Bolivia: Does Obama deserve Nobel Peace Prize?!
"With Venezuela, don't even think about it," says Chavez
It was Decemebr 2009, less than a year after taking office, when U.S. President Barack Obama was granted the Nobel Peace Prize, although Washington was in the middle of two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In his speech in Oslo, Obama referred to himself as "the commander-in-chief of a nation in the midst of two wars" and said armed conflict was at times necessary.
Months later, in March 2011, Obama became in the midst of three wars, thus creating a debate of whether the U.S. President deserved the merit of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize!
"Is he defending peace"
Bolivian President Evo Morales called early Tuesday for Obama's Nobel Peace Prize to be revoked, saying the U.S. leader's decision to launch a military attack on Libya showed he did not deserve the honor as Venezuela slammed the "indiscriminate bombing" by the U.S. and its allies in Libya as "madness".
"Two years ago we heard that President Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, but is he defending peace in the world now, or isn't he instead fomenting violence?" Morales told reporters, days after Obama ordered the bombing of Libya military targets as part of a U.N.-approved effort to protect civilians.
"How is it possible to give the Nobel Peace Prize to someone who has launched an invasion, a bombing? It's a violation, an assault, an aggression," said Morales, one of Latin America's most left-leaning leaders and a vocal critic of the United States.
"Obama is the leader of group of thugs who led an assault and an invasion -- and that has nothing to do with defending human rights," he declared.
Obama gave his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize award money to 10 charities, including groups working on Haiti relief and supporting military families.
How is it possible to give the Nobel Peace Prize to someone who has launched an invasion, a bombing? It's a violation, an assault, an aggression
Bolivian President Evo Morales
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, meanwhile, condemned what he called "indiscriminate bombing" by the U.S. and its allies in Libya, saying that the assault was unjustified and will only unleash more bloodshed.
Cuba's government also criticized the attacks and called for the conflict to be resolved through negotiation.
Chavez said the U.S. is after Libya's oil, and warned President Obama not to try any similar intervention in the South American country. "With Venezuela, don't even think about it, Mr. Obama," he said.
Chavez, who has long-standing ties to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, demanded the airstrikes be halted and echoed claims of civilian casualties by Libya's government, which said 48 people were killed.
"Civilian victims have now begun to appear because some bombs are launched - 200, 400 bombs from out there at sea - and those bombs fall where they fall," Chavez said during his weekly television and radio program.
Civilian victims have now begun to appear because some bombs are launched - 200, 400 bombs from out there at sea - and those bombs fall where they fall
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
In Washington, however, the Pentagon said there were no reports of civilian casualties in the air assault. U.S. Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, staff director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the strikes had inflicted heavy damage and largely silenced Gaddafi's air defenses.
"Libya is under imperial fire. Nothing justifies this," Chavez said, holding up a newspaper showing an explosion on the front page.
"Indiscriminate bombing," he said. "Who gave those countries the right? Neither the United States, nor France, nor England, nor any country has the right to be dropping bombs."
Chavez said African Union leaders were meeting in Mauritania to discuss the conflict.
"That's what must be done, and going there to talk with the parties in the conflict, but not launching bombs, more bombs, more death," Chavez said.
"Let's try to help, to intercede between the parties," he said. "A cease-fire, sitting down at a table. That's the path when facing conflicts of this sort."
In Havana, Cuba's foreign ministry said the Libyan conflict should be solved "through dialogue and negotiation, not by military means."
"Cuba expresses its strongest condemnation of foreign intervention in the internal conflict" of Libya, said a statement from the ministry read on Cuban television news.
ALBA condemns Libya strikes
On Saturday, delegates at a meeting in Bolivia of the left-leaning ALBA bloc condemned the airstrikes by the U.S. and its allies. The group includes Venezuela, Cuba and six other Latin American and Caribbean nations.
"We repeat our message from Venezuela, from the ALBA: We demand a halt to the attack against Libya," Chavez said Sunday. "What madness. ... It's imperial madness."
Chavez used his customary term "the empire" for the United States, accusing it of trying to overthrow Gaddafi simply to seize control of Libya's oil. "They don't care about the lives of the Libyan people," he said.
Chavez mocked U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for expressing support for popular uprisings in the Arab world. "Man, what cynicism," Chavez said.
"I hope a revolution blows up on them in the United States. Let's see what they're going to do," he said.
Chavez has suggested that reports of atrocities by Gaddafi's troops have been overblown or unproven as the Libyan government has sought to crush the uprising by rebels.
Chavez's criticisms were echoed by some non-ALBA nations, including Paraguay, where President Fernando Lugo said: "I regret that the United Nations has legitimized those attacks."
But Peruvian President Alan Garcia praised the U.S. and its allies for defending Libyans against a regime that has attacked opponents to try to cling to power.
"I think it's very important that the world's nations unite to prevent this type of butchery and massacres that aim to silence people's just protests," Garcia said in Lima.