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There is a certain irony in recent news that Venezuela donated a half-million dollars to Donald Trump's presidential inauguration through Petr?leos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the state-owned oil company. Venezuela, of course, is a serial defaulter, having done so more times than almost any other country over the last two centuries.There was a time when a contribution such as the one Venezuela made to Trump was a mere pittance in a much larger aid budget. Under its previous president, the charismatic Hugo Ch?vez, Venezuela spread its oil money far and wide, mostly to support other populist anti-American governments in the region. Mind you, Venezuela was never nearly as rich as the U.S., so its aid budget was like giving to the poor by taking from the almost poor.Like Joe Kennedy II, the Trump organizers can plead that if Venezuela wants to spend its money on making life better for its much richer northern neighbor, who are they to say no?It is particularly bizarre that even as U.S. policy toward Mexico has greatly increased the chances of an anti-American Ch?vez-type character becoming president there, officials are providing positive publicity to a government that is a caricature of disastrous governance.
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