The mayor is in Africa for the month (hey - what mayor of a mid-sized American city isn't?) but he's commented on this previously and you can find that rundown in Matt's story.
Obviously, a lot of people see motives in this.
I've studied Ellis like some people study chemistry. I began to understand him when I stopped trying to understand him.
What I mean is, there's just no telling why Ellis sent Chavez, a man many would describe as a dictator, a letter of support.
Maybe, as he's said, Ellis wants the people of Venezuela to know that, regardless of their governments' differences, people around the world are much the same. Maybe he has some nefarious plot. Maybe he's angling for a free trip to Venezuela. Maybe he just woke up one morning and thought "You know, that Chavez guy gets a bum rap. I'm going to send him a letter."
Who the hell knows. I'm not even sure he knows. Ellis says he didn't keep a copy of the letter, so we don't even know what it said.
But, for the sake of context, I'll offer some dots. I hate to pull a Nancy Grace here, but please note I said "dots," not "connected dots."
1. In October 2006 Ellis said he would head to African nation Uganda on a trade mission, at least partly because of a recent discovery of large oil tracts. With a lot of building initiatives about to get underway in the country, Ellis said he hoped to bring contracts back to Middle Georgia businesses.
By the following April, Ellis had been named Uganda's honorary consul general, a title he can't formally accept until he leaves office this December.
"It means that I promote Uganda," Ellis said at the time. "I'm the spokesman for that country.
2. There's a lot of oil in Venezuela.
3. Below is the abstract of a New York Times story about former Atlanta Mayor Andy Young, which ran earlier this year. The full story can be purchased here.
Young has supported Ellis, both personally and financially, through some of Ellis' more difficult times, i.e. repeated legal attempts to remove him from office during the grand jury investigation of city finances. The two are friends.
The abstract: Civil rights leader Andrew Young and his consulting firm GoodWorks International have become lightning rod in Nigeria's election campaign for successor to Pres Olusegun Obasanjo, Young's longtime friend; Young's firm has earned millions of dollars through business dealings that extend far beyond lobbying for General Electric and other corporations seeking big government contracts; GoodWorks executives also have stakes in oil and chief executive Carlton A Masters started American company with Obasanjo relatives that bought expensive Miami property; Young and Masters say they avoid conflicts between government and corporate clients and do not pay bribes for contracts; Nigerian activists charge Young with profiting from his legacy rather than using it to help country beset by corruption, crumbling infrastructure and failed schools
What does all that mean? Who knows. Let me refer you to Kurt Vonnegut:
“You know what truth is?” said Karabekian. “It’s some crazy thing my neighbor believes. If I want to make friends with him, I ask him what he believes. He tells me, and I say, ‘Yeah, yeah — ain’t it the truth?’”