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Sunday, August 15, 2004

Would-be dictator, Castro-friend and anti-American but not anti-dollar-bill Hugo Chavez is up for a recall referendum in Venezuela today. Reading the stories on the subject, it's hard to garner what the issues really are. Apparently, Mr. Chavez is spending a lot of money to help the poor, and this is, for some unfathomable reason, opposed by people!

Yahoo! News - Venezuelans Vote Early in Referendum on Chavez Rule

... At stake is the survival of Chavez's self-styled revolution, a populist government that has spent millions of dollars of Venezuela's oil wealth on subsidized health, education and other social programs for the poor.

For his opponents, the referendum is the last opportunity before December 2006 elections to vote out a leader they see as a bullying dictator squandering Venezuela's oil resources to promote a dangerous, self-serving revolutionary project.

The recall referendum is the first of its kind in Venezuela's political history.

To recall Chavez, the opposition must equal or beat the 3.76 million votes he received when he was reelected in 2000. But if the "No" vote is bigger, he stays in office.

If Chavez loses, a presidential election will be held within 30 days. The Supreme Court must rule on whether he could stand in that poll...

Not to worry, though. Fellow Castro-friend and Marxist bedfellow, actor Danny Glover is here in the person of a Boston Globe Op-Ed to help us understand - it's all Bush's fault.

Venezuelan reform's foes try to oust popular leader:

EVEN THOUGH the United States is the richest country in the world, one out of three African-American children lives in poverty. Conventional wisdom says that, with mounting budget deficits, we can't afford to help them. Others say we can't afford not to.

And yet while the debate remains intractable in the United States, an even poorer country in our hemisphere -- Venezuela -- is devoting an increasing portion of its oil wealth to paying for doctors, teachers, and hot meals for its children...

"The debate" isn't intractable, but at least we do have one, unlike the regimes Glover & Co. support. This is typical. Don't worry about politics - he's buying us stuff. Never mind that every Marxist experiment has promised to spread the wealth, but in the end merely wound up doling out the misery.

...Since his election in 1998, President Chavez has increased spending of state oil revenues on social programs to more than $1.7 billion for this year alone (the high for previous administrations was $40 million per year).

These bold social reforms have had a tremendous impact on Venezuela's poorest citizens as we witnessed, first hand, last year as part of a TransAfrica delegation to Venezuela for a series of celebrations honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

As we toured the country's new schools and job training programs, it was striking to see King's dream alive and well in this Latin American country...

Invoke MLK's name to support a dictatorship? Check.

...These achievements are more remarkable given Venezuela's divided history as a country of great wealth and intense poverty. Although the country is one of the largest oil exporters in the world, 80 percent of its people live in poverty.

When he was first elected to office in 1998, Chavez pledged to right this historic wrong. Since then, his administration has reformed the country's oil industry in order to use its resources for the good of many rather than for the wealth of a few...

When the oil wealth is used up, Venezuelans will still be impoverished. Only then they'll be impoverished, angry, armed, and posessed of a wicked case of entitlement. I'd honestly like to know what Chavez has to recommend him aside from his purchased popularity. What is he doing to build lasting wealth? Leave aside his politics and anti-Americanism. It's hard to find out in this boiled-down class-warfare view.

...In addition, the country adopted a new constitution under his leadership that expanded rights for women, Afro-Venezuelans, and indigenous people. One of the things we observed while we were there was the sense of empowerment this constitution had given many of its people...

I understand that politcal rights aren't doing well generally, so I doubt that people are feeling very well "empowered" generally. Of course, what people like Glover mean by "empowerment" only refers to emowering the right people. As long as "people of color" are taken care of, a little rot on the body politic generally is worth the price.

...Although many Venezuelans remain loyal to Chavez, in the six years that he has been in office his opponents have been unrelenting in their efforts to stop the social transformation that he has initiated; this time that effort is being advanced through the recall vote.

Chavez's opponents have tried to oust him by any means since his election, including a military coup in April 2002. The Bush administration recognized the coup regime, only to backtrack when President Chavez was restored to office.

Regardless of whether Chavez wins the referendum today, the United States should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela.

Now this is interesting (and also typical). Glover and his co-author, Bill Flecher [sic], Jr. are against the United States interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela. But a quick search on Fle[t]cher shows he's not so concerned about interfering where it suits him. For instance, he was in favor of leaving Saddam Hussein in power, disarming Israel and handcuffing their right to self-defense.

Goodness. What would we do without actors, "progressives" and the Boston Globe?

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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