Venezuela and the Chavez Legacy:

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1 Polarity9th Aug 2011 09:01:31 PM from Behind you, with an axe. , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
As one of the most relevant years for venezuelan politics looms on the horizon, I have wondered, what do other people think of this little south american country?

Let me explain a bit, starting with a brief life story:

I was born in the early nineties, which basically means when Venezuela started it's downfall (or at least went deeper into the chasm) and never got to rise again. Living in this goverment taught me some things. For starters, I developed a sort of pavlovian-like hate response to socialism and communism, but that is to be expected. But it also taught me that people on the outside tend to overlook other people's problems. For example take the war on terror. Venezuela has an outstanding record of having more casualties in it's main capital than the War on Terror. Of course, not many people know this. But whatever, I'm getting off topic.

I want to ask of you something: have you ever... Despised your own people? To the point of seeing them as a sort of wretched hive? Because that is how I see my own country and latin america as a whole right now, and I know it's not a healthy thing to be constantly seething at your own people. Have any of you ever experienced this?

A word of advice: You may think that your country is facing hardships, but you must always look to other countries, look at your own history, and reevaluate the situation. Believe me, I come from a country full of petty bloodshed and a presidential history full of dictators.

Oh, right, discuss, please give me feedback on this and what you think of venezuela. Also, remember to be civil and intellectual.
Really don't understand you humans... All of you slaves to short-term rewards.
2 AceofSpades9th Aug 2011 09:09:43 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder , Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
It's called ethno-centrism or something like that. Basically, you only see what affects the country you're a part of, or at least see the world more in terms of what your culture's influence is. Something like that. You, personally, also seem to be suffering a huge case of cultural cringe.

Anyhow, no, I don't hate my people. But I'm American, and we're taught cultural pride from grade school on. That and I personally have been blessed with a fairly good life.

As for Venezuela; your current leader is something of an idiot. Beyond that I don't know enough to say anything about it. I don't suppose there'a any groups you could get in involved in to improve things?
3 johnnyfog9th Aug 2011 09:12:43 PM from the Zocalo , Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Actual Wrestling Legend
Well, even Chomsky has turned his back on Chavez. He's abandoned the rule of law in pursuit of his socialist utopia, not unlike Lenin and Trotsky once they started feeling hemmed in.

Even so, Polarity, I sometimes wonder if your family was in a privileged income bracket and you're channeling some of that bourgeois hate, like the Cuban exiles. It's uncanny to read.
I'm a skeptical squirrel
Pretending to be human
For some reason reading this almost made me want to say something about how things maybe aren't that bad and Chavez has to be doing something that maintains his popularity among SOME Venezuelans.

At the very least he has to be more popular in Venezuela than a certain other outspoken anti-US/Israel leader in the Middle East whose country also exports oil.

edited 9th Aug '11 9:15:01 PM by Exploder

i don't think Venezuela in that bad condition. Chavez is sick and he have no successor. He also probably couldn't win again, last referendum he only barely win and losing popularity.

Eventually Venezuela would have some conservative/pro-business leader who willing to retain Bolivarian Mission. it will be improvement for both rich and poor Venezuelan, to realize that they needed each other.
scratching at .8, just hopin'
I dislike Chavez as much as I dislike Harper. I'm just hoping that Venezuela doesn't follow the usual route of Latin American politics and that the guy who replaces Chavez doesn't undo what constructive things the asshole has achieved during his reign.
7 Nohbody9th Aug 2011 10:03:33 PM from Somewhere in Dixie , Relationship Status: Mu
Just zis guy
Exploder: Chavez taking oil profits and basically buying the votes of the poor certainly isn't a hinderance to continued support. How long that support will last past the end of the profits is another issue.

How do I get to "end of the profits"?

  1. Government owned and operated oil industries, by and large, have an earned reputation as being prone to cronyism putting "favored" people in positions of power regardless of whether or not they're qualified for the job, and when they slack on something maintenance of the equipment is usually the first target. After Chavez nationalized the oil infrastructure, the companies that were running it pulled out their technicians. Those foreign* technicians were a majority of the people who knew How To Get Shit Done(tm), though I don't have any hard numbers at hand as to how much was/wasn't local.
  2. The actual output of the Venezuelan oil fields has been declining for a while now. Official government numbers deny the claim, of course, but especially for dictatorships (pseudo-* or otherwise) fudging the numbers is hardly unheard of.

How long 1 and/or 2 will take to happen, however, I wouldn't even care to hazard a guess. It could be within the next few years, or decades down the line. (I suspect closer to the former than the latter, though.)
Err, I totally disagree. Petrocanada, when it was under crown control, was always a really awesome company. Ever since the neoliberals under Paul Martin's guidance released hold of it, and Harper finished that move, it's been nothing but gas price gouging and selling oil at a discount price to the United States. They don't even try to price gouge properly. *grumble grumble*

Anyway, Chavez probably can't win the next election, so it's a moot point of whether you hate him. He's not going to be there much longer. I don't think he's been a very effective leader but I always tended to look at Latin America countries on a scale of 30-40 years, and in that regard, he looks pretty good (which is kinda sad).
9 Polarity9th Aug 2011 10:19:41 PM from Behind you, with an axe. , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
@Johnyfrog: Beg your pardon? What about cuban exiles? I was part of a middle/low class family before Chavez came. After that, the company my father worked for, PDVSA, the biggest oil company tried to rebel to chavez by making a 6 month strike of sorts (hey it had worked before IN FUCKING 1928). The result? the goverment took away the jobs and home of lots people, my dad included. Then, he worked for RCTV, the biggest news channel in the country. After 5 years, the goverment had effectively rendered it obsolete, since it considered it "too dangerous", making my father lose his job again (and we were already in a financial crisis, since RCTV didn't pay that well) After a year of unemployment/depression, my dad now found a job at small company that sells electrical equipment. I hope you can understand my obvious bias.

@Exploder: Yes, they are very bad. you should come and check it out yourself. If you want, I'll make you a *short* list of what is wrong with us later (it's 1 AM, not in the mood). Also, popularity =/= good. Again, I'll ellaborate later, my apologies.

Phillipe O: The sickness part has been debated. He has various succesors, like his brother, or Elias Jaua or the chancellor-who-at-this-hour-I-forgot-his-name. The "bolivarian mission" isn't even a mission, just a vision, and it's more a cycle we have been stuck with since the 1900's. Also, you seriously believe that it can be solved with a simple voting process?

EDIT: Also, any suggestions on my cultural cringe? sorry for being so vague, but I need some sleep.

EDIT AGAIN: Well, Nohbody, you kinda got ahead of me.

@Breadloaf: Yeah popularity had been decreasing, but the sudden sickness has ensued a whole lot of woobieness, and so many feel sorry for the guy and he is getting his popularity back. (yes we function like that, don't ask). Also, before Chavez, we actually BUILT stuff. We produced, we competed with other countries, we had a fucking stable economy. With Chavez all we do is subsist of the oil we sell to China, does THAT look like improvement to you?

edited 9th Aug '11 10:25:25 PM by Polarity

Really don't understand you humans... All of you slaves to short-term rewards.
Well I am a little surprised at how angry you about Venezuela, rather than just Chavez. The country as a whole has been much better on average compared to its neighbours, except Brazil. Since, basically everyone is some flavour of socialist except Colombia, I don't think the economic system is to blame. Rather, it's Chavez's antagonistic approach to solving problems being basically the Bush of Latin America by declaring war on whatever he thinks is a problem as a method to solving issues. It's idiotic and not helpful.
> The sickness part has been debated. He has various succesors, like his brother, or Elias Jaua or the chancellor-who-at-this-hour-I-forgot-his-name.

Then lets hope his successor aren't as capable as he is.

> The "bolivarian mission" isn't even a mission, just a vision, and it's more a cycle we have been stuck with since the 1900's.

About Bolivarian mission, its worthy vision, even if rather unsuccessful now. Brazil Lula also leftist and have distributive policy, he is of course a lot better than Chavez, but it shows that to have modern nation the poor have to feel they have a stake at nation.

Latin America often trapped in a) Conservative government that oppress the poor b) populist leader that seize the rich money and distribute it, but can't govern. Latin America have to break this cycle to success.

> Also, you seriously believe that it can be solved with a simple voting process?

Yes, democracy is spreading, albeit slowly. Latin America have a lot less coup than 50 year ago. Chile and Argentine at the verge of becoming First-World nation. Brazil and Mexico also become successful developing nation and have democracy. When Latin America Big Four become democracy, Venezuela eventually have to follow.

Also while election under chavez not exactly free and fair. he did come through election, not coup. And Chavez so far still have to run through various election and referendum, 50 year ago dictator would already suspend election.
12 SgtRicko10th Aug 2011 02:52:58 AM from Guam, USA , Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
Chavez needs to go, period. Venezuela used to be one of the model countries in South America in terms of economy and freedoms, but he's managed to ruin both of those. His definition of socialism also seems to be more authoritarian than not, because every time a business or government branch tries to use their powers or override his decisions he immediately imposes sanctions or shuts them down.

Furthermore, his "Bolivarian Revolution" is way off compared to what Simon Bolivar himself was trying to create. Bolivar was actually trying to copy the American Revolution (hence the whole Gran Colombia thing) as well as keep the businesses like the plantations free of government control. Yet Chavez has only been consolidating power, not releasing it.

BTW: In case if you're wondering, I'm not against socialism, not one bit. I believe it's the lack of effective management and consistency when dealing with corruption that's causing the government trouble. If their leadership was more skilled and willing to eliminate the "bad apples" in the workforce, then I think a socialist Venezuela might start seeing results.
Would you believe I never fully watched the original Indiana Jones trilogy? I gotta correct that someday.
Lol one of the worst countries? I get you hate Chavez, I know many ppl who do and I dont blame them... But if you think he is bad why dont you move to Syria? You think crime is bad? You should have seen Brazil and Colombia during the 90s...

Just so you can see how good you have it, I would rather live in Venezueal than in all Africa, some Asian countries, and central Americans countries.

Also Venezuela did not go into any sort of "downfall"... or at least before Chavez. Truth is the country always had incompetent leaders and never amounted to be more than another Banana Republic like many of its neighbours (blame oil).

Also in many other countries Bolivar is associated with the political right which I thought might be fun to point out. And Marx said some nasty things about Bolivar back in the day... gotta love the irony of it all.

In a sense Chavez is a Venezuelan tea partier.

edited 10th Aug '11 5:58:09 AM by Baff

I will always cherish the chance of a new beggining.
14 MasterInferno10th Aug 2011 06:45:44 AM from Ideal City , Relationship Status: With my statistically significant other
All Pop, No Culture
"Other countries have it worse than yours does" isn't an excuse to marginalize that country's problems.
You mean you took this post seriously?
15 USAF71310th Aug 2011 06:51:55 AM from the United States
I changed accounts.
"Other countries have it worse than yours does" isn't an excuse to marginalize that country's problems.

Indeed. Tyranny is tyranny, whether it's original flavor or modern remix.

I would say that you should probably be ready for things to fall through even farther when the First World drops oil. That can only end poorly for countries that based their entire economy on oil. They might last awhile on reserve money, but... it really doesn't look good, as I understand it. It's only a question of when...

edited 10th Aug '11 6:52:05 AM by USAF713

I am now known as Flyboy.
Moar and Moar and Moar
My feeling on it is that these countries feel like they're living on extremist swings, and as such they tend to prop up extremists who happen to work for them more. I see both Venezuela and Cuba in that light, it's the threat of the pendulum swinging ALL the way back in the other direction that keeps their regimes in power. Much of it worry that the US will interfere and force the pendulum the other way back.

Needless to say I think the correct Western policy is one of gradual normalization/small little-c conservative democratic reforms. (Not as in Conservative policy but as in small, gradual changes)
Democracy is the process in which we determine the government that we deserve
17 Polarity10th Aug 2011 07:48:12 AM from Behind you, with an axe. , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
@Baff Dude, I wrote the title at 11:00 PM last night, I was just writing the first title that came to mind. Of course I would rather live in Venezuela rather than in all of Africa. But you what? the rest of your post lacks researching. Caracas, at the moment, is the number two most dangerous city in the whole world, second only Baghdad, and you wanna know the worst part? We have more casualties per week than them, Baghdad is the numeber one because it's a fucking war zone. Of course I can complain, I cannot go out in the streets without risking getting killed just because someone liked my shoes, it's fucking stressing and terrifying. Don't you think I should know what the fuck happened with Colombia during the 90's? I fucking live right next to them, so don't you dare patronize me about historical facts. Our own president has been found to be helping the Guerilla factions in Colombia and helping with the drug trade, so don't you think I already know all this stuff?

Yes, Venezuela did have a downfall in the last decade. Before that, we had the famous "40 aos de democracia" (40 years of democracy). It was a huge change after the caudillism, the banana republic dictators, the huge grip the military had, etc. We had a stable economy, we didn't have this pronounced social conflict. Chavez got out the worst of us. The guy hasn't built or made ANY progress. in 12 years, he has built less houses than his predecesors made in one year, for example. The only thing he has made are the programs to help read the disadvanted or the poor, and let me tell you, I have seen how it is there, I have friends who went there, and it is not at all a helping program. They basically give out diplomas that say "you can read now!" without having taught anything, or worse, they just put porn videos... It's disgusting. Same with educational programs.

The bolivarian mission is what essentially any third world dictator has been doing here for the past 100 years. Chavez just says whatever he has on his mind, abd justifies it by saying that it is all in the name of bolivar (not that many people like Bolivar, anyway). It doesn't matter what his political views were. So if you think that's a good argument, you are way off. I'm not against socialism. I'm against people who think that socialism is all good and can't possibly be perverted and those who are against it are the evil rich people.

Giving power to the poor may seem like a good thing, but winning them over by promising to kill the rich is not a healthy way to enforce your goverment, especially if you are the president and spend all the countries income in trips to cuba and bolivia.

Finally, @Phillipe O, Chavez did make a coup. Twice no less. He was in Jail 'till Caldera released him. He did however enter through fair voting (wether or no subsequent referendums and votations have been fair is up for debate though).

Sorry If I seem angry, but I'm the one who lives here, and it feels awful when someone feels that you don't have it that bad while watching the situation from outiside. Believe me, I have American friends who were pro Chavez 'till they came to live here.

edited 10th Aug '11 7:49:17 AM by Polarity

Really don't understand you humans... All of you slaves to short-term rewards.
18 MajorTom10th Aug 2011 04:08:40 PM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
I would say that you should probably be ready for things to fall through even farther when the First World drops oil. That can only end poorly for countries that based their entire economy on oil. They might last awhile on reserve money, but... it really doesn't look good, as I understand it. It's only a question of when...

The Nordic model falls apart if you take away the Scandinavian petroeconomies. They will actually be hurt worse than Chavez and Venezuela. Venezuela is already poor and still will be at the time oil becomes obsolete. Norway and Sweden are not and petroleum is their primary industry.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."

edited 10th Aug '11 5:54:22 PM by Baff

I will always cherish the chance of a new beggining.
Well Polarity coming from Bolivia,a country ruled by Hugo Chavez number 1 fanboy/lackey i can certainly symphatize with everything you just said,in fact, its eerily familiar, and i wondered if Venezuelans felt that way,though i suspected they do, after all Evo was trying to make Bolivia into something like Venezuela 2.0.I do often think that other countries are exagerating their problems and my opinion on a lot of Bolivians is that they are stupidly selfish/corrupt/dumb even though there are a lot of good people.

If Chavez abuses power like Evo does i completly understand your hatred,however, i dont think things are as bad as you make them to be,and im actually optimistic as progress is being made (at least in my country),in a lot of cases despite the goverment,and Evo is at a its lowest popularity ever, even in his own "turf",the "good people" are advancing,the only thing left is for the opposition to present a unite front against the goverment and they (Evo and the goverment) will be unable to do shit despite their power.

SO what does that have to do with Chavez and Venezuela you ask?well, a couple of years ago Bolivia was as bad you describe Venezuela (minus the capital city being complete bloodbath,even when the riots where at full swing i dont think it was anything close to the warzone you described,i actually think you are exagerating that part)and its getting better,while it looks grim now,its very probable that in a couple of years Venezuela will get better.

But even understanding the sentiment and knowing how bad it can get (im assuming Venezuela is 5 times worse than Bolivia at its worse time)its not one of the worst countries,there are definetlly way worse countries and things are not as negative and bad as make them to be.

edited 10th Aug '11 5:56:16 PM by Nld

21 BestOf10th Aug 2011 06:25:36 PM from Finland , Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve

The Nordic model falls apart if you take away the Scandinavian petroeconomies. ... Norway and Sweden are not and petroleum is their primary industry.

This is off topic, but I'm doing this on a "just so you know" basis; most people like to be told when they're wrong. If you don't want to know what Nordic economies are actually based on, skip the rest of this.

First of all, the Nordic countries are Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland. All of them have their own variation of the Nordic Model, and each of them are closer to each other than any other country when it comes to economic and social policy.

All of the Nordic countries primarily base their economy on the service sector. As for production, only Norway has really significant petrol resources. The rest of us don't have oil, at least in significant amounts. (I've never heard of Nordic oil outside Norway.)

I'm just gonna look up Wikipedia's articles on our economies ("economy of [country]"):

Denmark produces food, technology (mainly energy production equipment, specialising in wind turbines), furniture and the like. Most of its industry, except agriculture, is based on imported raw materials. It seems that it does produce some oil, but not enough to make it one of its main industries.

Norway is not totally reliant on its oil, either, but it is its main industry, it seems. In addition, it produces ships, fish, chemicals, machinery and metals.

Iceland's industrial output mostly consists of aluminum and fish. Its main source of energy is geothermal energy.

The main industries of Sweden are telecommunications equipment, wood pulp and paper products, motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel. Those are also its main exports.

As for Finland, our main industries are metals and metal products, electronics, machinery and scientific instruments, shipbuilding, pulp and paper, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, clothing. We export all of those and optical equipment, transport equipment (such as trains) and timber. I guess I should note that the largest company in Finland is Nokia.

[down]Obviously, my post was directed at Tom. Venezuela actually is dependant on oil, unlike the Nordic countries.

Again, apologies for going off-topic, but I had to correct an error made by Tom so that people wouldn't be misinformed about Nordic economies.

edited 10th Aug '11 6:30:37 PM by BestOf

Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
22 Polarity10th Aug 2011 06:26:17 PM from Behind you, with an axe. , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
@Major Tom: Those are some of my worries actually. Taking also in consideration Chavez' tendency to either A) Insult it's main customers and try to cease negotiations with them and B) Solely depend on oil, it's kinda worrying.

@Baff: Huh?

@Nid: I understand and sympathize with your optimism, but take in consideration that Venezuela is not Bolivia. I can give you numbers and pics if you don't believe me about the "bloodbath", if you want. Also, I don't want to underestimate you situtation, but Evo has always been... A Chavez wannabe (and Chavez is a Fidel wannabe, and so on), so in case that is true and you are not being optimistic (I'm not about to argue on that unless you want to, after all, you live there), Chavez has a lot more popularity, and we are making very minuscule progress. Hell, the best progress we have made isn't even thanks to us (him getting sick, guerrilla ties, etc). My point being, Chavez has way more charisma (and may be SLIGHTLY more intelligent than Evo), so it is understandable that you are making more progress. But believe me, If I took the time to make this thread, was to tell people. Many venezuelans here are desperate of our situation, and even if it isn't as bad as, say, Zimbawe, Chavez certainly wants to follow in that direction, if his ties to African countries and new tactics based on them are anything to go by.

...Wow, that was long. My deepest excuses, I seem to like walls o' text.

EDIT: By the way, @Best Of, I was only refering to Tom's remark about Venezuela heavily depending on Oil.

edited 10th Aug '11 6:28:33 PM by Polarity

Really don't understand you humans... All of you slaves to short-term rewards.
I guess Best Of already did the whole Nordic economy thing because that was the strangest thing. I mean Sweden and oil? What? They also have unicorn breeding there too? Besides, Norway stored away all the oil money into a massive pension fund that is now twice the size of their GDP. When oil collapses, guess what happens? Nothing.

@ Polarity

So I have to kinda question though, even though Chavez likes his circlejerking friends and weird "hate US" relationships (while doing everything the US wants anyway...) how are the Venezuelan people? It always seem like the real problem was that their opposition parties somehow sucked more than the incumbent authoritarian socialists. Then is the problem to do with a lack of a political class that represents the needs of the people, or that Chavez is too oppressive? I feel like if there was a competent candidate to stand in elections, people would vote for them.

My long-term concern is that either a Chavez wanna-be goes up in his place and is worse, or that the people vote in an extreme right-wing guy who just becomes another Chavez except capitalist.
24 BestOf10th Aug 2011 07:11:06 PM from Finland , Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
[up]Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Norway actually has a proper, working economy in addition to its oil industry, most of the profits of which do indeed go to a state-owned fund that is actually the largest pension fund in Europe, though in fact it's not really a pension fund; that's just a convenient label for it.

60% of it is currently invested in international markets, but it's basically just a huge stash of cash that Norway's been building up for decades. The reason they keep such a huge portion of it invested instead of stocking it up as a cash reserve or something is that when it's invested, it's participating in the economy instead of just sitting in a vault.
Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
25 Polarity10th Aug 2011 08:04:51 PM from Behind you, with an axe. , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
@Breadloaf: Alright, let's see if I can keep it short (I doubt it):

-First of all, yes, it is a known fact that Chavez is mostly a hypocrite on his "Hate US" thingie (kinda hard not to be one when they are your main customers, or were 'till china came), and likes his ciclejerking (he calls it the "ALBA") I know you weren't asking for confirmation, but just throwing it out there, because why not.

-Ok, I know I must have a bias towards my people, but that is mainly on a cultural level. Politically, they don't make me seethe as much, mainly because it's so cliche'd, so I will explain it without as much hatred:

There seems to be a misconception here, many tropers alike seem to think that the oppositon are extremist right wingers who want to hoard all the money and kill the poor. First of all, The main opposition opts for a democratic approach, rather than a full socialist approach. To be honest, we don't HAVE any right wing political party. The closest we have is a centric-right one (I just know I made a horrible translation) that just recently (as in, 2 months ago) popped up and no one is really considering. Politically, Venezuelans are mostly divided into two camps: Pro Chavez or against. Here is a brief description of them:

Pro Chavez groups mostly consist of the low class, who are in it based on promises that Chavez made about welfare plans, food, money, killing the rich (Don't ask), etc. This part is generally what people see as what is wrong with Venezuela, since they are convinced that poor = good, and generally repeat what Chavez says without knowing what that means (blame on the horrible education system), and as of lately, some are getting angry because Chavez isn't delivering (hey 12 years is a lot), so Chavez made a new Campaign motto: "let me work" (yeah) as a means of saying that it's the fault of the other people in the goverment.

The group is also formed by remnants of the cold war (the USSR was kind of a big fashion in here), the occasional opportunitic polititian in it for the money, etc.

The Opposition, on the other hand, consists of... Everyone else. Normally this would be a problem, but since we don't have many political branches, most opt for the same candidate every election, suggesting a democratic goverment instead, trying to go back to the "old days". All in all, the problem comes from the fact that you have an agressive president, while the opposition opts for a more peaceful approach, and is willing to step back. The main problem for them is that the low class (which has been greatly increasing in the last two decades, more than 50% of the population to be exact) demands, and they can't provide. Hey, who would you listen to? They guy who promises (key word, promises) food and blankets, or the ones who say terms like social change and stable economy?

To resume, A visionary with a similar view to Chavez could work, if he actually did follow through with it, instead of kicking out people of their houses and lending them to other people. But venezuela has mostly followed the same pattern: either an opressive dictatorship, or a free for all brawl ala Civil War. Hence why people look back to the 40 Years of Democracy: it's the only time we have been different from all that.

Oh, and where would I put Chavez' regime between those two kinds of goverments? The worst of both.
Really don't understand you humans... All of you slaves to short-term rewards.

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