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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Exiles React to Robertson's Fatwa

From the Bergen (NJ) Record via Hispanic Online:

Pat Robertson may have set off an international firestorm when he called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez last week, but among some North Jersey Venezuelans who fled their homeland because of Chavez, the television evangelist made a lot of sense.

"I agree with him," said Excenia Perica, who lives in West New York. "Definitely, Chavez should be eliminated. We should get rid of him as soon as possible before he totally destroys Venezuela and before he exports communism to other countries."

Others counter that, as much as they would like to see Chavez removed from power, political assassinations are illegal, immoral and unacceptable.

Father Robert Sirico weighs in:

There is no question that Chavez is a dangerous and ruthless man. I’ve been to the country under his rule and visited his political opponents in jail. I’ve talked at length to opposition leaders and openly rooted for him to be dislodged from power.

Assassination, however, is contrary to the long run interests of freedom in that country. As an elected dictator, even dubiously elected, he enjoys more legitimacy than a dictator who rules by explicit seizure of power. The ideological basis for his rule is widely, if sadly, shared in that society. There is the principle of prudence at stake, and also morality: foreign-policy violence should be used only as a last resort and only consistently with the principles of just war (defensive, proportional, limited)...

Violence is terrible and terrifying, even if sometimes regrettably justifiable. It is more often demonic than godly. Its application, according to the just war tradition, depends on prudence -- something that has been in little evidence in Pat Robertson’s remarks of late.

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