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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  • Chris

    Long live the Bolivarian Revolution. R.I.P. Hugo Chavez – a giant among pygmies.

  • Dreoilin

    Jack Seale ‏@jackseale

    Guardian Chavez obit is WILDLY biased. Only mention of huge free health/education reform & poverty reduction: “populist social programmes”.

  • Chris Naden



    I’ve not been home in a while, but we used to call them ‘pessowa’ when I were a lad, and I still have a tin of about 300 of them somewhere. When did that change?

  • Mary - For Truth and Justice

    My earlier comment from the Palmerston thread, just for the record.

    Mary 6 Mar, 2013 – 5:58 am

    I could not stay in bed listening to the anti Chavez poison coming out of the World Service this morning. Someone said recently that it is part funded by the US. This was very obvious this morning.

    Some of the nastiest comment came from this individual. He must have been known by the BBC for his views and called in for the appropriate purpose.

    Semester in Washington

    Bradley A. Blakeman, J.D.

    The outfit he set up.'s_Watch
    See who was in it. Repellent.

    I sincerely hope that Maduro (a former bus driver we were helpfully told by BBC News just now by a female named Cordelia Meyer*) wins the election which will be called within the next month.


    Get the picture?

  • Sandy Miller

    Craig Her in Scotland we have seen our resources plundered by successive British governments that also involved bribery.
    Bribery was done on the cheap however as all they had to do was give aways bits of ermine with a few fancy titles thrown in and a seat in the House of Lords

  • DtP

    What surprises me (well, perhaps even more so as I get older) is that people have formed opinions of the man based on tiny snippets of his actions. 2 colleagues this morning have been cock-a-hoop that he’s perished and I just kind of thought – what fricking difference does it make to us if he’d campaigned on banning cheese and free sausages for all. Hmm….this interweb thingy doesn’t necessarily improve knowledge much after all; tabloid bollox a plenty.

  • Mary - For Truth and Justice

    Craig mentioned Newmont. Thought I would look them up. Mr Goldberg et al. Well named. Hypocrisy in view of what Craig said about taxes. Revenue $9.5 billion. Relocated HQ from NY to tax friendly Nevada. Very acquisitive of the planet’s resources and good at ripping the guts out of the earth judging by that photo on the Wikipedia page.

  • N_

    owns the mainstream media and politicians

    And civil servants.

    The BBC World Service is funded by the Foreign Office and cooperates with the US CIA’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service. They divvy the world up into two.

    Acting President Nicolas Maduro accused enemies of murdering Chavez, in a way similar to how Yasser Arafat was murdered. Hours before he announced Chavez’s death, he announced the expulsion of the US air force attaché and his assistant. Let us hope more expulsions follow.

    Questions have been raised whether the technology used to murder Chavez was also used against Argentinean President Cristina Kirchner Fernandez, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and former Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo.

    In putting welfare before billionaires’ looting, the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, etc., have already held up a beacon for the world. May they make further advances, break off all relations with the US, and encourage other governments to do likewise. Out, devil, out!

  • Mary - For Truth and Justice

    Correction Newmont moved from NY to Denver Colorado. Nevada tax friendly for mining operations.

  • N_

    To be more precise: the CIA’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service was absorbed into the Director of National Intelligence’s “Open Source Center”, and it is this which cooperates with the BBC’s Monitoring Service.

    The BBC World Service is funded by the Foreign Office.

    Not that it would matter if it wasn’t. They say they will fund it from the licence fee from next year. Brit troops abroad are a main market.

  • Pardeep

    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised/angry/saddened/depressed at the vitroil directed at Chavez and the glee that some of his oppenents are celebrating the death of a human being from cancer. Probably the worst culprits are our pals in the “liberal” media such as The Guardian and The Independent, after so many years of supporting imperial wars they have completley lost any sort of moral compass. One of the things I thought about was how much is enough. It wasn’t as if rich people in Venezuela stopped being rich or that they had their homes or property confiscated. Sure, as Craig said, instead of being worth $50 million they were worth $45 million, but it seems this is enough to make them spew out the most awful hatred towards Chavez. They genuinely resent him spending money on teaching basic literacy to poor children, as if this was the worst thing a human being could do. I guess no matter how much money and power the rich have, it will never be enough, a frightening glimpse into the sociopathic tendencies of our ruling elites.

  • Clarisa

    Today his physical disappearance becomes the strength of mind to all of us who dream of the liberation from the chains that colonialism, imperialism and capitalism imposes.

  • Tom Welsh

    What evidence is there that Chavez was murdered rather than dying of natural causes? (I ask because I honestly want to know, and the media will not be of any help).

  • A Node

    When I discuss world affairs with my less conspiracy-minded friends, a point will inevitably come when my doom and gloom provokes the question “Well, what can we do about it?”
    My realism compels me to reply “Absolutely nothing, the bastards have been doing this for too long, their control is practically absolute, the only thing left to us is to try and delay the inevitable, but we can’t stop it.”
    But this last decade, a shred of optimism has looked to Hugo Chavez and how he reclaimed Venezuela from the demons, and consoled me that when things get bad enough, just possibly, with luck, the right person can wake up the masses.
    And I guess that’s why they had to kill him.
    R.I.P. President Chavez. You were a great man, and will continue to be a great example.

  • mike cobley

    See the Guardian piece written by Rory Carroll for slant and anti-Chavez bias, and the interview with him in the role of a biographer of Chavez!

  • Keith Crosby

    How significant was Chavez the individual? We’ll see soon enough, although COMbbc and the other corp-o-rat propaganda rackets will be slow to let us know. For a middle-of-the-road social democrat to be smeared like this, things everywhere else must be pretty bad. Of course we all know that.

  • craig Post author

    Cuba’s medical facilities are amongst the best of the world, and I suspect if there were a credible case he was being poisoned or otherwise unnaturally killed they would have discovered it during his long period of treatment and we would have heard of it before now. I strongly suspect their chances of diagnosing that from him alive would have been better than any post-mortem results. I very much doubt he was murdered. Unless I missed it, there have so far been no results confirming Arafat was either, so speculation they were killed the same way is a bit premature too.

    For now let’s not sidetrack this thread on murder speculation. If any actual evidence of that appears, I’ll start a new thread.

  • technicolour

    Massive recommends (875 so far) for this on the Guardian: “I see the right-wing are showing their class tonight. Gloating over the death of a great man.”.

    Have been urging everyone to watch this: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Chavez – Inside the Coup.–ZFtjR5c

    One of those very rare, utterly gripping and immensely informative documentaries; now, suddenly, very sad. Also worth reading ‘top critic’ Roger Ebert’s excellent review which concludes:

    “It is of course impossible to prove that the coup was sponsored by the CIA or any other U.S. agency. But what was the White House thinking when it welcomed two anti-government leaders who soon after were instrumental in the coup? Not long ago, reviewing another film, I wrote about the CIA-sponsored overthrow of Chile’s democratically elected president Salvador Allende. I got a lot of e-mail telling me the CIA had nothing to do with it. For anyone who believes that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell them.

    Note: The last words in George Orwell’s notebook were: “At age 50, every man has the face he deserves.” Although it is outrageously unfair and indefensibly subjective of me, I cannot prevent myself from observing that Chavez and his cabinet have open, friendly faces, quick to smile, and that the faces of his opponents are closed, shifty, hardened.”

  • craig Post author

    Doug Scrogie

    Interesting nothing about health services, education or clean water in what Obama wishes the Venezuelan people.

  • Mary - For Truth and Justice

    The Simon Bolivar Orchestra’s tribute. I am sure that there is a better translation that this Google version but you get the drift.

    End of an era
    Caracas, the capital city of his orphan Chavez

    Paul’s Beef

    A metropolis of more than six million inhabitants. Living the shock of the death of pressidente, loved and hated, which in recent decades has, however, transformed the face and ambitions

    The Venezuelan television gives the news of the death of Chavez – Source: Getty Images

    The atmosphere is strange these days in Caracas. Not only is the foul air caused by the hellish traffic. There is also the vaguely uneasy in a metropolis that feels to be left without its helmsman. Or without his master, as the most fanatical supporters called Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías. It is so dalll’11 December when the presdiente venzuelano, had to undergo for the fourth time in a year and a half in surgery in Cuba, because of the cancer that attacked him. But just looking at the barrios surrounding the old Italian will understand why the populism of Chavez has swept for 15 years. With him, in fact, for the first time the poor have a voice. Those same poor people in the 80s were eating “perrarina”, or the meat for dogs, with the blessing of white elites that praised even nutritional properties in wide reportage in the most important economic weekly.

    Caracas, in short, with its 6 million inhabitants, seems more like a sprawling city, with architectural and social scenarios that change suddenly from one neighborhood to another. It is especially violent, even violent with the world record of murder, 140 per 100 thousand inhabitants, more than 50 per day. A massacre of far superior to any Afghanistan or Iraq. In the capital of “socialism of the XXI century” in some quarters the curfew shooting at dusk and in the barrios to move from one street to another we call on her cell phone to see if the way is clear from the gang of kids with guns. Yet the city continues to attract like a magnet. In recent years, for example, it was the turn of Colombians. More than 4 million today to live in Venezuela. Are displaced, refugees for economic and political reasons related to the conflict between guerrillas of the FARC and the various successive governments in recent decades in Colombia. In the Venezuelan capital, the stronghold of the “Colombian” is the parroquia of 23 de Enero, a suburb from which Chávez started the attempted coup of February 4, 1992. “We are two different countries but the feeling is the same,” recalls Julio Cesar Cartalya, a former guerrilla, “As for me into the militant tactics of fighting that was in charge of logistics, weapons, money, clothing and food for the guerrilla fighting in the jungle. ” This page of history that united Venezuelans and Colombians has not been forgotten so much so that in 2008 the district was even inaugurated a square dedicated to Manuel Marulanda, the founder of the FARC.

    What remains of the house, in fact, the great problem of the Venezuelan capital so that one of the successful election of Chávez was the “I vivienda mi casa” who distributed thousands of new housing for the poor. “Everyone dreams of having a home here,” says Washington, a professional waiter, “but not everyone has it. When the dream will be realized maybe he really Caracas succeed the way to be a better society. ” His son Juanito meanwhile plays football in the pitch below their house in the favela of Petare. Joined with enthusiasm in the project “A Goal for Caracas” that offers a football school free to the poorest children. Sport but also classical music, thanks to “El Sistema” invented in 1975 by the master José Antonio Abreu, an extraordinary figure economist and musician together, the strong belief that their Mozart and Beethoven were the best cure to take children away from the violence of the barrios . Especially in a country of 30 million people with 30% of the population under the age of 14. Today, this model combines musical orchestras and choirs of young Venezuelans, 100% financed by Chavez that put him directly under the Ministry of the Family, sports and health, today has increased a little ‘everywhere. The method Abreu provides an immediate approach to the instrument and a teaching facility pyramidal older kids teach the younger. Although, as Abreu emphasizing, is not the method that counts, when the belief that music is good for society. In the morning big yellow buses enter the slums, bring their children in schools and bring them back only in the evening. In the project are also involved children with disabilities. Like the small deaf choir “Manos Blancas” performing the music with the movement of the hands. In Venezuela, where the centers of musical education of “El Sistema” is nearly 400, and a score in the world. Not to mention that among the pupils of Abreu, out of poverty thanks to classical music, there are also famous names such as Gustavo Dudamel, 31, conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and vying to lead the Berlin Philharmonic . But there is also Christian Vasquez, who at age 28 was named to the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, or Diego Matheuz than 27 years on the podium of the Fenice of Venice. “Playing and fight” is the motto of Abreu. “Playing because it is the best way to make life beautiful. And fight to remove all the obstacles that present themselves. I want these children to grow as artists and as social fighters. ” The future of Caracas depend on them …

    Their performance of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony The Resurrection which seems particularly appropriate and which I was lucky enough to hear. Absolutely wonderful and so moving.

  • craig Post author

    In getting rid of the Labourtin spam that is attacking the blog, I just accidentally banned someone else’s IP address. I have no idea how to unban it, and their having been deleted from the system I don’t know who it was, while being banned they can’t post and tell us. Oh dear!

    They might – I don’t know – still be able to sned me an email via the contact button at the top, which might be a start to working out how to fix it.

  • Mary - For Truth and Justice

    O/T sorry but important. Terrible. Can you believe the twerp who is British Foreign Secretary and is falling into the same trap that resulted in the chaos in Libya which has spread south into Mali, Algeria, Chad and Niger. This time he might set off a giant powder keg if he is not careful.

    6 March 2013 Last updated at 13:37

    UK to send armoured vehicles to Syrian opposition
    Two-thirds of those leaving Syria are women and children, the UN says

    The UK is to provide armoured vehicles and body armour to opposition forces in Syria “to help save lives”, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

    It will offer millions of pounds in “non-lethal” equipment, including search and rescue, communications, and disease-prevention materials.

    Mr Hague said it was a “necessary, proportionate and lawful” response to “extreme human suffering”.

  • Herbie

    “At age 50, every man has the face he deserves.” Although it is outrageously unfair and indefensibly subjective of me, I cannot prevent myself from observing that Chavez and his cabinet have open, friendly faces, quick to smile, and that the faces of his opponents are closed, shifty, hardened.”

    That’s absolutely right. There’s a very real humanity in the Oliver Stone film I posted earlier. People like Chavez are real leaders. They’re their own men charting a path in harmony with their ideals.

    Our “leaders”, by contrast, are but bag men for others, always compromised, doing as they’re told and I expect that goes a long way in explanation of that Dorian Gray syndrome which seems to afflict so many of them.

    I mean, look at Tony Blair. He’s even got a “W” for Warmonger etched on his forehead:

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