Cavuto's Red scare: Bolivian nationalization of energy industry a "socialist threat"

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER

Fox News' Neil Cavuto hyped the Bolivian government's recent decision to nationalize its energy industry as a "socialist threat" to the United States. Cavuto asked Fox military analyst Col. David Hunt: "Colonel, I'm wondering whether this is a military threat -- leave aside the energy concerns -- but a military threat to our country now?" Hunt replied: "Yeah. There is no question," adding that "oil is a weapon ... and why wouldn't ... states getting close to being a terrorist state ... like Bolivia ... consider it?"

On the May 2 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto hyped the Bolivian government's recent decision to nationalize its energy industry as a "socialist threat" to the United States. During the segment, Cavuto asked Fox News military analyst Col. David Hunt: "Colonel, I'm wondering whether this is a military threat -- leave aside the energy concerns -- but a military threat to our country now?" Hunt replied: "Yeah. There is no question," adding that "oil is a weapon ... and why wouldn't ... states getting close to being a terrorist state ... like Bolivia ... consider it?" Cavuto finished the discussion by again asking Hunt: "Is this now, in your eyes, the way that Bolivia has acted in the last 24 hours, a military threat?" Hunt replied: "Yeah, I think it could [be]," adding that "we've got near term -- right now, this month, this next six months -- action that we have to look at both from a military standpoint and an economic standpoint, so, yeah, absolutely it's a threat."

Indeed, on May 1, Bolivian president Evo Morales seized control of much of the country's energy industry. The move fulfilled Morales's December 2005 campaign promise to force energy companies to relinquish at least 50 percent of their earnings to Bolivia's state energy company. The New York Times noted that some foreign energy companies in Bolivia, such as the Spanish oil company Respol YPF S.A., have expressed concern over Morales's move. But as The Washington Post reported, not only are "[t]he developments in Bolivia ... not expected to affect the U.S. energy market," but "[t]he country does not play a major role in international energy markets." Neither the Times nor the Post reported the existence of any Bolivian military threat to the United States, as Cavuto and Hunt suggested.

Throughout the segment, three separate on-screen texts read: "Socialist Threat!" "The socialist threat in America's own backyard?" and "South American socialism: Threat to our way of life?"

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From the May 2 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:

CAVUTO: Colonel David Hunt joins us now, the Fox News military analyst, in Boston. Colonel, I'm wondering whether this is a military threat -- leave aside the energy concerns -- but a military threat to our country now?

HUNT: Yeah. There is no question. Oil -- oil is a weapon. And I think what you are finding with Iran, Bolivia, and -- and Venezuela, that it absolutely is being considered. And why wouldn't the -- why wouldn't terrorists, or terrorist states, or states getting close to being a terrorist state, like Venezuela, like Bolivia, and certainly Iran, consider it? It's -- it's -- it's cheaper for them. And it absolutely could hurt us. And we need to be very, very careful about it and figure out how to counter that kind of a threat.

[...]

CAVUTO: Colonel Hunt, finally, let me end with you. Is this now, in your eyes, the way that Bolivia has acted in the last 24 hours, a military threat?

HUNT: Yeah, I think it could -- I think it absolutely needs to be considered. And the problem is we're very tied down in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we're going to have to start looking toward South America and figure out what we can do in the near term. All your very smart guests are talking about some far-term stuff, but the near term is, if Bolivia keeps this up, what Venezuela does, and Iran, we've got near term -- right now, this month, this next six months -- action that we have to look at both from a military standpoint and an economic standpoint, so, yeah, absolutely it's a threat.

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