Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hugo Chavez Dies

As was becoming clearly inevitable, Hugo Chavez lost his battle with cancer today.  Chavez was an interesting character, and here is probably the best of the stories the American people are ever going to be told about him:

"Chavez easily won a new six-year term at an election in October and his death will devastate millions of supporters who adored his charismatic style, anti-U.S. rhetoric and oil-financed policies that brought subsidized food and free health clinics to long-neglected slums.

Detractors, however, saw his one-man style, gleeful nationalizations and often harsh treatment of opponents as traits of an egotistical dictator whose misplaced statist economics wasted a historic bonanza of oil revenues."

It is not, of course, wasting a historic bonanza of oil revenues for a couple of thousand people who go around calling themselves princes and kings to spend the money on fifty million dollar yachts and hundred million dollar houses in Cap Ferrat.  No, nor is it wasting a historic bonanza of oil revenues to allow a few parasitic people to get so rich that they can buy control of our entire government.  It is a waste, however, when the money is spent on food and free clinics for the poor.

Chavez had been the head of Venezuela for fourteen years, and was still wildly popular, recently being reelected by a landslide vote.  Compare that to the guy who was "elected" to lead our country about the time Chavez became President of Venezuela, and who, incidentally, used our country's power to try to manipulate Venezuela's elections to end Chavez' career.  All of this, of course, because Chavez was determined to spend some of his country's wealth on the people of Venezuela, rather than just letting oil companies take it all.

It will be interesting, in the next few days, to see the orgy of hatred that people in our country will direct toward Chavez, as a result of this sin.  Nothing could be worse, in Venezuela or here in the United States, than to expect the government to work for anyone but the very rich.

Update:  Here's a quote from an Associated Press obituary of Chavez, to reinforce my point:

"Chavez invested Venezuela's oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world's tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi."

The percent of Venezuelans living on less than $2 a day fell in three years during Chavez' presidency from 35% to 13%.   That, however, is meager indeed compared to building the world's tallest building and branches of two museums, according to our press corps, which is, of course, far more likely to care about a museum than they are about people living on $2 a day.  Those are the values that are crammed down Americans' throats 24 hours a day.  Is it any wonder that so many of them give in to the hatred and greed that are all the Republican party has to offer?

Thanks to Atrios and Lawyers, Guns and Money for leading me to this little tidbit.


Magpie said...

Green Eagle (and friends) here is some essential viewing on the relationship between the USA and Venezuela and other Latin American nations. It’s a 2007 doco by John Pilger, who is expert on the evils of the Right.

It’s called The War On Democracy, and it covers in detail what was really going on regarding US policy in dealing with Chavez and how it was distorted back to the American people. It isn’t pleasant.

I might have recommended it before, can’t remember. I might repost it myself.


Dard Shayarih said...

Hugo Chavez is a great leader , but Venezuela with its great people will find a good replacement. may Allah rest his soul in Peace.

Dave Dubya said...

For refusing to be a puppet of Washington DC and its Big Oil owners, Chavez was demonized as a thug and dictator. Well, maybe to some degree he was, but he was democratically elected, helped the poor and didn't start any wars based on lies.

For that, the American corporate media will spit on his grave and ignore Bush and Cheney's war crimes.

Green Eagle said...

I'm not sure he was a great leader, but he was a good leader who cared about the fate of his country's people above all, and who materially improved their living conditions. That, as Dave Dubya points out, is the ultimate crime for our leaders, because the proles in this country cannot be allowed a glimpse of what government can do when those who control it are not terminally corrupt.