ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


Home    ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)



 The main reason people like Robertson want to get rid of Chávez is that he has

openly declared that United States imperialism and manipulation are a threat to the world




The Venezuela Connection: Beating the Gas-Gouging Blues

By J.B. Borders

Could the recent outcry over a publicly aired death-wish directed at Venezuela’s progressive president

result in relief at the gas pump for black Americans? Stay tuned.


Pat Robertson is a fool, a total frigging idiot (TFI) on the scale of George “The Great Prevaricator” Bush.

But Robertson, the drawling neoconfederate preacher/politician/huckster, may have inadvertently saved the life of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez recently and opened the door for lower gasoline prices in black America when he publicly called for Chávez’s assassination.

The 75-year-old Robertson, a television evangelist, said a couple of weeks ago on a broadcast of his “700 Club” program that Chavez is a “dangerous enemy.” He added that killing Chavez would be cheaper than going to war to remove him.

“We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come to exercise that ability,” Robertson said.

His comments caused a firestorm of reaction from U.S. politicians and other public figures who termed Robertson’s act “inappropriate”, “irresponsible” and “incredibly stupid.”

For months, however, the Chávez government had been saying that its intelligences services had been intercepting information about assassination attempts. Back in February, Venezuela Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez even raised the issue at a meeting of the Organization of American States.

“The accusations levied against our government would not bother us in the least if a multitude of facts did not exist that prove that when such statements are made, it's because, sooner or later, the attack will follow,” Rodriguez said. “It is what happened with (Salvador) Allende (in Chile). It is what happened in the Dominican Republic. It is what happened in Guatemala and countless other cases. For the same reason, we cannot
dismiss information from our intelligence services concerning the physical liquidation of our president.”

Robertson’s outburst was prompted by accusations Chávez made during an August visit to Cuba to meet with the irrepressible revolutionary Fidel Castro. Chávez reiterated his claim that the U.S. government was likely behind attempts to assassinate him. Castro has survived some 39 known CIA-supported attempts to rub him out. He is probably as good a person as any to give Chávez advice on survival tactics.

In 2002, the Bush administration endorsed an attempted coup against Chávez, but he was restored to power in two days. The Chávez government then triumphed in a 2004 referendum, consolidating the support Chávez first won in his 1998 election to the Venezuelan presidency.

Like most normal black people, I suspected that if a pea-brain right-winger like Robertson was so upset at Chávez that he would deliberately mischaracterize him as a “you know, small-time dictator” and urge the U.S. government to “take him out” on national TV, then Chávez must really be trying to do something good for oppressed and downtrodden people.

In most cases of this sort, standing up for the messed-over folks almost always means defying the existing power structure, too. If you’re effective a tiny bit, they call you crazy. If you’re moderately effective, however, they call you dangerous. And when it becomes clear that you can’t be bought off or otherwise stymied, the power structure seeks to eliminate you.

That’s what I suspected had happened in the Chávez case. So I did a little investigating.

It turns out my hunch was right. It also turns out the situation in Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves in the Western hemisphere and is the world’s fifth largest oil exporter, is potentially much more significant for African-American economic development than we have been led to believe.

The main reason people like Robertson want to get rid of Chávez is that he has openly declared that United States imperialism and manipulation are a threat to the world and that new ways need to be found to help the poor and move Venezuela toward socialism, under which more of the country’s resources will be equitably utilized.

Chávez has also pointed out that he wants to make his government less dependent on the United States, which his currently its largest customer for oil sales. At the end of August, the Chávez government signed a deal with China to jointly develop new oil fields in eastern Venezuela, a development that did not please the U.S.-based oil conglomerates.

Chávez has also been a leading force behind the development of the new South American Community of Nations, which has a goal of creating a free trade zone among its members: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The group is also creating its own television network, Telesur, to broadcast news and information about Latin America from Latin America.

Venezuela and Cuba have also entered into an agreement to swap Cuban medical services for Venezuelan oil.

Among the other key items on Chávez’s agenda is selling gasoline and diesel directly to poor communities in the U.S., according to a report by the Associated Press. The Venezuelan president has already begun negotiations with Jamaica and other Caribbean nations about selling petroleum to them “under favorable terms.”

The state-owned oil company of Venezuela, Petroleos de Venezuela S. A. (PDVSA), already operates 14,000 Citgo gas stations in the U.S. It could very easily begin selling discount-price gasoline in predominantly black communities and, with a little more effort, could start selling some of these gas stations at reasonable prices to black entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations.

That would really make some of Chávez’s enemies even redder around the collar.

On the other hand, if the Chávez government and black leaders from the U.S. got together to make these relationships come to fruition, it would provide yet another interesting link between Venezuela and Africans in the Americas.

An Early Blow for Black Freedom

As fate would have it, Venezuela is the site of what might have been the first black kingdom in the New World. In 1552, 30 years after Spanish colonizers had asserted their control over the territory, a rebellion led by an African known as “El Negro Miguel” resulted in him proclaiming himself king of thousands of enslaved black folk who fled their European masters’ plantations and mines and established dozens of free communities on defensible terrain.

El Negro Miguel’s kingdom was eventually conquered, of course, and it wasn’t until 1854 that slavery was officially abolished in Venezuela. Since then, Venezuela has promoted itself as a place of racial harmony, though 47 percent of its 25 million people live in poverty and most of them are people of color.

Venezuela sits at the southern end of the Caribbean Sea. Roughly two-thirds of its population is mixed with Indian and European blood. Another 10 percent is of African extraction; 3 percent are various Indian groups; and the remaining 20 percent consider themselves to be pure Euro.

Chávez comes from the mestizo majority, but guess who was running the country and guess who was getting the shaft until he came along? Apparently, providing education and health care and instituting land reform that gives acreage to people of color rather than snatching it away from them is cause for alarm in some quarters. 

But as Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez has pointed out, his government emphasizes “social justice as a fundamental component of democracy.” He also explains that “democracy in a country like Venezuela, whose concrete reality is one of poverty, depends on giving the large majority of the country the opportunity to participate, that is, the overcoming of poverty becomes the government's first reason for being.”

That kind of real-Christian philosophy won’t win the Chávez government any friends among Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, however. And perhaps more troubling to some of the knee-jerk anti-communists in the United States is the fact that, under Chávez, Venezuela has increased its trade with Cuba and begun forming stronger ties to progressive governments throughout Latin America.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, aka The Devil’s Handmaiden, toured Latin America at the beginning of the year in a deliberate attempt to smear Chávez’s reputation and to induce (bribe) other Latin American leaders to condemn and vilify him.

Her motivations appear to have both professional and personal dimensions. It turns out that the distinguished Dr. Rice has a direct interest in Venezuelan oil through the ChevronTexaco Corporation, which signed an agreement in 1995 to develop Venezuela’s major oil field for a 20 to 30-year period. Rice served on the Chevron board from 1991 to 1993 and a lot of her $10 million personal fortune was made through Chevron stock.

In 1995, Chevron even named its largest oil tanker in her honor, though it renamed the vessel after Rice became National Security Advisor in 2001. Nevertheless, anybody rocking her boat can expect to have a fight on their hands.

Fortunately, Rice’s ploy to destroy Chávez in the eyes of his Latin American peers went nowhere.

So Robertson, aka El Loco Gringo Who Failed in His Bid to Become POTUS (President of the United States), apparently stepped into the breach and called for God-knows-who to take out the democratically-elected Chávez, aka El Indio – not The One, You Know, Small-Time Dictator.

But by calling international attention to this desire on the part of the American establishment to rid itself of Chávez, Robertson may have thwarted any U.S.-instigated assassination attempts planned for the near future.

In the meantime, Venezuela and black America have a window of opportunity in which we can marry our interests and strengthen our respective positions.

Imagine buying cheaper gasoline from black-owned service stations. That would be revolutionary indeed.

Carpe diem, negritos, carpe diem.  

Borderline 9.05

J.B. Borders is a social commentator and cultural critic. He is also president of J.B. Borders & Associates, a management consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, fund development, and program implementation and evaluation for nonprofit organizations. Borders was the founding editor of the New Orleans Tribune and an erstwhile editor of The Black Collegian Magazine. He has also served as managing director of the National Black Arts Festival and executive director of the Louisiana Division of the Arts. Borders earned a bachelor's and a master's degree at Brown University, where he co-founded Rites & Reason Theatre in 1969. James B. Borders IV / J.B. Borders & Associates / 3655 Piedmont Drive / New Orleans, LA 70122-4775 / 504 945-7015, voice & fax 504 442-1645, mobile /

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story

of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

By Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer

American democracy is informed by the 18th century’s most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. We’ve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economics—the cutting-edge ideas of today—generate these simple but revolutionary ideas: (The economy is not an efficient machine. It’s an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest.

*   *   *   *   *

P.B. Young, Newspaperman

Race, Politics, and Journalism in the New South, 1910-1962

By Henry Lewis Suggs

P.B. Young, the son of a former slave, published the Norfolk Journal and Guide , a black weekly, for more than 50 years, until his death in 1962. From a circulation of a few hundred in 1909 to a circulation of 75,000 during the 1950s, the Guide became the largest press in the South. This book explores P.B. Young's personal history and charts his positions on a variety of social issues.

Historians have largely neglected the Guide and its editor. Henry Lewis Suggs, mainly using Young's personal papers (heretofore closed to scholars) and the files of the Guide, fills that historiographical void  . . .The book will almost certainly remain the definitive study of P.B. Young.—David B. Parker,

Another neglected figure in black history has been rescued from obscurity in this biography of Plummer Bernard Young . . .Suggs has thoroughly researched his subject.—Theodore Kornweibel, Jr.

*   *   *   *   *

A History of the Black Press
By Armistead S. Pride and Clint C. Wilson II

In this work, Dr. Wilson chronicles the development of black newspapers in New York City and draws parallels to the development of presses in Washington, D.C., and in 46 of the 50 United States. He describes the involvement of the press with civil rights and the interaction of black and nonblack columnists who contributed to black- and white-owned newspapers. . . . Through reorganization and exhaustive research to ascertain source materials from among hundreds of original and photocopied documents, clippings, personal notations, and private correspondence in Dr. Pride's files, Dr. Wilson completed this compelling and inspiring study of the black press from its inception in 1827 to 1997.

This is a major and noteworthy contribution to scholarship on the African American press. As Washington Post columnist Dorothy Gilliam concludes in the foreword, “Pride and Wilson’s comprehensive history is a lasting tribute to the men and women within the black press of both the past and the present and to those who will make it what it will be in the future.

*   *   *   *   *

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)






update 15 February 2012




Home  Alternative Media & the Black Press  Editor   Katrina New Orleans Flood Index  Inside the Caribbean   

Related files:  The Venezuela Connection  Making the Crackers Crumble  Power Plays and Useful Idiots  Payback for Bush   What Would "Dr. Kang" Say? 

Wall Street Bailout, New Orleans Recovery