Hugo Chavez certainly thinks so.
Having been condemned of leading a Government which has “restricted the universal rights” of its people by his American counterpart, the Venezuelan President responded by calling Barack Obama a “clown” and the “greatest disappointment of recent years”.
His comments came after Obama criticised the Venezuelan Government in a rare Interview the popular Venezuelan newspaper, El Universal newspaper.
Mr Chavez, who was among the millions wooed by Barack Obama across the globe prior to his election didn’t mince his words in his assessment of the US President;
“Just ask the Black Community and the Poor people of your country what you mean to them. You’re a great disappointment to them. Focus on governing your country, which you’ve turned into a disaster”, he told Russian Broadcaster RT.
“You want to win votes by attacking Venezuela. Don’t be irresponsible. You are a clown, a clown. Leave us in peace … Go after your votes by fulfilling that which you promised your people.”
While the critics and the mainstream media were quick to point out that Chavez himself faces an upcoming election, few acknowledged the harsh truth. Barack Obama has fallen tragically short of bringing change “we can believe in” to America, its invasive and warmongering foreign policy or it’s widening wealth divide. In fact it’s reached the point whereby many are questioning whether he’s even trying.
Over the course of his historic campaign, Obama won the hearts and minds of the masses with a number of huge promises. He was going to end the War in Iraq and bring US soldiers home, Cut military spending, increase the minimum wage, close the torturous Guantanamo Bay detention centre, create a $10billion foreclosure prevention for homeowners etc, etc.
In total it’s been reported that he made over 500 promises and yet health care reform aside, he’s failed to bring the most important of those to fruition.
None of the aforementioned promises have come to pass. The War in Iraq is said to be over, but the US have reassigned a large number of the 50,000 soldiers as “Military Instructors” while opening a huge embassy “unlike anything in the world” according to Brian Becker, a director at the ANSWER coalition in Baghdad. This Embassy has a staff of 16,000, with an 8,000 man strong army. Over the next five years Becker estimates that the budget for this operation could exceed $25billion.
Despite America’s $15 trillion debt, rising poverty and unemployed rates, the Military Budget has never been bigger. 2010 saw the Pentagon allocated a $680bn budget and this is said to have risen to over $700bn in 2011, close to half of the world’s military spending.
While much ado has been made about the military cuts Obama announced last week, the truth is that these $480bn “Cuts” are not what we the Public have been made to think they are as freelance Journalist Julie Borowski explains;
“This is how it all works: the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has a baseline that predicts what will happen over the next decade given current projections of taxation and spending. It shows that military spending will dramatically increase over the next ten years. President Obama’s $480 billion in military spending “cuts” are only from the bloated CBO baseline. This means that he is merely reducing projected military spending, as opposed to cutting current spending.”
According to 2011 figures, 1 out of every 6 Americans (46.2million) are living in poverty and despite Obama’s health care reform almost 50million remain without health insurance. His Job’s Bill produced 200,000 new jobs for Americans in December, bringing the Unemployment rate down from 8.7% to 8.5%. Within this though, there is clear racial disparity as the African American Unemployment rate remains at 15.8%.
Let’s not forget the War in Libya, which saw the US and NATO bomb the country for several months, killing thousands of the people they claimed they were trying to protect, or the huge bailouts of the Wall Street Banks at the expense of the already suffering general public.
With all this in mind, it’s really no surprise that his approval ratings have plummeted.
According to CBS News Polls, 67% of the American public do not approve of Obama’s performance and 54% of the American
public do not think he has done enough to be re-elected. Even African Americans seem to have switched off. He won 98% of the Black Vote in 2008 but according to 2011 figures only 58% approve of his presidency.
Last year Actor Matt Damon expressed his dissatisfaction with Barack Obama’s first term and his broken promises, a sentiment shared by legions of former Obama supporters across the world. During a Speech at the White house, the President jokingly responded;
“Well, Matt, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau, so…right back atcha, buddy”.
This nonchalant response toward the clear failings of his presidency supports the opinion that Barack Obama isn’t fighting for the rights of the poor and suffering as he had promised to during his election campaign. Truth be told, it seems as though he is doing little more than upholding the status quo and following orders. For this reason Mr Chavez’s comments will undoubtedly strike a chord with those who wholeheartedly believed that Obama would make America and the World a better place.
No one knows for certain what goes on behind the doors of the white house and how much Power Obama actually has (if any). Whether Obama knew what he was getting himself into while making his lofty campaign promises is debateable but there is no denying that he has been unable to bring about any real change.
His failure in that respect is proof that the general public have to create the change they wish to see. As we analyse the last four years of Obama’s presidency, we must ask ourselves, what have we done for our communities these past four years?
Have we taken responsibility for our youth who are clearly being miseducated in public schools? Have we created businesses or a community structure which would eradicate poverty within our areas?
While we can blame the likes of Barack Obama and David Cameron, history has taught us time and time again that Politicians often fail to fulfill the promises they make in order to win votes. Ultimately the Onus is on us to build just communities and societies of which we could be proud of.