PAGE SIX-Richard Johnson
FAR-LEFTIES SEE RED OVER BONO
July 10, 2006 -- BONO, the Irish rock star touted for a Nobel Peace Prize because of his advocacy for Third World debt relief, is being blasted by lefties for investing in a video game that depicts Venezuela as a banana republic led by a "power-hungry tyrant."
The president of Venezuela is, in fact, Hugo Chavez, a darling of the left not only for his Marxist domestic policies, but his virulent anti-American diatribes.
Bono is in the hot seat because a private equity firm he established invested $300 million in Pandemic Studios, the Los Angeles-based maker of the game, "Mercenary 2: World in Flames."
Players assume the role of a mercenary sent to a fictitious Venezuela, where a dictator has seized control of the country and its oil. The gun-for-hire is instructed, "If you can see it, you can buy it, steal it, or blow the living crap out of it."
Jeff Cohen - author of "Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media" who's just back from a trip to Venezuela - told Page Six, "It's hard to fathom why an artist who claims to be about new paths to justice for developing countries would be mixed up in a computer game that glorifies stale, old mercenary approaches."
Dave Lindorff - co-author with Barbara Olshansky of "The Case for Impeachment," just released by St. Martin's Press - told us, "This kind of right-wing war game plays to the propaganda message that the [George] Bush White House has been pushing for years: that Chavez is a dictator oppressing his people . . . Bono should use his financial interest in the company to kill it, or better, he should pull out entirely as an investor, and condemn such imperialist garbage."
Gabriela Ramirez, a stalwart supporter of Chavez in the Venezuelan National Assembly, told the Associated Press the game "sends a message to Americans, 'You have a danger next door, here in Latin America, and action must be taken.' It's a justification for an imperialist aggression."
But it's Chavez who sounds aggressive. He started recruiting and training a people's militia earlier this year, claiming it would fight the "war of resistance" against the U.S. invasion he predicts will come. In this fantasy, he's the Che Guevara-type fearless martyr. Maybe he should design his own video game and get Bono to finance it.
Bono's reps did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.