that requires cutting government spending and reducing the role of government.
"One of our economists was telling us that Bush has just implemented communism for the rich," Castro said.
No one in Latin America has been making more hay of Bush's turnabout than Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, a self-proclaimed socialist who is the U.S.'s biggest headache in the region.
"If the Venezuelan government, for example, approves a law to protect consumers, they say, 'Take notice, Chavez is a tyrant!'" Chavez said in one of his recent weekly television shows.
"Or they say, 'Chavez is regulating prices. He is violating the laws of the marketplace.' How many times have they criticized me for nationalizing the phone company? They say, 'The state shouldn't get involved in that.' But now they don't criticize Bush for having nationalize . . . the biggest banks in the world. Comrade Bush, how are you?"
The audience laughed and Chavez continued.
"Comrade Bush is heading toward socialism."