Venezuela’s Pres. Maduro Interview and Article

Venezuelan President Nicolas MaduroA great piece in The Guardian on recent Venezuelan unrest with a print and video interview with Pres. Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro claims that the U.S. is almost directly involved with the middle- to upper-class revolt their in an effort to procure Venezuela’s vast oil reserves.

I am not backing that assessment but the U.S. has had a century of destabilizing activity in Latin America. The evidence is clear.

But what is important to take away from this piece, and the protests in general, is that it’s the revolution of the rich. U.S. political assessments of it are wrong. It is not a “Spring” revolt.

Now there are problems in Venezuela, and The Guardian lists them, but they are getting better as The Guardian also reports. It’s like Maduro said in the interview: “What country doesn’t have problems?”

There is no justification in these protests which are a coup attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government without major crime.

Read Here.

//

On The Venezuelan Crisis

lead_001A great piece in The Atlantic for anyone who is interested in the current crisis in Venezuela. Author Moises Naim gives a rebuke of the Maduro administration while siding with the protesters in the streets.

But keep in mind the caveat that in the article Naim discloses that he was Venezuela’s minister of trade and industry and director of its Central Bank from 1989-1990. So he may favor the upper/middle class opposition in his arguments.

Read Here.

//

Trouble in Venezuela

Protest against Maduro government in CaracasI was hopeful when I first read that the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ was flirting with socialist ideals and policies. He allied with Castro and socialized oil refineries across his country. But in my heart I believed it wouldn’t work. Chavez led his people into too many economic and social problems (like the 56% inflation rate and the high crime rate.) Also the movement was driven by one charismatic leader, not a political sect. His faithful Red Shirts are facing an uphill battle.

So what we have now is Chavez’ successor, Nicolás Maduro, battling with street protesters demanding change at the government’s highest level. In response, Maduro is constricting certain Venezuelans’ freedoms in an effort to suppress the unrest. He is cutting off internet access in areas and refusing to ship oil to certain municipal locations controlled by the opposition. (These tactics should be scary to all liberty-loving people around the world.)

But yet it seems that, according to the reporting, the protesters are the upper-class members of society, such as college students and the oligarchs who tried to overthrow Chavez in the 2002 coup d’etat, not the people.

So who to trust?

Read the latest on the situation here at The Guardian.

The latest report from Venezuela’s political unrest and street violence amidst protests.

//

Venezuela’s President’s New Law-Making Powers

Nicolas MaduroA good article in The Guardian about the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro’s, new powers to rule by decree without having to consult the national assembly. This new system was approved by the assembly in an effort to install a Cuba-like form of a socialist economy to combat corruption, retail mark-ups, and exploitation by foreign companies.

But critics claim that Maduro’s policies, which are the legacy of Hugo Chavez, will not stop the inflation problem, the corruption problem, and will hinder investments in the Latin American nation.

Read Here.

 

//

Goodbye, Presidente Chavez

Venezuela's president Hugo ChavezWith the death of Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez, I have asked myself why I have been so supportive of his administration over the years. Here’s a list why I compiled with an important criticism at the end:

First, I must admit, that like Mr. Chavez, I am quite critical of capitalism, especially when ran in third world countries where much of the land and other resources belong to outside owners. He socialized many industries and much land in an effort to bring more control of the Nation’s resources for the people.

Secondly, I love a leader from a small country who lives shaking his fist at a much larger nation which opposes it, much like the relationship between Venezuela and the United States or Cuba and the United States. I love an underdog.

Thirdly, and perhaps superficially, I liked his charismatic style which at times could be clown-like and at other times be inspirationally moving. I’ll never forget Comandante Chavez speaking at a leftist rally on an Argentine soccer pitch about 10 years ago. The crowd started to spontaneously “pogo” (jump straight up and down) like they were at a rock concert. Then soon enough, about 10 seconds after the crowd began jumping, Chavez began to do the same behind the podium in an effort to identify with the gathered peoples that went crazy. It was both entertaining to see a 50-some-odd year old man pogoing like a 20-something in the crowd, which quickly built a bridge with the attendants that the other speakers did not.

Fourthly, he consolidated power under himself as much as possible during his three terms as President. Now as an American democrat, I hate any limitations on democracy in my home country, but in Venezuela, things are different. Venezuela, before Chavez won his first election as President in 1999, was ruled by oligarchs and foreign industry that kept the masses extremely poor without much hope for bettering their condition. His opponents even conducted an (as The Guardian reports) Bush-administration supported failed coup in 2002 in an effort to regain power and go back to the pre-Chavez status-quo. So since the “Chavista” movement was so fragile in the face of its critics, he had to consolidate power. The same thing could be said about Cuba and North Korea for the first 20 years of their leaders’ reign as supreme leader. I know this sounds like outright heresy in face of the U.S. constitution but other countries are not America. They do not have the same equal rights that we have here. There are nefarious parties connected to outside powers who want to economically occupy that nation. Sometimes consolidating power is the only way for a leader/party is the only way to maintain control for the better.

Fifthly, the overall reason I admire Chavez so much was for his revolutionary vision even though the nuts and bolts never worked out during his time as leader. Most people in the mainstream media will make big of this fact as they should, but he tried his best as a great ideologue in an effort to help the masses in Venezuela who had been forgotten by the oligarchy for so very long.

And finally, a criticism I have of Mr. Chavez is since Venezuela was turned away by the United States during the Bush years and labeled as anti-American, Chavez made friends with other ostracized leaders. Now his friendship with both Qaddafi and Ahmadinejad to me, despite the Venezuelan hard times, is serious black marks on his record and should be recognized.

Venezuela Wants Improved Relations with Washington

Barack-Obama-greets-Hugo--001A short report in The Guardian stating that the Chavez-led government in Venezuela wants to improve relations with Washington by trading ambassadors once again (Caracas has been without a U.S. ambassador since 2010, and Venezuela followed suit soon after).

The reason why the Chavez administration has had such bad relations with the U.S. is that the Bush regime treated Venezuela like dirt due to Chavez’s leftist policies. Chavez, again and again, in interview after interview, stated that he did not have any trouble with the Clinton administration, but just with Bush-led officials. Chavez has even speculated that they instigated an anti-Chavez coup that was defeated in 2002. So what happened during the last 15 years is that the Chavez government has had to look to other nations to engage with that are not close allies with America, like Iran, Syria, and Cuba, despite the U.S. being Venezuela’s largest oil-buyer. In the meantime, Fox News and other rightist media outlets spewed that Chavez was a grand enemy of the U.S. while he doing somewhat magnanimous things like offering free oil to the state of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. He maintains he was against the Bush administration, not the people of America.

So now, thanks to the mainstream media even piling on Chavez over the years, he is perceived as an American foe, and yet he has come out time after time to show his happiness with Obama’s more reasonable foreign policies.

Read Here.

Chavez Shows Proof of Life

Cuba_Venezuela_Chavez-06fd7The Venezuelan media has a released a photograph of Chavez and his daughters showing proof of life. Though he deals with the sometimes despicable Ahmadinejad (holocaust denier, amongst other things), Chavez is a big hope for fairer government in Latin America. He is forced to deal with people like the president of Iran because the U.S. avoids dealing with El Commandante because of his leftist positions.

Read Here.

Chavez Wins: Now What?

Hugo Chavez has won another presidential election, by a 10% margin, and will govern as Venezuelan president for 6 more years.  But what now concerning the nation’s remaining problems?

A good article from a good reporter (Sarah Grainger at the BBC) addresses some of these unsettled democratic-socialist policies of the regime and the current state of it’s opposition.

Read Here.

Flaws in Chavez’s Socialist Tomorrow

I have tried to follow the socialist revolution in Venezuela, lead by El Presidente Hugo Chavez, for the past 14 years. And I have supported most of his reforms including nationalization of key industries and his general care for the poor. But, I must admit, there are flaws in the upcoming decades if things remain as they are right now in Venezuela. So here’s a good article from The Guardian outlining some of the many problems in Chavez’s policies and how they are covered up by oil money, not the necessary reforms.

Read Here.