|Venezuelan Pres. Nicolas Maduro. |
Should he change the flag?
It smacks of the smear campaign against U.S. Pres. Barack Obama - except that in Maduro's case the charges appear credible.
The critics and Colombian newspapers have produced birth certificates showing that Maduro's mother and sister were born in the Colombian border city of Cucuta. And Cucuta residents recall playing soccer there with the youthful Maduro - who has always claimed to have been born and grown up in Caracas.
That's all suggestive, but proves nothing. What seems more significant is the fact that Maduro and his people haven't made the logical response of producing birth and baptism certificates, school records, newspaper clippings or other evidence documenting Maduro's birth and childhood
Instead, only a silence, which speaks loudly.
In contrast, Obama provided his birth certificate and newspaper announcements of his entry into this
|Cucuta, Colombia. Maduro's birthplace?|
Of course, it shouldn't matter (except to the degree that it speaks to Maduro's honesty). Maduro didn't choose his birthplace, and it's irrelevant to his abilities as president. Lots of people believe he's a terrible president for Venezuela - but I've never heard any suggest that he's disloyal, a Colombian plant, or anything like that. Rather, the feeling on this side of the border is that Maduro has used Colombia as a convenient whipping boy for his many domestic problems.
Peruvian Pres. Alberto Fujimori, the son of Japanese immigrants, suffered from similar birthplace doubts, which were never resolved. Fujimori polarized Peru - as Maduro has done - stabilizing the economy and beating back the Shining Path guerrillas, but violating civil rights and unleashing huge corruption scandals. He's now spending his last years in solitary confinement in a high security Lima prison. But, whether Fujimori was born before his parents boarded the boat to Peru, on the boat, or after landing, has no relevance to his accomplishments and crimes.
The same's true of Maduro.
Perhaps those of us who believe that Maduro is following Chavez's policies of driving his nation down the tubes should be grateful to Maduro for any change in nationalities. After all, if he is Colombian born and had stayed in this country, might we be facing the scary possibility of Maduro in the Casa de Nariño?
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours