Everybody loves Hugo Chavez it seems. Most of the Left seems to have a glow about them after consummating the relationship with the Venezuelan President. Why not? Live leftist heroes seem to be in short supply these days. Nelson Mandela is still around, but he’s old and South Africa seems to be following in the hoary footsteps of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.
Sean Penn, the Oscar-winning actor, is like a blushing virgin bride around Chavez. Of course, he might not count as few people take celebrities all that seriously except for their entertainment value.
But–Allahu Akbar!–Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran & Hugo Chavez seem to slobber all over each other at every opportunity. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were a gay old couple.
It’s not just the Left. Michael Collins Piper, in his book THE JUDAS GOATS, has some nice things to say. Piper’s book is a decent expose of how the Neocons have turned the American conservative movement into its opposite. But he goes far afield when cites Chavez as a Nationalist standing up to the New World Order.
But it’s not unanimous. Maria Conchita Alonzo, the beautiful Latina actress & singer tore Sean Penn a new asshole for his relationship with Chavez. Miss Alonzo, now a U.S. citizen, was born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela. She points out that beneath the leftist wet dream, Chavez’s Venezuela is shaping up as a disaster. Inflation and a high crime rate are just part of it.
A dissent from the Left comes from the International Marxist Tendency, a Trotskyist group inspired by the late Ted Grant. (He led the Militant Tendency in the UK.) They point to Chavez’s anti-labor record which resembles that of old-fashioned moss back Republicans back in the USA.
I noticed something amiss at the git-go. Chavez proclaimed his goal as ‘socialism’ on the Cuban model. One problem. He was powerful enough to fight off any coup attempts but not powerful enough to impose his vision. The result has been a capital strike. Venezuelans with money are sitting on it or trying to get it out of the country. This has made Venezuela even more dependent on oil. This has impeded efforts to diversify the economy or even to help the poor in more than show boat projects. And did I mention the unionized oil field workers hate his guts.
Taking a leaf from Robert Mugabe, Chavez has tried to fight the high inflation rate by imposing price controls on farmers. But this has resulted in the beginnings of food shortages in an agriculturally rich country. Then he added small & medium business to his enemies list by attempting price controls on the retail sector. And, yes, you guessed it; there are now shortages of basic consumer products.
And did I mention the high crime rate? It’s the worst this side of Mexico, a near Narco-state.
So maybe not everyone loves Hugo after all.
The most successful economies in the world right now are the so-called Asian Tigers like Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and now India, (China is a special case). They’ve based themselves not on the Cuban model, nor the Anglo-Saxon model of USA/UK but on the Third Position economics of Friedrich List. The proof is in the pudding.