Select articles on Venezuela by Mark Weisbrot:
Chavez confronts a corrupt, violent and discredited political system that has been determined to destroy the economy in order to regain power. Chavez is the point of departure for the reconstruction of an honest and progressive Venezuelan political class
Chavismo has attempted to democratize power and include everyone in the struggle for a politics of respect, dignity and social rights.
Inclusion of the excluded is much more than symbolic. Neoliberal economics and Corporate Globalization, is based on discipline and the removal of the poor and working populations from any real decision-making. The "inclusion" of the poor and their support of Chavez is frightening to the elite who advocate neoliberal development for Venezuela.
From the Vheadline Community Forum:
"Reverse Logic Supports Ninguno" Posted 2-28-2003 08:48 (By Economistaz (ME!))
The anti- Weisbrot rant was nicely written and creative. Since the author is obviously a mercenary (with a pen) maybe the Chavistas could hire you with a shack and a notebook as payment. You could dye your skin and walk around the ranchos and the barrios de los ricos and see how you are treated. You might win a pulitzer and get rich enough to make it to Miami where you could compare US racism with Venezuelan. Then with your fat US bank account you might feel drawn back to your homeland to do something for your people instead of just attack people's views.
Maybe you could help clean up Lake Maracaibo in the name of Carmona or Guitsi - or why not help the widows and orphans of your friends in the AD who assasinated hundreds of people during their rein of terror in 1980's and early 90's. Or maybe you are tired of this drift and want to debate economics with me. What would you do that hasn't already been tried and failed. Can I call you Mr. Neoliberalisimo?
Not competent in Economics - let's talk politics. Please define dictatorship, explain how Chavez is a dictator and explain to the Venezuelan people what they did wrong in 1998, 1999, 2000 and twice in 2001 when they voted for Chavez and his programs at percentages among the highest in the history of Latin American elections?
In response "tercervertiente" wrote: How does bringing up the past injustices defend present ones? Just because the past has examples of wrongdoing does not justify wrongdoing in the present. (see his complete response at: http://vheadline.community.everyone.net/community/scripts/thread.pl)
Economistaz responds: Well what are the current injustices of Chavez? If past injustices by the rightwing AD and Copey are still continuing and likely to get much worse if they ever seize power again, I tnink the contrasts between Chavez's democratic opening to the vast majority versus the record of the other Venezuelan political parties is imporatnat and relevant. The rightwing had 40 years to prove the failure of their economics and their utter lack of concern for the poor (majority) - now it is the left and Chavez's turn.
The alternative to neoliberalism and social democracy proposed by "tercervertiente" is an admirable attempt and worthy of consideration - though he is wrong to say it is not neoliberalism - it is the epitome of a free market: Libertarianism with a carrot thrown to the masses of a welfare safety net. While this proposal is obviously better than the neoliberalism of Reagan-Bush-Cardoso-Menem it turns decisions about what is produced and who produces it over to the multinationals and the bankers of the Imperialists.
First in order to anaylze the costs of this program that he proposes we need to agree on the data and the costs: 25 million people times $1000 a year is $25 billion dollars. Or what are you considering the poverty level? What to you use as the current government budget?
He said: "To cover the costs of such a plan, I would simply get rid of all current government programs, and privatizing all government owned goods and services, which, when I took a look at the government budget, came to a cost of that amount."
So you would get rid of the police, armed forces, the diplomatic corps, all student aid outside of the country, all schools, all environmental regulation and studies, all roads, parks, research, sanitation, water systems, etc.? or what services would you cut and why do you think that the free market would provide these better and cheaper than done currently. Give examples. I would expect that if people had to pay directly for all of these services that the cost of your welfare net would double to 40 or 50 billion a year.
Eliminating government waste and bureacracy is a worthy idea too and Chavez has moved swiftly in this direction. But your program would throw 10's of thousands of middle class people out of work suddenly and unemployment would be a big issue - sure people would not starve because they would get your welfare payment but they would not necessarily become productive or happy!
He wrote: "Indirect advantages include, producers of basic need goods and services having to compete for the attention of the "poor" to get them to purchase from them and not a competitor... milk producers
will try to make milk better and cheaper so that the "poor" (now not poor because of the daily stipend) will want their milk..."
Economistaz responds: I am not sure what you mean here and would love to hear your explanation, but economics does not work that way. Venezuela imports most of its food and without government controls and subsidies much more of the basic goods and all goods would be imported. This would put more people out of work and drastically affect the national economy and increase the costs of your program further!
These are negative not positive side effects. You also apply this to schools and say that people would no longer be poor under your welfare net. These statements don't make sense either. Privatized schools have never benefited the majority or the poor anywhere and transportation costs become a big problem too. If people are receiving income just above the poverty line they are no longer poor? What is your poverty line again? How do you define poor?
In my initial response I wrote: 3) "Please define dictatorship, explain how Chavez is a dictator and explain to the Venezuelan people what they did wrong in 1998, 1999, 2000..
"tercervertiente" wrote: Dictator, according to Webster's Dictionary: "c: one ruling absolutely and often oppressively." From his government's inception, most of what Chavez has wanted done has gotten done, and most of what he has not wanted done has not been done. This can be interpreted as "ruling absolutely". His threat of and use of military to get things done and not done can be interpreted as "oppressively".
Economistaz responds: "Absolutely" is not the same as most - not even close. I think you are also stretching credulity to say that Chavez got most of what he wanted. Did he want 10 billion dollars to leave the country and go to Miami and New York when the rich threw their temper tantrums? Did Chavez want to be kidnapped? Did he want a phony "Bosses" strike that has crippled the economy, the government's budget and cost Venezuela 8-10 billion dollars? Your statement is ridiculous and I could go on for pages about what Chavez did not get...Oppression? I am still waiting to hear what the oppression is. Modest or unfulfilled threats are not oppression.
"tercervertiente" says that what the people did wrong was: A) abstain from voting, and B) not learn about his programs before voting for him... Even today, four years into his mandate, you would be hard pressed trying to describe what his policy truly is."
Economistaz responds: Well to a degree this is always true of all politicians, they have to respond to the situation as it evolves and adjust their programs (strikes, oil price changes, etc.) But you are not being very honest because in general Chavez has done exactly what he said he would do: direct public funding priorities to the poor (Schools, housing, democratic participation, eliminating corruption). Sure he has made a few mistakes and is still searching for the best and cheapest way to accomplish these goals - that is how the world works especially with the rich so hostile and corruption still not completely eliminated.
Worldwide Chavez is recognized as a leader in the development of a new economic program of sustainability, import substitution, environmental sensitivity, indigenous rights, popular participation, education, redirecting the military to productive activities and controlling monopolized industries and media.
The data on voter abstention suggests that Chavez and his programs would have received many more votes if everyone had voted. Most non-voters are the poor and in future elections they will come out to vote now that they see the advantages of Chavez's program and the terrible threats posed by the old political cronies in the AD, Copoey and the CTV.
In response to my statement that Chavez has received voter approvals "at percentages among the highest in the history of Latin American elections?" "tercervertiente" presents data based on percentage of total eligible voters in Venezuela but none for other countries. I stand by my statement and challenge him to present similar data from other countries if he wants to disprove me.
I hope that this discussion continues as I feel it is important and enlightening. But please do not cite "polls" to try and convince people that Chavez is not popular. These polls are not only inherently inaccurate, but in the case of Venezuela it has been proven that the pollsters are part of the opposition coup mongers.
Looking forward to your response - for the people and a future of social justice and sovereignty for all.
For additional understanding of the crisis in Venezuela see:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,857027,00.html Great article on Racist Rage of Caracas Elite
http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=2451 – Great article on News media corruption and lies.
http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=350 List of US Congressmen and hundreds of groups and individuals supporting democracy and Chavez in Venezuela.
Patrick J. O'Donoghue: Funds slotted to push sustainable development zones
The government is pushing ahead with its plan to develop special zones of sustainable development. Minister Francisco Natera has announced that the government will invest 25 billion bolivares in reactivating and developing some of the zones in question.
Agriculture & Lands Ministry (MAT) and the Planning & Development (Cordiplan) Ministries will join a coordination plan aimed at generating jobs in the short term. The chosen zones are: South of Lake Maracaibo, Guanarito (Portuguesa), South of Guarico, Puerto Nutrias and Puente Paez in Barinas, and Apure.
The plan is part of the President's electoral manifesto to create an Orinoco-Apure axis development zone that will eventually link Venezuela with other countries via a waterways network. http://vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=2558