Saturday, March 11, 2006

Is Chavez the evil one? You decide...

I won't pretend to be an expert on why America (Bush) and Venezuala (Chavez) do not get along. I guess Chavez criticized us (was he wrong?) or Bush (do we disagree?) and some Americans were very critical of Cindy Sheehan's visit to Chavez because he is "antiAmerican" etc.

That is about the extent of my knowledge... I've had so much other stuff to pull my hair out about, just didn't have room for that topic in my brain!

However, I did just find this and wanted to share it... I don't know how biased or unbiased, factual or "spinned", any of the article is. But it does make one wonder...

This is from Gary Olson at, courtesy of Latin America News Review-

For the first time, universal health care is official state policy and peasants are living longer due to accessible health care.

Elementary schools are providing three free meals a day to all students, drawing some million new students to school.

Misiones (missions and government projects) are extending vital social services like literacy training, food subsidies and rudimentary health care to the poor.

Indigenous Venezuelans, homosexuals and women are now protected in the constitution.

Land reform is redistributing idle land to landless peasants.

Operation milagro (miracle), a joint venture with Cuban doctors, has restored eyesight to thousands of blind people in the region.

Venezuelan elites, who despise Chavez and call him a monkey, have tried mightily to sabotage the economy for eight years, but it grew at a respectable 9 percent in 2005, the highest in the hemisphere.

Venezuelan oil has made this possible, but only Chavez acted on the clearly subversive and radical notion that the country's resources should be used to benefit the country's people and even those beyond its orders. Oil was nationalized in 1976, but the oil bureaucracy operated as a state within a state."

The system remains imperfect, but Chavez finally took control in 2001 and the petrodollars are now staying home in the form of social spending, faithfully reflecting social ownership of this natural resource.

Something must be working, because his approval rating stands at 77 percent, the highest in the Americas, according to Datanalisis, the country's major polling firm.And, of course, this begins to explain why Chavez is viewed as a threat. An alternative development model where the citizens, not private U.S. foreign investors, are the primary beneficiaries of government policy is feared by U.S. elites.

As Latin American expert Prof. Rosa Maria Pegueros observes, from Washington's perspective the real threat is that if Chavez succeeds, he may "create an eqalitarian society that has the power to resist United States hegemony."

Who knows where this virus may appear next. To help it spread, I'm filling my tank at the Citgo station from now on.

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