Hugo Chávez took a break last week from lobbying Washington on behalf of deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to travel to Quito, Ecuador, for a meeting of South American heads of state.
There he launched a virulent assault on the U.S. military, reiterated his commitment to spreading revolution in the region, and threatened the continent with war. Mr. Zelaya was by his side.
The Venezuelan's tirade against the U.S. and its ally Colombia raised the question yet again of what the U.S. could possibly be thinking in pushing Honduras to reinstate Mr. Zelaya. He was removed from office by the Honduran Congress in June because he violated the country's constitution and willfully incited mob violence.
But that's not the only thing that made him unpopular at home. He also had become an important ally of Mr. Chávez and was quite obviously being coached to copy the Chávez power grab in Venezuela by undermining Honduras's institutional checks and balances.
If Honduras has been able to neutralize Mr. Chávez, it's something to celebrate. A Chávez-style takeover of institutions in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua has quashed political pluralism, free speech and minority rights in those countries. There is now a heavy presence of Cuban state intelligence throughout the Venezuelan empire. Mr. Zelaya literally has become a fellow traveler of Mr. Chávez, leaving no doubts about the course he would put Honduras on if given the chance.
- Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal
I insist, Ms. O'Grady is a hero.