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Old 03-06-2013, 01:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by purvis_guy View Post
That's pretty much the history of South and Latin America.
As someone who studies and teaches Latin American history for a living, I can state with confidence that you don't know what you're talking about.
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Which means their is only thing remaining for me to do: You must start the Revolution without Me. For I'm to be gone at some point in this life, as we all destined to be, you must gather your strengths, use your wits and cunning to infiltrate this system and take it over.
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:41 PM   #16
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A rather different evaluation of Chávez from a history professor at NYU who also writes for The Nation. An excerpt:

Quote:
On the Legacy of Hugo Chávez
Greg Grandin, March 5, 2013

I’m what they call a useful idiot when it comes to Hugo Chávez, if only because rank-and-file social organizations that to me seem worthy of support in Venezuela continued to support him until the end. My impressionistic sense is that this support breaks down roughly in half, between voters who think their lives and their families’ lives are better off because of Chávez’s massive expansion of state services, including healthcare and education, despite real problems of crime, corruption, shortages and inflation.

The other half of Chávez’s electoral majority is made up of organized citizens involved in one or the other of the country’s many grassroots organizations. Chávez’s social base was diverse and heterodox, what social scientists in the 1990s began to celebrate as “new social movements,” distinct from established trade unions and peasant organizations vertically linked to—and subordinated to—political parties or populist leaders: neighborhood councils; urban and rural homesteaders, feminists, gay and lesbian rights organizations, economic justice activists, environmental coalitions; breakaway unions and the like. It’s these organizations, in Venezuela and elsewhere throughout the region, that have over the last few decades done heroic work in democratizing society, in giving citizens venues to survive the extremes of neoliberalism and to fight against further depredations, turning Latin America into one of the last global bastion of the Enlightenment left.

Chávez’s detractors see this mobilized sector of the population much the way Mitt Romney saw 47 percent of the US electorate not as citizens but parasites, moochers sucking on the oil-rent teat. Those who accept that Chávez enjoyed majority support disparaged that support as emotional enthrallment. Voters, wrote one critic, see their own vulnerability in their leader and are entranced. Another talked about Chávez’s “magical realist” hold over his followers.

One anecdote alone should be enough to give the lie to the idea that poor Venezuelans voted for Chávez because they were fascinated by the baubles they dangled in front of them. During the 2006 presidential campaign, the signature pledge of Chávez’s opponent was to give 3,000,000 poor Venezuelans a black credit card (black as in the color of oil) from which they could withdraw up to $450 in cash a month, which would have drained over $16 billion dollars a year from the national treasury (call it neoliberal populism: give to the poor just enough to bankrupt the government and force the defunding of services). Over the years, there’s been a lot of heavy theoretically breathing by US academics about the miasma oil wealth creates in countries like Venezuela, lulling citizens into a dreamlike state that renders them into passive spectators. But in this election at least, Venezuelans managed to see through the mist. Chávez won with over 62 percent of the vote.

Let’s set aside for a moment the question of whether Chavismo’s social-welfare programs will endure now that Chávez is gone and shelve the left-wing hope that out of rank-and-file activism a new, sustainable way of organizing society will emerge. The participatory democracy that took place in barrios, in workplaces and in the countryside over the last fourteen years was a value in itself, even if it doesn’t lead to a better world.

On the Legacy of Hugo Chávez | The Nation
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Which means their is only thing remaining for me to do: You must start the Revolution without Me. For I'm to be gone at some point in this life, as we all destined to be, you must gather your strengths, use your wits and cunning to infiltrate this system and take it over.
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TulsaSaint View Post
A rather different evaluation of Chávez from a history professor at NYU who also writes for The Nation. An excerpt:
This individual is a history professor, and therefore a Marxist and a Communist so he's disqualified from knowing anything about Hugo Chavez and the nature of his rule.
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:55 PM   #18
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Interesting article. I don't agree with my gut, but I don't have enough knowledge of Chavez to criticize it. Maybe there was good in what seemed lunacy and demagoguery from a far off armchair.

I'm as curious to see where they go from here as I was to see where Russia would go after Yeltsin. Russia could have done much better and much worse.
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:02 PM   #19
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Hugo Chavez left this world with about $2 Billion in the bank. He most certainly was a very popular criminal. The country was certainly a corrupt place before he arrived, and he leaves it the same way. He had the opportunity to introduce economic reforms that would have created a booming giant in Venezuala. Instead, his economy lagged far behind his neighborsos in economic growth, despite having a HUGE advantage in natural resources.
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:08 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Galbreath34 View Post
Interesting article. I don't agree with my gut, but I don't have enough knowledge of Chavez to criticize it. Maybe there was good in what seemed lunacy and demagoguery from a far off armchair.

I'm as curious to see where they go from here as I was to see where Russia would go after Yeltsin. Russia could have done much better and much worse.
The point, I think, is that it has looked like lunacy and demagoguery for several reasons which are only peripherally related to Chávez's actual rule in Venezuela.

First, Americans know next to nothing about Latin America to begin with. Virtually no Americans know that Latin America has been the site of some of history's great social experiments. The first large-scale efforts at European colonialism, some of the world's first experiments with republican governments, and numerous really pathbreaking social revolutions in places like Mexico (1910), Bolivia (1952), Cuba (1959), and others that despite their violence have come up with innovative solutions to long-standing problems. Most Americans have no idea that little Uruguay had a welfare state 30 years before the US, and gave women the right to vote three years before we did (not to mention legalizing pot last year). They have no idea that the region is leading the world today in granting rights to same-sex couples and the transgendered. They don't know about Brazil's innovative approaches to reducing social inequality, or Ecuador's environmentalist constitution, or Cuba's wildly successful literacy programs.

Second, Americans have been pre-conditioned by a century of paternalistic, condescending discourse here (dating back to least to the Spanish-American-Cuban War of 1898) to see Latin Americans as incompetent, corrupt, and infantile. So we tend to interpret anything we hear about there through this lens, even if it's not a very clear lens.

Third, the American media, for all its supposed "liberalism," is even more nationalist than it is liberal. In the perception of our media, all world events must be judged through their influence on the United States. If a foreign leader criticizes the US, they must be either stupid or evil, since no one sane could ever imagine that the US has ever been anything other than a brotherly benefactor to Latin America. It's completely unimaginable that some critiques of US policy in Latin America might *gasp* have a basis in reality.

I don't deny that Chávez was bombastic, over the top, and often heavy-handed with the opposition (an opposition that tried to overthrow him via a coup, let's not forget). I don't deny that there have been very real problems with corruption and economic mismanagement. But I think it's a mistake to ignore the fact that his government also gave a voice to the impoverished masses long marginalized by Venezuela's liberal democracy, which was regarded for decades as Latin America's most successful democracy as most of the rest of the region fell into military dictatorship. It's a mistake to ignore the fact that he distributed the nation's oil wealth far more equitably than his predecessors. It's a mistake to think that he won elections through fraud, or that he won simply because he bought the people with welfare programs.

The problem is that discourse in the US is so simplistic and uninformed that it's very hard to get people to think past the foolish stereotypes reproduced in the American press.
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Originally Posted by Saintman2884
Which means their is only thing remaining for me to do: You must start the Revolution without Me. For I'm to be gone at some point in this life, as we all destined to be, you must gather your strengths, use your wits and cunning to infiltrate this system and take it over.
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:08 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by RebSaint View Post
This individual is a history professor, and therefore a Marxist and a Communist so he's disqualified from knowing anything about Hugo Chavez and the nature of his rule.
No, its more like Bobby Hebert covering the Saints.

He's certainly not disqualified from knowing anything about it, just dont expect him not to cheer from the pressbox.
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:17 PM   #22
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This individual is a history professor, and therefore a Marxist and a Communist so he's disqualified from knowing anything about Hugo Chavez and the nature of his rule.
Exactly. We don't ask astronomers to explain solar flares to us, and we don't ask geneticists to explain hereditary diseases to us, so why should we expect political historians of Latin America to be able to tell us anything about Latin American politics that we couldn't get from watching FOX or CNN?
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Originally Posted by Saintman2884
Which means their is only thing remaining for me to do: You must start the Revolution without Me. For I'm to be gone at some point in this life, as we all destined to be, you must gather your strengths, use your wits and cunning to infiltrate this system and take it over.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:19 AM   #23
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FWIW, this piece sums up exactly how I feel about Chávez.

Quote:
No one can claim that Chávez has replaced the pieces with anything very solid. With money that he’s repatriated from oil, he’s certainly done much for many poorer people. The vast numbers of maids and handymen and janitors and drivers and all the rest who service the downtown elite now have a spanking new train that’s cut their two-and-half hour journey from suburbs and barrios in the east of Caracas to little more than forty minutes, and another barrio now has a cable car down into the city. There are more and better schools, health services and housing, and a vast number of pensions have been confirmed and paid. But the spread of all this is uneven, the economy to back it up is not in good shape, the currency is weak, public institutions, which always worked badly, often still do, and crime is high. There has also been a vindictive neglect of decent projects that were started before Chávez came to power. But ‘the social’ is now firmly on the agenda. Even the rather ghastly and fortunately divided opposition has had to agree.

[...]

I’ve been going to Venezuela for thirty years, and to me the most affecting change, beyond decent schools and healthcare and old people with teeth and pensions, is that even in the most distant and rundown places, people now walk and talk with confidence, look you in the eye, and joke as equals as they never did. It may be a pity that whatever socialism may now be, the Chávez governments haven’t been able to make a very persuasive fist of it. But Chávez the man has been remarkable, and it would be sour to deny the spirit that he’s infused.
‘Chávez hasta siempre’ « LRB blog
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Originally Posted by Saintman2884
Which means their is only thing remaining for me to do: You must start the Revolution without Me. For I'm to be gone at some point in this life, as we all destined to be, you must gather your strengths, use your wits and cunning to infiltrate this system and take it over.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:31 AM   #24
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I don't know a lot about Chavez, but everyone I've ever talked with from Venezuela has had zero love for him. And I've met more than a few natives and they've been pretty consistent in their disdain for Chavez. I'd have to say they're better off without him long term, but it's quite possibly gonna be a messy transition.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:05 AM   #25
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I don't know a lot about Chavez, but everyone I've ever talked with from Venezuela has had zero love for him. And I've met more than a few natives and they've been pretty consistent in their disdain for Chavez. I'd have to say they're better off without him long term, but it's quite possibly gonna be a messy transition.
Alright, but how do you reconcile "everyone you've ever talked to from Venezuela" with the 60% of votes he regularly won in what international observers called some of the freest elections they had ever seen? The problem is that Venezuelan expats in the US are not a representative sample of the Venezuelan population, any more than Cuban exiles in Miami are a representative sample of the Cuban population. Poor Venezuelans - the ones most likely to support Chávez - hardly have the money to make a visit to the US, even if they could get a visa. It's like talking to a bunch of Tea Partiers about Obama, but not talking to anyone who voted for Obama, and concluding that Obama is a Commiesocialfascimuslimkenyan.
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Which means their is only thing remaining for me to do: You must start the Revolution without Me. For I'm to be gone at some point in this life, as we all destined to be, you must gather your strengths, use your wits and cunning to infiltrate this system and take it over.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:20 AM   #26
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No, its more like Bobby Hebert covering the Saints.

He's certainly not disqualified from knowing anything about it, just dont expect him not to cheer from the pressbox.
Interesting analogy, because, like Hebert, the professor is also perfectly willing to call out the faults when he sees them.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:22 AM   #27
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I'd love to know who keeps red-thumbing Tulsa.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:53 AM   #28
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It's like talking to a bunch of Tea Partiers about Obama, but not talking to anyone who voted for Obama, and concluding that Obama is a Commiesocialfascimuslimkenyan.
Or asking a white farmer from Zimbabwe about Mugabe without talking to the guys that booted him from his land.

(Lots of fun analogies in this thread.)
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