On The Legacy Of Hugo Chavez

This past fall, the Independent‘s Owen Jones wrote that Hugo Chavez’s towering feat was “proving it is possible to lead a popular, progressive government that breaks with neo-liberal dogma”:

Even opponents of Chavez told me that he is the first Venezuelan president to care about the poor. Since his landslide victory in 1998, extreme poverty has dropped from nearly a quarter to 8.6 per cent last year; unemployment has halved; and GDP per capita has more than doubled. Rather than ruining the economy – as his critics allege – oil exports have surged from $14.4bn to $60bn in 2011, providing revenue to spend on Chavez’s ambitious social programs, the so-called “missions”.

But when it comes to his relationship with his opposition, Chavez has arguably been pretty lenient. Many of them – including [recent presidential opponent] Capriles – were involved in a US-backed, Pinochet-style military coup in 2002, which failed only after Chavez’s supporters took to the streets. It was incited and supported by much of the private media: I wonder what would happen to Sky News and ITN if they had egged on a coup d’état against a democratically elected government in Britain.

Venezuela’s oligarchs froth at the mouth with their hatred of Chavez, but the truth is his government has barely touched them. The top rate of tax is just 34 per cent, and tax evasion is rampant. Why do they despise him? As Chavez’s vice-minister for Europe, Temir Porras, puts it to me, it’s because “the people who clean their houses are now politically more important than them”. Under Chavez, the poor have become a political power that cannot be ignored.

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  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    From what I understand its the rich white people in Venezuela that despise him. The Indios love him.

    • Raz

      It’s like that in all Latin America, you should hear the things that they call Lula, even in public. They hate him just because he worked in a factory and came from poverty.

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        I read some where that there was a puppet show put on by some Venezuelans at the American Embassy and they had Hugo Chavez as a gorilla.

        • Raz

          “At the American Embassy” just by that shows where are their instentions, here in Brazil, wikileaks exposed that a judge of our supreme court and reporter use to visit the american embassy to report their ideas about how to influence our internal politics. Luckly they are a pair of morons…

    • http://www.facebook.com/manuel.landa.988 Manuel Landa

      My brown skinned middle class Venezuelan friend and his familly hated him. He was hated by more than just the ¨rich white people¨.

      But hey, if people like to be bottom of the barrel fodder for their ego maniac despot, they can love him all they want.

  • http://www.zoboprepublic.wordpress.com/ zobop republic

    Does this mean the Right-wing will make a come-back? More death squads? Or will Socialism roll on?

    • jnana

      that’s the important question right now and it depends on how bad the people of Venezuela want to live in a just society. not saying his socialism was perfect, just baby steps in the right direction and I sensed sincere motives on his part. I actually felt that way towards Obama for a few seconds, but that didn’t last long.
      i hope the people of Venezuela get what they need with no bloodshed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-McConnell/563448640 Michael McConnell

      The only problem is that socialism/communism also has death squads esp. in the turd world.