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Author Topic: Hugo Chavez Dead  (Read 948 times)

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Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Hugo Chavez Dead
« on: March 06, 2013, 09:44:36 AM »
Hugo Chavez Dead

I found myself wondering a few things.. like how long he was dead before they announced this? I see a lot of parallels between Chavez's tenure as the President of Venezuela and some of the more infamous folks in the past (Say Hitler for example) and when I heard the announcement I wondered if he took a leaf from the old Soviet playguide where the leader could be dead for weeks before anyone fesses up to it.

Then I wondered who was left behind to continue his rule. He was very much a hands on leader who enjoyed eviscerating his own people as well as his rivals, publicly, and as a result many of his 'men' are a lot lower in the public standing than he was. Odds are he (Hugo's replacement) will have a much harder publicity fight to maintain power than he did.

While he did some good, it was clear and still is, that his long term polices hurt everyone but him and his.

I do find myself wondering if those in power will resort to a bigger club to keep it. And how much the media will give a damn.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2013, 12:19:20 PM »
Well, Chavez had certain parallels to Hitler, it's true. He walked on two legs, he breathed, and Hitler did those things.  :P

Of course Chavez was no Hitler, nor even a Castro, and certainly no Soviet. He was a populist -- a constant campaigner, even a creature of the age of Twitter, people knew he was done for when the streams of Tweets finally went silent -- who built the poor into an electoral base and understood more about charisma than macroeconomics. If he's reminiscent of anyone it's the old populares politicians of the Roman Republic, but even that comparison is strained; no matter how fast and loose chavismo got with separation of powers, he wasn't in Julius Caesar's league as a tyrant either.

He was something of a caudillo, but OTOH it's not like his opponents were a field of Gandhis and Martin Luther Kings waiting in the wings. He denounced them as "oligarchs" and was correct, indeed a populist like Chavez is never possible without spectacularly greedy and incompetent aristocrats to set the stage. The fact that Chavez even could create a sea change in Venezuelan politics by simply spending some of the nation's oil wealth on its poor and offer them some voice and recognition -- a sea change that broadened the country's active political base and will be his permanent legacy -- speaks absolute volumes about what kind of society had preceded him, and what his opponents were championing. (His opponents tried to pretend that offering patronage to the poor was some kind of outrage or dodge, but that of course is pure Romneyism, the voice of a snobbery that irrationally regards patronage of anyone but the already-rich as somehow evil; none of them would have had the slightest complaint if he'd been shovelling oil wealth into their pockets.)

(Here's an interesting before-and-after datablog about Chavez' tenure in Venezuela. NB that he presided over increases in inflation and crime... but also more than doubled the GDP of his country. Worth factoring in when talking about whether his long-term policies benefited just "him and his.")

In the long run, Lula will probably be a more important figure in Latin American neo-leftism than Chavez. But as someone who left Venezuelan politics more open to mass participation than it had previously been, Chavez is a more attractive figure than American politics is going to be willing to credit for a long time.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 12:36:04 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2013, 01:09:28 PM »
I'm sad he died I am growing far more sympathetic to socialism as preferable to capitalism in many ways and for all his faults the common citizen of his country didn't exactly have jackbooted thugs hurting people. There was an increase in violence but mostly due to outside drug cartels trying to use Venezuala in their network not actions of the government, and the poverty still was there encouraging some to opt for the criminal life. But is that so different from other nations in the region, he did fight this crime to but it wasn't something easy to stop.

I think the party he headed will maintain power they have the popular support and get the benefits of the socialist state there, which is trying to help all the people even if lacking.

In retrospect was he any worse than many of our leaders in this nation? Likely in many ways he was much better.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 01:11:04 PM »
I beg to differ Cyrano.. let's look at the Hitler/Chavez outlook.

-Both attempted to overthrow their government.. both went to prison for it.
-Both got elected by utilizing popular discontent to get into office after they got out of prison.
-Both did radical changes to laws to ensure they could STAY in office, even altering the Constitution/legal code to remove any limits.
-Both disenfranchised their rivals, and took steps to ensure they reduced their rivals ability to compete against them.
-Both used 'non-offical' groups to suppress dissent (for example: the 'unknown' gunmen shooting student protestors equate to the brown shirts the Nazi's used)
-Both used their Charisma and others being at fault for any failures..

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 01:31:53 PM »
Do you know some of this for sure these "unoffical groups" for example could have been counter revolutionary groups out to make Chavez look bad?

As for his abuse of power two times he tried to be president for life the people voted it down.

I would call him an autocrat more like Catherine the Great over a dictator, the former was not a saint you know but no one called her a tyrant.

And again what about our government don't those in power in the US also supress rivals, try to maintain power by doing things like gerrymandering districts and also use the justice system as a weapon when they can?

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 01:37:59 PM »
Do you know some of this for sure these "unoffical groups" for example could have been counter revolutionary groups out to make Chavez look bad?

As for his abuse of power two times he tried to be president for life the people voted it down.

I would call him an autocrat more like Catherine the Great over a dictator, the former was not a saint you know but no one called her a tyrant.

And again what about our government don't those in power in the US also supress rivals, try to maintain power by doing things like gerrymandering districts and also use the justice system as a weapon when they can?

I would say that groups that fire upon protestors with little or no governmental investigation aren't likely to be counter-revolutionary.

I would argue once he failed to get his 'Castro' title in one bite, he was going about it the slow easy way with law changes, media suppression and the curtailing of his political opposition in dozens of ways. Such as the restriction of ANY media outlet that ran counter to his party line.

It wasn't JUST the US he shat upon. I was in Spain, who incidentally was one of the more  friendly nations, when he nationalized assetts in Venezuela including Spanish companies.

Not to mention his political agression to anyone that dissented with him in South America and the fact that he might have coluded with or supported counter-revolutionary forces elsewhere in South America.

I'm sorry.. he did only what good he needed to to make his name good within the country. I bet if you look at how benefits from his nationalization of assets a LOT of them will lead profits back to his allies or family.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 01:41:36 PM »
I dunno, Callie, a lot of those "similarities" are strained at best: the elections Hitler "won," in large part by the employment of Freikorps violence, bore no comparison at all in freedom, transparency and fairness (admitted even by groups critical of Chavez) to the elections Chavez won; "disenfranchisement" is an easy word to stick to Hitler after he got power, not so to Chavez (despite that he wasn't above using his position to maximum advantage) who certainly stuck it to specific opponents but also easily enfranchised far more of the Venezuelan population than anyone prior to him. Others really aren't all that interesting: many a political leader has done jail time, and using Charisma is something half the planet's politicians have in common with Hitler, so that the comparison is basically meaningless. The use of unofficial violence and coup attempts single Chavez out as a caudillo competing with other caudillos perfectly prepared to use the same tactics, and in this sense is more interestingly a parallel with politics in many another unstable Third World republic than it is with Hitler.

I'd submit that if you want to go comparing someone with Hitler, there should be some non-trivial parallels on the really big-ticket Hitler Traits. Like, was the guy as totalitarian? (I mean really a totalitarian, which Hitler was and which is something far, far different from a bare-knuckles Third World politician with authoritarian tendencies.) Was racialism, eugenics and ultra-nationalism the primary basis of his ideology? Was he a militarist (someone who subordinated his country's other needs to the task of building military power and a military-industrial complex), and was he a military adventurist?

Worst of all, was he a vegetarian? Because we all know they're not to be trusted...*

(* TOTAL JKS, to any vegetarian reading. I'm a former vegetarian myself. Just being a screwball...)

Offline Amor

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 01:42:27 PM »
RIP

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 01:55:17 PM »
(While we're mooting historical analogies, you know who Chavez reminded me of a lot more of, in many ways? "The Kingfish" Huey Long. His parallels with old-model American "political bosses" like Long would, I'm betting, be fairly instructive... both about America's past and Venezuela's likely future.)

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 01:59:09 PM »
I would say this he had issues but so did Stalin but most at the time considered Stalin a necessary evil for the USSR. The same thing here Chavez is dead but he left a strong major party supported by many of the people who are populist socialist in leaning or in frankly serious support. That party will support a new leader who I hope maintains the good reforms in their constitution and then make policy changes to be a better national party. I don't think two or more parties there would be bad no one would risk alienating the common citizen and go back to what was there before Chavez.

He did in fact push for universal health care, built schools, channeled the vast oil wealth largely to the people and did install a new constitution much of it has lofty and noble goals. Those things are no small achievements in a lifetime.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 02:28:46 PM »
I hope you're right. I do think that the shootings at protestors against his policies were at the behest of folks in his political machine. And We'll see if things change now that the 'Boss' is dead.. till a new strong boss comes along.

I can understand being anti-american. Cause..well shit.. we've been as bad as the Europeans in South America over the last century and a half. I can get being socialist. Some countries have done very well with it.

I think that wewill have to wait to see how the machine holds up wihtout the Pilot at the helm.

Personally I think the coalition of political and military power will hinge on who takes over.  If his VP has a spine..things will carry on.. if he was Hector's 'boy' and not a real leader.. (which I hope not) things will unwind.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2013, 06:36:43 PM »
Okay.. while I don't endorse the outright seizure of bought assets by Venuzula, I think that Chavez's actions had SOME merit. There has been an ongoing 'resource' drain out of the third world in the last 2 centuries that has REALLY started to take on Orwellian proportions.

There is a need for the governments of a region to protect their assets for future generations. A better example of where this gets dangerous is when you have companies come in and literally BUY the right to ALL water in a region. (Even rainfall)


Offline Ephiral

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Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2013, 07:01:04 PM »
Okay.. while I don't endorse the outright seizure of bought assets by Venuzula, I think that Chavez's actions had SOME merit.

Curious here, not intending to start a debate: How would you have done the laudable things he did, mostly involving getting oil wealth to the populace, with neither use of force nor significant finances?

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2013, 07:31:00 PM »
Curious here, not intending to start a debate: How would you have done the laudable things he did, mostly involving getting oil wealth to the populace, with neither use of force nor significant finances?

That is part of the problem I'm having.. how do you do it on CURRENTLY owned assets. Future purchases are easy.. you mandate a certain portion of your profits is reinvested in the local you're getting the resources from.. some sort of 'growing industry/infastructure/invest in the local region.

Past..and current purchases are where you have problems.

And then you have 'in perpetuity' issues like the corporate owning of water rights.. forever. That is a dangerous dangerous road to be walking down. Fun note.. conservative estimates is that something like 15 to 20% of all fresh water in the planetary ecosystem goes through South America.

Which as the planet population grows and the water reserves continue to shrink WIll be a problem. Mexico is already tapping aquifers that no one in the US is using (aside from hazardous waste dumping)  So eventually we'll have to get our water from SOMEONE and no one seems to think desalinization is a viable technoolgoy to invest in.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2013, 08:49:14 PM »
That is part of the problem I'm having.. how do you do it on CURRENTLY owned assets. Future purchases are easy.. you mandate a certain portion of your profits is reinvested in the local you're getting the resources from.. some sort of 'growing industry/infastructure/invest in the local region.

Past..and current purchases are where you have problems.

And then you have 'in perpetuity' issues like the corporate owning of water rights.. forever. That is a dangerous dangerous road to be walking down. Fun note.. conservative estimates is that something like 15 to 20% of all fresh water in the planetary ecosystem goes through South America.

Which as the planet population grows and the water reserves continue to shrink WIll be a problem. Mexico is already tapping aquifers that no one in the US is using (aside from hazardous waste dumping)  So eventually we'll have to get our water from SOMEONE and no one seems to think desalinization is a viable technoolgoy to invest in.

I would argue that a vast imbalance of power leads to the exact sort of indefinite cycles of abuse you're worried about. And while we're used to thinking of the state as having greater power than anybody else on its turf... in the case of a poor nation vs several multinational corporations, it really doesn't. The threat of force is one of the few tools the state has access to that corporations cannot match, so I'm pretty loath to call it unacceptable and take it off the table in a case like this. Especially when the data are already in and the end result was huge amounts of benefit to the population at large.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2013, 09:29:58 PM »
I would argue that a vast imbalance of power leads to the exact sort of indefinite cycles of abuse you're worried about. And while we're used to thinking of the state as having greater power than anybody else on its turf... in the case of a poor nation vs several multinational corporations, it really doesn't. The threat of force is one of the few tools the state has access to that corporations cannot match, so I'm pretty loath to call it unacceptable and take it off the table in a case like this. Especially when the data are already in and the end result was huge amounts of benefit to the population at large.

I would argue that a state with proper checks and balances and an (even partly) informed public has more control of those assets in the public's interest than any corporation will ever have.  Take a look at  the table of psychopathy and your average multinational. Corporate 'persons' are very psychotic as a whole.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2013, 09:46:03 PM »
Chavez before siezing the old field production and nationalizing them wanted half the oil profits and more skilled jobs for his people with the better wages not a silly thing when the oil is Venezualas by all rights. When the companies refused he recinded the contracts and took the fields over. Then diverted it for the oil treaty with Cuba for medical care providers, teachers and access for citizens to Cuban universities and to fund many programs for the common people schools, high schools and more universities among other improvements. Is it much different than tossing money at common poor people here to get their loyalty?

It may have been heavy handed but for all practical purposes a government in their own national boundaries has many powers including force, it simply tore up the deals and took over.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2013, 10:06:09 PM »
I would argue that a state with proper checks and balances and an (even partly) informed public has more control of those assets in the public's interest than any corporation will ever have.  Take a look at  the table of psychopathy and your average multinational. Corporate 'persons' are very psychotic as a whole.

The state is better at using them in the public interest, yes. But I was talking about bringing them to bear at all. Venezuela can't bring nearly as much clout to the table as your average multinational oil corp can. The use of force is the one arena in which it enjoys a clear and commanding advantage.

EDIT: Come to think of it, how many governments have never said "That [contract|treaty|agreement] was with the previous government; we do not recognize its legitimacy."? Not many, and the US certainly isn't on that list.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 10:07:50 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Skynet

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2013, 12:51:50 AM »
I'm not very fond of Chavez, based upon what I've heard of him in regards to human rights.

I'm concerned most about the transition of power, and what this will mean for the Venezuelan people.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2013, 06:46:45 AM »
I would say this he had issues but so did Stalin but most at the time considered Stalin a necessary evil for the USSR. The same thing here Chavez is dead but he left a strong major party supported by many of the people who are populist socialist in leaning or in frankly serious support. That party will support a new leader who I hope maintains the good reforms in their constitution and then make policy changes to be a better national party. I don't think two or more parties there would be bad no one would risk alienating the common citizen and go back to what was there before Chavez.

He did in fact push for universal health care, built schools, channeled the vast oil wealth largely to the people and did install a new constitution much of it has lofty and noble goals. Those things are no small achievements in a lifetime.

Agree on pretty much all of this. Chavez was a populist okay, and it's easy to jibe at some of his communication methods, but they have to be considered in the light of happening in a country where the news media and television market have never been anything like the multiplicity of voices and angles, or the actual indpendent power, that they embody in the U.S. or Europe - and where foreign (often U.S. American) media used to be the ones calling the shots on how to tell and comment the news. In such a place, communicating by tv for hours on end makes sense, even if it was much of it on his own terms. And mostly he did respect democracy - he also wanted democracy to actually matter in the life of ordinary people, to provide them with real influence, a real say in their existence. I would never want to compare him to the old pre-1989 dictators of eastern Europe or the Burmese generals, that's grossly unfair.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 07:06:05 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Caehlim

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2013, 07:14:59 AM »
I'll admit, I don't know much about Venezuela. What I have heard I don't know how much I trust, some of the information could be spin from Chavez, his opponents or the Americans.

However what I've seen from all sources suggests to me that the man did hold power to himself pretty vigorously and that there are probably few people in the country who are in a ready position to assume power. I hope that this leads to an open national discussion and fair elections rather than chaos and turmoil. These things can go either way I think.

Whatever his legacy turns out to be, I think we're going to see a lot happen in Venezuela over the next few years.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2013, 09:45:51 AM »
A lot of what shaped my opinion of him came from what I heard, saw, read from multiple overseas sources. US Media did fuck all about the protests when the students were attack by 'strangers in motorcycle helmets' that mysteriously got by the police cordons (and out again later on) with no police action. If I recall right, it was more important to know if the judge was going to pull in Paris Hilton into court for a DUI case or something that week. If I hadn't gotten BBC America at the time I wouldn't have known at all.

A man who shuts down opposing TV/Radio stations because they point out mistakes in his policies and/or endorse the opposing candidates isn't going to stay fair. He was silencing the voices of his opponents and it would have only been a matter of time before he considered more direct actions.


Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Hugo Chavez Dead
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2013, 05:20:05 PM »
Apparently the Venezolan cabinet are planning to have Chavez's body embalmed and put on permament display in a glass coffin, just like Lenin. Not a great idea. For the record, Lenin did not want to have his remains made the subject of a cult, his widow was against it too. It was essentially a decision by Stalin and his cronies.