“We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,” Robertson said yesterday on the television program “The 700 Club,” AP reported. The cleric founded the Christian Broadcasting Network, based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Killing Chavez, who is visiting Cuba, would be cheaper than starting a war, AP cited Robertson as saying. The U.S. can’t allow Venezuela to become a “launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism,” he said, according to AP.
Dang those evangelicals are lucky. All we’ve got are peacenik popes.
Update: From TIME, a piece on why Pat Robertson is Chavez’ new best friend:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has a new best friend this morning: television evangelist Pat Robertson. With his astonishing call for the left-wing leader’s assassination last night—"I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it…We have the ability to take him out"—Robertson will have surely made Chavez an even more popular anti-yanqui icon in Venezuela, Latin America and around the world. Like his mentor Fidel Castro, Chavez thrives on threats from the U.S., real or perceived. He has long insisted that his foes are plotting to kill him, and this summer had armed civilians training with the Venezuelan military to prepare for what he says is an imminent U.S. invasion. A public effort to whack him, offered from the right-wing Christian establishment so closely aligned with President Bush, is just what Chavez needs to keep his approval ratings soaring as high as the price of the Venezuelan oil he controls, the largest crude reserves in the hemisphere.
Chavez is no doubt a source of concern for Washington, if only because Venezuela is America’s fourth-largest foreign oil supplier. Chavez’s erratic and often bellicose anti-U.S. rhetoric—he publicly called Bush an "ass____" in Spanish last year—as well as his desire to sell less oil to the U.S. and more to ideological allies like China, are hardly comforting as gas nears $3 per gallon. But neither is Chavez’s embrace of nations like Iran, and nor is the fact that he’s leading a politically potent (and, to the Bush Administration, potentially destabilizing) wave of angry neo-leftism in Latin America, from Argentina to Mexico.