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Chavez: 28 July 1954 – 5 March 2013

Written By: - Date published: 11:21 am, March 6th, 2013 - 230 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, International, us politics - Tags: , , ,

Chavez was too young to die, but he is a significant figure in South American politics

Chavez has been a controversial figure in Venezuela.  The full story has yet to be written of his contribution to his country and his impact on the left and world politics.

Wikipedia has already been updated, and begins thus:

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈuɣo rafaˈel ˈtʃaβes ˈfɾi.as]; 28 July 1954 – 5 March 2013[1]) was the President of Venezuela, having held that position from 1999 until his death in 2013. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Following his own political ideology of Bolivarianism and “Socialism for the 21st Century“, he has focused on implementing socialist reforms in the country as a part of a social project known as the Bolivarian Revolution, which has seen the implementation of a new constitutionparticipatory democratic councils, the nationalization of several key industries, increased government funding of health care and education, and significant reductions in poverty, according to government figures.[2]

A little further down the page it says:

Chávez describes his policies to be anti-imperialist, and he is a vocal critic of neoliberalism and laissez-faire capitalism. More generally, Chávez has been a prominent adversary of the United States’ foreign policy.[4] Allying himself strongly with the Communist governments of Fidel and then Raúl Castro in Cuba and the Socialist governments of Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, his presidency is seen as a part of the socialist “pink tide” sweeping Latin America. He has supported Latin American and Caribbean cooperation and was instrumental in setting up the pan-regional Union of South American Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, the Bank of the South, and the regional television network TeleSur. Chávez is a highly controversial and divisive figure both at home and abroad.

Condolences to those close to him, and to Venezuelan people.

His life is to be celebrated to the ways in which he stood up to US imperialism, and neoliberalism.  I will leave it to others to decide how successful he was in achieving his left wing aims.

230 comments on “Chavez: 28 July 1954 – 5 March 2013”

  1. One Tāne Huna 1

    RIP

  2. Olwyn 2

    A very sad loss to Venezuela and to the left in general. My condolences to his family and loved ones. Rest in Peace, Hugo Chavez.

  3. HG 3

    You have got to be kidding me!! The guy was little more than a ruthless dictator:

    “For years, President Chávez and his followers have been building a system in which the government has free rein to threaten and punish Venezuelans who interfere with their political agenda,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Today that system is firmly entrenched, and the risks for judges, journalists, and rights defenders are greater than they’ve ever been under Chávez.”

    Human Rights Watch’s last major report on Venezuela, released in September 2008, documented how democratic institutions and human rights guarantees had suffered during the first decade of Chávez’s presidency. Since then, the human rights situation in the country has become even more precarious.

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/07/17/venezuela-concentration-and-abuse-power-under-ch-vez

    • TheContrarian 3.1

      It is true that Chavez certainly sought to consolidate power around himself.

    • Morrissey 3.2

      Something called “HG” vomited forth the following….

      “You have got to be kidding me!! The guy was little more than a ruthless dictator…”

      “HG” is obviously not one to read too deeply or too widely, but anyone who is interested in understanding the facts of the matter should know that Human Rights Watch is a deeply compromised and politicized organization. It has failed to speak out in support of Bradley Manning, but it has acted as a virtually uncritical mouthpiece for the most right wing, anti-democratic elements in Venezuela.

      Not that “HG” will care of course, but other, more rigorous thinkers might like to do a bit of extra reading.

      • chris 3.2.1

        Oh please, the results in Venezuela speak for themselves. He’s done some good yes, but he held onto power for too long and has created a corrupt society with a compromised media and judiciary. That much is not debatable, no matter how rose tinted you try and make this. Hopefully on his death they follow their constitution and have an election, though according to some outlets (gawker, the guardian), he was trying to appoint his VP to take over.

        For all his good he never was a true democrat.

        • Morrissey 3.2.1.1

          For all his good he never was a true democrat.

          He ran elections, and they enjoyed popular participation at a level that shames the western “democracies”. His only crime was to be extremely popular, and to refuse to pay homage to bullying, less democratic regimes.

          • chris 3.2.1.1.1

            Ah, so using his power to abolish term limits is ok with you? Well in that case I’m sure you’ll be ok when National get a majority and start running roughshod for real. (Green voter by the way).

            You and other apologists for people like Chavez are the left’s biggest problem in that, because someone is on our team and popular, you just go all deflective at their glaring failures.

            • Morrissey 3.2.1.1.1.1

              You’re more than just a little confused, my friend; he was trying to abolish term limits, not democracy. We don’t have term limits in New Zealand, Australia or Great Britain; no doubt you are all over the internet railing about our lack of democracy.

              Where have I ever gone “all deflective” at the “glaring failures” of Hugo Chavez or anybody else? What the hell do you even MEAN, for pity’s sake? Your rant, complete with the bizarre injection of the National party into the middle of it, makes little sense.

              Here’s a word of advice: in print, you need to be coherent. Wild, unhinged shouting might bully people into submission in a work situation, or down at your local drinking establishment, but unless you work on your writing, and try to get it into concise and readable order, you will end up looking foolish, as you do now.

              “Green voter”, are you? You sound like an ACT voter.

              • Colonial Viper

                chris doesn’t like the idea of a popular leader who can get voted in for several terms in a row by his people.

                Somehow, chris thinks that stopping that = “democracy”

                • chris

                  Bullshit, term limits are in presidential democracies for a reason – the president has most of the country’s power and the term limit is a muzzle on that. I’m not denying that he got popularly elected, but the rules aren’t put in place for him to change as he pleases, they’re put in place to be above one period of power. Just because he decided he had more work to do was not a good reason to change that.

                  So because I disagree with your support of the authoritarian Chavez I’m an ACT voter? That’s Kiwiblog level discourse right there. The only one looking foolish is you, Morrisey, due to your breathless support of an authoritarian leader who thought nothing of changing the rules to make sure he could hold onto power.

                  • freedom

                    he basically halved poverty and doubled the rates of education under his [ apparently corrupt and power hungry] leadership. He nationalised the oil infrastructure the US wanted to buy and told Israeli/Saudi/Chinese and Russian investors to piss off but i am sure that has nothing to do with him being painted as a despot ruler. :roll: :roll: :roll:

                    • chris

                      He could’ve achieved that still and honoured the constitution and press freedom. You can’t half do democracy just because it suits your ends.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Meh. Proof is in the pudding dude. Chavez was elected and re-elected by a large and democratic majority every single term, in elections with international scrutiny, and that burns your ass

                    • chris

                      What? That is a juvenile and ridiculous response.

                      What happens in Venezuela is of little immediate concern to me, what I find hard is watching New Zealand left wingers fall over themselves to canonize an authoritarian leader. Democracy is important.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Ah yes the old democracy under attack meme.

                      Why don’t you put some effort into defending NZ democracy mate.

                    • felixviper

                      Eh? Did he cancel an election or something?

                      WTF are you on about chris?

                    • chris

                      The selective judgement here is astounding; one does not have to have a binary viewpoint. Chavez passed a law removing term limits on presidential terms, which is an egregious abuse of power in a country with a young constitution. There’s also no denying he intimidated opponents, actively shut down opposition media and has undermined the independence of the judiciary.

                      The worst part about all this fawning from the members of the left is the hypocrisy of it all when these same people are likely to be criticising national’s baltent undermining of democracy in Canterbury in order to serve their ideology. This pisses me off because it weakens legitimate arguments that I support.

                      Also, you lot claim he was so popular, but 44% (6,591,304 people!) of the country still voted for someone else at the last election (an argument that is commonly made in left wing circles about the last election….). Those people’s opinions do not matter less just because you may not agree with them – though likely you would, as the opposition candidate was centre left as well.

                    • felixviper

                      We don’t have term limits either. So what?

                      And 44% voted against him. So he has a much, much bigger mandate than any govt in NZ in my lifetime.

                      There’s plenty to say about Chavez and doubtless plenty he did wrong, but that ain’t it sorry chris. Just silly fox news talking points.

          • TheContrarian 3.2.1.1.2

            “His only crime was to be extremely popular, and to refuse to pay homage to bullying, less democratic regimes.”

            He was somewhat autocratic and bullying himself with journalistic freedoms curtailed
            http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/venezuela-globovisi%C3%B3n-attack-must-be-urgently-investigated-and-journalis

            • Morrissey 3.2.1.1.2.1

              He was somewhat autocratic and bullying himself with journalistic freedoms curtailed

              There is more democratic and press freedom in Venezuela than there is in the United States. You may watch the loons on Fox News in Venezuela, if you wish—which you probably would wish.

              RCTV was not closed down, it simply did not have its licence renewed. The main reason for that was that its hosts had repeatedly, continually called for the assassination of President Chavez. Not that you would care, of course, but in any other country, such savage incitements to violence would have been punished ferociously.

              • TheContrarian

                “There is more democratic and press freedom in Venezuela than there is in the United States.”

                You sure about that? In the US 10’000′s of people can come together, on the steps of Capitol Hill in the heart of US political power and wave placards proclaiming the president to be a Muslim, Socialist, Fascist. In the US there are a multitude of TV stations pushing all manner of anti-government rhetoric. In the US you can publicly denounce the government.

                Same can’t really be said for Venezuela.

                • Colonial Viper

                  You are allowed to wave placards and say rude things

                  You are not allowed to actually challenge power

                  Just observe the level of force, surveillance and subversiveness used to suppress OWS protests, for instance.

                • freedom

                  yeah but just don’t do anything too radical, like try to present a petition signed by over 200,000 people
                  http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/2013/03/02/white-house-arrests-gmo-petitioner/

                  • Cato

                    Incorrect TC – it is true that, in America, protestors are allowed to converge of the national capital and chant songs damning the United States. But Venezuelans enjoy the exact same set of rights – to converge on the national and chant songs damning the United States.

                    • Morrissey

                      Venezuelans enjoy the exact same set of rights…

                      That old joke was told about the Soviet Union, a now defunct regime which has far more in common with the United States than with democratic Venezuela.

                      You’re not clever enough to get away with such an obvious (and witless) rip-off.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      in America, protestors are allowed to converge of the national capital and chant songs damning the United States.

                      Just try protesting against or even prosecuting the financial elite in the country.

                      No dice.

                      USA = kleptocracy.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Yeah, no one is allowed to protest against the financial elite..

                      Oh wait
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_Wall_Street

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Sure you can protest if you want to be shot in the head with a tear gas cannister.

              • Populuxe1

                Your usual casuistry, Morrissey? Yes RCTV was shut down by not having its licence renewed. I’m sure you’d be pleased to note that Chavez probably shared your concerns about the global influence of Jewish comedians.

                • Morrissey

                  Chavez probably shared your concerns about the global influence of Jewish comedians.

                  Now you’re telling lies about Hugo Chavez, as well as me.

                  Still, I’m in good company, I suppose.

                  • Populuxe1

                    I’ve offered my evidence for Chavez’s Antisemitism below, but I really can’t be bothered trawling back through Standard posts just to link to your various paranoid rants about Jerry Seinfeld’s secret links to the invasion of Palestine, or whatever equally inane bollocks you were also spouting.

                    • Morrissey

                      Your “evidence”? I missed it. Was it of the same order of authority as when you claimed that Venezuela is a colonialist power?

                      And I’m really intrigued by your claim that I would be so idiotically ignorant as to write about “Seinfeld’s secret links to the invasion of Palestine”.

                      Of course, I never wrote anything like that, and you know it.

                      Still, please feel free to keep up the barefaced, desperate lying; it gives the rest of the regulars here a chance to appreciate just what an impressive moral specimen you are.

        • Murray Olsen 3.2.1.2

          Which article of the Venezuelan Constitution says that they must have an election if the president dies while in office? No need to translate, I can read Spanish. Just a reference will do. Thanks.

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.2.1

            Hey chris, why don’t you please get Mr Olsen an answer.

          • Populuxe1 3.2.1.2.2

            Article 233 I think you’ll find, and I even found it in English so eveyrone could read it

            http://venezuelanalysis.com/constitution/title/5

            • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.2.2.1

              cheers

            • Murray Olsen 3.2.1.2.2.2

              Your arithmetic is as dubious as your Marxism. They have 30 days to hold an election, and in the meantime the VP has executive power. I think that gives them 29 more days, during which Chavez won’t be part of any decision making. Please try to restrain yourself for those 29 days. If they haven’t held an election by then, feel free to froth at the mouth. It will obviously be Chavez’s fault, just like any whiff of corruption in our present NAct government can be blamed on Helen Clark signing a painting.

              “Article 233: The President of the Republic shall become permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice with the approval of the National Assembly; abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly; and recall by popular vote.

              When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.

              When the President of the Republic becomes permanently unavailable to serve during the first four years of this constitutional term of office, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the Executive Vice-President shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.

              In the cases describes above, the new President shall complete the current constitutional term of office. If the President becomes permanently unavailable to serve during the last two years of his constitutional term of office, the Executive Vice-President shall take over the Presidency of the Republic until such term is completed.”

      • Pascal's bookie 3.2.2

        Oh great Morisseyy is at it again.

        Seriously whenever he makes a claim of fact, use the google.

        For example:

        “It has failed to speak out in support of Bradley Manning”

        Oh Rlly?

        http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/03/16/us-explain-conditions-bradley-manning-s-confinement

        • freedom 3.2.2.1

          if that apologist drivel qualifies as speaking out against the toruture of Bradley Manning, i guess the author must be a neighbor of the nimbys near the Horror Maize down in CHCH.

          • Pascal's bookie 3.2.2.1.1

            Of course it counts as speaking out in support of Bradley Manning, which is what Morrissey said they never did.

            It was easy enough to disprove his claim, and to show that it was bullshit. I just typed:

            Bradley Manning Human Rights Watch

            into a search tool and there it was.

            Morrissey clearly didn’t bother to check to see if what he was saying was accurate because all he wanted to do was discredit HRW. That fact that he couldn’t be bothered to fact check his statement goes to show that he doesn’t actually care enough about the truth to do so. He’s a propagandist first and foremost, and not a very good one.

            The fact that you decided to pipe up and deny reality just goes to show something else I guess.

            • Bill 3.2.2.1.1.1

              Perhaps Morrisey meant to point out that Amnesty International have not recognised Bradley Manning as a prisoner of concience. (I believe that to be the case.)

              As for Human Rights Watch – they are a fairly discredited org these days.. Their reports on Venezuela have been severely and fairly critisised. And their overall approach appears to be to go soft on ‘official’ US state friends and hard on ‘official’ US state enemies.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Well. I took a quick look through their ‘torture’ releases and I see strident criticism of the US, the UK, the UAE, Egypt (going back years), Iraq, Yemen and other US ‘official friends and Allies’. shrug.

              • Morrissey

                Perhaps Morrisey meant to point out that Amnesty International have not recognised Bradley Manning as a prisoner of concience. (I believe that to be the case.)

                That’s exactly what I mean, Bill.

                Human Rights Watch [sic] grew out of Helsinki Watch, which was all about harrying and nagging the Soviet Union about its human rights abuses, while ignoring the human rights abuses of its sponsor state.

                By the way, Bill, seeing that “Pascal’s bookie” has clearly not done the reading to be able to comment on this matter, let’s just leave him to his empty-headed prattling. Maybe he should just ring up NewstalkZB, and sound off to a more sympathetic audience.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Oh please.

                You said something without bothering to check if it was true or not, and that means I’m a talk back caller?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      You have got to be kidding me!! The guy was little more than a ruthless dictator:

      Dictators don’t get elected time and time again.

      • TheContrarian 3.3.1

        Hitler?

        • Morrissey 3.3.1.1

          Hitler?

          Fool, you obviously know nothing about history. Nothing at all.

        • Puddleglum 3.3.1.2

          Dictatorship is a form of government not a personality disposition.

          Germany formally became a dictatorship in 1933 after passing the Enabling Act and shortly after a democratic election. No elections after that until after the war.

          De facto dictators may hold sham elections, but I don’t think anyone claims that recent Venezuelan elections have been ‘shams’ – even if they may have been flawed, as critics argue, by state media bias (If media bias were the yardstick for sham elections …).

          • TheContrarian 3.3.1.2.1

            personally I wouldn’t call Chavez a dictator. He was certainly leaning towards an autocrat though

            • Puddleglum 3.3.1.2.1.1

              I’d agree.

              After all, Venezuela has been a deeply divided society with intense conflicts between those who have wielded power for so long and those who have been at the rough end of that power for so long.

              It tends not to be a context that vests power in middle class democrats and enlightenment values.

            • Morrissey 3.3.1.2.1.2

              personally I wouldn’t call Chavez a dictator. He was certainly leaning towards an autocrat though

              You have recently written that Hitler “kept getting elected”. Such gross ignorance kind of invalidates your commentary on practically anything.

              Why don’t you do some reading, then get back to us?

              • Cato

                And Viktor Orban?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Why don’t you write a post on Orban and then we’ll let you know.

                  • Cato

                    Fine – Viktor Orban is basically a conservative version of Hugo Chavez. He has leveraged popular support to radically amend the constitution, pack the courts with Fidesz loyalists. By all accounts he is a right-wing version of Hugo Chavez. He has revoked the licence of the only opposition radio station. He is genuinely popular with the people.

                    As the Green leader of that country said: “”We say you are taking the road of Chavez, Castro and all the world’s totalitarian and authoritarian regime.”

                    My question is, what would Standard commenters say if, I don’t know, David Farrar wrote:

                    Condolences to those close to him, and to Hungarian people.

                    “His life is to be celebrated to the ways in which he stood up to Western moreal decadence, religious pluralism and social democrary. I will leave it to others to decide how successful he was in achieving his right wing aims.”

                    On what principled basis could Karol disagree?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Let’s see what Orban is going to deliver to the ordinary people of Hungary.

                      Viktor Orban is basically a conservative version of Hugo Chavez.

                      Chavez was in power for 13 years (almost) continuously.

                      Orban has been in power for 3. Why don’t you wait 10 years and see if Orban really is a version of Chavez.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/17/viktor-orban-hungary-eu-legal-action

                      I see that voter support for Orban is dropping catastrophically. Very unlike Chavez.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      My question is, what would Standard commenters say if, I don’t know, David Farrar wrote:

                      Condolences to those close to him, and to Hungarian people.

                      “His life is to be celebrated to the ways in which he stood up to Western moreal decadence, religious pluralism and social democrary. I will leave it to others to decide how successful he was in achieving his right wing aims.”

                      On what principled basis could Karol disagree?

                      Without making any claim to speak as to how Karol might respond, but I’d start by comparing this statement with the one she made, the crux of which is here:

                      His life is to be celebrated to the ways in which he stood up to US imperialism, and neoliberalism. I will leave it to others to decide how successful he was in achieving his left wing aims.

                      For your analogy to work, then US imperialism, and neoliberalism would have to be equivalent to moral decadence, religious pluralism and social democracy , and I’m not at all sure that they are as matters of principle. I think there are striking category errors.

                      If you’d just said ‘socialism’ you might be on stronger ground, but ‘social democrats’ are democrats first and foremost. And particularly in the South American context, neoliberalism was never concerned with democracy.

                      But we don’t actually need a hypothetical come to think of it. Loads of people in the west lionise Thatcher and Reagan in spite of their support for Pinochet, and Pinochet’s negatives are downplayed by many.

                      So it may be that there is some hypocrisy. Or maybe not.

                      All Karol did was say that his standing up to neoliberalsim and US Imperialism (things that are intimately related in a SA context) is something that could be celebrated. She deliberately left open the question of his legacy, while I doubt I’d have to look to hard to find right wingers in NZ arguing that Pinochet’s legacy was worth it.

                    • karol

                      Thanks, PB @7.57pm. Well put.

                      Yes, there’s hardly an equivalence between US imperialism & neoliberalism, and moral decadence, religious pluralism and social democracy.

                      I did think there was a bit of an obvious flaw in the hypothetical by Cato. Thanks for nailing it.

              • Populuxe1

                Getúlio Vargas
                Saddam Hussein
                Margaret Thatcher

      • emergency mike 3.3.2

        Saddam?

      • TheContrarian 3.3.3

        “Dictators don’t get elected time and time again.”

        This coming from the guy who calls our current electoral system a dictatorship. When Key gets elected it’s a dictatorship, when Chavez gets elected – not so much.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.3.3.1

          Get it right, I call our system an elected dictatorship because there is, quite simply, nothing but tradition to stop the government doing whatever it pleases. That’s how they can pass law that overrides the BORA.

          • TheContrarian 3.3.3.1.1

            So you think, under the autocratic rule of Chavez, the people of Venezuela were freer than we are under Key?

            Are you sure about that Draco?

            • Colonial Viper 3.3.3.1.1.1

              Chalk and cheese mate

              Stop trying to compare apples and yellowfin tuna

            • Murray Olsen 3.3.3.1.1.2

              The average Venezuelan was becoming freer, in both the social and material sense of freedom from hunger. The economic elite that holidayed in Miami lost their freedom to run things and break the law with impunity. Which people of Venezuela are you talkin’ about, Willis?

    • Ennui in Requiem 3.4

      Which is why he kept calling elections.

      As for HRWI did a quick Google on who funds them http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2009/07/fundraising-corruption-at-human-rights-watch/21345/

      • Pascal's bookie 3.4.1

        Not quite sure how a (former IDF prison guard) Jeffrey Goldberg’s* concern troll piece amounts to an expose of “who funds them”, but there you go.

        Personally, I think that it’s not at all surprising that a US based Human rights group, when fundraising in Saudi would mention that they do speak up about Israeli human rights abuses. Maybe my scandal detector needs an upgrade.

        * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Goldberg

        • Ennui in Requiem 3.4.1.1

          As I said it was a quick Google as I was rushing out door. So I dug a little deeper on the HRWI site last night…and some other links. The “flavour” I got was overall “good guys” funded by a monied US “liberal” family. Doing good work indeed, within their world view. What I noticed very clearly was a paucity / lightness in drilling down on the role of the USA in the issues, for example Bradley Mannings case, or in the case of the story on Chavez and “democracy” a very US contextualization.

          On the Chavez authoritarian story what they said by and large was correct without any consideration of the why. From the story ” Chávez and his followers moved to concentrate power. They seized control of the Supreme Court and undercut the ability of journalists, human rights defenders, and other Venezuelans to exercise fundamental rights.

          In order “seizing control of the Supreme Court”. In the USA presidents regularly try and influence their parties hold on power even when they are not in power by placing “their people” in judicial positions. In Venezuela the courts had always been supporters of the “rights” of those who help power, property and position. Ergo to make social change stick, change the courts.

          By “undercutting the ability of journalists” to freely criticize etc, it pays to remember that the media was previously, and to a degree still is owned by the same classes who Chavez was elected against: the old monied families and the oil associated interests whom he was challenging. These interests had for years had a free run at electoral “propaganda”.

          By “human rights… expulsion of foreign critics” etc, yes guilty. Try saying the same things in the USA as a foreigner. Cant really blame him if these “critics” were funded by the same people who brought the “coup” and funded his electoral opposition. Ditto to “embracing abusive regimes”, seems every abusive regime was an “enemy” of the USA. When it comes to support for abusive regimes there seem to be no innocents, us included.

  4. JonL 4

    ”Free reign to threaten and punish those who interfere with their political agenda”. – you mean, much like the current ‘Western’ neo liberal governments …….

  5. bad12 5

    RIP Hugo Chevas…

  6. Dem Young Sconies 6

    A very sad day for social justice in deed. RIP Hugo. A truly great leader that we can only hope to emulate in NZ.

  7. Cato 7

    This is intended in good faith (even if it’s not received as such).

    I think this kind of post is very problematic for the credibility of the left. Not only does it reinforce an ‘ends justifies the means’ mentality (remember ‘justified corruption’) but it seriously compromises the left’s ability to offer principled criticism of conservative or right-wing authoritarians (such as Franco, Pinochet and – today – Viktor Orban).

    I sympathised with some of the policy priorities of a number of those people. Nevertheless, because of their thuggish rule and attachment to power, I do not think they should be celebrated. Their example is too easily imitated. For what does it profit a man &c.

    • karol 7.1

      Actually, Cato, my post provides muted praise for Chavez, and leaves his final legacy open to discussion. He is undoubtedly an important left wing leader in South America and internationally.

      We don’t get enough MSM coverage of South America here, and what we do get is most often filtered through “neoliberal”/capitalist perceptions.

      Even the right-leaning Stuff praises the improvements Chavez brought about for the Venezuelan poor.

      Poverty declined during Chavez’s presidency amid a historic boom in oil earnings, but critics said he failed to use the windfall of hundreds of billions of dollars to develop the country’s economy.

      Inflation soared and the homicide rate rose to among the highest in the world. …

      Chavez’s social programmes won him enduring support: Poverty rates declined from 50 percent at the beginning of his term in 1999 to 32 percent in the second half of 2011.

      Of course, the economy of a country with a left wing, anti-US imperialism, president will not get positive responses from the dominant economic voices in the western/anglophile world.

      It takes a strong and assertive leader or government to stand up to the might of the US empire. I’m not sure a this point, how much Chavez misused his power.

      • Populuxe1 7.1.1

        Or you can’t be bothered accessing South American news websites and don’t speak Spanish or Portuguese (the latter being admittedly slightly more difficult). There are English language versions if that helps, and if you don’t trust those, Google translate is fairly reliable for Romance languages. I find blaming the MSM for that sort of thing a huge cop out for intellectual laziness when the reality is most news tends to be weighed in terms of geography and immediate influence. You don’t even really have to go much further than the BBC’s South American service. But please, don’t blame the MSM when you know the MSM is shoddy and you have the internet at your disposal.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      but it seriously compromises the left’s ability to offer principled criticism of conservative or right-wing authoritarians (such as Franco, Pinochet

      Explain this?

      I don’t think Chavez ever engaged in mass ‘disappearing’ of his own people, or created a para-military secret police.

      There are nuances you know.

      • Cato 7.2.1

        Has the Hungarian government? Is its authoritarian justified on the grounds that it is thumbing its nose at the powerful European Great Powers? Or is it less justified because it is not left-wing?

      • Populuxe1 7.2.2

        No, but there was quite a lot of having judges imprisoned without trial, censoring the opposition and shutting down the media…

  8. Morrissey 8

    Hugo Chávez kept his promise to the people of Venezuela
    The late Venezuelan president’s Bolívarian revolution has been crucial to a wider Latin American philosophy
    by Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, The Guardian, Tuesday 5 March 2013

    He wrote, he read, and mostly he spoke. Hugo Chávez, whose death has been announced, was devoted to the word. He spoke publicly an average of 40 hours per week. As president, he didn’t hold regular cabinet meetings; he’d bring the many to a weekly meeting, broadcast live on radio and television. Aló, Presidente, the programme in which policies were outlined and discussed, had no time limits, no script and no teleprompter. One session included an open discussion of healthcare in the slums of Caracas, rap, a self-critical examination of Venezuelans being accustomed to the politics of oil money and expecting the president to be a magician, a friendly exchange with a delegation from Nicaragua and a less friendly one with a foreign journalist.

    Nicaragua is one of Venezuela’s allies in Alba, the organisation constituted at Chávez’s initiative to counter neoliberalism in the region, alongside Cuba, Ecuador and Bolivia. It has now acquired a life of its own having invited a number of Caribbean countries and Mexico to join, with Vietnam as an observer. It will be a most enduring legacy, a concrete embodiment of Chávez’s words and historical vision. The Bolívarian revolution has been crucial to the wider philosophy shared and applied by many Latin American governments. Its aim is to overcome global problems through local and regional interventions by engaging with democracy and the state in order to transform the relation between these and the people, rather than withdrawing from the state or trying to destroy it.

    Because of this shared view Brazilians, Uruguayans and Argentinians perceived Chávez as an ally, not an anomaly, and supported the inclusion of Venezuela in their Mercosur alliance. Chávez’s Social Missions, providing healthcare and literacy to formerly excluded people while changing their life and political outlook, have proven the extent of such a transformative view. It could be compared to the levelling spirit of a kind of new New Deal combined with a model of social change based on popular and communal organisation.

    The facts speak for themselves: the percentage of households in poverty fell from 55% in 1995 to 26.4% in 2009. When Chávez was sworn into office unemployment was 15%, in June 2009 it was 7.8%. Compare that to current unemployment figures in Europe. In that period Chávez won 56% of the vote in 1998, 60% in 2000, survived a coup d’état in 2002, got over 7m votes in 2006 and secured 54.4% of the vote last October. He was a rare thing, almost incomprehensible to those in the US and Europe who continue to see….

    Read more…..
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/05/hugo-chavez-people-venezuelan-president

    • karol 8.1

      Thanks, Morrissey. it’s important to note the positive impact Chavez has had on the growth of left wing solidarity in South/Latin America.

    • Populuxe1 8.2

      Headline sounds suspiciously like one of Eva Peron’s lyrics from Evita…

  9. DH 9

    Agreed. Chavez looted his nation’s wealth to conduct a personal vendetta against the US. It’s all very well to be anti-US but he had no moral right to use his country’s resources to pursue it. Rather than improve the lives of his people he turned into just another wannabe despot with an overblown ego. Good riddance as far as I’m concerned.

    The moral dichotomy does taint the credibility of the left IMO.

    • Murray Olsen 9.1

      As if you care about the credibility of the left. Pull the other one, it’s got a drone on it.

    • Colonial Viper 9.2

      Given that the US was responsible for a hell of a lot of aggressive destabilising of Venezuela through history, I think you need to contextualise your comment.

      And what do you mean by “looted his nation’s wealth”? Chavez brought assets back to the people of Venezuela; he did not flog them off to foreigners and foreign bankers.

      (Unlike you know who is, presently)

  10. Murray Olsen 10

    Chavez was far, far better than the leaders he replaced. He was more democratic in that all votes were counted, rather than having the votes from poor areas destroyed and he didn’t send death squads after enemies of his government and social programs. He showed Venezuelans and many other Latin Americans that they can have some hope in life, and that hope and participation in democracy were not reserved for those who took holidays in Miami.

    He wasn’t perfect. So what?

    • Cato 10.1

      Nobody’s perfect – that’s why they need to be restrained by constitutional government. Hugo Chavez was not so encumbered which allowed him to become an autocrat. That’s what.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Bullshit. Venezuela remains a constitutionally sound democracy. Something that the bankers and corporatists hate.

    • DH 10.2

      “He showed Venezuelans and many other Latin Americans that they can have some hope in life,”

      Pah! Buddy he gave them hope and then dashed it. Poor Venezuelans are no better off now than before Chavez. The guy started off ok and then the megalomania took over & he turned into just another Sth American despot. He spent $billions on arms alone while his people wallowed in poverty.

      “Venezuela’s arms imports increased by 555 per cent between 2002–2006 and 2007–11 and it rose from being the 46th largest importer to the 15th largest. In 2011 Venezuela took delivery of a range of weapon systems from Russia, including T- 72M1M tanks and S-125 Pechora-2M SAM systems. Venezuela also reached final agreement with Russia on an additional $4 billion line of credit for future arms purchases.”

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.1

        Unfortunately for your lies DH, Chavez support amongst the ordinary poor people of Venezuela was legion.

        And I fully support Chavez boosting Venezuela’s military expenditure, just like I support his efforts to make first class healthcare available in the slums of Caracas.

        If anything, Chavez should have strengthened the ground to air, air to air, and coastal defences of Venezuela even more.

        BBC Hardtalk interview with Chavez

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFMzEQc6bOk

        • Populuxe1 10.2.1.1

          Not like there’s such a thing as a popular (populist) tyrant or anything. By your logic John Key must be a good bloke because of his high popularity polling numbers. I am a little surprised to see you approving anyone increasing their military spending – that seems most unlike your typical line.

      • Murray Olsen 10.2.2

        Have you got a Fox News reference for that, DH? Everything I’ve seen and heard suggests that the average Venezuelan is much better off. The only South Americans who’ve said any different to me are rich Colombians who don’t think Indians deserve citizenship of their country, for example. They tend to live in the US and A, even though they love Colombia’s right wing death squad government.

        • DH 10.2.2.1

          Nicolas below says it better than me Murray. ’nuff said.

          • Colonial Viper 10.2.2.1.1

            I’m interested in watching how the colonial powers try and destabilise Venezuela over the next one or two years.

            • Populuxe1 10.2.2.1.1.1

              Because Venezuela’s influencing Commonwealth Caribbean countries by offering a loan scheme for oil payments isn’t remotely colonial? *giggles*

              • Colonial Viper

                How does that change US intentions to get at that very same Venezuelan oil by installing their typical puppet regime? It doesn’t, does it *giggle*

                • Populuxe1

                  It doesn’t, but whenever someone argues that can’t make an omelette without breaking a few (l)eggs, I can’t help but wonder whether the omelette is actually going to come out of the kitchen, and with grave doubts that I will like how it tastes.

  11. ropata 11

    One of my favourite Chavez moments was this scolding of a Fox News reporter

    Vilified for daring to defy US plans for the corporate takeover of South America

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    The Revolution will not be Televised

    Excellent Irish documentary about the coup against Chavez which deposed him for 2 days. The film crew had been doing a “fly on the wall” doco on Chavez when the coup events unfolded.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZajyVas4Jg

  13. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 13

    See they’re already blaming the Americans for giving him cancer. What is it with the extreme left and paranoia?

  14. pollywog 14

    I feel a hipster t-shirt coming on…

  15. Pascal's bookie 15

    What seems like a pretty fair appraisal from Pablo at KP

    http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2013/03/chavismo-without-chavez/

  16. Nicolas 16

    … I’m sorry but this post is completely mistaken. People don’t seem to understand what the situation is in Latin America. I’m originally from Brazil and my family was involved in left movements in Brazil, around the 80′s and 90′s… I can tell all of you corruption is widespread across ALL governments in the continent, left or not. These guys are FILTHY rich, from the money they STOLE from the people during years in power. Please, the Standard is great, but writing bullshit like this really hurts this website’s credibility.

    • Murray Olsen 16.1

      I know a little bit about what it’s like in Latin America. Corruption is endemic and it’ll take more than one charismatic leader to stop it. However, I think people like Lula, Allende and Chavez do a lot more for their societies than Collor (or FHC), Pinochet, or Uribe. Overall, I think Brazil is better off because of the PT, Venezuela is better because of Chavez, and Allende never got a chance.
      Por acaso, tô escrevendo merda aqui, companheiro?

      • Nicolas 16.1.1

        Mate, PT stinks, literally. Even if mom and dad hadn’t been directly involved with the party, when it was still beginning, I’d have still seen how much FHC and Lula have in common.

        In the end, once you reach the state Brazil is in (and the country is actually better than most in the continent), there is no right or left anymore. Forget about ideology: governments are simply corrupt. You can smell it everywhere.

        • Murray Olsen 16.1.1.1

          The country is corrupt. It starts at the top and goes right to the bottom. However, fewer people go to bed with empty stomachs than did in 2001. More people can read. More people can catch planes at the airports. I know this last one especially upsets a lot of the Brazilian middle class, who complain that the airports are now like bus stations.
          I don’t think I would be able to say any of this if Serra or Alckmin had won the elections. I’m happy that some Brazilians growing up in favelas now think of themselves as citizens of the country – as human beings.
          Have the problems in Brazil or Venezuela been fixed? No, and they won’t be as long as the people rely on populist strongmen to do it for them. Has some progress been made? I think so. It’s better than Aotearoa, which is being dragged backwards by Tories with no decent opposition in sight.

    • Colonial Viper 16.2

      Chavez isn’t filthy rich, he’s dead.

      And we all know that he who dies with the most toys…still dies.

      PS did you have a specific criticism to make, or were you simply complaining that heads of state are frequently also rich?

      I’m originally from Brazil and my family was involved in left movements in Brazil, around the 80′s and 90′s… I can tell all of you corruption is widespread across ALL governments in the continent

      You say that corruption is widespread across all latin American politics. Did you get involved when you were active in Brazil?

      • Nicolas 16.2.1

        Colonial Viper, my parents were involved as were many young people hoping a better Brazil could be built; a Brazil for the people. At least, that’s what Lula’s PT promoted. It didn’t take them long to see demonstrations of corruption within the local party groups in Porto Alegre (where I’m originally from). Mom and Dad assumed these to be isolated events in an otherwise “pure” movement and, when they tried to denounce these instances of leaders pocketing in party money, they found out how far up the shit went.

        This was in the 80′s and beginning of the 90′s and my family was put through hell during the period they tried to fight the corruption within PT, still believing the party as a whole to be different from every other political faction in the country. They weren’t.
        The list of corruption scandals under the Lula government, in particular, is HUGE. Which isn’t to say FHC and others were any better; Lula was simply ANOTHER corrupt cockroach.

        It’s a pretty simple equation isn’t it? Corruption scandals + rich “socialist” leaders = bullshitting “champions for the poor”.

        I’m not kidding, the consequences of corruption, from local to federal level, are WAY too obvious for you to ignore. Poverty, violence… These are all originated in widespread stealing of public funds by just about EVERY public authority in the fucking country.

        It sounds so negative it doesn’t sound real… I wish I was wrong.

        • xtasy 16.2.1.1

          Nicolas – having had a Brazilian flatmate stay with me from some time, I have heard similar stories and comments as the one you are making here. So I would not discredit what you say, and I believe there is at least an element of truth in Lula’s party having had, and still having, members who are involved in corruption.

          It is a bit like in parts of the Middle East and other regions in the world, where certain forms of corruption are simply a part of daily life. They even have to corrupt hospitals and doctors in Greece, belonging to the EU, to get the urgent medical treatment sick there need. Otherwise they may never get it. That is another society, where certain systems, customs and habits have become so corrupt, it would take more than charismatic leaders, a revolution or so to finish it. At least, at best it would take a generation to change affairs.

      • Nicolas 16.2.2

        My very first sentence might have been a bit hard to understand… No, mom and dad did NOT get involved in the corrupt schemes occurring within the party, although they were, literally, offered a part in it.

        I meant to say they were involved in the party, as it began gathering support, like many other young “fools”…

        • Colonial Viper 16.2.2.1

          I’m sorry Nicolas, but you’ve failed to recognise that in many of these countries, the lives of tens of millions have been greatly improved. Have pockets been lined and wealth sequestered in the process? Yes.

          The alternative you’ve failed to recognise is that previously, under colonial rule, that wealth was being sucked out of the country anyway.

          But why am I educating you on these points? This should be second nature to anyone who is a true “socialist”.

          • Nicolas 16.2.2.1.1

            The alternative is not colonialism… The alternative is an honest government. And this is going to sound incredibly paranoid but the figures on “millions” being lifted out of poverty? They might not be so reliable, considering we’re talking about a country that’s behind Rwanda in Transparency International’s corruption rank.

            Even if people’s lives were greatly improved (which somehow didn’t seem to be the case for the children looking for food in the rubbish bins in my hometown… maybe they were finding more food in the bins? Does that constitute “improved”?) you fail to recognize they could live DIGNIFIED lives if the plentiful resources in the country were not diverted to meet the needs of a SMALL, CORRUPT ELITE close to or in the government.

            Seriously, if you’re going to say the alternative is fucking colonialism, you are fucking clueless.

            • Nicolas 16.2.2.1.1.1

              Fuck, seriously, people’s lives were getting better? Because they were getting an extra 200 reais a month while cockroaches stole, literally, BILLIONS that should have gone towards feeding, clothing and educating my people? Sorry if I seem to be getting a bit rude but you really don’t seem like you have any idea of what the situation is in Brazil and in the rest of South America. I used to breath in political news in the continent and have talked to many people who experienced first-hand what these “socialist” regimes established and it WASN’T SOCIALISM. It was corrupt capitalism at its “best”!

          • Populuxe1 16.2.2.1.2

            Teach not thy parent’s mother to extract
            The embryo juices of the bird by suction.
            The good old lady can that feat enact,
            Quite irrespective of your kind instruction.

            My god you’re an arrogant SOB, CV! Lecturing people about their own country because it doesn’t fit with your precious rosy-tinted view of international socialism.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

            • Colonial Viper 16.2.2.1.2.1

              Thanks mate I appreciate your compliments.

              • Populuxe1

                You’re the prick telling the Brazilian he doesn’t understand Brazil, you filthy colonial imperialist.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I’m pretty sure my meaning is that he’s not any kind of Lefty Socialist, Brazilian or otherwise.

                • Hi Populuxe1,

                  That someone is from Brazil does not mean that they have an accurate and impartial account of the state of Brazil. There will be a range of views that Brazilians have about their country, the various political parties in their country, the main issues/problems with their country, etc..

                  Imagine John Banks commenting on a blog hosted in another country and providing the definitive account of the state of New Zealand and its political parties. Should everyone bow down to his commentary?

                  Or again, I was born in England. Does that mean that you are unable to challenge me on anything I say about England at the risk of being self-categorised as a “filthy colonialist”? Even if what I say conflicts with what you have read from reliable sources?

                  Is my birthplace a trump card that I can play in any discussion about my country of birth?

                  Personal experience is not the be-all and end-all of knowledge – especially when it is used to generalise about social facts. Largely that’s because personal experience is, by definition, partial. We sometimes have the worst (most partial) knowledge about the things we are most closely involved with – especially on issues that involve political and moral interests.

                  That’s one reason that the best histories are often written after the fact.

    • karol 16.3

      My post was an acknowledgement of the passing of Chavez. I didn’t rave about his time in power, but praised some good things, noted there was controversy, and left open the final assessment of his impact.

      Try looking at Pablo’s very well informed assessment of Chavez at the kiwipolitico.com that Pascal’s bookie links to above. He also commends the good and is critical of the bad things. For instance, Pablo says:

      Chavez did much good for Venezuela, particularly in the fields of health, education, welfare and community organization. During his time in power infant mortality rates dropped and literacy rates increased dramatically. The percentage of Venezuelans living in poverty dropped from 50 percent to below 30 percent in ten years. Rural hospitals and schools were built where there previously were none. His regime kept the price of domestic petrol cheap (as it could as a major oil-producing and refining nation), which allowed the poorest segments of the population to weather rises in the price of imported commodities.

      In spite of the claims of his detractors, he won four elections handily and relatively cleanly in the eyes of most international election observers. His tenure marks a major historical moment in Venezuelan life, and his legacy will be indelible on it. Whatever his authoritarian tendencies, he was no Pinochet or Somoza. Although his regime selectively repressed the opposition, it did not systematically torture or kill. Nor did it expropriate all private wealth, although it did seek to raises upper-income taxes, nationalize some strategic assets and prevent capital flight via financial controls. Needless to say, this earned him the emnity of Venezuelan elites and their foreign supporters. …

      He also presided over the deterioration of the country’s infrastructure, to include its oil production facilities (in which foreign investment dried up in response to his nationalization policies), as well as a dramatic rise in violent crime (Caracas has one of the highest murder rates in the world). He did not stop corruption but merely shifted it in favor of those who wear red berets.

      • xtasy 16.3.1

        I respect and hounour your intentions with this story, Karol, and I also wish to say ‘Rest in Peace’ to Hugo Chavez.

        In my view his Bolivarian Revolotions stood on weak foundations though, as a country so heavily dependend on one major export commodity needs to do much more to make a nationalised, restructured economy and society work. Diversification, industrialisation, and development of collective or other sensible farming and sundry production systems would be necessary, to produce many goods the population needs within the country. Also some for export would be good.

        Earning petro dollars and redistributing them, that alone will never be a lasting solution.

        I fear there is nobody large and strong and popular enough to take Chavez’ place, so we will see some turmoil coming up in Venezuela AND neighbouring countries!

        Despite all, he meant well, did do a lot to alleviate abject poverty of many, and he was charismatic and inspirational. Like all he made mistakes and had shortcomings.

        Never rely on single popular figures too much, well-coordinated, organised, connecting and democratically supported teams and parties are needed.

        NZers themselves voted in a “popular clown” and his lot a few years back, most have still not woken up with the overdue hangover.

        • karol 16.3.1.1

          xtasy: Never rely on single popular figures too much, well-coordinated, organised, connecting and democratically supported teams and parties are needed.

          Yes, I absolutely agree with that. And also with the point about the uncertainly of Venezuela’s future. Pablo says something similar.

          • Colonial Viper 16.3.1.1.1

            There’d be much less uncertainty if external powers didn’t have such a close eye on their oil reserves.

            The US would love to have such a nearby friendly, guaranted source of oil from an allied regime.

  17. Hugo Chavez was certainly sincere about social justice, but I don’t think he took the best road to achieve his goal. Historically, socialism has always been detrimental to the people it was supposed to help. Besides that, I dont understand why Chavez hated America so much. By the way, I noticed that countries whose leaders hate America are most of the times countries where atrocities are commited on a regular basis…

    • felixviper 17.1

      “countries whose leaders hate America are most of the times countries where atrocities are commited on a regular basis”

      Yep, U.S. atrocities do tend to generate a fair bit of hatred toward the U.S.

      Hardly surprising.

    • Pascal's bookie 17.2

      Hi Shanna,

      I was just reading this, and your comment prompted me to wonder what your thoughts on it might be:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/06/el-salvador-iraq-police-squads-washington?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

      Doesn’t relate directly to Chavez, but it does relate to US actions in South America and other places.

      The simple fact is that the US does all sorts of really terrible shit all around the world, over and over again, and they never say sorry and they never hold anyone to account. Dick Cheney for example, is still a free man, wandering about the place skiting about what a tough sonovabitch he is.

      Many US citizens don’t like to think about what the US is actually like. They naturally enough prefer the fairy tale. Maybe that’s why they get confused when they find out that lots of people around the world really truly don’t like them. They get confused, because they don’t have a clue what their country does to generate hatred, and it turns out it does quite a lot.

      • Populuxe1 17.2.1

        Don’t bother: “Shanna” is obviously a trollbot with a stock photo ID triggered by some US government-based computer’s search parameters.

    • geoff 17.3

      Besides that, I dont understand why Chavez hated America so much.

      Well maybe you should go away and brush up on the history of the USA’s political interference
      in South America.

  18. Nicolas 18

    What’s next? Honoring Fidel Castro and his “socialist” Cuba? Read Yoani Sánchez’s blog before making any stereotypical, uninformed comments on Castro’s capitalist state….

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      You really love doing this don’t you, Mr Brazilian Socialist? Why don’t you teach us all some real socialist philosophy, you know of the type you said you learnt about for years?

      • Nicolas 18.1.1

        What an awesome reply, colonial fool. I have just tried to give you a bit of insight into the situation in South America and you have failed to make any points at all. You’re just a fool, mate, wrapped in empty ideological statements that don’t reflect reality. Just be quiet…

        • Colonial Viper 18.1.1.1

          So no socialist ideology to share with us? And you said that you and your family had volunteered for socialist causes for so long!

          • Murray Olsen 18.1.1.1.1

            I once met a couple of PT members from Porto Alegre, militant socialists from way back. They told me that the main problem with Brazil was that the poor were allowed to vote and they just weren’t enlightened enough. In my view, Nicolas is about as much of a socialist as Mussolini ended up being. His mentioning Yoani Sánchez, a right wing Cuban blogger sponsored by the US State Department and trotted around Brazil by the Rede Globo news organisation (think Murdoch in Portuguese), shows where his sympathies lie. At best, I’d say he never realised that socialism can only be built from what is already there, on the foundations of the society that exists already, and not by flicking an on-off utopia switch.

            In short, because the left in Latin America has not been perfect, he adopts the US line. A socialist who tried for five minutes and gave up because the world didn’t fit his ideal scheme is not a socialist. It doesn’t matter where they come from, Rio Grande do Sul or Texas. Geography does not give understanding. Walking away from the struggle because it’s not going according to your ideals, then criticising from afar, using lines that could have been written by a right wing wank tank, is not a socialist quality.

            Now cue a diatribe telling me I know nothing about conditions in Latin America. Ha ha. Vá bater punheta em outro lugar, tchê. O boi já dormiu.

            • Colonial Viper 18.1.1.1.1.1

              nice backgrounder :)

            • Nicolas 18.1.1.1.1.2

              Now you’re just being a prick. You don’t know me or my family. We didn’t “try for five minutes” you arrogant douche. My family struggled for YEARS; mom and dad left after more than two fucking decades, trying to change things wherever they were, be it in the Porto Alegre council or in little Capao da Canoa. Dad did an incredible job for the Pao Dos Pobres foundation. What mom and dad did is more than you’ll ever do, “fashion” socialist… After many years, they finally realized there was just nothing there for my siblings and I and they made huge sacrifices to leave the country, which we did only 4 years ago.

              Fucking prick, I never said the problem in Brazil was that poor people voted. Of course it’s not. The problem is that the poor are poor because of cockroaches like the ones in PT. You don’t know shit, you’re simply another nutcase, no different from hardcore “right-wing” people. Right or left, this is just your way to disguise your ignorance.

              Babaca…

              And Yoani is sponsored by the Americans? Have you seen the way she lives, you arrogant turd? She’s done more for the people in her country than you’ll ever do for anyone, internet “socialist”…

              Wearing a Guevara shirt doesn’t make you intelligent, prick.

    • karol 18.2

      Nicolas: What’s next? Honoring Fidel Castro and his “socialist” Cuba? Read Yoani Sánchez’s blog before making any stereotypical, uninformed comments on Castro’s capitalist state….

      Nicolas, have you made the same statements to all these rabid socialist publications that have also published articles/reports marking Chavez’s death, and pointing out some of the good, bad and controversial stuff he did: Stuff, the NZ Herald, TVNZ, TV3, New York, BBC, CNN … etc, etc?

      • Nicolas 18.2.1

        Karol, Yoani Sánchez does not talk about the “goods and bads” promoted by Castro. She is in fact extremely critical, breaking the left illusion that Cuba is somehow closer to a fair society than most of the rest of the world. It’s not. It’s corrupt capitalism at its worst.

        • karol 18.2.1.1

          Nicolas – diversion. I have not said anything about Castro. My post is about Chavez.

        • Colonial Viper 18.2.1.2

          How can Cuba beat the corrupt capitalism of Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan and AIG?

  19. Smith 19

    “Rest in peace, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías. As a Venezuelan, I didn’t agree with most of your policies and politics, but I do not rejoice in your death and I do respect the pain of your family and supporters.

    In 1998, when you campaigned for the presidency -and promised to end corruption- despite my disappointment with the traditional parties, I did not support you because you had led a coup against president Carlos Andres Pérez. I didn’t like Pérez, but he was elected by our people and attempting to overthrow him was proof that you did not respect the will of Venezuelans.
    I didn’t oppose 100% of what you did. I was grateful, for example, that you placed the issue of poverty on the table and you put the spotlight on millions of Venezuelans that until then had been excluded. I knew that the Cuban doctors in the slums were unprepared and unequipped, but I understood that they meant the world to the mother that knocks on their door at 3am. I was also happy of the way most Venezuelans started to care about politics again (some because they supported you; others because they opposed you). The anti-politic feeling we saw in the 90′s was precisely what got you elected. And I also kept in mind that a majority of Venezuelans did support you, so you certainly had a right to be in office.

    These are my 10 reasons why I will not miss you:
    Your authoritarian manner (which reflected a flaw probably most Venezuelans have), and your inability to engage in an honest dialogue with anyone that opposed you. Even from your death bed, you had a Supreme Court justice fired because she didn’t agree with your politics.
    Your disrespect for the rule of law and your contribution to a climate of impunity in Venezuela. In 1999, you re-wrote the Constitution to fit your needs, and yet you violated it almost on a daily basis. With this example, it is no surprise that crime exploded in Venezuela. In 14 years, our homicide rate more than tripled from 22/100K to 74/100K. While judges were busy trying to prove their political allegiance to you, only 11% of homicides led to a conviction.

    Your empty promises and the way you manipulated many Venezuelans to think you were really working for them. In 14 years you built less public housing than any president before you did in their 5 year periods. Hospitals today have no resources, and if you go there in emergency you must everything from medicines to surgical gloves and masks. The truth is that you were better at blowing your own trumpet than at getting things done.

    The astounding level of corruption of your government. There was corruption before you got elected, but normally a government’s scandals weren’t made public until they handed power to the opposing party. Now we’ve heard about millions and millions of dollars vanishing in front of everybody’s eyes, and your only reaction was to attack the media that revealed the corruption. The only politicians accused of corruption have been from parties that oppose you, and mostly on trumped up charges. For example, Leopoldo Lopez was never condemned by the courts but you still prevented him for running for office. His crime? Using money from the wrong budget allocation to pay for the salaries of teachers and firemen -because your government withheld the appropriate funds.

    The opportunities you missed. When you took office, the price of oil was $9.30, and in 2008 it reached $126.33. There was so much good you could have done with that money! And yet you decided to throw it away on corruption and buying elections and weapons. If you had used these resources well, 10.7% of Venezuelans would not be in extreme poverty.

    Your attacks on private property and entrepreneurship. You nationalized hundreds of private companies, and pushed hundreds more towards bankruptcy. Not because you were a communist or a socialist, but simply because you wanted no one left with any power to oppose you. If everyone was a public employee, you could force them to attend your political rallies, and the opposition would not get any funding.

    Your hypocrisy on freedom and human rights. You shut down more than 30 radio and television stations for being critical of your government, you denied access to foreign currency for newspapers to buy printing paper (regular citizens can’t access foreign currency unless you authorize it), you imprisoned people without trial for years, you imprisoned people for crimes of opinion, you fired tens of thousands of public employees for signing a petition for a recall referendum and you denied them access to public services and even ID cards and passports.
    Your hypocrisy on the issue of Venezuela’s sovereignty. You kicked out the Americans but then you pulled down your pants for the Cubans, Russians, Chinese and Iranians. We have Cuban officers giving orders in the Venezuelan army. Chinese oil companies work with a higher margin of profit than any Western companies did. And you made it clear that your alliances would be with governments that massacre their own people.

    Your hypocrisy on the issue of violence. You said this was a peaceful revolution but you allowed illegal armed groups like Tupamaros, La Piedrita and FBLN to operate. You gave them weapons. You had the Russians set up a Kalashnikov plant in Venezuela. You were critical of American wars but yet you gave weapons to the Colombian guerrilla, whose only agenda is murder and drug-dealing.

    Your hypocrisy on democracy. Your favorite insult for the opposition parties in Venezuela was “coupists”, but you forgot you organized a coup in 1992, and the military that was loyal to you suggested they would support a coup in your favor if the opposition ever won the presidential elections. There was no democracy in your political party: you chose each of the candidates for the National Assembly and for city and state governments. When the opposition won the referendum that would have allowed you to change the Constitution in 2007, you disavowed the results and you figured out a way to change the articles and allow yourself to be reelected as many times as you wanted. You manipulated the elections in 2010 to make sure the opposition didn’t get more than a third of seats in Parliament even though they got 51% of the popular vote. Your democracy was made of paper, you made sure there were no meaningful checks and balances and all institutions were your puppets.

    So no, Hugo I will not miss you. Rest in peace now, while we try to rebuild the mess of a country that you left us.”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/05/world/americas/obit-venezuela-chavez/?hpt=hp_t1#comment-820370943

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      It was critical for Venezuela’s national security to have it’s own small arms manufacturing. Not sure why you are complaining about that when it also brought jobs and foreign income.

      • Smith 19.1.1

        Nothing to say about his closing of radio and TV stations? Or his political machinations which make our dear leader look like “honest John” in comparison? Jesus it scares me to see how people jump to gloss over the decidedly undemocratic measures he undertook to maintain his grip on the country, because “he was one of us”.

        Just because he gave the finger to the yanquis? Give me a break – nationalisation simply meant diverting those oil dollars toward the freedom-loving PRC. He also had no qualms about jumping into bed with those paragons of human rights; Cuba, Russia, and Iran.

        Chavez may have called himself a socialist but at the end of the day he was a political animal like any other, no more, no less.

        • TheContrarian 19.1.1.1

          Censoring opposing views is a path towards a dictatorship. Not saying Chavez was a dictator but he was an autocrat.

        • Nicolas 19.1.1.2

          Colonial viper doesn’t really know what he’s talking about. The guy is as bad as some of the nutcases from the ACT party.

          • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.2.1

            Mr Brazilian Socialist, I’m not denying that Chavez took steps to consolidate power around himself and his own clique. But, he continued to win free and fair elections which were internationally monitored.

            And yes, it was critical to Venezuela that it had some independence in terms of the manufacture and supply of small arms and munitions.

        • geoff 19.1.1.3

          Chavez’s Venezuela demonstrates two main points:

          1) It demonstrated how difficult it is for a sovereign nation to rid itself of US imperialism.

          2) It demonstrated how economically successful a nation can be when it replaces a system that serves the 1% with one that serves the 99%.

          • mickysavage 19.1.1.3.1

            Amen and it is really weird all the trolls who have popped up and are insisting that a country keeping its wealth and making sure its children are properly fed and educated is a communist threat.

            Chavez was a saint. If there is a god in heaven he will now be walking through the pearly gates to the sound of a barrage of trumpets being blown to announce his ascension.

      • Mark 19.1.2

        Great idea CV, so you support a homegrown arms industry in NZ bringing jobs and foreign income?? We could call it UMI.. (Urewera Molotovs Incorporated)
        :)

        • Colonial Viper 19.1.2.1

          Do we need our own arms industries? I would say that we need to strengthen our Defence Forces infrastructure and capabilities, and I would say that we definitely require our own munitions manufacturing capabilities onshore.

  20. johnm 20

    A tribute for Hugo Chavez from the Artist Taxi Driver.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mJCkHM7L9A&list=UUGThM-ZZBba1Zl9rU-XeR-A&index=2

    The oil and money Jackals of the U$ and U$K will be looking to fund Venezuela’s elites to roll back the poor’s gains and to start syphoning off wealth to their own elites.

  21. Mark 21

    @ Smith.
    Good piece. In reality, the left don’t have any issue with corruption & theft of public funds.. Clark & co style. The end justifies the means you see.. and they salivate here at the chance of becoming part of that socialist elite.. fools…

    • karol 21.1

      Mark @ 9.23 am with corruption & theft of public funds.. Clark & co style. [citation needed]

      And surely then you must be really angry at the cronyist, theft of state assets, and stealthy diversion of public funds by John Key’s slippery government?

      and they salivate here at the chance of becoming part of that socialist elite [citation needed]

  22. Mark 22

    Karol@09:38 “And surely then you must be really angry at the cronyist, theft of state assets, and stealthy diversion of public funds by John Key’s slippery government?” citation needed

    2008 election pledge card.. theft of public funds later legitimised by law change.

    But why would you call for citation by me when you are happy to make dishonest claims yourself, and not ask any other commentators (unless of course you disagree with their politics)

    Pfftt

    • Te Reo Putake 22.1

      Big whoops. A mistake was made and rectified. And a few hundred grand is nothing compared to bunging millions for no reason to Warner Bros or dooming the next generation to half an income stream from power where we could have it all. Try and get a sense of perspective, Mark.

    • karol 22.2

      What dishonest claims? And I’m still waiting for evidence that I and others here “salivate here at the chance of becoming part of that socialist elite”.

      Mark: Karol@09:38 “And surely then you must be really angry at the cronyist, theft of state assets, and stealthy diversion of public funds by John Key’s slippery government?” citation needed

      James Henderson post: National’s going to spend a million taxpayer dollars just on advertising trying to convince Kiwis to sign up to buy something we already own and just in the ‘pre-registration’ phase of the Mighty River sale.

      Kickbacks: citations at link

      The whole asset theft sales issue of which there is numerous sources, including Kiwis at the front of the queue:

      The Hobbit (well documented by Helen Kelly) and Sky City cronyism and diversion of public funds in the services of the wealthy and corporate elites (which even government apologist Peter Dunne sees is a problem).

      Standard posts and commenters have provided plenty of citations of these systematic diversions of public goods, state funds and resources from tax payers to the wealthy elites.

      And all you can come up with is an open and honest error by Clark’s government, that was the result of official advice.

      • Mark 22.2.1

        I don’t think citations as links to The Standard posts or comments are in any way valid or credible. They are opinion pieces.. and they are the only ones you have?? Open & honest error by Clark?? FFS you are deluded.. why then didn’t the Labour Party just pay it back to the taxpayers.. easy.
        “salivating at the prospect of joining the left elite”.. let’s see.. Carter, Chauvel.. those that really care about NZ taking off at the first opportunity to join the well documented ineffective and corrupt organisation under their former leader..? I shudder to think how the left over funds (after limousines & business class airfares) will be used.. young Afghani boys as “tour guides” perhaps?
        “Bunging millions to Warners”.. yeah, should have gone to the corrupt Aussie Unions instead right? and despite all the conjecture and drivel regarding the Hobbit, and timing of information & decisions, the people who worked on it are still wholeheartedly behind Jackson & co.. but you guys and Helen know better aye? anyway where is Simon Whipp these days?
        “Dooming the next generation”.. I think we’ll leave that to NZEI & PPTA shall we.. of course not forgetting Standardistas..

        • karol 22.2.1.1

          There are plenty of links in those TS posts supporting the claims made. I’m waiting to see your links. eg re-corrupt Aussie Unions. I’ve argued all those points on the Hobbit before, as have others here. You’ll find them if you do a search on here for my and others posts and comments on it. I’ve provided some links – you just keep repeating right wing apologist lines.

          Oh, when you said “salivating here” I thought you meant it was posters and commenters here that aching to join the elites.

          • Mark 22.2.1.1.1

            Your links are opinion pieces karol.. or interpretations posted as fact.. backed up by similarly biased opinions, seized upon as some kind of truth by similarly indoctrinated, disgruntled and envious posters or commenters.. nothing more, nothing less.
            I have followed this blog long enough to be familiar with the tactics – attack the dissenter, make it personal, divert..
            It’s sad, a healthy balance between left & right could make for a great society, as in some Scandinavian Countries, Switzerland etc, but most of what is displayed here is just hate speech and lies.

            [lprent: All of the posts here are opinion pieces. We generally leave the gathering of news to those paid for it. Instead where possible we link to articles and posts that link to articles so that people can follow down the same path of information as the authors and draw their own conclusions. We expect that those criticising the posts should do the same rather than simply jerking off and saying how big an unsubstantiated assertion that they have. Which is all that you seem to be doing on this pass so far.

            You've been asked to provide some links to back your assertions. You have managed to do it once or twice before in your 183 comments here. However you have always managed to make it look like you are trying to squeeze your brain through your cock. Provide some.

            Otherwise I will just treat you as another wanking troll with a loud mouth and no discernible intelligence. Until I see an sustained improvement in your behaviour you're on permanent auto-moderation. I'll let your comments through if and only if they are accompanied with valid backing links (ie whaleoil usually won't cut it).

            BTW: Personal enough to satisfy you? I truly hope that you are offended by it. Maybe you'll start using your brains before having a go at authors. ]

            • karol 22.2.1.1.1.1

              Mark, you keep attacking our supporting evidence and produce none of your own – you just repeat tired old right wing attack and diversion lines.

              For instance, in this post on the Hobbit, I linked to an article in a reputed journal, The New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations. On such issues I have also linked to other peer reviewed articles, and books, as well as official statistics.

              You, on the other hand have produced nothing but tired old right wing troll lines. I’m not going to continue to spend my time dredging up links, when you produce nothing of substance.

            • Te Reo Putake 22.2.1.1.1.2

              The hate speech and lies seem to be exclusively coming from you, Mark. You have singularly failed to make any point at all in your nonsensical and fact free rambles. As I said earlier, try and get a sense of perspective. And feel free to use google when making statements about historical issues such as the pledge card, you may be surprised to find the truth doesn’t match your prejudices.

            • Populuxe1 22.2.1.1.1.3

              Problem is that your authors have no real accountability for their assertions because if anyone dares to question the veracity of their claims they get banned for their temerity. There would seem to be something slightly ironic in trying to discuss transparency and accountability in the MSM or criticising Clare Curran for her attempts at censoring and bullying the party in a forum which isn’t much better and sometimes is actually worse. I mean really what’s to stop a pro-Shearer author from banning all the pro-Cunliffe dissenters on a whim and the usual arbitrary interpretation of the guidelines?

              • karol

                Oh, please. Many of us do provide links – and I have done so in response to Mark. he hasn’t returned the favour. I am very much for evidence-based discussion.

                • Populuxe1

                  Sorry Karol, I apologise – yes, you are definitely one of my preferred reads for that very reason. Can’t say the same of some of the others, and that’s largely because of your personal integrity that you do provide links. I also have a lot of respect for QoT because she’s usually up for a bit of banter. The preciousness of some others, however, really doesn’t do much for the credibility of the discussion.

                • Mark

                  What links do you want me to provide karol? Corruption within Australian Unions? Film workers supporting Jackson & The Hobbit? The report on Clark’s dept of the UN? Carter & Chauvel leaving NZ & hired by Clark (or the hiring being influenced)? I think we have had considerable evidence in this post of the corruption in Chavez’s regime.. do you wanty some evidence of corruption in other South American (or any) regimes?.. I’m not saying they are unique in this, but how about you provide some evidence of your assertions around the NZ situation?
                  Deal?

                  [lprent: So far the last link you have provided was back in August last year. So I'd suggest that you just start with just one rather than blustering like a drunk fool. I suspect that will be a hard enough task for you to try first off. ]

              • lprent

                Problem is that your authors have no real accountability for their assertions because if anyone dares to question the veracity of their claims they get banned for their temerity.

                Not exactly. They can question them here or at any other blog site. What they cannot do is personally criticize them here. They tend to wind up with me or one of the other moderators sharing our view on them (and them getting upset because you know – that isn’t “fair”). But that is done to reduce our time and effort in the future. One thing trolls seldom do is change their behaviour without considerable encouragement.

                But I think you’ve been seduced by our apparent competences to forget who we are.. We don’t exactly do this for pay (there is none) and as most of us write under pseudonyms and keep them private (to prevent cowardly attacks on our work and family by arseholes like Whale or PG) – little glory either. Oh and we almost all work as well so this gets done in our spare time.

                We set our own standards and maintain a policy about what they are. We don’t try for massive degrees of uniformity because this is a volunteer coop. Quite a lot of the actual work that gets done here is booting off people wanting to troll or stir trouble in our discussion area. We boot them so they can do such things in the parts of the net that are amenable to it. But we like to argue, so there is no particular uniformity of views encouraged. Just a level of behaviour.

                …because if anyone dares to question the veracity of their claims they get banned for their temerity.

                Might have happened once or twice when an author got pissed off enough – because authors are allowed to moderate their own posts. But it isn’t frequent. Almost all of the bans are carried out by the site moderators because they can edit comments in other peoples posts. This is mostly done by relatively infrequent authors like myself, Redlogix, or Irish and often done instead of writing content.

                The general policy is that provided people do not attack authors personally, but argue on the content of the post, we’re not going to intervene. It is valuable training for authors to have criticism of their post’s content. However it is discouraging to them to have some half-arsed troll attacking them for writing something because “they know better”, frequently demanding more information than that given to support the authors opinions, and not providing any kind of backing for their own assertions.

                In this case “Mark” was adamant that while he wasn’t going to provide any support for what he was saying, he considered that his opinion far outweighed that of one of the authors, was openly contemptuous of her, and that she was writing here at all. Moreover he was trying for the lawyers trick of proclaiming how he was going to be a victim. He has been around for years and knows exactly what I’m would do. So I tend to view it as being self-inflicted.

                I responded to the flatulent wonder in exactly the same fashion as he used except a few orders of magnitude more extreme. I didn’t even ban him. I just gave him a minimum standard that he will have to conform to if he wants to comment here in the future. Now I’m sure that “Mark” will find the terms too onerous, if only because I suspect he is too stupid to learn how to find relevant links. However the requirement was based on looking at a significant number of his previous 183 comments and finding him regularly saying that others have to provide links, but he is exempt.

                There would seem to be something slightly ironic in trying to discuss transparency and accountability in the MSM or criticising Clare Curran for her attempts at censoring and bullying the party in a forum which isn’t much better and sometimes is actually worse.

                Clare Curran was trying to enforce her censorship on this site in the council of an organisation that has no control of it (which was pretty much why it got ignored (actually privately laughed at)). But the specific point that was at issue was her use of information that should have been private and was widely suspected of being obtained from another blog to attack a member of her own party. So she got a reaction against that party. Great public relations for my view that there are a lot of useless MP’s in caucus at present. Your view of the issue seems to me to be somewhat shallow.

                Various authors tend to have differing views on MSM. Perhaps you should take that up with them on a case by case basis. It isn’t part of the site’s policy. Personally I find the much of the local MSM generally too shallow to be bothered with going into with any depth and have been steadily dropping accessing it without a recommendation. Karol has a different view.

            • Mark 22.2.1.1.1.4

              I love it. No greater confirmation required.. ie dissent and have links demanded (which of my statements do you need evidence for? which of my opinions are less valid or less flagged as opinion than anyone else’s?) Personal abuse.. some say you are able to debate above that level
              lprent, I’m not so sure.

              [Lprent: Why would I debate when moderating? ]

              Having a go at authors?.. really?.. I commented on someone else’s comment, karol decided to engage me.

              [lprent: Except when I got to looking at it you were saying that she had to provide links supporting her opinions (which she already done), but you would not do the same. Basically you were wasting everyones time. ]

              [deleted]

              • McFlock

                lolz at the “I’m too cool for school” gambit.
                As well as the attempt to piss off a mod so you get banned and earn your “Censored By The Left For Being A Fuckwit” Whaleoil merit badge.

                You need to learn the difference between a “supported opinion” (where links to primary sources or news articles are contained in the post so that readers can determine for themselves whether the opinion is justified or reasonable), and “unsupported drivel” (which is what you produce).

              • Mark

                [deleted]

                [lprent: Zero links again. Perhaps you could try going back to one of your many numerous previous comments where you made assertions without any attempt at backing them. Hereafter, I won't bother deleting your "content". It can go into auto-spam. I will rescue it if it is an argued point with some kind of supporting link. ]

              • karol

                Exactly, Lynn. In my effort to provide some links for things I know that I and others have argued in detail before with substantial links, I ended up not doing a couple of things I’d planned today.

                Meanwhile, Mark made some very broad and contentious statements with no evidence, and just responds with more attacks or unfounded assertions.

                Someone, possibly Mark, has tried this on before. I provided some links, and got the same response as Mark today, that all my links were to subjective pieces. However, neither then nor today did the commenter point to any examples from my sources taht were subjective and biased – just made a blanket statement about them.

                On the earlier occasion,I pointed out where my links were to statistical/research evidence and either was still told my links were subjective, or got no response.

                It just looks to me like trolling, and an excuse to smear the left, me, TS authors, and the site with bold assertions lacking in substance.

                And such bad faith trolling is very time consuming and bound to try my patience.

                • lprent

                  Sometimes he is reasonably ok. Sometimes not. Today was a not, it was a “be a irritating troll saying nothing much badly” day. I read several of his comments today during moderation and didn’t like how he was winding himself up.

                  It is the type of stupid stuff that causes authors to stop bothering to make the effort. If I see it these days I tend do bloody and educational interventions.

                  Push on what you’d said is fine. Make honest mistakes – watch with some latitude (like the person who confused Castro with Chavez). Try to have a go at an author on their own post in a ACToid style dogwhistle way – then I’ll get involved. I get very crude, unsubtle, and ideally send them away quite angry and whining about unfairness (and I bet that he pees on gates in passing as well).

                  It is a educational process that has been going on through the BBS’es, usenet, blogs, and off into the social media.

  23. Mark 23

    2005 rather, as I recall. What’s with the edit function on this second rate site??

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      What’s with the tasteless idiots who choose to post on this “second rate site”? :D

      • karol 23.1.1

        iI don’t know. But it seems to exercise some right wingers to read about the goings on in South America, that includes resistance to US imperialism and attempts to introduce left wing policies. (Very good article by Gordon Campbell on it.)

        And along with it they seem to be trying to discredit/stifle anything socialist in NZ.

        Must be a bit annoying for those right wingers, after having proclaimed the death of socialism in 1989, to now find capitalism vs socialism struggles being strongly revived in South/Latin America.

        • Populuxe1 23.1.1.1

          Wow, not often one sees someone on the left confuse socialism and communism

          • karol 23.1.1.1.1

            Please explain, Pop. Or are you trying to claim that Venezuela and other Latin American countries are communist states?

            • Populuxe1 23.1.1.1.1.1

              No, I’m saying that the End of History malarkey was about the competition between Capitalism and Communism, primarily the USSR – not Socialism ans it’s generally a given that Socialism usually operates in Capitalist economies specifically to ease the inequalities that Capitalism has as a side effect.

              • karol

                Yes, I know that. Nevertheless, right wingers claimed it as a victory for capitalism over both commun1sm and western democratic socialism, as my link above indicates. It was the result of right wingers equating democratic socialism with one party “communist” states.

  24. felixviper 24

    Hello American trools.

  25. Populuxe1 25

    He was also a homophobic antisemite. Can’t leave those out!

        • Te Reo Putake 25.1.1.1

          No evidence there of anti-semitism, just some people claiming he was an anti-semite. Can you cite anything Chavez said or did that was anti-semitic, pop?

          • Morrissey 25.1.1.1.1

            ….just some people claiming he was an anti-semite.

            I see that poor old Populuxe is citing a deranged article from Bill Kristol’s deranged magazine. Next step for the poor fellow will be citing Mein Kampf.

          • Murray Olsen 25.1.1.1.2

            He made several statements against the treatment meted out to the Palestinians by the Israeli state and condemned Zionism on a number of occasions, as well as being somewhat supportive of the Iranian leadership. In many people’s eyes, but not mine, this was enough to make him antisemitic. In the sense that antisemitic now means anyone who doesn’t agree with absolutely anything Netanyahu does, he was antisemitic. And so am I. In the sense that he was prejudiced against semites, I know I’m not and I don’t think he was either.

            I have no problem with criticisms of Chavez and Chavismo from the left, where criticism is generally grounded in reality and material conditions. Was he autocratic? Yes. Did he talk too much? Yes. Did he move far enough toward the socialism I’d like to see? No. Did he give many Venezuelans who’d never had the feeling before some sense of citizenship? Yes. Do fewer Venezuelans go to bed hungry after his rule? Yes. Are more Venezuelans now able to read? Yes.

            For all his flaws, Latin America is better off with leaders like him who stand and fight rather than flee the country after a few photo-ops, like Leonel Brizola did in the face of a military coup in Brazil. Latin America will be even better off on the day that they stop looking for strong men, salvadores da pátria, and organise themselves in the struggle. That day has not yet arrived, but in the meantime I think leaders like Chavez and Lula are much better than those who see the future of their countries as $10 putas for the fat gringos from the north.

            • Populuxe1 25.1.1.1.2.1

              And that argument is more or less exactly why Africa is in the shit it is

              • Populuxe1

                “[t]he world is for all of us, then, but it so happens that a minority, the descendants of the same ones that crucified Christ, the descendants of the same ones that kicked Bolívar out of here and also crucified him in their own way over there in Santa Marta, in Colombia. A minority has taken possession all of the wealth of the world.”

                Two government raids in the Jewish school of Caracas where they searched for evidence of weapons or subversive activity: one raid in the morning of 29 November 2004, as elementary school children began their studies, and a second raid during a wedding in one of the school’s halls in the evening of 2 December 2007.

              • Murray Olsen

                Wrong continent and I have no idea what you’re trying to say anyway. How one earth does an argument which gives some value to literacy and food become responsible for the state of Africa? How does an argument which says the poor need to organise their own struggle instead of waiting for charismatic strong men have responsibility for African problems?

    • joe90 25.2

      I have doubts about whether he himself was or wasn’t but Chavez did use anti-semitism as a political tool.

      http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/88901/the-dispossessed?all=1

      http://www.kantorcenter.tau.ac.il/sites/default/files/lidia-fin_5.pdf

  26. Colonial Viper 26

    [lprent: this was a reply to deleted comment by Mark ]

    Yes you are a right winger and very probably whale oil supporter.

    • Populuxe1 26.1

      If that was directed at me, you couldn’t be more wrong and in fact in some areas I am even more doctrinaire Marxist than a lot of people here, especially as regards public assets, but no – it’s simply that I don’t believe that supporting socialist principles means I have to also apologise for every nasty thug and brute dictator just because they were cosmetically left-wing.

      • Colonial Viper 26.1.1

        Ah sorry P1, it was directed at Mark, for some reason the comment ended up down here.

        [lprent: I probably trashed the comment you replied to before seeing someone had replied. I will fix the parenting. Add to my list some way to look for orphaned comments. ]

  27. I’m sure that several million formerly poor and illiterate Venezuelans could out argue these right wing trools about the legacy of Chavez. And they could do it better than George Galloway.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqVxix3cS0Q

    These are the people that are supposed to be so stupid and powerless that they couldn’t rally in their millions to force Chavez release from the coup plotters jail in 2002.

    They are the people that resisted bribes by the opposition to vote him out.
    http://www.thenation.com/article/173212/legacy-hugo-chavez#

    Instead they voted him into office at least 8 times over 14 years in elections that did not involve election bribes or the buying of votes common in the US that mother of all ‘democracies’.

    Chavez was only a man and he couldnt bring about socialism without mobilising the working class to take power and expropriate national and foreign capital. He wouldn’t do this because he believed like lots of social democrats that he could do deals with imperialism including China. He never understood that poor nations cannot become independent and develop their own wealth for their own people so long as private capital dominates the economy.

    It’s up to the Venezuelan workers to organise themselves and take power and expropriate private capital.

  28. Phil 28

    Jeez, so we are going to have to apologise for all the acts that brought us to where we are?
    No, we just have to understand them in context.

    As often quoted;
    ” All improvements in the human condition have been obtained in struggle with management, nothing has been freely given or easily won”.
    No apologies for the tragedies of the true left, and nothing expected from the followers of the Chicago Boys.
    EContinua!

  29. mario 29

    Along with many great comments well fitting this sad moment, this thread also contains too much ignorance which is so typical considering the history of Western media reporting on Chavez and Venezuela. I would point anyone who wants to understand the situation better to a few credible online sources like for example venezuelanalysis.com who have been covering these events over the past decade with numerous articles which are by the way written mostly by Western journalists, but stationed in Venezuela and reporting from the ground where it all happens. Even at least doing the basic thing like going through that Wikipedia article that Karol points to would in start eliminate half of the nonsense on this page.

    Chavez was a democrat, true socialist and has placed real socialism on the world map, giving it a chance it needs in future against the prevailing capitalist model. From his enormous legacy which I won’t repeat in detail as many others have covered it, I think his most important accomplishments are starting regional integrations which removed the dependency on neoliberal institutions/model and (often going unmentioned) providing Venezuelans with real participatory power. He directed Venezuelans towards establishment of thousands community councils, communes, co-ops and other platforms where people can provide their share in building the society as well as provided them with tools to meaningfully impact their communities, which is is a much needed part of any better society missing elsewhere.

    Sure, Chavez had his mistakes, obvious one supporting real dictators (I think mostly due to his treatment of any US enemy as his friend) who are really total opposites of him. Domestic corruption, beraucracy, and crime rates are also huge problems indeed, but he has already recognized them as such on numerous occasions and we can trust his immense record that he would indeed continue doing his best to resolve them after resolving at least equally important issues of poverty, equality, education, health, workers conditions, and many others. Other so often quoted things by his critics like his manner which may seem autocratic and being not so diplomatic on every occasion I just deem less important issues of style and not substance which any person and especially politicians should be judged by. If we judge him by his acts, anyone trying to name a single person on this planet who has done more good for the poor and common people in the last decade would have a very hard time. Chavez was a true giant in all aspects and I have no doubts will be remembered in history as one of the most responsible people for bringing a better world. He didn’t do it all alone and it couldn’t have been done without millions supporting him so I think these changes were so deep that they have already made a lasting impact on the world and that they will continue.

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