Earlier this month, Sean Penn appeared on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, defending Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. (Clip below.)
Penn's remarks caused a stir, but Cuban-born actress Maria Conchita Alonso's open letter to Sean Penn has drawn the most attention since Penn's interview with Maher. The actress makes several counterpoints to Penn's assertions, though some cross the line from fact into possibly misguided opinion. For instance, Alonso says:
We live in the U.S.A., the land of opportunity to do and say what we desire, respecting dissenting points of view, of course and without reprisals.Interestingly, Bill Maher, host of the show on which Penn made the initial remarks, was famously chided by the government for controversial statements made in the wake of the September 11th attacks.
In the U.S.A. the arm of the law comes down hard on government or private sector where cases of fraud and corruption are discovered.Again, not necessarily true- in fact, we recently had a ruling here granting unprecedented rights to corporations.
Then WHY do you applaud the efforts of a government that has notoriously increased poverty (65% to 71%), produced scarcity of staple products and created an energy and water shortage crisis never seen in Venezuela?Yet Alonso supported McCain in the last presidential election, representing a party who presided over a large spike in poverty in the US over the eight years of the Bush administration.
Maria Conchita Alonso's missive is long, and you can read it in its entirety here. Below is a clip of Penn in Bill Maher, discussing Hugo Chavez.