Friday, March 8, 2013

The Legacy Of A Socialist-Hero

Courtesy of The Telegraph

This week brought about a political storm in the world of socialism and the world, a great champion of socialism in a world suffering from post-Thatcherism, post-Reaganism, or to sum it all up post-Neoliberal-Revolution of the 70's and 90's and post-Great Recession (maybe or we're still in it), died.

A country with a seal-of-approval from the much respected Carter Center, branded as having the best electoral system in the world, and with a voter turnout of 81%, it's obvious that the accusations of Venezuela as being a barbaric-petrodollar-dependent-undemocratic country is far from reality, and can only be dismissed as English will put it, as rubbish.

The images of people crying reminiscent of Eva Peron's wake when she died in 1952, fails to shock me. Why should I be shocked? Because of Chavez, poverty in Venezuela has halved, economic inequality according to UN calculations has dropped 11 points, people in the rural areas now have access to health-care (thanks to Cuban doctors), upward mobility more possible than ever with turnout in college breaking old records, and social-economic cohesion preventing instability, in a region prone to poverty and social-economic upheavals.

His death a tragedy to those who believe in a socialist utopia, the power of social democracy, Keynesianism, empowerment of marginalized people, upward-mobility, and lastly those who oppose the evil forces of an absolute free-market economy. Although, Chavez in an interview with Stephen Sackur of BBC's Hardtalk last 2010 stated that he didn't believe in Rhine-Capitalism (mixed economy)-Keynesian model that is more alike with the present systems found in Scandinavian, Germany, and Japan- because he thought it was just impossible in the case of Venezuela, in his view hardcore socialism was the only answer for his country. 

Personally, I am more of a Keynesian, and in favor of Rhine-Capitalism. I believe that fair competition is good for an economy, add to that a balanced budget combined with the presence of a large welfare state, it just can't get better than that.

The Cambridge and Harvard alumni, journalist-extraordinaire Sackur, questioned Chavez in the interview of his stance on nuclear proliferation vis-a-vis his open support for Iran-which by the way has a strong trade relationship with Venezuela.

Chavez told the interviewer how he would want to see the US, the UK, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, and all the other countries in the world disarm themselves of their nuclear capabilities. He said that he only supports nuclear research for peaceful purposes, like energy, and even challenged Sackur how much nuclear warheads his country has, which made one of my favorite journalist from the BBC go quiet and smirk while nodding. When Sackur mentioned the large presence of uranium in Venezuela, Chavez responded, that he is an ardent supporter of Nuclear Disarmament, and that the state of Venezuela is not interested of selling its uranium for enrichment that'll be used for weapons.

Rory Carroll from The Guardian quipped the 14-year-rule of the deceased Venezuelan leader as "the power from which Chavez derived his legitimacy is more of a hybrid...more of a democratically elected autocrat". When I heard this earlier while watching Inside Story in Al Jazeera, I thought of blogging about Chavez immediately, to express my sympathy towards the Venezuelans right now, and as a way for me to honor the leader who helped Venezuela a lot, despite all of the international pressures put upon his shoulders. 

In case you don't know yet, some members of the Bush administration supported the 2002 failed coup d'etat attempt against Chavez. Initially, Chavez was optimistic about Obama's entry into the presidency last 2009, but he eventually got disappointed for many reasons. Chavez and Obama tried with much effort to strengthen ties between their two countries, but as Iran and Venezuela became much closer, the latter's relationship with the US soured even further, enough for both of them to withdraw their ambassadors from each other's country.

Today, I saw in the news that the Venezuelan government decided that his body will be embalmed and will be available for public viewing in Caracas, the country's capital. He will surely be missed, not just by the ordinary Venezuelan, or by an Ivy-league left-wing student, even by me who loves seeing success stories of the poor being empowered and social-economic cohesion succeeding, but even by those who loathe him, how could they not? how could those diplomats, and others who disliked Chavez not miss him, when he was a fantastic thing to have in the international arena, he spiced things up, his comments, especially the outrageous and probably realistically-impossible ones will surely leave an empty hole in the hearts and minds of those who both revered and loathed him, the former for his charisma, star quality, his accomplishments, and the latter for his populism and downright rebelliousness fashioned in a way never failing to insult, provoke, and even humor diplomats and heads of states. I may not approve of all the things he has done during his time, and certainly some of the means by which he accomplished it, but leaving those negative things aside, I still find his accomplishments impressive.



Love you all my readers!!!

-Paul-

I am sorry for my absence, in my succeeding posts I will do my best to share to you my loyal readers from all corners of the world, what has happened to me, what I've experienced recently. I am sorry. 

As always, feel free to leave your comments and/or suggestions below. It's highly encouraged.