Outrage in Macon, GA as mayor praises Hugo Chavez

Via the AP:

Some Macon residents have called for demonstrations and boycotts after the mayor of the central Georgia city formally reached out to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with a declaration of solidarity.

Mayor Jack Ellis said the declaration, sent about two weeks ago by courier, was a message that local leaders can stand together despite disagreements at the highest reaches of government.

Some local leaders have blasted the mayor’s decision to support Chavez, a vocal ally of Iran and Cuba who has called President Bush “the devil.”

Former mayoral candidate David Corr said the mayor’s comments were “an outrage.”

“We should condemn Chavez as an enemy of liberty,” Corr said. “In fact, we should also condemn Ellis as an enemy of liberty.”

State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, said the mayor’s action “taints” the town.

“I think it’s a negative for us,” he told The Macon Telegraph. “We need to be doing things in this community that show the tremendous positives of Macon.”

Ellis praised the controversial leader, who has subsidized the cost of heating fuel for some American low-income citizens, as a champion for the common man who could offer aid to Macon’s residents.

“This is about a humanitarian effort,” he said. “This is not about politics.”

A Venezuelan Web site reported that Chavez had thanked Ellis for his support during an eight-hour broadcast of his show “Alo, Presidente,” which he used to call for a “global alliance of civilizations to resist the attacks of U.S. imperialism.”

Here’s a little more info on the mayor:

Ellis, a Democrat, is serving his second term as mayor and cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

He announced in February that he had converted to Islam and was working to legally change his name to Hakim Mansour Ellis. Ellis, who was raised Christian, said he became a Sunni Muslim during a December ceremony in the west African nation of Senegal.

Two city council members are taking action:

Two Macon City Council members have announced plans to introduce a resolution that forbids city funding of travel to any country certified by the U.S. Secretary of State as not fully cooperating with counter-terrorism efforts or designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Council members Nancy White and Cole Thomason, both of Ward V, said in a news release that the resolution comes in response to public outcry over Mayor Jack Ellis’ decision to send a declaration of “solidarity” to Venezuela and its president, Hugo Chavez.

Ellis, who is out of town for the rest of the month, last week confirmed he had sent the message by courier in July. He said that regardless of disagreements that may occur between Venezuela and the United States “in the upper echelons of government,” local mayors in the two countries can stand together.

Ellis has said he hopes to travel to Venezuela to meet with Chavez.

Van Helsing at Moonbattery also has this little tidbit:

Ellis made this proclamation not only as the Mayor of Macon, but also in his capacity as VP for tourism for the World Conference of Mayors.

This is one case where I bet the residents of Macon are saying “thank God for term limits.”

Gateway Pundit blogged about this on Sunday and has much more.

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