mikey, a Venezuelan expat commenter living in Canada, writes:
Hey guys, I only lived there from 2005-09, so I guess that makes me typical opposition. I saw the deterioration, shortages and increase in crime with my own eyes. You seem to be seeing things through “Hugo blinders” Ask anyone if they think their nice red franelas make up for the lineups for sugar, cooking oil, coffee, chicken etc. The answer is always no.
Chavez and his crook friends and family are skimming @ $2usd/bbl for their personal fortunes, the rest is being wasted on his pet projects, which are nothing more than troughs for his lick spittle followers. Wake up guys!!
The shortages are occurring because the capitalists are deliberately creating them to try to create chaos and bring down the government. Chavez has put in price controls on a lot of those goods so that low income people can afford them. In the past, in Venezuela, most people had a hard time getting enough food to eat.
Chavez is trying to make sure people have affordable food with the price controls, and the capitalists have responded by deliberately withholding food from the market to create artificial shortages. There is not much Chavez can do about this economic sabotage, but in some cases, he is just nationalizing capitalist saboteur firms.
The long lines are usually for the cheap, government subsidized food in the new state markets that Chavez has set up. At regular markets, there are no long lines. It sucks to have long lines, but at least they have cheap food for once.
There has been no deterioration at all. In fact, Chavez has been rebuilding the infrastructure of Venezuela. Previous governments never spent one nickel on infrastructure other than in the moneyed areas.
I agree that there are environmental problems, but that’s a regional thing and the previous governments were terrible on the environment too and if the Opposition gets in, they would thrash the environment just the same.
There is corruption under Chavez, but Hugo himself is not involved. Corruption has been going on as long as Venezuela has existed. All of the previous governments were corrupt, an Opposition government would be extremely corrupt, and yes, Chavez’ regime is somewhat corrupt.
But in most corrupt regimes, the corrupt people just steal all the state funds, and there is nothing left for the people. In Chavez’ case, there is a lot left over for the people, so I’m more sympathetic. Venezuelans are just profoundly corrupt people period.
That Chavez projects are boondoggles that benefit no one but his pals is a long-term Opposition claim. The Opposition simply disagrees with using state funds to better the lives of Venezuelans. In the whole history of Venezuela, the state never spent any money to help the people. For the first time in history, the state is doing just that, so the Opposition is furious. Keep in mind that any state development and funding will always be characterized by the Opposition as wasteful, useless, corrupt pork boondoggles that benefit no one.
What’s the truth? Interviews on the street show that your average Venezuelan feels that the regime has improved their lives in myriad ways. In the barrios, state funds fix up deteriorating housing, pay for wiring, water, sewage, roads and plumbing, things these places have never seen before. Food is more available and more affordable than ever before, as is medical care, education, cultural activities and local media. Chavez is bettering the lives of the poorer majority, and they appreciate it, which is why they keep re-electing him by huge margins.
Another commenter noted that Chavez’ government is talking about regulating the Internet. If you read the US MSM, it would seem that Chavez has shut down almost the entire Opposition media in the country. First of all, we need to understand what the Opposition media is like. They are like Fox News on steroids, 24-7, 365, no let-up.
I remember a few years back, a European diplomat went to Venezuela. He had heard all of the stories about Chavez the dictator and how the Opposition media had all been closed down. The diplomat spoke Spanish, and he turned on his TV in his hotel room. Going through the channels, almost all of the political ones were Opposition channels. Their attacks on Chavez were so outrageous, continuous and over the top that it was almost comical. The diplomat started laughing and decided that the “dictator” thing was a bunch of crap.
The diplomat met with Chavez later and said that the Opposition stations had been calling him The Devil. Chavez laughed and said, “That’s the least bad thing they get to say about me.”
This particular Internet site is run by a large Venezuelan Opposition radio channel. They’re always over the top and crazy, but no really cared before.
However, recently they published big headlines on their website saying that several of Chavez top officials had been killed. It wasn’t true, and it caused a lot of panic in the country. What’s going on here is they are publishing death threats. What if Fox News ran headlines for hours on end saying that several top Obama officials had been killed, presumably assassinated? What would Americans’ reaction to this outrage be?
Another thing the Opposition has been doing lately is giving out the names, home addresses and phone numbers of top Chavez officials. They have also published photos of some spas where they work out and schools where their kids go to school. The implication is obvious: threat.
Keep in mind that the Opposition riots almost every week in Venezuela. Lately they carry guns when they riot. Recently there have been some sniper shootings and Chavez supporters have been killed. Opposition rioters regularly destroy property and burn tires. One of their favorite things to do is to attack the “missions” that Chavez has set up in the barrios. These are generally health clinics but also dish out a lot of other government aid. Opposition thugs regularly attack the missions with objects and try to burn them down.
Keep in mind that the Opposition media cheers this shit on all the way. What if there were violent riots in the US all the time, and Fox News was cheering it on? What would Americans say?
It’s hard to understand the media situation in Venezuela because you can’t compare the media and political situation to the US.