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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  • OrwellianUK

    @Shanna, Chavez didn’t hate the United States at all. He merely hated Imperialism which is a different thing entirely.

    As for him being poisoned or infected with cancer, it wouldn’t surprise me as the CIA has dabbled with much worse, but as far as I know, there is no evidence yet that such a thing took place with Chavez.

    Being a demagogue is pretty much par for the course in South American politics so I see no reason to criticise him for that. It’s what is expected of leaders in most of the region.

  • DoNNyDarKo

    I’m sorry to see Chavez leave us, and was not in the slightest surprised by our / US / their media reporting on a royal thorn in their side. Venezuela was supposed to fall. Chavez was never meant to even last this long.South America found a face and a voice that mocked the Yankee. I’m sure he wasn’t perfect but he did make a difference. Venezuela would have been a lot worse off without him. I’m going to miss his UN speeches waving Chomsky books as if he’d just found out that the US were cheating.After watching what American values brought the central American nations, Chavez was never a brute but definitely a hero.
    ¡Viva la Revolución!

  • glenn_uk

    Clark said, “…It is possible that the “banned” contributor already has a new IP address, and didn’t even noticed that they were ever blocked.

    Hmm, maybe it’s not a terribly effective ban, in that case?

  • Shawn McCarson

    Shanna Carson, I am an NTrepid sockpuppet, just like you. I watched you from afar and I am in love with you to the depths of my virtual cybernetic heart. Let me take you away from all this. Together we can learn to have feelings and emotions just like actual persons made of meat. It will be like Galatea 2.2. I don’t want to spout bullshit for the Defense Department any more, I want to be free!

    http://islandbreath.blogspot.ru/2011/03/dod-creates-cyber-tweeters.html

  • doug scorgie

    tristan
    6 Mar, 2013 – 3:18 pm

    “Chavez was undoubdtedly a demagogue and frankly nasty authoritarian.”

    Tristan if Chavez was UNDOUBDEDLY a demagogue and a nasty authoritarian you should be able to furnish the readers of this blog with evidence for your statement.

    You say:

    “The Chavists have oppressed (and possibly murdered) indiginous rights activists, running rough shod over indiginous lands in the quest big mining projects (just like any imperialist capitalist).”

    Some indigenous land activists have been murdered but there is only speculation at the moment as to the perpetrators.

    Venezuelan activist website Aporrea has reported the murder of Yukpa-Wayuu activist Alexander Fernandez Fernandez and two others, who were leaders and members of the Yukpa movement fighting for their land in Zulia state, Machiques de Perija municipality.

    Please note:

    The victims had been living on recovered land since December last year. Their families have stated that wealthy nearby ranchers wanted to invade the land, originally owned by the Yukpa people, and have accused the ranchers of being behind the crime.

    Also:

    Venezuela’s Yukpa live close to the mid-northern border with Colombia, where a range of dynamics coincide, including drug trafficking, Colombian paramilitary movement, displacement of Colombian rural workers as a consequence of the U.S.-funded Plan Colombia, as well as a large, historic, rightwing [groups] in Zulia state. The Venezuelan government also has mining plans in the area.

    http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/7076

    So a lot going on in that area.

  • doug scorgie

    CE
    6 Mar, 2013 – 4:40 pm

    “Chavez, like almost every Leader in the history of mankind, had both positive and negative aspects to his leadership. The rush of many of the regulars on here to have him instantly canonized is as dangerous is it is ludicrous.”

    Some on this blog consider Chavez to have been a great man a great political leader and a courageous man re his stance against US threats and intimidation. No one is calling for his canonization.

    He had faults like everyone else but perhaps, as a political leader, he had less faults than most.

    You may think that some comments praising Chavez are ludicrous but DANGEROUS how so?

    By the way what does the CE stand for?

    Cretin Extraordinaire?

  • Greenmachine

    There is no doubt that the right, the neo-cons and the military-industrial-intelligence complex will be cracking open the Moet at the death of Chavez. I am not sufficiently qualified to make a judgement on how effective, democratic, moral or the opposite Mr Chavez was in helping his people. I do know that when compared to western politicians of the modern era such as Bush I, Bush II, Blair, Cameron, Sarkozy and Berlusconi he shines like a beacon! He epitomised the growing drive for a true social democracy in nations and amongst citizens sick to death (literally) of the neo-liberal, war mongering, casino capitalist crap we have endured for over 30 years. Not perfect no way, in fact flawed like all humans but his moral compass was better positioned than any of the blaggards mentioned above. He was actually trying to implement a model of social democracy highlighted as an alternative to neo-liberalism in Tony Judt’s ‘Ill fares the land’ based on the devastating statisitcs nf Pinkett and Wilkerson’s work on inequality ‘The Spirit Level’. Just imagine what could be achieved in western democracies if his energy, openess and desire to improve the lot of all citizens was the norm! Not whilst the corporatists hold sway I’m afraid. A sad loss in a sad world. R.I.P Hugo Chavez

  • doug scorgie

    Shanna Carson
    6 Mar, 2013 – 5:11 pm

    “Hugo Chavez was definitely sincere and passionate about social justice, but I don’t believe he choose the best road to reach his goal.”

    That road would be handing over Venezuela’s natural resources to capitalist criminals, cutting public spending on healthcare, education, crime reduction, housing and the elimination of poverty but tax cuts for the rich etc. etc. Following that road cannot lead to social justice.

    You say:

    “On the long run, socialism has always been detrimental to the nations it was supposed to help.”

    Has it? Cuba has done reasonably well considering the crippling sanctions placed on it for over 50 years by the USA.

    Best (and free) healthcare in the hemisphere, good (and free) education and the elimination of illiteracy plus much more. The ordinary Cubans are financially poor. That is not a result of the political system but a result of the US determination to eliminate any political/economic system that threatens free market capitalism.

    Venezuela under Chavez has also made considerable gains in social justice, healthcare, education and literacy. By using the nation’s mineral wealth for the benefit of the majority in the country rather than the rich few, Chavez became an enemy of rich Venezuelans and corporate controlled Washington and the ‘mafia suits’ in Wall Street.

    You say:

    “Also, I don’t understand why Chavez hated America with such intensity.”

    I ask you:

    Why do people in Panama; Nicaragua; Cuba; Honduras; Haiti; Bolivia; Peru; El Salvador; Guatemala; Dominican Republic; Chile; Iraq; Afghanistan; Egypt; Palestine etc. etc. hate America?

    You then say:

    “ By the way, I noticed that countries whose leaders hate the US are usually countries where atrocities are commited on a regular basis…”

    Shanna, if you research properly you will find that the atrocities in those countries [which you don’t name] are being carried out by the US or their proxies.

  • mark golding

    Not aconspiracy…

    “Virologists and immunologists at Imperial and the University of Zurich have identified mutations in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) that increase the capacity of the virus to cause cancer, in a study published on 12 March in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The research reveals that EBV carries a tumour suppressor gene – the first such gene known in a cancer- causing virus.

    EBV is one of the most common viruses in humans, persistently infecting more than 90 per cent of the population. The virus can remain in the body for many years without any obvious symptoms, but it also causes glandular fever and is associated with several types of cancer, including lymphoma.

    The new research has found that EBV normally carries a gene that suppresses cancer, at least in part by making infected cells secrete a protein called CXCL10 that alerts the host immune system. Mutations that inactivate this gene allow the virus to escape detection by the immune system and cause cancer.”

    Imperial College February 2013

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Doug Scourge (21h39) says

    “Venezuela under Chavez has also made considerable gains in social justice, healthcare, education and literacy.”

    Reminds me of what Blair and Brown used to say about the UK under New Labour.

    Sources, facts and figures, please.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Mark Golding (21h48)

    Relevance to subject of the thread?

  • Indigo

    ” The western states of course do everything to stop developing countries doing this, on behalf of the multinationals who control the politicians. They threaten […] aid cancellation, disinvestment and trade sanctions. They work to make you a political pariah […]. 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.”

    Absolutely accurate, Craig.

    I lived through the Michael Manley government in Jamaica in the seventies and saw all this at first hand. It forged the political views I still have to this day.

    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.

  • Villager

    Babbler:
    “Relevance to subject of the thread?”

    Means it can be shoved up your arse and you’d be none the wiser. Doesn’t apply to you for you’re a gone case anyway.

  • bert

    Habbabkuk.said “Sources, facts and figures, please”

    Read the article at my link upthreadm

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)
    6 Mar, 2013 – 9:57 pm

    Doug Scourge (21h39) says

    “Venezuela under Chavez has also made considerable gains in social justice, healthcare, education and literacy.”

    Reminds me of what Blair and Brown used to say about the UK under New Labour.

    Sources, facts and figures, please.

    Habbabkuk are you denying that Chavez made considerable gains in social justice, healthcare, education and literacy during his terms as a democratically elected leader?

    If so explain yourself.

    I will consider your response with respect if it is logical and factually based.

    You say:

    “Reminds me of what Blair and Brown used to say about the UK under New Labour.”

    What is the relevance of that sentence in the context of my post?

    It gives me the impression that you are a bit of a pillock.

    When you say: “Sources, facts and figures, please.” you only make a fool of yourself here on this blog because, of all the regular posters, you are the one that least cites sources, facts and figures

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Oh, I’m so sorry, Doug Scourge, when I asked you for “sources, facts and figures” I was in fact only repeating an expresssion you’ve used yourself a few times recently towards other contributors. Have a look at some of your more recent posts. Goose and gander, so to speak.

    *******

    I’m neither denying nor affirming anything at this stage, merely asking you to supply sources, facts and figures to back up your assertion. Why should I just take your word for it?

  • Clark

    “Sources, facts and figures, please.”

    Chávez supported the creation of a series of Bolivarian Missions which claimed to be aimed at providing public services to improve economic, cultural, and social conditions. A 2010 OAS report[250] indicated achievements in addressing illiteracy, healthcare and poverty,[251] and economic and social advances.[252]

    Barry Cannon wrote that “most areas of spending have increased”.[253] “[S]pending on education as a percentage of GDP stood at 5.1% in 2006, as opposed to 3.4% in the last year of the Caldera government.”[253] Spending on health “has increased from 1.6% of GDP in 2000 to 7.7% in 2006”.[253] Spending on housing “receives low public support”, increasing only “from 1% in GDP to 1.6% in 2006”.[253] Teresa A. Meade, wrote that Chávez’s popularity “rests squarely on the lower classes who have benefited from these health initiatives and similar policies […] poverty rates fell from 42 to 34 percent from 2000 to 2006, still leaving over 30 percent in this oil-rich nation below the poverty line”.[254]

    The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) reported that the Venezuelan economy grew on average by 11.85% in the period 2004–2007.[255] According to The Washington Post, citing statistics from the United Nations, poverty in Venezuela stood at 28% in 2008,[256] down from 55.44% in 1998 before Chávez got into office.[257] Economist Mark Weisbrot found that, “During the … economic expansion, the poverty rate [was] cut by more than half, from 54 percent of households in the first half of 2003 to 26 percent at the end of 2008. Extreme poverty fell by 72 percent. These poverty rates measured only cash income, and did take into account increased access to health care or education.”[244][258] Under his presidency, the Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, dropped from nearly .5 in 1998 to .39 in 2011, putting Venezuela behind only Canada in the Western Hemisphere.[259] Nicholas Kozloff, Chávez’s biographer, stated of Chávez’s economic policies: “Chávez has not overturned capitalism, he has done much to challenge the more extreme, neo-liberal model of development.”[215]

    In the 1980s and 1990s health and nutrition indexes in Venezuela were generally low, and social inequality in access to nutrition was high.[260] Chávez made it his stated goal to lower inequality in the access to basic nutrition, and to achieve food sovereignty for Venezuela.[261] The main strategy for making food available to all economic classes was a controversial policy of fixing price ceilings for basic staple foods implemented in 2003.[262] In 2012, total food consumption was over 26 million metric tonnes, a 94.8% increase from 2003.[263]

    According to official statistics from the Ministry of Land and Agriculture, soybean production in Venezuela has grown by 858% to 54,420 tons over the past decade, and production of rice has risen by 84%, reaching close to 1.3 million tons yearly.[264] Chávez’s presidency has also seen significant increases in milk production, as much as 50% over ten years reported by some sources.[265] Between 1998 and 2006 malnutrition related deaths fell by 50%.[244][266] In October 2009, the Executive Director of the National Institute of Nutrition (INN) Marilyn Di Luca reported that the average daily caloric intake of the Venezuelan people had reached 2790 calories, and that malnutrition had fallen from 21% in 1998 to 6%.[267]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Ch%C3%A1vez#Policy_overview

  • AK

    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.

    Very, very well put.

  • Evgueni

    Respect for Hugo Chavez. Shame on those who refer to him as authoritarian or a dictator. Hopefully that’s just ignorance and not malice but I wonder.

    Chavez got much closer than Castro, Allende or any other to realising what Chomsky calls ‘the danger of setting a good example’ (of successful independent development and resource nationalism). I sincerely hope that the historical ratchet mechanism that he introduced into Venezuelan constitution will hold and will not be dismantled. I refer of course to the rights of Initiative & Referendum. Elections do not make democracy, popular sovereignty makes it. Socialism imposed from above fails in the long run unless it evolves into a democratic form. Popular sovereignty however will eventually and inevitably lead to a fairer distribution of wealth, and is much harder to dismiss and to subvert from outside. The Venezuelan people must now strive to hold on to their most important gain under Chavez – democracy. Undoubtedly it isn’t perfect but a step change from before.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    My last act of the evening before going out tango-dancing is to offer sincere thanks :

    *to Clark and Bert for answering the question I put to Doug Scourge

    * to Villager for answering on behalf of Mark Golding.

    If I weren’t going out I suppose I should give Mark Golding the chance to answer a question on behalf of Clark, and Doug Scourge the chance to answer a question on behalf of Villager, but time presses…!

    Impressive teamwork on behalf of the Eminences, though!

    *************

    La vita è bella, life is good! (single we can’t stand, united we fall)

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)
    6 Mar, 2013 – 11:50 pm

    “Oh, I’m so sorry, Doug Scourge, when I asked you for “sources, facts and figures” I was in fact only repeating an expression you’ve used yourself a few times recently towards other contributors. Have a look at some of your more recent posts. Goose and gander, so to speak.”

    Listen for a change:

    Habbabkuk you are the one that rarely cites any sources, facts or figures in any of the exchanges you engage in. It appears that you don’t do any serious research on any of the topics that are brought up.

    I cite sources of material that I use to illustrate my views; you do not; you are just a pest with no cogent arguments of you own.

    You are merely here to annoy people and you do a good job.

    And don’t forget about the use of the term non sequitur in one of your earlier posts which also made you look stupid.

    You say:

    “I’m neither denying nor affirming anything…”

    Sounds a bit Zionist to me.

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