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Why Democrats Shouldn’t Eulogize Hugo Chavez

Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-NY) released a statement today praising former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, despite the latter’s record of harsh crackdowns on his political opponents and state-sanctioned persecution against Venezuela’s Jewish population. Serrano tweeted a statement praising Chavez as an a champion of the oppressed, writing that “Hugo Chavez was a leader that understood the needs of the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless. R.I.P. Mr. President.” Serrano’s office later released a statement expanding on the tweet:

President Chavez was a controversial leader. But at his core he was a man who came from very little and used his unique talents and gifts to try to lift up the people and the communities that reflected his impoverished roots. He believed that the government of the country should be used to empower the masses, not the few. He understood democracy and basic human desires for a dignified life. His legacy in his nation, and in the hemisphere, will be assured as the people he inspired continue to strive for a better life for the poor and downtrodden.”

While even Chavez’s critics admit that he did attempt to address the plight of Venezuela’s poorest, the decline in economic inequality in Venezuela reflected a broader egalitarian trend in Latin America, and can’t be fully credited to Chavez’s policies. However, Chavez’ policies harmed Venezuela’s poorest in other ways: the value of the Venezuelan currency dropped while prices soared, making it harder for people to buy basic necessities, and crime skyrocketed.

Moreover, Chavez hurt the vulnerable in Venezuela in other ways. Chavez’s state-run media hounded Venezuela’s small, beleaguered Jewish population — he himself once said “Don’t let yourselves be poisoned by those wandering Jews.” A study released by the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University found that Chavez’s rule “witnessed a rise in antisemitic manifestations, including vandalism, media attacks, caricatures, and physical attacks on Venezuelan Jewish institutions.” Indeed, roughly half of Venezuelan Jews fled the country because of “the social and economic chaos that the president has unleashed and from the uncomfortable feeling that they were being specifically targeted by the regime.”

Chavez also attacked Venezuela’s democratic political system. Human Rights Watch reported in 2012 that “the accumulation of power in the executive and the erosion of human rights protections have allowed the Chávez government to intimidate, censor, and prosecute critics and perceived opponents in a wide range of cases involving the judiciary, the media, and civil society.” Contra Serrano, Venezuela’s elections were not certified as “free and fair” by international monitors of late: Chavez had not allowed international election monitors to observe Venezuelan elections since 2006.

by Anonymousreply 2803/08/2013


by Anonymousreply 103/07/2013

Just fuck off. He was suppose to help his people and that is exactly what he did.

Something that American politicians DON'T actually do. Unless the voters are part of the 2%.

by Anonymousreply 403/07/2013


by Anonymousreply 503/07/2013

"Just", r2?

by Anonymousreply 603/07/2013

Joe Kennedy II appreciated him and publically said so. Ran radio ads all winter in the Boston area for his Citizens Energy publically thanking "Citgo, the people of Venezuela, and President Chavez" for the free oil they gave him.

by Anonymousreply 803/07/2013

Good OP

by Anonymousreply 903/08/2013

He looked like a cross between Humpty Dumpty and Mr. Potato Head--good riddance to bad rubbish.

by Anonymousreply 1103/08/2013

The American Neocon cabal hates Chavez because he is the only Latin American leader, save for Castro of course, that they couldn't get to.

As most liberals know, America was very active in destabilizing and manipulating the Latin American region during the 70s and 80s. The aftermath of this is that America basically controls the Western Hemisphere with an iron fist. The only two nations who have remained politically free of the American hegemony have been Cuba and Venezuela.

by Anonymousreply 1203/08/2013

Yes, that is why the American neocon cabal hates Chavez.

However, that doesn't mean that Chavez was the great mythic figure some hold him out to be, a Castro, Ortega and Bolivar all rolled into one.

He was not. Venezuela is not the egalitarian socialist paradise Chavez promised or a great may Americans on the left imagine it to be, believe me. No where fucking near it.

by Anonymousreply 1303/08/2013

Gosh, r2 / r3, you surely seem obsessed with Jews v. Chavez.

by Anonymousreply 1403/08/2013

So if a country isn't transformed into a paradise then the leader failed? I think Chavez went a bit far but you have to give him credit for trying. Apparently he did improve the lives of the poor quite a bit.

by Anonymousreply 1603/08/2013

Why don't you drink bleach, R7? Then YOU can move, because I'm not going anywhere.

by Anonymousreply 1703/08/2013

The CIA put out all kinds of propaganda about the man, most of it lies.

All I know is he was suppose to represent his people and do what was best for them. He did that. Of course Americans can not even imagine a man who actually cared about the good of the citizens.

by Anonymousreply 1803/08/2013

Do you believe the declining oil production and the high inflation rate (27.5% in 2012) are just CIA propaganda?

by Anonymousreply 1903/08/2013

[post redacted because thinks that links to their ridiculous rag are a bad thing. Somebody might want to tell them how the internet works. Or not. We don't really care. They do suck though. Our advice is that you should not click on the link and whatever you do, don't read their truly terrible articles.]

by Anonymousreply 2003/08/2013

If you're referring to the article I posted, he isn't talking about liberals, but leftists, r21.

by Anonymousreply 2203/08/2013

When I edited my post I figured someone like R21 would pounce on the fact I didn't separately mention liberals, leftists, and progressives. For once I was assuming readers would follow my point.

How foolish of me.

by Anonymousreply 2303/08/2013

Sorry, I meant R22.

by Anonymousreply 2403/08/2013

Love all the idiotic liberals who claim how Chavez did so much good when they don't even know anything about Venezuela.

Prior to Chavez, practically every president the country had was corrupt and elitists. Pretty much like Obama and the republicans are here. Chavez came into power because the majority of Venezuelans were tired of living in poverty while the elite took all the money oil brought in. Chavez became powerful because he promised equality, and he stayed in power because he delivered (in a way).

However, he brought equality by making the rich poor not by making the poor rich. His government is also as corrupt as past ones since those who side with Chavez in the government have become super rich thanks to the revenue the country makes from oil.

PDVSA, which claims to have the largest reserves of petroleum in the world, has been producing less and less oil each year. The company is in shambles as the educated and hard working people have left. I have a cousin who still lives in Venezuela. He's an absolute drunk idiot who would make Honey Boo Boo sound like a scientist, and he now works at PDVSA where he's always bragging on facebook how he spends his days drinking and playing video games at work. You'd think that the country with the most black gold in the world would see the same economic boom that middle eastern countries (with less oil) have seen but inflation and prices are all over the place. PDVSA produced more oil back when it had much less proven reserves, but these days it's the opposite.

Chavez claims that through nationalism, the USA has lost control over Venezuela (which is true) and that Venezuela is now independent (which is a lie). All Chavez did was switch masters. Before Chavez, Venezuela was in a way owned by the USA, and now after Chavez, Venezuela is owned by China and Russia, so in a way he hasn't nationalized anything, he just switched masters. Venezuela used to be America's bitch, now it's China and Russia's bitch.

Crime rates and poverty have also skyrocketed during his tenure. Caracas is now the most violent city in South America. Blackouts occur on a daily basis. Other industries in Venezuela have all faded away since Chavez only cared about developing the oil industry. A healthy economy depends on more than just one industry but Chavez and his government have destroyed every other industry sine they only rely on oil.

The poor still live in absolute poverty except during elections when handouts are given out. Once an election is over, those handouts stop. There are food shortages through the whole country thanks to Chavez, but his party always blames these food shortages on the opposition which have little power to do anything.

He claims he believes in equality for everyone but gays are still treated like sub-human and calling the opposition gay and faggots is pretty common. Violence against Jews has skyrocketed, and anyone who doesn't kiss his governement's ass is blacklisted.

You know why Chavez always went for cancer treatment in Cuba and never in Venezuela? Well, Chavez screwed Venezuelan doctors (the majority were anti-Chavez) by bringing in Cuban doctors (who are pro-Chavez). For example, if you go to a Venezuelan doctor, medicines cost way more than if you go to a Cuban doctor whose medicine is always cheaper thanks to Chavez. As a result the medical community in Venezuela is now all Cuban, since REAL Venezuelan doctors have left the country.

With that said, the opposition seems to just want Venezuela to go back to being the way it was before and that's why they always lose. While Chavez was a corrupt asshole, he did have a major point and that was freeing Venezuela of corrupt white elites who don't give a damn about the average person (like wall Street and politicians in the USA.)

In a way, Chavez really did mean well, but he cut off his nose to spite his face and is a complete idiot. He gave Venezuelan socialism a heart, but not a brain.

by Anonymousreply 2503/08/2013

Yes, not bothering about using accurate terms while "editing" your post was indeed foolish of you, r23.

"For once I was assuming readers would follow my point."

What a sad sanctimonous cunt you are.

If "liberals" was supposed to be an umbrella term for the whole spectrum of the left, then what you said was, simply, blatantly untrue.

by Anonymousreply 2603/08/2013

Here's a very good article about Chavez if you aren't sure what to think of him.

by Anonymousreply 2703/08/2013

Read a book about Chavez. He was something wonderful that his country needed. For once something good happened and the USA was not allowed to fuck it up. You can spread your lies all you want but people in the know, know how he helped his country.

The wealthy corporations are so damn afraid of a little socialism. The best programns in this country were called socialist but what would we all be facing right now, if our parents did not have Social Security?

by Anonymousreply 2803/08/2013
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