Columbus Day has become controversial in recent years. Careful analysis shows much of that controversy is really attributable to those that followed Christopher Columbus, not the explorer himself. Equally as important, however the world today would not be the same without Columbus’ expedition. Would there be a Latin America without Spain having underwritten Columbus’ expedition and then following in droves to colonize South America? What form would the United States take today without Columbus?
Although there is much anti-American sentiment in the world, the most vociferous is Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Chavez blames US imperialism for holding South America down. Chavez has ruled Venezuela for a decade now. During this time, he’s been solidifying his hold on power and establishing a clearly socialist dictatorship. But average Venezuelans still lack services such as electricity. Civil rights have been abridged and the economy ravaged by alienating foreign capital and too much reliance on oil prices.
Not satisfied there, Chavez continues his saber rattling, even with neighboring Columbia. Perhaps its the name. Why else would Venezuela feel the need to buy state-of-the-art fighter jets and tanks from Russia. Besides stirring the pot in South America, Chavez is blatantly anti-US and blames Columbus for all the ills and injustices of the western hemisphere. Chavez has set himself on an anti-Columbus crusade.
Columbus Day is more than a holiday. It represents the development of the modern world. And, to me, it means the same as Anti Hugo Chavez Day. Here’s a holiday tradition for you: don’t buy Venezuelan-owned Citgo products on Columbus Day.