In 2002 Harry Belafonte called Colin Powell a ‘House Slave’. In August of this year he called African-Americans in the government ‘black tyrants’, compared the Bush administration to Nazi Germany and made the classic comment that “Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy.” At one time he even commented “If you believe in freedom! If you believe in justice, if you believe in democracy– you have no choice but to support Fidel Castro!”
One might think that Belafonte had made enough crazy, confused and anti-American statements for a decade, but this week he took a trip to Venezuela as a UNICEF ‘goodwill ambassador’, and got on stage with neo-communist dictator Hugo Chavez and couldn’t resist the opportunity to shout his defiance of Bush, of reality and of sanity.
Belafonte started out his remarks by once again demonstrating his firm command of facts when he commented that the United States builds more prisons than schools, a pretty remarkable conclusion considering we have about 6 million kids in school and only about 1.7 million criminals in prison. Maybe our schools are really, really big. How long is the bus ride to your local 10,000 student megaschool?
There’s no question Belafonte knows how to spread goodwill with semi-delusional anti-American communists, though. He spoke right to Hugo Chavez’ heart when he wrapped up his rant by saying:
“No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we’re here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people … support your revolution.”
Those would be the millions of Americans who vacation in Cuba and think that Jews ran the Third Reich. On the Daily Show John Stewart offered the astute observation that he doubted there were millions of Americans who even knew where Venezuela was.
UNICEF issued a press release to make sure everyone is aware that Belafonte was speaking “as a private citizen and was not speaking as a UNICEF ambassador, nor acting in an official capacity on behalf of the organisation.” This despite the fact that they sent him to Venezuela in full awareness of his beliefs, because this is just the latest in a series of ill-considered and offensive statements, none of which lost him his job as a ‘goodwill ambassador.’ I guess if they didn’t fire him for calling Colin Powell a ‘house slave’ or thinking that Hitler was a major employer of Jews, there’s not much he could do to lose their support.