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Venezuela; Autocracy, Democracy, or Socialist Dream?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by DrunkCajun, May 17, 2005.

  1. DrunkCajun

    DrunkCajun Banned

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    Venezuela; Autocracy, Democracy, or Socialist Dream?

    Well, since I got tired of beating the dead horse about smoking being good for us all, I thought I'd whack a new hornet's nest.

    From this week's Economist--and if you don't plan to read it, please don't bother marching in here and spouting off, it's counterproductive to an intelligent and informed debate.

     
  2. DaviddeJong

    DaviddeJong IncGamers Member

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    It sounds like autocracy to me. Trying to put his military-friends in high government functions and all.

    Appropriating firms and replacing their power-structure can’t be a sound economic policy for long; as the oil production figures have shown. Just too bad he was elected! Once the people notice the weakening of the Venezuelan economy the opposition might become more influential. Let’s hope that’ll happen before they’re all “labelled an enemy of the state†and arrested (or worse)!

    As goes for most political hassle in that region; the people will suffer because of the power-trip of one man…..

    David.
     
  3. DrunkCajun

    DrunkCajun Banned

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    Sadly, I think that's hopelessly optimistic. Chavez is your textbook populist caudillo (strongman) figure, and will not be easily removed from his position of power. He already is controlling the media and is now spreading his influence through a regional (ie, Latin American) news network with a decidedly pro-Chavez slant, painting it as a Latin American alternative to the international news media. Considering the leftist and almost undeniably anti-development position the leaderships in Argentina, Brazil, and some leaders in Chile have all taken, it seems like rather than becoming an outlier in Latin American politics as he has typically been, Chavez is in fact becoming more accepted.

    Since the US has neglected the entire region for so long and treats it as the unwanted stepchild, I find it unlikely that the democratic revolutions that were so exciting in places like Argentina in the 1980s will last much longer in their present forms, and in part because Chavez is doing such a good job of exercising his regional influence without facing any opposition.

    I'm not saying that it's going to slide back into the military-style regimes of the 1970s, but I do think that Chavez's brand of government, a pseudo-autocratic farce of a democracy will become typical to the region, and so long as the appearances are kept up with elections, free and fair or not, the United States won't be terribly concerned by it.

    A shame, really. There is truly a lot of potential for the region that is being squandered by irresponsible and frankly piss-poor governing.
     
  4. DaviddeJong

    DaviddeJong IncGamers Member

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    Sure it's hopefull and I don't know if I believe he'll be gone in a decade. I don't know how strong his power-base has become. It's seems like he could do quite well with a 100,000 Kalashnikovs!

    It is probably getting more "popular" among autocrats to try getting "democratically" elected; it helps keeping foreign intervention at bay!

    Too bad for the region though; they haven't been adequately governed since the Inca's! (Were they there in Venuzuela? Probably more like Columbia, I don't know?!?!)

    David.
     
  5. AeroJonesy

    AeroJonesy IncGamers Member

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    Thanks, DC. This article will be great for my paper. Can it be obtained freely anywhere?

    I've always had the impression that Chavez will do whatever he wants with no one able to stop him. I can't believe how much the Bolivar has devalued. It was 550 B's to a dollar when I lived there, and that was about 5 years ago, and it had been pretty constant. Since Chavez took effect, it's really plummeted.

    I don't doubt that he wants to help people, I honestly think he feels he's doing the right thing. But he's really shooting Venezuela in the foot by creating unstability in the higher classes. I have a feeling (a.k.a no numbers) that it's killing foreign investment in the region. He's also threatening the US oil companies by cutting their tax breaks, and making them pay back taxes on all the breaks they used to have.
     
  6. DrunkCajun

    DrunkCajun Banned

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    No, I subscribe to the Economist and copied it from the online section I have access to with my subscription. There's also a one-page editorial in there--I'm sure your local library has it or campus bookstore is selling it, it's the May 14-20 issue.

    Let me know if you can't find it and I'll find a way to get the articles to you.
     
  7. jmervyn

    jmervyn IncGamers Member

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    You can find plenty more anti-Chavez grist on Frontpage, like http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=17213
    certainly not as legit as The Economist, but a lot of additional details.

    I suppose that Chavez can do what he wants with his nation; it isn't like we're in a position to do the things he claims we want to do to him. But it will be sad to see him take one of the hemisphere's OPEC members and turn it into another Cuba. I wonder how long it will take socialist bureaucracy to cripple his economy. The USSR has vast natural wealth, yet look how badly they managed due to centralized management.
     
  8. DrunkCajun

    DrunkCajun Banned

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    Not very long if you look at his spending habits.

    Long enough to stay in power, but it leaves him very exposed.

    Moreover, demanding a 16% tariff from foreign oil companies, as well as requiring a 51% share for PDVSA isn't going to keep companies happy for long. They might put up with it at the moment, but they're one straw away from breaking, and I can tell you that they're looking for an excuse to leave. And the day foreign oil investors leave is the day that Chavez suddenly finds himself in a lot of trouble.
     

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