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Does Hugo Chavez Keep Fooling Venezuelans?

By Peter Hart – FAIR – December 13, 2012

The New York Times updates readers today (12/13/12) on the health status of left-wing Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, and the political implications for his country. But the paper starts out by suggesting that the people who keep electing him must have some kind of problem.

According to the Times’ William Neuman, life in Venezuela is pretty dismal. Christmas tree shipments were fouled up, a government ice cream factory closed down,  and “all of this happened while the economy was growing — before the slowdown many predict next year.”

He writes:

Such frustrations are typical in Venezuela, for rich and poor alike, and yet President Hugo Chávez has managed to stay in office for nearly 14 years, winning over a significant majority of the public with his outsize personality, his free-spending of state resources and his ability to convince Venezuelans that the Socialist revolution he envisions will make their lives better.

So people believe that, somewhere in the future, life will get better thanks to Chávez? But it’s already happened for the majority of Venezuelans. As Mark Weisbrot wrote (Guardian, 10/3/12):

Since 2004, when the government gained control over the oil industry and the economy had recovered from the devastating, extra-legal attempts to overthrow it (including the 2002 US-backed military coup and oil strike of 2002-2003), poverty has been cut in half and extreme poverty by 70%. And this measures only cash income. Millions have access to healthcare for the first time, and college enrolment has doubled, with free tuition for many students. Inequality has also been considerably reduced. By contrast, the two decades that preceded Chávez amount to one of the worst economic failures in Latin America, with real income per person actually falling by 14% between 1980 and 1998.

It’s not that Neuman is unaware of this. Deep in the piece– after saying that “Mr. Chávez’s own record is mixed”– he admits, in between all the hand-waving and caveats, that maybe there’s something that explains Chávez’s popularity:

He has used price controls to make food affordable for the poor, but that has contributed to shortages in basic goods. He created a popular program of neighborhood clinics often staffed by Cuban doctors, but hospitals frequently lack basic equipment.

There is no doubt that living conditions have improved for the poor under Mr. Chávez, and that is the greatest source of his popularity. But the improvements came at a time when high oil prices were pouring money into the country and fueling economic growth, which some analysts say would have led to similar improvements under many leaders, even some with more market-friendly policies.

So life is better for the vast majority of the country. That’s a far cry from the point he stressed at the beginning, that Chávez has somehow sold people on the questionable idea that the outlook would someday improve. The Times has to downplay that reality so you’ll take away the message:  things are bad there. Or, if they’re not, someone else with superior, “market-friendly policies” could have achieved the same results, if not better.

December 14, 2012 - Posted by | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. President Hugo Chavez is a victim cancer meant to assassinate him, which appears to be pandemic in South America. To put that into perspective we must refresh our memory, or come to learn what happen in Venezuela ten years ago, and you can see why the US fascist imperialist have chosen assassination by cancer as weapon of choice, their lies and bribes, don’t fly, except with distracted fools in the USA ignoring what is happening in Syria right now, and turning their minds to the greater issues of US foreign policy. Wars have bankrupted the country, the bank crooks are also war criminals. Venezuela offers a model of what People Power should act like, as well as military men and women of any respect whatsoever.

    ‘…… Pro-Chavez Uprising and Restoration

    ‘Prompted by the spreading news that Chávez had not resigned, Carmona’s installation as President generated a widespread uprising in support of Chávez that was suppressed by the Metropolitan Police.[5] It also led to a demonstration outside the Presidential Palace by hundreds of thousands of people. In contrast to the opposition marches, “it was the poor from the peripheral barrios who returned Chávez to power.”[77] With the palace surrounded by protestors and several hundred paratroopers beneath the palace, the paratroopers’ commander, José Baduel, telephoned Carmona to tell him that he was much a hostage as Chávez, and gave him an ultimatum to return Chávez alive within 24 hours.[78] Meanwhile General Raúl Baduel, who headed Chávez’ old paratrooper division in Maracay, had been trying unsuccessfully to make public his opposition to Carmona; the Venezuelan media refused to interview him.[79] Raúl Baduel contacted the head of the Presidential Guard, which remained loyal to Chávez, and told him “it’s now or never”. Late in the morning of 13 April the Presidential Guard entered the palace from their barracks via underground tunnels, and retook the palace; many of the coup plotters escaped.[79] Since Chávez was being held in a secret location, the presidency was assumed for several hours by Vice President Diosdado Cabello until Chávez was reinstated.

    ‘After the retaking of Miraflores, the military coup plotters held a meeting in Fort Tiuna, and drafted a statement recognising Carmona as President, but demanding the restoration of the country’s democratic institutions. In the confusion of the meeting, Chávez ally Jorge García Carneiro crossed out the section recognising Carmona; and it was in this form that the statement was read to CNN studios (since no Venezuelan media would broadcast it).[80] After the coup Carmona was placed under house arrest, but was able to gain asylum in the Colombian embassy after an anti-Chávez protest drew away his security detail.[78]…..’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Venezuelan_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat_attempt

    Comment by puredemocracyrevolution | December 14, 2012 | Reply


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