Dictator Chavez of Venezuela

Sunday’s Projo had a good op-ed about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s increasingly dictatorial behavior. In case you may have heard from some sources that Chavez is a legitimate democrat, here is a full explanation of why he is not.

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reality based
reality based
19 years ago

Venezuela, like much of Central and South America, has been plagued for decades with a grossly unequal distribution of wealth. I imagine that many readers of this blog will have an instant negative gut reaction to the phrase “distribution of wealth”, I would ask you to consider for a moment what that phrase means in practical terms for people’s lives. It means that the poor have to work incredibly long hours for incredibly low pay under horrible conditions, barely surviving, but with very low quality of life. The nation of Venezuela has vast oil reserves, and thus vast wealth, but all of the economic benefit of that wealth has gone to a tiny minority, while the vast majority barely get by.
Chavez certainly has his faults, but he is also the first Venezuelan leader to actually do something to attempt to improve the lives of the vast majority of Venezuelans who are poor. That is why the majority of Venezuelans continue to support him, as can be seen in the vote on the recall referendum and the presidential elections which Chavez won.
In the interest of fairness and balance, here is what some of Chavez’ supporters have to say about him:

18 years ago

I am Venezuelan. I live in Caracas. You can correct your phrase “the first Venezuelan leader to actually DO something to attempt to improve the lives of the vast majority of Venezuelans who are poor” to “the Venezuelan leader that MOST TALKS ABOUT DOING something to attempt to improve the lives of the vast majority of Venezuelans who are poor”. In office for 7 years already, minimum wage has gone from $250 to $120 (street dolar), unemplyment went up more than %10, thus crime is up, human rights are down (chavez supporters kill and remain free), deterioration of the country’s infrastructure is up (highways just collapse as goverment discusses name changes of streets), it’s just chaos. That’s why the few middle class venezuelans left (as myself) just want out of here. Chavez is NOT a good president. He cares little for the poor, he simply sells dreams, and uses them to stay in power. Power is all he wants, and now not only in Venezuela, but in all latinamerica, and he has the oil money to do so.

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