A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
September 26th, 2011
By Dan Miller
This article by James Petras, a former professor of sociology at Binghamton University who claims “a 50-year membership in the class struggle,” appeared on September 17 in the Dissident Voice — a remarkable publication with which I had not previously been familiar. It chastises our beloved President Obama because he has failed to make the tremendous progress attributable to Venezuelan el Presidente Chávez. The author, in slamming President Obama, neglects at least one salient factor: unlike el Presidente Chávez, who has been in office for about ten years, President Obama has had fewer than three years to lift the United States from the morass of capitalism and to bring forth a glorious new society pleasing unto Him. In defense of the author, it does seem as though President Obama has been in office for at least ten years, often even longer.
Here are some of the contrasting great leaps forward made or promised by these two astonishing leaders. Although both will face reelections in 2012 when the economic conditions of their countries will be foremost in the minds of the voters, el Presidente Chávez has moved vigorously to give Venezuela an ideal society while President Obama has failed to do that for the United States. For example,
President Chavez responded via a large scale program in public spending on social programs. Billions were allocated in a massive housing program designed to create one million homes over the next several years. . . .
While few of the promised new homes have actually been built, at least they have been promised. And that’s important; elections are coming soon and promises work very well. This, courtesy of Weil at Tal Cual:
Not content to rest upon his housing laurels,
Chavez increased the minimum wage, social security and pension payments, increasing consumption among low income groups, stimulating demand and increasing revenues for small and medium size businesses.
This must have been very hard to do, since Venezuela has eliminated much private economic activity and made most of what remains unprofitable. The takeover of farm lands and food distribution has also resulted in chronic shortages. That’s not a problem — it’s a feature, not a bug:
The former paratrooper, who is an avowed fan of Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean dictator, and Fidel Castro, Cuba’s Communist tyrant, boasted that he has launched a new era of socialist supremacy. He said:
“Socialism is necessarily better than capitalism across the board and, that’s what we’re proving.”
Change we can believe in takes time so patience is necessary! As shown by these graphs from the Washington Post, things are already changing in Venezuela, thanks in part to the firing in 2003 of twenty thousand subversive Venezuelan oil workers, many of whom are now doing their thing in Colombia. Another factor has been the failure to maintain and improve oil infrastructure. This has been good for Venezuela because oil, the Devil’s Excrement, can be harmful to the nations where it is produced, as President Obama in his wisdom is also well aware.
The Dissident Voice continues,
The Chavez government sustained living standards by instituting price controls on food and other essentials, which sustained popular demand at the expense of profiteering by the owners of super markets. The Chavez government nationalized lucrative gold mines and repatriated overseas reserves in the course of financing its demand-driven economic recovery program, eschewing tax concessions to the rich and bailouts of bankrupt banks and private businesses.
The article fails to note with appropriate pride that inflation is officially now 25.1 percent — second only to the Democratic Republic of Congo — and rising again. This is one of the many areas in which Venezuela leads the world in economic expansion. Others include violent crime:
In Iraq, a country with about the same population as Venezuela, there were 4,644 civilian deaths from violence in 2009, according to Iraq Body Count; in Venezuela that year, the number of murders climbed above 16,000.
Even Mexico’s infamous drug war has claimed fewer lives.
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) condemned the recent media crackdown in Venezuela that sent RCTV International (RCTV-I), along with other five cable and satellite TV channels (TV Chile, Ritmo Son, Momentum, America TV, and American Network), off the air last Sunday after they failed to broadcast a speech by President Hugo Chávez. In view of this new attack on freedom of expression, HRF has relaunched its Free RCTV campaign (www.FreeRCTV.com), which aims to raise international awareness about the grave situation of freedom of expression in Venezuela. …
The president of Venezuela and his government have carried out a relentless campaign against independent media in Venezuela – especially against those who question the government’s policies. The president has singled out editors, newspaper owners, reporters, and in one case even challenged the owner of a news channel to be prepared to face him in a duel.
(To avoid spam, comments with three or more links will be held for moderation and approval.)
Copyright 2017 Opinion Forum