Tag Archive | "Hugo Chavez"

Craig Murray on Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez

Former British Ambassador to Uzebekistan Craig Murray, who was forced out because he would not be quiet about torture there, has an incisive post about Hugo Chavez. Emphasis added.

There are valid criticisms to be made of Chavez’ attitude towards those who honestly disagreed with him. A dictator he was not.

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?

Posted in News

Note to Hugo Chavez. Oil is fungible

Socialist Unity on Venezuela’s threat to stop selling oil to the US if attacked by Columbia

If actually carried out, such a threat would be a big blow for the Venezuelan economy. More than 90 percent of its export earnings are from oil. The United States is the top buyer of oil from Venezuela, which is one of the U.S. main oil suppliers.

Fungible

Fungibility is the property of a good or a commodity whose individual units are capable of mutual substitution. Examples of highly fungible commodities are crude oil, wheat, orange juice, precious metals, and currencies.

So, if Venezuela blocks direct oil sales to the US, someone else will buy their oil and perhaps sell it to the US. Or the US simply buys oil elsewhere.

Posted in News

Hugo sings

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d55CSEZvAP0&feature=player_embedded

Marc Cooper

This is so stupid, I am not going to bother to translate this little ditty from Hugo Chavez. The gist of it is that he expresses sorrow for all of the poor people condemned to live in the U.S. and then he sings a song about how he doesn’t love Hillary Clinton. It’s Chavez’ right to be an ass. No harm there. What I do find unsettling are the “optics” — the disciplined audience of party faithful, all wearing red and clapping in unison. We’ve see this movie before, and it never ends very well. Doesn’t exactly look like an atmosphere that encourages critical and independent thinking.

Marc Cooper is socialist, was a translator for the Allende government in Chile and barely escaped with his life when the coup happened.

But apparently he must have forgotten that Chavez stands against imperialism so therefore anything he does is permissible, justifiable, and exemplary.

Posted in News

Hugo Chavez: Haiti quake caused by US weapons testing

Such lunacies detract from his probably quite accurate observation that the US is using the quake as a pretext to occupy Haiti.

Posted in News

Venezuela

It’s not hard to find criticisms of Hugo Chavez in this country. Their socialist experiment, we are told, is doomed for failure. The recent news of Venezuela’s currency devaluation and two-tiered exchange rate have some shrieking failure. Mike Shedlock, on his blog Mish’s Global Economic Analysis, had this to say,

Turn out the lights. The collapse of Venezuela is well underway. It will not be long before the country completely stops functioning, assuming you think Venezuela is functioning now.

I happen to think Venezuela is functioning. According to a recent study by the Venezuelan Institute of Data Analysis (IVAD), Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s approval rating has dropped slightly, to 60.3%, from 62.4% last October. That’s about eight points higher than Obama’s approval rating here in the United States. Like the US and the rest of the world they are dealing with the economic crisis. However, unlike here in the United States where social spending is getting slashed across the board, “Venezuela’s 2010 Budget Maintains Social Spending…” According to Venezuela’s Minister for Finances and the Economy, Ali Rodriguez Araque:

The total budget for 2010 is 159.41 billion Bolivars (US $73.9 billion). Of this, 45.73% would be directed towards social spending aimed at poverty reduction and improving the quality of life for Venezuelans, Rodriguez announced.

The big question seems to be whether or not Venezuela can actually afford to continue its social spending in the wake of this economic crisis. In a previous post, Bob points out:

If you devalue the currency and make imports much more expensive, inflation will increase. Nationalizing a business does nothing to stop this. Nor does denouncing inflation.

Bob is probably right, but when I contrast our nation’s priorities during the bailout with those of Venezuela I’m left a bit envious. Where are the programs here to combat poverty, rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, create energy independence and the like? Whatever you think about Hugo Chavez, you should understand the Bolivarian Revolution underway there is much bigger than any one person. As I was researching for this article, I came across an interesting quote from Chavez’s brother Adan:

We conducted urban guerrilla work. But because of its clandestine character [of the Party of the Venezuelan Revolution] did not have contact with the masses. Furthermore they were very dogmatic and sectarian. like the MIR, it split and ended up disappearing. In order to achieve a revolutionary popular movement, which would allow the taking of power, one had to have a strong influence within the popular masses and have support within the Armed Forces.”

The dogmatic and sectarian nature of the Left in the US is something Bob has written about repeatedly here and I think in many ways the Bolivarian example offers clues on how we might move beyond that.

Posted in recession, Socialism

Hugo Chavez jumps the shark

Fonzie_jumps_the_shark

The President of Venezuela has just praised Robert Mugabe, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and, wait for it, Idi Amin – even if he was a cannibal.

Oh, and Carlos the Jackal too. Can’t forget him. Selfless fighters against imperialism, all of them.

Lordy, what a lunatic blowhard Chavez has turned out to be. Inflation is soaring in Venezuela (something which is entirely the fault of capitalism, you understand) and they and Columbia are close at war. Sounds like things are going just great there.

Posted in News

Chavez gets thuggier

Coming soon to Venezuela: Armed militias answerable only to Chavez

There is no ambiguity on where the militias’ loyalties lie. Not with the Venezuelan state, not with the military, but directly and personally with Chávez.

Early on with Chavez, when I thought Chavez represented something truly new and democratic, a friend who has followed South American politics for decades and who reads and speaks Spanish fluently and thus can read newspapers and websites in Spanish said wait, you’ll see, Chavez is just another dictator thug.

Any head of state who wants armed militias accountable only to him is neither democratic or for the people. The possibility such power can be abused is huge and obvious.

And no, that doesn’t mean I support the oligarchs there either. They probably have their own militias.

Posted in News

Chávez tactical u-turn on socialism

Hugo Chavez

Chavez is abandoning his socialist agenda “for now,” granting amnesty to right-wing coup plotters, replacing left-wingers in his cabinet, and signaling he wants to build alliances with the bourgeoisie.

New Statesman opines
the recent defeat of socialism at the Venezuela polls had little to do with socialism and quite a lot to do with Chavistas becoming insiders.

A closer look at electoral patterns reveals a clear protest vote, not against a socialist agenda, but against corrupt administrations, at the national and the regional level.

The vote outcome has everything to do with the accession of many a Chavista to the rank of “insider” over the past eight years. This process has been gradual, and perhaps inevitable in a society in which institutionalised rentier-mechanisms have been endemic for decades.

But the contradiction between a radical socialist government agenda and the “Chavista elite”, bent on defending its share in the oil rent, effectively came to a head last year.

In other words, it’s a battle between the left Chavista street and the right Chavista elite, many of whom hold positions of power in the administration, and pretended to back the reforms while working against them and destabilized markets to create food shortages.

Thus, says the New Statesman, a weakened Chavez hasn’t the power to fight them and must make accommodations, at least for now, until he strengthens his mass party – assuming he can.

In any system of government, a primary task is to insure that a privileged elite does not gain control, enriching themselves at the expense of others. This clearly has  happened in socialism (USSR managerial class and current day China) as well as capitalism. Somehow, we need governments beholden and responsive to all, and not primarily to the few at the top.

Posted in Socialism


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