Is the contention by you guys that Chavez said nothing resembling what was reported in the article? That the quotes are fabricated? That Chavez didn’t denounce Britain’s “illegal occupation” of the Falklands?
Or merely that regardless of Chavez’s bluster, Venezuela poses no serious military threat to the US and the UK?
What is the connection to the propaganda buildup to the Iraq war? None as far as I can see. The propaganda buildup is on Chavez’s side, and it’s clearly for internal Venezuelan consumption rather than aimed at the UK or the US.
Well, casdave, I can’t blame you for wanting to change the subject, given the embarassing prospect of renewed British jingoism over the Falklands. It’s understandable that you’re reluctant to explain how a British newspaper’s story about Chavez’s Falklands threats can possibly represent “scaremongering to make Chavez appear to be a bogeyman to US citizens” (who barely know where the Falkland Islands are, much less care what happens to them) - so let’s indeed discuss Chavez’s wonderful record in office.
*"Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) – Hugo Chavez’s economy is starting to unravel in the currency market.
While Venezuela earns record proceeds from oil exports, consumers face shortages of meat, flour and cooking oil. Annual inflation has risen to 16 percent, the highest in Latin America, as President Chavez tripled government spending in four years. Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips are pulling out after Chavez demanded they cede control of joint venture projects.
The currency, the bolivar, has tumbled 28 percent this year to 4,750 per dollar on the black market, the only place it trades freely because of government controls on foreign exchange. That’s less than half the official rate of 2,150 set in 2005. Chavez may have to devalue the bolivar to reduce the gap and increase oil proceeds that make up half the state’s revenue.
This has been the worst managed oil boom in Venezuela's history,'' said Ricardo Hausmann, a former government planning minister who now teaches economics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts...Chavez, who is seeking to end presidential term limits, has taken $17 billion of foreign reserves from the central bank and expropriated dozens of farms that he deemed underutilized...Contreras called the government-set prices on many products fantasy prices’’ that are below production costs. Items including milk, chicken, coffee and flour have disappeared from store shelves in Caracas at times this year because companies refused to sell at a loss…`For the macroeconomic house of cards not to come crashing down, the price of oil has to go up at double digit growth rates,’’ Hausmann said. ``If oil stays at $70, they’re going to hit the wall.’’*
Having your economy going into the toilet in the midst of what should be an oil boom might just be termed gross inadequacy on the part of the Chavez regime.
Oh, and as to injustice (from the same article): “Chavez terminated the broadcast license of the country’s most-watched television network in May, sparking weeks of student protests.”
Did anyone say things were worse in Venezuela than in any other South American country? (Though it’s hard to think of any with Venezuela’s natural resources that have mishandled things so badly in such a short time). Growing pains, I suppose. :dubious:
Something that US news sources conveniently omit is that María Corina Machado was a direct supporter of the coup against Chávez in 2002. Later she was invited to the White House. How can Americans keep a straight face when accusing others of being anti-democratic?
That network also openly supported the 2002 coup while it was going on. If any TV station in the U.S. supported a coup against the government, while it was going on, it would not only lose its license, but everybody responsible would certainly and justly be charged with treason.
“Direct supporter”? Her main “crime” seems to be that she’s involved with an opposition group that legally pushed for a recall of Chavez in '04, and that the group accepted support from a pro-democracy organization funded by the U.S. Congress.
"Between 27 February and 4 March 2004 political violence erupted once again in Venezuela. Street protests and demonstrations by supporters of the opposition movement led to repeated violent confrontations with police and security forces in different parts of the country. There were also demonstrations by government supporters. According to information received by Amnesty International, in the context of the disturbances, as many as 14 people were killed in circumstances that have yet to be clarified and over 200 people were injured, with credible reports of excessive use of force by the security forces. There were also more than 500 detentions and a number of reports of ill-treatment and torture…Amnesty International believes that the Venezuela government had a clear duty to guarantee public order in the face of frequently violent protests - which included the use of firearms by some protestors. However, there is strong evidence that the use of rubber bullets, tear gas and batons was frequently indiscriminate and disproportionate and significantly contributed to a week of spiralling violence rather than preventing it.
Furthermore, the cases included in this report indicate that several of those detained were not only not involved in criminal acts prior to detention, but then faced ill-treatment and torture while in the custody of the security forces. Reports received also indicate that subsequent investigations undertaken by the Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales y Criminalísticas (CICPC)(1), Technical Police, Fiscalía General de la Nación , Attorney General’s Office, and Defensoría del Pueblo, Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office, to establish the facts around these alleged abuses and prosecute those responsible have been slow and inadequate. In comparison, these same authorities have acted with energy against opposition activists who allegedly participated in or incited violence. Over recent years, these institutions have failed to fulfil their constitutional role to act with equal impartiality against government supporters and opponents accused of committing crimes related to the ongoing political crisis. This lack of impartiality, combined with long standing structural weaknesses of these key institutions, threatens to strengthen the culture of impunity that has accompanied human rights abuses over many years in Venezuela."
I dunno, how can people be eager to cite the U.S. for human rights violations while ignoring violations in other countries?
She was a signee of a decree at the swearing in of Pedro Carmona, the man who illegally took over the presidency in 2002 for 48 hours before Chavez was rightfully returned to power. In your country if Bush was ousted by a coup for 48 hours and say this Sheehan woman was present when they swore in President Edwards and she signed a decree issued by the illegal president she would be allowed to walk free?
And after paying no consequences for backing the leader of the coup she forms an anti-Bush organization disguised as a pro democracy group financed by Hugo Chávez and she still wouldn’t suffer any consequences? If you can answer yes then you are not being honest.
One point - the Argentinians do have some justice to their claim for the Malvinas. IIRC they’d had a small outpost on the islands when the USS Lexington came through in the 1831 and destroyed the Argentinian settlement there. The Brits claimed the islands two years later.
While I think that Argentina is complaining about some very, very cold pudding, it’s no more a ridiculous claim than the Spanish claim to Gibraltar is. Just one that, given the English identidy of the people living in the disputed territories, is trumped by the rights of the residents for self-determination.
Chavez it´s worse than your usual South American caudillo, he is a mesianic caudillo; he wants to go down history (and in in his life time if possible) as the new Simon Bolivar, freeing the unwashed masses of the opression of the imperialistic yadda-yadda… you know the standard revolutionary speech.
I wouldn´t put it past him to do something as monumentally stupid as this, I doubt any other countries would follow though… for now. But don´t understimate the power of indoctrination for political expediency, Argentina is going that way at a merry pace, rising a generation of nationalistic zealots.
George Washington is worse than your usual rebel leader, he is a mesianic revolutionary; he wants to go down history (and in in his life time if possible) as the new champion of ‘democracy’, freeing the unwashed masses of the opression of the imperialistic yadda-yadda… you know the standard revolutionary speech.
Britian had a settlement on the islands prior to this, Port Egmont in 1776
The treaty in which Britain relinquished its rights to the settlement, the Treaty of Nootka, had the following escape clause: “it is agreed and declared by the present article that this stipulation shall remain in force only so long as no establishment shall have been formed by the subjects of any other power on the coasts in question”
So, when Argentina asserted its claim to the Falklands, the treaty no longer became binding, allowing Britain to reassert its claim.
So, you’ve got a small set of islands which have swapped ownership a number of times for 50 years, and then been inhabited for 170 years by people who want to remain British. There’s many people I’m sure with a better grasp on this one than me, but as far as I can see from your cite Argentina’s claim seems to be “It used to be spanish, and it’s nearer to us than Britain”
Right alongside Mugabe, Arap Moi, Galtieri and every other money grubbing, power mad third world jackass who has ever taken advantage of their population’s right to a fair, just and prosperous society. The difference with Bush? Context only, if Bush were president of Venezuela I am betting he would look a lot like Chavez.
Chavez is just another demagogue who is going to run his country into the ground just like Mugabe. And just like Mugabe he will increasingly blame the former colonial powers for the results of his kleptocracy, anti democratic policies and gross economic mismanagement.
He is right in one respect of course, the US and UK order the world to their liking having adapted the British Empire’s method of using corporations to do the dirty work backed by State power, we just do it more subtly now. Bush being a notable exception, not being capable of subtlety. Of course, given that most populations are ridiculously stupid and that their only real care is cheap consumer goods and a decent sized discretionary income, Bush, Chavez, and Co. are not required to be particularly subtle.
I am a liberal libertarian, but after my trip to Cameroon in January of 2005 my ideas about how to lift the third world out of poverty have radically changed.
One just cannot grasp the depth and breadth of corruption by western standards until one travels there. The poverty makes EVERYONE into completely corrupt thieves.
My knew solution for the third world? Draw the curtains and let them go through the centuries of blood shed, warfare, poverty and epidemics that Europe and the USA required to settle things down. Venezuela, you are next.
Certainly stop sending them money of any kind. They have to die and kill in wholesale lots, that is just the way it is. We are certainly not going to graft any version of western civilization on them. And lets face it, Rwanda, the Congo, Darfur/Sudan, Ethiopia/Somalia, Yugoslavia. What the hell have we achieved for all our billions. Our efforts are always after the fact, and the cost of our help comes with our own corrupt strings attached. What is more, most of our aid ends up in the pockets of the kleptocracy. Or, like the Bush AIDS initiative, which required that 2/3 of the 15 billion pledged be spent on abstinence programs, our aid is so tied up with conditions designed to satisfy western “needs” that what little does trickle down is largely useless.
For instance to send aid to the now starving people of Zimbabwe agencies must purchase the local currency through the central bank at the official exchange rate, which is less than one tenth of that on the black market. The result, the central bank effectively pockets over ninety percent of any aid sent to Zimbabwe, and before a single bribe has been paid to get food or medicine to those who need it.
As soon as the oil price drops and president for life Chavez has had twenty years to screw things up Venezuela will be in exactly the same place Zimbabwe is in now.
Of course if America, Britain, et al were not such unprincipled assholes with respect to foreign policy shitheads like Chavez and Mugabe would never stand a chance of getting elected in the first place, or prove so popular for taking anti western stances with their populations. An easy way to stir up the locals and gain popularity and at the same time shift blame to foreigners.
Herman Goering said it best: Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
Obviously George Bush does read something, and likely the same things Chavez does.
Well, the seven years of occupation by Argentina from 1826-1833 complicates things, too.
Again, I’m not claiming that Argentina should be given the islands. I agree that the demonstrated desire for the Falklanders to remain British trumps other arguments. I just meant to point out that Argentinian claims have some historical basis.
True - bizarrely for such a small group of rocks, it appears that everyone’s been there and raised a flag at some point.
Now there’s a plot for a future episode of Doctor Who - creatures from [insert realm with suspicious lack of vowels here] return to claim their sovereignty of the Falklands, or [abundance of consonants here] as they call it, as they had a refuelling stop there sometime in the mesozoic era.
Given the posts by others here, it is pretty plain that opinions on Chavez may have some sort of consensus, but by no means a solid and universal consensus.
All I can determine from what has been presented here by those I challenged, is that some of their main points have been completely rebutted, and that Chavez is a populist, no matter what the cost.
In another time or place, he does not look a great deal differant to Bush.
The US has done its dirty deeds plenty, toppled elected governments with installed dictatorships and is currently attempting something similar, with appalling results from the local populations.
Its just a matter of scope, the US has the means to cause more harm to more people, just as long as it can delude its own voters.
When the US behaves badly, far more people get harmed, but then its called something like a depression, or ‘market forces’ or globalisation.
Maybe if Chavez had access to the means the US has at its disposal, he would be far worse than Bush, but, and this really is saying something, I seriously doubt he has the intellect.
At any rate, seems to me that the case against Chavez should be very easy to prove for such an allegedly despicable person, but all we have is very bad economic management, but in a way that actually has the support of his people.
I have not seen anything here to state that he is absolutist, or that he incarcerates the innocent, has death squads, or many of the other appuratus of state oppression, you know, like centres used to torture people who have been abducted.
If you can find some real evidence of this, fine.
As for Americans not knowing anything about the Falklands, all I can say is that the story is not about the Falklands at all, this is a story designed to smear Chavez, and if the Falklands is the only issue that can be raised in order to do this, it just show how short of material the media propagandists actually are - that or its a very slow news day.
Looks like one American is trying to fulfil some of the stereotypes that some (ignorant) Euros have of the education standards in the US by holding that the story is, in fact, about the Falklands. Someone needs to read a few more subtle books, try some Jane Austen or a Bronte or two.