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OP/ED: Hugo Chavez Dismantles Democracy in Venezuela

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posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 06:40 AM
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is slowly turning Venezuela into a socialist dictatorship. After failing to take the country in a 1992 coup, Chavez was elected President in 1998. He has packed the courts with supporters and enacted new laws stifling any bad press coverage of his administration by the media. Chavez is also stripping property from wealthy landowners and giving it to squatters, buoying his popularity among the poor. Venezuela is a large producer of oil and supplies 15% of the petroleum imported by the United States.
 



FOX News
CARACAS, Venezuela — Hugo Chavez, the left-wing leader who is moving toward totalitarian rule at home in Venezuela and backing guerrilla movements in the region, could become a test for the new Bush administration.

"I think we have to view, at this point, the government of Venezuela as a negative force in the region," said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her confirmation hearings last month.

Venezuela is the world's fifth-largest oil producer; Chavez basically controls 15 percent of U.S. oil imports. He allegedly is taking billions of dollars in revenue to grease the way to one-man rule of a country with a 50-year history of democracy.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Chavez is looking to create a communist state in Venezuela based on Casto's regime. While he has been good for the country's poor citizens, this has come at the cost of the property rights of the wealthy. Many professionals have had to become street peddlers during Chavez's rule due to the collapsing economy caused by flight of foreign capital investment. Chavez's interest in new military spending is also worrisome.

Related News Links:

US News & World Report
The Mercury News


[edit on 6-2-2005 by Banshee]




posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 09:27 AM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is slowly turning Venezuela into a socialist dictatorship.

That's more than a little up for debate. Right or wrong he clearly has the mandate of the people. They saved him from a US backed coup attempt not long ago.



After failing to take the country in a 1992 coup, Chavez was elected President in 1998. He has packed the courts with supporters and enacted new laws stifling any bad press coverage of his administration by the media.


I reported the court packing incident for ATSNN when it happened, and at first glance I thought it was a bad sign. Read into it though, don't take FNC's word for it. They have their own views- I'm not calling them propagandists, I'm just saying they have opinions and it shows. www.abovetopsecret.com...

1. Chavez didn't pack the court, the congress did.
2. Chavez party wrote the Venezuelan constitution only 5 years ago and created that court. They had a legitimate claim to adjust it for functionality. It's a new system.
3. America's condemnations of the move have to be taken with a grain of salt. We're so pissed about their dealings with Cuba that we criticized a censorship of sex on TV in Venezuela as being a restriction of freedom of speech.



Chavez is also stripping property from wealthy landowners and giving it to squatters, buoying his popularity among the poor. Venezuela is a large producer of oil and supplies 15% of the petroleum imported by the United States.


Maybe the United States should invade Venezuela and disenfranchise the poor. What do you want me to say? Should I say that the Venezuelan government should disregard the well being of its citizens and make that country an oil well for a handful of rich foreigners? People aren't going to subjegate themselves. If you want to oppress them, you'll have to get an army and go down there to do it yourself.



Chavez is looking to create a communist state in Venezuela based on Casto's regime. While he has been good for the country's poor citizens, this has come at the cost of the property rights of the wealthy.


You're looking at this through an American lense though my friend, otherwise the redistribution wouldn't seem as horrible. The wealthy classes in South America were put in place because they played a role in exploitation by foreigners. The poor have had no protection against these people- the poor live in the 3rd world while the land owners get rich on oil profits and the like.



Many professionals have had to become street peddlers during Chavez's rule due to the collapsing economy caused by flight of foreign capital investment.


Yes, he's chasing out the foreign robber-barons. He's replacing them with growing relationships with other socialist nations. Not all left wingers are bad. Judge him by his deeds. He is bringing educators and medical professionals into his country and developing international trade with nations that need Venezuela's friendship instead of with nations which only need to exploit Venezuela's wealth. Maybe if capitalists weren't in the habit of letting corporations rape our friends we would still have friends.



Chavez's interest in new military spending is also worrisome.
[edit on 2/6/2005 by djohnsto77]


No it's not, as long as he doesn't invade Columbia to support FARC, which nobody will stand for obviously. Venezuela has natural resources to protect and has recently faced a coup attempt in which the coupsters were recognized by the US Government before they had even succeeded! They have every reason to acquire a few defensive weapons in order to ensure that a foreign-backed minority with superior firepower can't come in and walk over them.
Do you lose any sleep of Canada's military spending? Probably not. They are just maintaining the ability to defend themselves and they know that they have a lot to lose if they go to war.

This all boils down to 3 things.
1. Venezuelan support strengthens the Cuban economy and weakens American supremecy in the Carribbean.
2. The fear that the dominoe theory will play out in Columbia and threaten the neutrality of the Panama Canal.
3. Fear that a strong South American community could land Brazil on the UN Security Council and break America's ability to exploit South America with impunity. Also we fear this creates a necessity for America to "scratch their back" in expensive ways whenever we need them to scratch ours by exerting influence in the UN.

In so many words- Love thy neighbor. We need to get over this Cold War crap. Venezuela is developing. Congratulations and welcome to the party, you be cool, we'll be cool, everybody's happy.

EDIT: Before I get any harsh responses I want to clarify that I'm not saying Chavez can do no wrong. He needs to renounce all support for FARC and be absolutely transparent about not aiding them. He needs to make his intentions and his reasoning clear so that there will be some predictability to his actions for business- this will stabilize economic dealings. I'm just saying he's not the red menace that FNC would have us believe. He's good for his people and it shouldn't matter if he's good for us directly. I take a hint from Marine legend Smedley Butler, who went on to write a book titled "War is a Racket". Our Marines shouldn't be running all over this hemisphere fighting corporate wars.

[edit on 6-2-2005 by The Vagabond]



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 09:43 AM
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Well Vagabond summed it up so well I feel that I should only say that I agree with him



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 11:27 AM
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Everybody happy ?

Except one thing, Exxon would not be happy, but why should common American worry so much about the interests of their large corporations, it's not like these large corporations care very much for the common americans as well, considering all the hiring of mexican illegals and such....

It still boggles me how these corporation can rally support in the streets by making an anti-communist campaign out of their heist attempts...


[edit on 6-2-2005 by Countermeasures]



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 11:49 AM
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This weakens USA and strengthens China. This is real reason why the American government is against Socialist revolutionaries in S.America. Less than a year ago China introduced a very big economic package to South America.

South America wants trade relations with China, not the USA. And this revolution is not a one's countries revolution. The South American revolutionaries are staying true to Che Guevara's dream of a continental socialist revolution in S.America.

Colombia is next.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 11:58 AM
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Originally posted by Illmatic67
...South America wants trade relations with China, not the USA. And this revolution is not a one's countries revolution. ...Colombia is next.



Chavez pulled Venezuela out of a scummy pit of poverty. Now Venezuelans have a democratic voice in their government, and a real future. Of course other South American countries want the same thing...

...and you're saying this is bad? ...You're saying governments should support international corporations and let their people starve? ...You're saying democracy is about international corporate power, not ordinary people or their well-being?





posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 12:01 PM
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I think Chavez is turning Venezuela into mob rule quite a different thing than democracy.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 12:15 PM
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Originally posted by Countermeasures
It still boggles me how these corporation can rally support in the streets by making an anti-communist campaign out of their heist attempts...


I hope you're not talking about America, unless I missed the huge Wal-Mart parade



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 12:24 PM
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Some of you are living in a dream world, what Chavez is doing is something that is possible for some time, but when you begin to isolate your self from some of the most important economise, just because is not in your idealistic mind, I think he is doing it for him self not for the well of the people of Venezuela, if he is smart enough and I think he is, not for doing good things in his country like social things and such, he will do intelligent business for the country and take the better part of it, but if he continues to isolate him self just for pride, I think that is a very big mistake because the oil would not last for ever.
Remember that Castro did the same and look at his people now; you need to be there to see exactly what the standards of living are.
The vision of the Ché was may be correct but not sustainable for long time.
In today’s world does not apply.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 12:28 PM
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You know if there was an ATS award for most ignorant post of the month I think we would have a winner here.


Chavez has won TWO general elections and SIX referendums since he has been in power and has survived a US backed coup.

Yep... that sure makes him a dictator all right.

His crime?

Raising taxes on exported oil to pay for education, infrastructure, and medical services. Taking care of his poor and standing up to the wealthy class. Bartering oil with Cuba for medical technology and selling oil to countries other than the US. Wow what a commie MONSTER! Let's nuke him!


.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 12:38 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
I think Chavez is turning Venezuela into mob rule quite a different thing than democracy.


Democracy is mob rules,



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 12:41 PM
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Great. This bastards continues to poor down this country and destroying all political and economic freedoms. US needs to step up pressures on these Latin American countries from all fronts.

Massive wealth distributions do not work, they weaken economy and accomplish exactly the opposite of what they claim to do. "Investment" in health and education? Please... this money would be better left untaxed circling in the private sector. Add a little bit more economic freedoms (Venezuela, category: repressed) and you'll have a prospering country.

Socialism has already been proven countless times on all continents to be the most terrible evil that has ever scorched mankind. It is why people in Africa are starving.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 12:55 PM
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IMO - this is an op/ed piece. Opinion - not news.

"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is slowly turning Venezuela into a socialist dictatorship. " HUH? Opinion, not news.

"He has packed the courts with supporters" Evidence?

" and enacted new laws stifling any bad press coverage of his administration by the media." Unlike the USA
...and btw, evidence please?

" Chavez is also stripping property from wealthy landowners and giving it to squatters, buoying his popularity among the poor." OPINION - alternate viewpoint: he's giving land back to the indigenous peoples' it was stolen from.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 12:59 PM
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I agree with Illuminatic that the Chinese want to exploit this to political ends and that their plan includes Columbia, but you have to consider what China's ends in this are. China is looking at control of the Panama Canal and strategic presence just outside of America's sphere of influence. It's a strategic offensive setup. We can defuse that and they wont fight too hard because its not vital to their security.
We can draw a line in the dirt for Columbian self-determination. Columbia's president has been able to maintain his popularity by cracking down on FARC, it doesn't sound like a popular revolution. All we have to do is play fair with Venezuela.
We can ensure security for China's friends in the West, and in return China can afford to leave us in peace.
China might also want us to back out of South Asia, especially if we're endangering Caspian Sea energy reserves which should belong to Chinese allies such as Russia and Iran who would probably sell it to China. In my opinion this is a winning deal to make also. We stay out of their back yard and they stay out of ours. The worst thing we could do is start a new cold war and invite the distant possibility of Mexico aligning itself with a leftist South American alliance.

I also understand why many people write socialism off as a failed theory, but that's going too far. Every system produces its share of failures. It took a couple of disasters and some government intervention to save American capitalism from failure. On the other hand, vital necessities of life have become profit-motivated industries in America, essentially turning the common man into a serf. Some would argue that's no success at all.

A well managed socialist economy can work, especially if your primary goal is just to get by. They aren't able to build corporate empires around the world like America and there wont be 2 cars in every garage, but they will be able to revolutionize their quality of life. They can get everyone a house, get people educated, get them cared for when they are sick, and get them fed every day. Just with those basic building blocks a nation can become a Mecca for its region and politically influential.
It wont be a utopia, but it wont be a humanitarian disaster. What would be a humanitarian disaster would be if they handed their nation back over to wealthy foreigners just so that a slim percentage could live as "upper middle class" while the vast majority slipped back into conditions for which desolation would be entirely too glorious a description.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 01:06 PM
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"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is slowly turning Venezuela into a socialist dictatorship. " HUH? Opinion, not news.


The form of government of a country is pretty objective rather than subjective.



"He has packed the courts with supporters" Evidence?

" and enacted new laws stifling any bad press coverage of his administration by the media." Unlike the USA
...and btw, evidence please?


Both these facts are in the Fox News report I cited as source and in other news sources widely available on the Internet.


All that being said, if the editors think this is op/ed then I say move it.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 01:37 PM
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Originally posted by The Vagabond
A well managed socialist economy can work, especially if your primary goal is just to get by. They aren't able to build corporate empires around the world like America and there wont be 2 cars in every garage, but they will be able to revolutionize their quality of life. They can get everyone a house, get people educated, get them cared for when they are sick, and get them fed every day. Just with those basic building blocks a nation can become a Mecca for its region and politically influential.
It wont be a utopia, but it wont be a humanitarian disaster. What would be a humanitarian disaster would be if they handed their nation back over to wealthy foreigners just so that a slim percentage could live as "upper middle class" while the vast majority slipped back into conditions for which desolation would be entirely too glorious a description.


Very well put in my opinion. And that is exaclty what happened to Cuba.

The American utopia of everyone living like Donald Trump or Bill Gates is the real sham. It only happens at the expense of everyone else.
.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
Both these facts are in the Fox News report I cited as source and in other news sources widely available on the Internet.


What did I just get done saying though friend? Never take anybody's word for it when you certainly have the intelligence to verify the truth for yourself.
Fox, like many media outlets, devotes a significant amount of its resources to editorial journalism. They have a point of view, maybe even an agenda. They can be wrong, and sometimes are.


Look at the tone of the article in a critical light to test it. It's actually titled "the iron fist of hugo chavez".
It twice refers to Venezuela's oil before getting into the meat of the arguement against Chavez.
This quote is telling

Venezuela's oil revenues subsidize food prices for the poor, although a large bottle of cooking oil can cost just pennies

Emphasis mine. It says although to indicate that it is unnecessary. Actually prices are so low BECAUSE it is subsidized.

The article makes a big deal over minor hardware purchases. New rifles for its troops and a couple of helicopters? Big deal. And when in the hell did it become the state department's job to assess our military capabilities against a nation? The quote about "we shoot down MiGs" was irresponsible and shows the hawkish nature of this administration.

The article point-blank says that Chavez packed the court, but he didn't. The Congress actually is the body that pushed that through. It doesn't even mention that Chavez party wrote the constitution and created that court just 5 years ago and has a legitimate claim to adjust it to make it functional. America didn't stick to its first decision either you know. Ever hear of the Articles of Confederation?

As for the mayor who was imprisoned, he is from Baruta. Baruta police officers operating without uniforms were part of the force which took Chavez captive during the 2002 coup attempt. That is probably why he was in jail.

FAIR AND BALANCED BY ARSE. And I actually have been a big Fox fan in the past.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 01:43 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
these facts are in the Fox News report I cited as source and in other news sources widely available on the Internet.




IMO - The FOX article and this piece are part of a manipulation to push the Bush agenda down our throats. As I wrote on 29-11-2004 at 02:56 AM:


"...The corporate alliance has its eye on South America - the whole continent or just Brazil may be a target. Iran may prove to be a feint... "

Flu Epidemic Key to US Military Strategy


.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 01:48 PM
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Originally posted by Gools
The American utopia of everyone living like Donald Trump or Bill Gates is the real sham. It only happens at the expense of everyone else.


So it's better to have everyone dirt poor like Cuba rather than have some rich, a vast middle class and some poor like the U.S.? With a per capita GDP of $30,200 (1997) the U.S. system is clearly better for its citizens than Cuba with a per capita GDP of $1,540.



posted on Feb, 6 2005 @ 02:05 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77

Originally posted by Gools
The American utopia of everyone living like Donald Trump or Bill Gates is the real sham. It only happens at the expense of everyone else.


So it's better to have everyone dirt poor like Cuba rather than have some rich, a vast middle class and some poor like the U.S.? With a per capita GDP of $30,200 (1997) the U.S. system is clearly better for its citizens than Cuba with a per capita GDP of $1,540.

Many people prefer to live an incredibly lazy life than put up with any work, this is why they like socialism that much.
By the way, people like Bill Gates are benefit to entire society, not only did his company create 57,000 jobs worldwide but also millions indirectly and helped bring computing to more end-users. Microsoft has about $60 billion cash reserves, almost twice as entire Cuban economy.

Oh and, how many people in socialist countries are connected to internet? Not much, I can tell you.

[edit on 6-2-2005 by Megaquad]





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