Sean Penn is known for his left-wing political convictions.Â Frankly, I'm one of the ones who is glad that celebrities occasionally use their status to let their beliefs be known, as they can shine a light on some horrendous situations, like George Clooney in Darfur.Â And no one can say Penn hasn't been giving his all to help in situations like Katrina in New Orleans and the recent devastation in Haiti.Â However, this time the outspoken actor just might have overstepped his knowledge of the situation in Venezuela when he defended the dictator there, Hugo Chavez.Â Apparently his statements in defense of Chavez on Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO really offended people who have insider knowledge, such as actress Maria Conchita Alonso, who was raised there.Â She wrote an open letter to Penn repeatedly asking WHY?Â Here is an excerpt:
Dear Sean, WHY?
Even though I have great respect for your artistic talent, I was appalled by a recent television interview where you vigorously showed support for the regime of Hugo Chavez. Therefore, I've decided to set the record straight for you regarding the Chavez regime, supporting my case based not only on my political ideologies, but on proven facts you choose to ignore.Â Otherwise, I believe your position would be different.
Being born in Cuba, a country where freedom of speech is non-existent, it's startling to observe how Venezuela, where I was happily raised, is fast becoming Cuba's mirror image: Dismantling of fundamental democratic rights deserved by its people and citizens of the world.
For example, you said that all Chavez-winning elections in Venezuela were "transparent."
Then WHY didn't the government allow a manual recount of the votes and computer information when doubt set in? After all, how do you explain how these votes that were strongly favoring the opposition mysteriously reflected the opposite results the morning after, thus permitting Chavez to continue on?Â On what are you basing your conclusions? I strongly recommend that you read a report by the U.S. State Department written in 2009 entitled "The Fraudulent Elections in Venezuela".
She makes an effort to personalize the situation for him, at one point noting the following about his Jewish background:
You are a product of a Jewish father.
Then WHY is your fascination with a government that has overtly stated its hatred against the Jewish community worldwide, to the extent that the State of Israel condemned anti-Semitic attacks in Venezuela? Do you think it's fair that many Jewish-Venezuelan families have emigrated because the Chavez government robbed their personal files when their temples and offices were under attacked in 2008?
Alonso ends the letter very poignantly by saying, "Agreed, Chavez did win his first elections, but like Hitler, he betrayed what the country gave him: The vote of confidence."
Let's just hope he takes the time to read this, as it seems to me that he spoke out of his a$$ on this one.
You can read the full letter on Newsbusters.org.