Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Last evening, I called my mom about a family matter and she mentioned offhand that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez had just died. Hugo was an interesting character- not only did he ensure that the poor of Venezuela were able to share in that country's petroleum wealth, but he offered home heating oil to the poor of the United States. By having the temerity to not hand over his country's oil to the multinational corporations, Chavez was a favorite bette noir to the neocons of the world. With his passing, even the usually staid Bloomberg News is characterizing him as "Anti-U.S."

All hyperventilating aside, history will remember Chavez as a better leader than the man he called a devil. Chavez, after all, never invaded another nation, and he did more to help poor Americans than George Bush ever did. As far as Chavez' animus towards the Bush Administration, it has to be noted that the Bushies backed an attempted coup in 2002 that Chavez was able to thwart. The attempted U.S. treatment of Venezuela was creepily reminiscent of the horrible foreign policy blunder in Iran that ultimately led to the ascention of the Islamists. For all the attempts to demonize the guy, Chavez never inspired the hatred that was inculcated against former U.S. ally Saddam Hussein. I think a large part of this failure was the fact that the population of the U.S. was growing increasingly disenchanted with the "kill people and take their stuff" foreign policy, mainly because it resulted in the death of American kids, and because the loot seemed to accumulate in the coffers of administration flunkies, without trickling down.

Anyway, the world will probably be a little less interesting now that Hugo is hugone. Papi really knew how to tweak the beard of the worst persons in the U.S.. For a more nuanced take on Chavez' legacy, Jimmy Carter's farewell can't be beat (hat tip to Tengrain).


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

With his passing, even the usually staid Bloomberg News is characterizing him as "Anti-U.S."

It would be correct to say the U.S. was "Anti-Venezuela". Same as for any South American country that dared to put the interests of its own people ahead of U.S. corporations.

paleotectonics said...

Chavez had his demons, to be sure, plenty, especially anti-Semitism, but I think on the whole he did as much good as bad.

Placing him above W, George HW, St. Ronald, and e-v-e-r-r-r-y Republican in congress.

And I love the fact that the attempted coup was thwarted by the Venezuelan people.

I also love the fact that Chavez put his hand-picked successor in place, making the multinationals further insane.

What I fear is all the people saying this is a great chance for US-Venezuelan relations to thaw, which screams 'Banana Republic'.

mikey said...

Many, if not most of these American nitwits who win elections - typically by a combination of taking bribes and using the funds to pander to the the worst fears and tribal resentments of a poorly educated population deeply inculcated in mythological just-so stories - learned or have been taught the wrong lesson from the Cold War. They believe without question that a socialist or social democratic political ideology is inherently evil, rather than it is a brutal authoritarian single-party dictatorship that is the evil.

As such, they decided that Chavez was evil without ever thinking critically about what he was doing and what it meant for his nation and his people.

Out here, by the way, we root for the SF Giants, who have a recent history of tremendous success. One of their stars is Pablo Sandoval, our very own Kung Fu Panda, and after the World Series victory in which he hit three home runs in the post-game press conference he was positively GLOWING because he got a tweet from the President of his home country, one Hugo Chavez. I thought it was cool, and, since he has the good fortune to play in a place with a large percentage of sane people was not the kind of crisis it might have been elsewhere...

Syrbal/Labrys said...

I likewise stand in a state of inspiration by some of what Chavez did in his life...I do feel he was more honest and forthright than is "allowed" by the American Dream-Team of liars known as the Republican Party.

Smut Clyde said...

a favorite bette noir

BBBB has been lusting over Flintstones characters again.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Outsourcing to Artois
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Bastards And Our Bastards
I'll spare you most of my deep thoughts on the passing of Hugo Chavez, but it's a useful moment to notice how that while there are bad rulers all across the globe, there's always almost universal agreement in our media - left right and center - that the real bad rulers are the ones our government declares to be bad rulers.

I love the House of Saud, and will be happy to take significant amounts of money to continue to say so.
by Atrios at 17:38

/ Outsourcing to Artois

Laura said...

As you know, I'm not much for politics and I really didn't know much about him until he passed away. But from what I'm heard, he seemed to have his heart in the right place on some issues. He obviously cared for the poor.
More people (and leaders) could learn from him.