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Aug 16th 2007

Rethinking Hugo Chavez

A great piece by a left-leaning author.

For a long time, I’ve defended Hugo Chavez. I thought that he was fighting a worthy battle against greed and corruption, against years of foreign domination and cronyism. I thought he was trying to improve the lives of poor people, while establishing a strong economy, an independent and self-respecting nation, and a vibrant democracy.

But now, after watching events unfold in the past few months, I’m ready to admit that I was mistaken.

Unfortunately, many of us on the left have been silent on this issue for far too long. While we have been quick to criticize our own administration and other foreign governments (think Vladimir Putin) for undemocratic policies, there has been a tendency to overlook the authoritarian governing styles of leftist regimes like that of Venezuela.


13 Responses to “Rethinking Hugo Chavez”

  1. John Everitt

    Those of us on the right figured out Chavez a long time ago. We knew he wasn’t for the people, he was intent on creating a socialist regime with himself at the helm. Welcome to the right thinking side.

  2. Curtis

    This dictator as you all like to think of him as, still commands the popular vote in venezuela. Is that not democracy? That country has democracy at a grass-roots level. The current constitution was approved and adjusted at the very lowest levels of government with full participation of the people. They truly have a participatory government from the bottom up in Venezuela.

  3. Curtis

    As for his government not being for the people, why don’t you ask the people that? Here is the short list of what he has done:

    • More than three million hectares of land have been distributed among peasants.
    • Millions of children and adults have been taught to read and write.
    • Thousands of medical centers have been settled in the popular suborns.
    • Thousands low-income people with eye diseases have been operated for free.
    • Basic food products have been subsidized and offered to poor people at a low price, 42% less than in the market.
    • The weekly working hours have been reduced from 44 to 36 and the minimum wage was about 204 euros per month (the highest in Latin America after Costa Rica).

    The result of all these measures is that between 1999 and 2005 poverty dropped from 42.8% to 33.9% (2). The population that works in the informal economy decreased from 53% to 40%. This decrease of poverty allows the maintaining of economic growth, which – in the last three years – reached 12% (one of the highest in the world), supported by a consumption rate that has increased up to 18% during a year.

  4. doug

    Thank you Ignacio Ramonet Curtis for stopping by with those numbers.

  5. Ignacio

    Glad you liked them. You must be coming around after all.

  6. Ignacio

    This article in Time Magazine is a rather fair-minded look at Chavez. Check it out at:,8599,1653937,00.html

  7. Chavez is truly a sensible world leader….

    “The devil came here yesterday,” Chavez said, referring to Bush, who addressed the world body during its annual meeting Tuesday. “And it smells of sulfur still today.”

  8. Ignacio

    Are you one of the last few percentage of Americans still clinging to Bush?

  9. I’m one of the growing percentage this post refers to that recognizes Chavez for what he is.

  10. Curtis

    In other words, you are falling for the same kind of media hype that got us into the Iraq war. You know gullible isn’t listed in the dictionary.

  11. I’m part of the secret council that meets every month to dictate world events. Talking to you about it would jeopardize my cover and our clandestine agenda.

  12. Curtis

    Ah, that must be a reference to your membership in the Bohemian Grove then.

  13. Rick Azzolini

    While googoling I stumbled into this blog and here are my two bits.

    To the few gentlemen discussing Chavez in a positive light: sorry, you do not know what is going on. I was in Venezuela during his coming to presidency and remained there several years more, still go there once in a while and I can assure you that Chavez is going to destroy Venezuela. Currently, in spite of the fact that oil (the only source of signifficant income in Venezuela) approaches $100 / barrell, in Venezuela there is no meat, no flour, no sugar, no real milk and now no powder milk, no chicken and the lines to try to buy these products now resemble the lines to buy toilet paper in the FSU. The roads are a disaster, the land that Chavez stole from rightful owners and has “distributed” to the people there lay without producing. The housing for the poor is nothing more than a siphon of corruption for the Chavistas, so are the “community markets”. Their new slogan is “country, socialism or death”. The crime rate is now the highest in South America on a per capita basis. Chavez is purchasing submarines, machine guns and other weaponry and for what? Any idiot can see that Venezuela is not a defensible country. One airplane can take out 99% of the sources of revenue simply by destroying the oil terminal in the east and the Maracaibo lake channel in the west and that is all she rode, no more oil. It is all a theater by Chavez who now wants to continue with his process towards a Castro communism regime there. Sean Penn is an imbecil and so are all of the ones still ignorant of the real facts about Chavez and his trash.