Viva Chavez

"We are facing the threat of global challenges stemming from the genocidal, immoral, sick, and corrupt elite currently governing the United States, which appear to have no limits" Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

By Mike Whitney

05/19/06 "
Information Clearing House" -- -- Hugo Chavez is a self-made man. He wasn’t piggy-backed into Harvard on a legacy grant (Affirmative Action for plutocrats) or shoehorned into the White House by corporate gangsters. He grew up in a two-room thatched palm-leaf house with his five siblings and dreamt of moving to New York to play baseball for the Yankees. At age 18 he chose to make the most of his meager opportunities by enlisting in the military.

For 17 years, Chavez served his country; gradually moving up the chain of command to lieutenant colonel. Unlike his American counterpart, GW Bush, Chavez never went AWOL during wartime or stumbled through years of idle profligacy peering at the world through beer-goggles.

While Bush was busy driving three consecutive companies into insolvency and fattening his bank account with the loot from insider-trading scams, Chavez was putting together the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement; a leftist political organization which promoted redistribution and civil rights.

Chavez was lifted to the presidency on the backs of peasants and working-class people while Bush was selected by 5 venal judges who repealed the democratic process and suspended the counting of ballots.

The differences between the two men go on and on. It is an interesting study in contrasts and one that is particularly relevant to the deteriorating state of world affairs. So far, Bush’s views have carried the day; the global superpower is free to act unilaterally and without concern for either international law or basic standards of decency.

Chavez, however, has presented a competing vision of global integration, collective action, and participatory democracy. His world-view is clearly ascendant.

"Capitalism is barbarism," Chavez says; a point that is persuasively driven home in the daily accounts of butchery in Iraq, Afghanistan or Haiti. In Bush-world the mounting death toll is simply the price of opening new markets like the cheerful ringing of a cash register. Its no wonder the system is collapsing all around him.

Chavez has taken the lead in denouncing Bush and the system that supports him:

"For the horror it has created around the world in the last century, the United States’ war machine should be dismantled. It is a threat against all of mankind, particularly against our children."

He has wisely taken aim at Bush, an indigent patrician without any identifiable qualifications, as the foremost symbol of a system run amok:

"The worst genocidal leader in the history of humanity is the President of the United States. Hitler would be like a suckling baby next to George W Bush… He is a terrorist, a drunkard, and a donkey".

The stark contrast of the two men’s personalities has been a boon to Chavez. Even the feeble attacks by the media have only enhanced his popularity and strengthened his case for socialism:

"This model, the so called American way of life, the extreme capitalism, is not sustainable, life on this planet will come to an end if we continue down this road, that is why we are motivated to seek socialism and abandon capitalism, the individualism, the selfish consumerism, the so called destructive development that is destroying this planet, we are all in danger, and not so much us, our children and grandchildren."

Chavez has been a thumb in the eye of the Bush Empire. His criticism of America’s duplicitous foreign policy resonates with poor and working class people alike.

Presently, he is meeting with leaders of Libya and Algeria (supposedly) to discuss "increased cooperation on oil production" and to develop "social programs for the poor based on oil revenues". Chavez has initiated similar programs at home, but he is using his increased visibility to publicly denounce Bush and American foreign policy:

"We are against America, the imperialist. We don’t accept its hegemony. The whole world should unite against America."

Chavez’s trip comes at a time when there are renewed fears of an attack on Iran. Could it be that the Venezuelan president is actually working behind the scenes to stem the flow of oil if Iran is bombed? Or, maybe he is orchestrating a "run on the dollar" (transfer to euros) which Russia and Venezuela have already threatened? Whatever the plan, he has vehemently condemned the administration’s hostility to Iran while other nations continue to cringe.

"The world needs to do everything possible to avoid the madness of a military attack against Iran. We call upon the government of the United States to halt its warmongering, which will throw the world into an abyss of more wars, more terrorism, more death, and more desolation. Europe has a very important role to play in this, and instead of supporting this war, it should help to stop it."

Chavez has been equally blunt in his criticism of the war in Iraq. In an interview with British Channel 4 he was asked what he would do if he was living in occupied Iraq. Chavez answered:

"If I was an Iraqi I would be resisting. I would be in the trenches; I would have a rocket-launcher; I would be defending the holy sovereignty of my country against the abuses and oppression of the empire."

His sense of moral clarity is a reprieve from the evasive gibberish of other world leaders who try to soften their rhetoric so they don’t offend Washington.

In the same interview Chavez was asked (disdainfully) why people outside of his country "think he is crazy"?

Chavez responded, "If those people think I’m crazy, well, God forgive them, because they are victims of a media campaign. I am just a human being like you; no more, no less. But, I am totally devoted to this cause of equality and justice to see if we can save this planet….The great crazy guy is I Washington, not here."

Chavez is slowly transforming Venezuelan politics and making significant headway in areas of redistribution and social welfare. The country’s 25 million people now have full access to free health care and illiteracy has been eliminated. Government programs now provide15 million people with subsidized food, medicine and other essentials. Medical clinics have sprung up in every barrio in Caracas and college enrollment has increased exponentially.

Chavez has created a model of governance that is based on human needs rather than rigid ideology. This has made it more difficult to discredit him as dogmatic or authoritarian. His policies of income redistribution have created a burgeoning Venezuelan middle class which is changing the political dynamic throughout Latin America. He has become Washington’s "biggest nightmare" and a threat to America’s economic dominance in the region.

"Let's consider socialism," Chavez said. "Let's debate it and build it. I believe that mistakes were in the economic analysis, and there should be social praxis. 21st century socialism should be based on solid human values."

No one has done more to reenergize the Left than Hugo Chavez. He has become the face of anti-imperialism and the champion of progressive socialism. His views on education, poverty-reduction, social justice, and the equitable distribution of oil revenues are sweeping the hemisphere; brushing aside centuries of colonialism.

The politics of personal accumulation and perennial war are on the decline. Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. As Chavez says, "We must embrace a new type of socialism, a humanist one, which puts humans, not machines and not the state, above everything".

This century’s Enlightenment is coming from south of the border.

Viva Chavez.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information ClearingHouse endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

Join our Daily News Headlines Email Digest

Fill out your emailaddress
to receive our newsletter!
Powered by

  Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More