El_MUERkO wrote:Here's a decent overview: http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/03/05/venezuela-chavez-s-authoritarian-legacy
Hugo Chavez dies • Page 2
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I never said they weren't, though I'm dubious that they have an awful lot of control over judiciary.
In fact I'm not sure that they have a history of throwing political opponents in prison either, they have a pretty firmly established 2-party system and a built-in restriction on presidential terms.
Edited by darkmorgado at 10:44:28 06-03-2013
Worth pointing out that the electoral observers said the elections were held fairly, without intimidation or cheating. I think it's a mistake to suggest he didn't try to improve the lives of the majority of people in Venezuela, but he certainly pursued that end in a very confrontational manner. Would their economy would have been better or worse had he acted differently? Unknowable.
He was controlling the flow of electoral information to the public though, through his restrictions on the free press and closing down critical news outlets. Combined with his control of the judicial process and repression of outspoken government critics, that's not exactly what I'd consider a fair environment for a balanced exchange of political views in the public domain.
Not cheating? Quite possibly (at least in terms of amending/discounting ballots). But most certainly gerrymandered.
There's also the small niggle of his loving endorsement of the regimes in North Korea and Syria.
He certainly did a lot to increase education and housing though.
Certainly not a total villain or a total saint, but on balance the good he did came at a rather large cost.
Edited by darkmorgado at 11:17:36 06-03-2013
After a number of private media outlets backed a military coup in 2002, only one of them was refused a renewal on their broadcasting license. There's plenty of anti-Chavez media in Venezuela. UN observers stated that the elections weren't gerrymandered.
Against this, extreme poverty dropped from nearly a quarter when he was elected in 1998 to 8.6 per cent; unemployment halved; and GDP per capita more than doubled.
I'm not saying he was in any way perfect. His support for North Korea and Syria, the rise in violent crime in Venezuela and judicial corruption are real problems. But then again we support Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, so it's not like backing repressive regimes is peculiar to him. Violence in Venezuela may be up but they have more guns than people and there are armed conflicts in adjacent countries.
There's no formula for weighing up the good and the bad, but given everything I can understand if people judge him as having been, on the whole, a good thing.
The meat of the restrictions on free press came later
In 2007, in an act of blatant political discrimination, his government prevented the country’s oldest private television channel, RCTV, from renewing its license and seized its broadcasting antennas. Three years later, it drove RCTV off cable TV as well by forcing the country’s cable providers to stop transmitting its programs.(I'm aware of the controversies about HRW btw, they were just the easiest link I could think of in terms of collating various bits and bobs about his rule)
The removal of RCTV left only one major channel, Globovisión, that continued to be critical of the president. The Chávez government repeatedly pursued administrative sanctions against Globovisión, which have kept the station in perpetual risk of suspension or closure. It also pressed criminal charges against the station’s president, a principal owner, and a guest commentator after they made public statements criticizing the government.
The sanctioning and censorship of the private media under Chávez have had a powerful impact on broadcasters and journalists. While sharp criticism of the government is still common in the print media, on Globovisión, and in some other outlets, the fear of government reprisals has made self-censorship a serious problem.
anthonypappa wrote:I'm not sure you're qualified to talk about anything that doesn't involve tits, and even then it's iffy.
darkmorgado wrote:this isn't restricted to so called dictators...
anthonypappa wrote:After rigging the system and throwing political opponents in prison, and restricting the press' ability to publish critical stories and effectively taking state control of the judiciary, preventing them from overseeing politically sensitive cases.
he was fairly elected for 14 years or something, wasn't he? can't be that bad.
what happens next could be interesting though. chances of riots?
in fact, i'm sure the US are guilty of all of that.
President_Weasel 11,393 posts
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Turns out that, like many things, it's hard to reduce Chavez to a simple one-line-in-a-forum-post explanation.
He helped the poor and resisted American imperialism in the region, and held elections that were remarkably free (consistently getting high marks from Democracy Metacritic). On the other hand, he used government power to intimidate critics of the regime and had massive control over the media which he used as a bully pulpit.
Right wing regimes in South and Central America tend to sink into corruption and cronyism, and it turns out his Bolivarian Socialist regime has also fallen prey to corruption and cronyism, with business interests close to the regime making vast amounts of money.
His regime has also managed to fuck the economy into a cocked hat, with local agriculture and industry producing much less than when he took power - but the docks are stuffed with imports because the country's awash with oil.
The country has taken almost a trillion dollars in oil income while his regime was in power, yet the infrastructure is crumbling and the refineries are knackered and a bit explodey, and the hospitals are pretty scary (although still better than "fuck you, peasant, no health care for you")
Also, is it really that great to be resisting American power while you're at least part of the way into China's pocket?
Just because George Galloway approves of you it doesn't necessarily mean you're a complete loss - even a stopped clock is right twice a day - but it does imply you're probably a bit of an arsehole.
Edited by President_Weasel at 13:21:51 06-03-2013
Sid-Nice 15,848 posts
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RIP, I just wish the hoodie wearing Chavez would die where I live.
Very well said
Overall, not a bad performance - apart from the murder rate. Pity about the misspelling of Venezuela.
Edited by EndlessSolitude at 19:03:54 06-03-2013
Dangerous_Dan 2,390 posts
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Hm, the crude oil price in 1999 was on average about 15$ per barrel. In 2011 around 105$ per barrel. That's about 7 times as much. In total an increase from $14.4bn to $60bn which is a bit more than 4 times as much. So actually the amount of oil being exported shrunk quite a lot. Probably they are now using more oil at home but still not a real growth in that very key sector in Venezuela I guess.
The currency devaluation is also quite a bit alarming, from about 0.6 to 4, let's say a factor of 6 (and that is being generous). No wonder the GDP per capita went up quite a bit (in US $). Basically confiscate the money from the people who own it and redistribute it again.
All in all I'd say it shows a picture where the wealth was massively redistributed from the capital owners to the poor - good for them now but nothing is for free in the long run.
Edited by Dangerous_Dan at 21:11:57 06-03-2013
mothercruncher 11,696 posts
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Commander Keen wrote:Give someone A. a special hat, or B. a fancy title and, usually, they'll end up a cunt. Dictators, Catholic priests, Justin from cbeebies...
This may not be the occasion to say this, but as a politician, I could never shake the feeling that he was a bit of a cunt.