Chavez 145

The BBC just said that Venezuela is a dictatorship, and the election will be close between left and right. They missed the irony. The incongruity and imbalance of the Chavez demonisation is ridiculous. Sky News did a five minute piece in which the evidence of him being evil and demented was that he called George Bush a devil and declared the age of imperialism over; he did however reduce poverty and improve housing, they added. I am not sure they left their audience with the same certainty as their presenters that he was a bad thing.

There are valid criticisms to be made of Chavez’ attitude towards those who honestly disagreed with him. A dictator he was not. I am not going to detail the legitimate (there is some) criticism, because the airwaves are full of neo-conservatives doing that full time.

Chavez’ overwhelming achievement was to apply succesfully in a developing country the international law doctrine of a state’s inalienable right to its mineral resources, as declared by the UN General Assembly in 1968. One of the fundamental reasons that the developing world is so poor is that states have been unable to take a reasonable share of the economic benefit from exploitation of their mineral resources. The main reason for this is that multinationals have bribed corrupt politicians for the rights at little purchase cost and low taxation and resource share.

I know Ghana best. Newmont, the world’s biggest gold mining company, has revenues of 1.5 billion dollars in Ghana and pays no corporation or revenue tax. Not one penny (or rather pessowa). And causes vast environmental despoilation and social dislocation. That is how the sytem works, throughout the developing world.

The doctrine of alienable right enables states to simply cancel such scandalous deals, and that is exactly what Chavez did in Venezuela’s oil sector. Cancelled them and imposed fairer arrangements. He applied the huge increase revenues to massively succesful poverty alleviation via social programmes, housing and education.

The western states of course do everything to stop developing countries doing this, on behalf of the multinationals who control the politicians. They threaten (and I am an eye-witness) aid cancellation, disinvestment and trade sanctions. They work to make you a political pariah (just watch the media on Chavez today). They secretly sponsor, bankroll and train your opponents. The death of such “dangerous” leaders is a good outcome for them, as in Allende or Lumumba.

Chavez faced them down. There are millions of people in Venezuela whose hard lives are a bit better and have hope for the future because of Chavez. There are billionaires in London and New York who have a few hundred million less each because of Chavez. Nobody can deny the truth of both those statements.

Now which group owns the mainstream media and politicians who are spitting bile against the dead man today?

145 thoughts on “Chavez

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  • AK

    @Alan Campbell:

    From dizzying heights, and it still remains extremely high, and entirely comparable with Venezuela’s. Meanwhile violent crime in places like Jamaica, Brazil, and (more recently) Mexico has increased. Here is a graph I compiled.

  • BrianFujisan

    speaking as an “elderly lady” myself – I do not expect to be treated with respect just because I’ve managed to keep breathing for a bit longer than most on here; Mary stands head and shoulders above Hab and Co on account of her brains and diligence; so thanks for the gesture, me darlin’,but stuff the privilege of age schtick. xx

    Great stuff Rose..stay free xxx

  • alan campbell


    Where did you get your figures from? And the last 6 years (2007-12) is when homicides have really spiked in Venezuela (and dipped in Colombia)and that’s conveniently not covered in your nice graph.

    The simple fact is HC has left Venezuela a more polarised society, with weak institutions, an eroded rule of law, sky-high levels of crime and corruption, and the “boligarchs” pocketing the proceeds. No progressive could possibly think he’s a hero.

  • nevermind

    Good to hear from you Rose, I agree on that age thing, if we need something we shall tell em’, or not.

    “Rose, it’s just incredibly distasteful to witness. I think that if such haranguing were happening face-to-face in a public place, Habbabkuk would be risking being physically attacked, and certainly wouldn’t get away with it for weeks on end, especially while hiding behind a mask as s/he does.”

    If Habby even so much would think at repeating his small talk here, in a real life situation, garden party or not, he would get a ‘Gorbal kiss’ before he could mention his name.

  • nevermind

    Given the disgraceful picture the BBC has painted of Hugo Chavez, for years, not just at this particular time when moderation and sympathetic reluctance should colour the coverage of any statesman that has died, they should be banned from Venezuela and from reporting his funeral first hand.

    If this would be Karimove, they would be all talk about our vital ally blah blah good relations, blah, hoping to curtail child slavery, blah blah, but not a derogatory word.

    The propaganda wing of the BBC has now got so big, with its tentacles in even the smallest culture unit within, that the BBC can be called MI7, no problems, they are full of manipulating spooks by the sound of it.

  • AK

    @Alan Campbell:

    If you note the URL, the graph was compiled in 2009, at a time when data was available only up to 2007. So no “convenient” manipulation on my part.

    The source is Wikipedia (“List of countries by intentional homicide rate by decade”) which is based on data from the national statistical agencies. You do seem to be correct though that the homicide rate spiked to 67/100,000 by 2011 while Colombia continued to steadily improve reaching 33/100,000 in the same year. I do not know why Bolivarian Venezuela has failed so spectacularly on this point when it has ostensibly succeeded so well at many other things.

  • Herbie

    The real terrorists:

    “A historic trial underway in Argentina is set to reveal new details about how Latin American countries coordinated with each other in the 1970s and ’80s to eliminate political dissidents. The campaign known as “Operation Condor” involved military dictatorships in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. They worked together to track down, kidnap and kill people they labeled as terrorists: leftist activists, labor organizers, students, priests, journalists, guerrilla fighters and their families. The campaign was launched by the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and evidence shows the CIA and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were complicit from its outset.”

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    Great minds….

    Herbie I put that DN link on the Scotland for Chavez thread!

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    You most certainly are, OrwellianUK. And I chose a relatively mild word. 🙂

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    If it looks like a troll, quacks like a troll and walks like a troll, it is a troll in my experience.

  • Greenmachine

    Enjoying the debate spanning Alan Campbell’s views and all those counter views especially from Clark and AK. This is what this blog is so good at. A shame than that Habbacook, or whatever he calls himself, continues to delight in what I see as unjustified vitriol, dressed up as ‘satire’, against posters such as Mary who do not deserve such trestment. No problem with counter views but his comments are pure poisonous trolling!

    To add a new thought that sprang to mind. I was in Zwa-zulu Natal, South Africa, last summer and the concerns being expressed by many citizens of all races were related to the growing crime rate, especially in urban centres such as Durban. Many told me that the sensibilities of the ‘old democracies’ do not apply in the new SA as they accept that chaotic conditions will ensue in such a new democracy. Strikes me this may well be the case with Venezuela. There is a problem with the confrontation between the corporate world and political world in SA so well documented by Naomi Klein in ‘The Shock Doctrine’. Having watched the progress of the Chavistas since 2000 it appears we are headed for more strife/ confrontation between the political and corporatist elites ( no prizes for which side the US State Dept/ Pentagon/ Intelligence community will be on!). The documentary ‘ The Revolution will not be televised’ (see You tube) created by an Irish doc maker in 2002 was one of the most informative I have ever seen on the way in which power elites (in this case corporations, media, catholic church, US agents) conspired in a way that was clearly criminal and undemocratic. No wonder Chavez became very much more cautious ( some would say dictatorial) after this attempt to oust him from power. After the last 50 years of US-backed coups against Lumumba, Allende and similar events in Latin America, East Indies and Eastern Europe the American Empire has failed. The military-industrial-intelligence complex, as pointed out by Eisenhower, must be resisted at all costs!

    I tend to agree with Indigo’s sentiment:
    ‘Chavez was no saint but given the choice between his politics and neo-liberal multinationals pillaging the resources of Venezuela to the detriment of the population I know which I’d choose.’

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Greenmachine (12h29) says :

    “The documentary ‘ The Revolution will not be televised’ (see You tube) created by an Irish doc maker in 2002 was one of the most informative I have ever seen on the way in which power elites (in this case corporations, media, catholic church, US agents) conspired in a way that was clearly criminal and undemocratic.”

    Not good enough, Greenmachine! Where are the Zionists?


    La vita è bella, life is good! (Never forget the Zionists)

  • Greenmachine


    Do please enlighten me. I bow to your superior intellect. What should I believe? You clearly know soooo much more than the rest of us. Either join the discussion or p*** off – your attempted satire is tiresome

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Good to see that the Catholic Church has filled the political vacuum caused by the Chavez demise by electing an Argentinian Jesuit, Pope Francis I.

    He threatens to make America’s problems facing the rich a global one. Just hope he doesn’t get gunned down – like Pope John Paul II when Washington decided that he wasn’t doing enough to bring down the Soviet Union.

  • Mary

    President Chavez: A 21st Century Renaissance Man

    by James Petras


    President Hugo Chavez was unique in multiple areas of political, social and economic life. He made significant contributions to the advancement of humanity. The depth, scope and popularity of his accomplishments mark President Chavez as the ‘Renaissance President of the 21st Century’.

    Many writers have noted one or another of his historic contributions highlighting his anti-poverty legislation, his success in winning popular elections with resounding majorities and his promotion of universal free public education and health coverage for all Venezuelans.

    In this essay we will highlight the unique world-historic contributions that President Chavez made in the spheres of political economy, ethics and international law and in redefining relations between political leaders and citizens. We shall start with his enduring contribution to the development of civic culture in Venezuela and beyond.

    Voltaire Network | 15 March 2013

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Loved what Jim Petras had to say about Chavez, especially the West’s alleged Marxists totally ignoring what he said and did.

    The West doesn’t have an inkling of what it has become, and done.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Terry Eagleton has a good review of Jonathan Sperber’s biography: Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, in the latest issue of Harper’s, showing that he certainly has not outlived his usefulness.

    The Thatcher-like appraisal of the Enlightenment figure ends on this most positive note:

    “The hunt for profit still governs most of the world, giving rise to imperial war, child labor, and stinking slums. The proletariat may no longer be massed in the factories of the West, but its presence is as palpable as ever in the sweatshops of the South and East. We are, in short, as far from lying around in loose crimson garments as we ever were.” (p. 102)

    Too bad he wrote the review before Hugo’s murder, and the election of Pope Francis, but overlooking Chavez’s tenure as President of Venezuela was a serious omission.

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