I'd like to open up a discussion as to why America hates Hugo Chavez so much. Let's move beyond the ignorant rhetoric of "He's a communist" or
"he's a fascist", and really take a look at what he's done for the Venexualan people.
First of all, Hugo Chavez was democratically elected, and then democratically re-elected, as such he is not a dictator in any way shape or form.
Immediatly after being elected, he enacted the Plan Bolivar 2000:
The plan involved around 40,000 Venezuelan soldiers involved in door-to-door anti-poverty activities, including mass vaccinations, food distribution
in slum areas, and education. The program also transported thousands of poor and ill Venezuelans at cost by military cargo planes and helicopters, as
a means of alleviating their domestic travel expenses.
Sounds pretty evil to me.
Under his presidency in Venezuela, Crime has gone down, poverty has gone down, the unemployment rate has gone down, Venezuala's GDP is at a twenty
year all time high, inflation is down.
People in the United States have said we should stop buying oil from Citgo, because it is owned by Venezuela which has nationalized their oil
industry. It isn't very advertised however, that a portion of the profits from Citgo gasoline goes to homeless shelters in the united states, and
that both Citgo and Venezuela provide discount heating oil to families in the U.S.
Still sounds pretty evil to me.
Lastly, and the most recent development is this:
Venezuela Withdraws from the World Bank and IMF
All I can say, is good for them. The World Bank and IMF are two of the most oppressive and evil organizations in the world, and the reason most thrid
world countries are unable to get out of the spiral of debt. Having lived in Colombia myself for two years, and seeing firsthand the devestation
caused by these awful organizations, I'm very excited about the possibility of Venezuela starting an orginaztion to actually help Latin America pull
itself out of poverty, rather than taking advantage of their situation and making things worse for them by lending large sums of money at interest
rates the country can't possibly pay back. This is one of the best things I've heard in a long time.
As far as criticisms of Hugo Chavez that I've heard, as an American, they ring somewhat comically on my ears.
So let's go through these line by line.
#1 - Allegations of electoral fraud and abuse
Boy, this doesn't sound familiar at all! Would Bush be willing to submit to an honest and fair recall vote like Chavez was? No, because without his
election fraud in both Ohio and Florida, he wouldn't be President today.
#2 - Authoritarian rule and power consolidation
Patriot act anyone? Not to mention the suspension of habeas corpus and Bush's ability to ignore posse comitatus. We could also get into the whole
illegal wiretapping, firing of the attorney's, and all the other completely unethical things our current administration has done in an unpresedented
#3 - Human Rights
All I have to say to this criticism, is Guantanamo Bay, and Abu-Gehrab. As if the United States is in any position to criticize a country for Human
#4 - Free Speech
Isn't it interesting that now, in the United States, you can't protest unless you have a permit, and you're relegated to "Free Speech Zones"?
#5 - Economic Policy
Venezuela's economy is the most stable it's been in a very, very long time. I wish I could say the same about the
#6 - Corruption
So far, no one has been able to successfully link Chavez to any sort of corrupt menuveurings or inappropriate use of money, there are only rumors and
accusations which have gone no where. Yet George Bush and Dick Cheney continue to make money off of the War in Iraq through their holdings in
Haliburton and the Carlisle Group, and if that isn't the definition of corruption, I don't know what is.
#7 - Foreign Policy
This is the last point I'd like to address, where we criticize Chavez for being critical of the U.S., and vocal of his opinion. I'm sorry, but
it's not like our leaders are exactly nice to other countries. Let's see, we had the Freedom Fries Surrender Monkey spat with France, we've
labelled a series of countries the "Axis of Evil", I mean, does that sound really productive to diplomacy in any way?
Let's put it this way, if you were of one religious persuasion, and I of another, and I came to your door and said "You know, you and your family
are evil and going to hell." Would you be interested in having a discussion about religion with me? Probably not...
I for one applaud Chavez for doing what he thinks is right, and standing up to the bully that the U.S. has become. Remember when our country used to
be a becon of freedom and liberty in the world? What went wrong?
So I'd like to hear some other ATSer's take on Hugo Chavez, and whether or not we're even in a valid position to crticize him on his policies, when
ours are so woefully terrible. I honestly think the U.S. is much closer to a fascist dictatorship than Venezuela is. The sad part is, thanks to the
corporate media, most people are not even aware of it.