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Old March 6 2013, 02:00 AM   #1
Candlelight
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Hugo Chavez has died

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/america...-cancer-battle

Hundreds of anguished Venezuelans have poured into the streets of downtown Caracas crying, hugging each other and shouting slogans in support of President Hugo Chavez after learning of his death.
Fifty-eight-year-old Chavez, the fiery populist who declared a socialist revolution in Venezuela, crusaded against US influence and championed a leftist revival across Latin America, had been ill for nearly two-years with cancer.
Clusters of women with tears streaming down their faces clung to each other and wept near the Miraflores presidential palace.

The news of his death was announced by the country's Vice President Nicolas Maduro on national television.
During more than 14 years in office, Chavez routinely challenged the status quo at home and internationally.
He polarized Venezuelans with his confrontational and domineering style, yet was also a masterful communicator and strategist who tapped into Venezuelan nationalism to win broad support, particularly among the poor.
Chavez repeatedly proved himself a political survivor.
As an army paratroop commander, he led a failed coup in 1992, then was pardoned and elected president in 1998.
He survived a coup against his own presidency in 2002 and won re-election two more times.
The burly president electrified crowds with his booming voice, often wearing the bright red of his United Socialist Party of Venezuela or the fatigues and red beret of his army days.
Before his struggle with cancer, he appeared on television almost daily, talking for hours at a time and often breaking into song of philosophical discourse.
The world needed more leaders who would often break into song during public addresses.
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Old March 6 2013, 10:30 AM   #2
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

Thanks for telling me. I almost missed the blanket news coverage
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Old March 6 2013, 11:30 PM   #3
Candlelight
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

Well I imagined many many Americans would be grieving over this...
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Old March 6 2013, 11:37 PM   #4
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

i'm not sure what to make of chavez. he seemed a bit eccentric but was no where near the levels of crazy dictators like the north korean guy.

looks like ken livingstone has lost a free holiday home.
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Old March 7 2013, 03:20 AM   #5
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

He died on the 60th anniversary of Stalin's death. If Castro kicks the bucket next year on March 5th, we might get a new unofficial holiday as a recurring Internet theme.
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Old March 7 2013, 04:30 AM   #6
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

gturner wrote: View Post
He died on the 60th anniversary of Stalin's death. If Castro kicks the bucket next year on March 5th, we might get a new unofficial holiday as a recurring Internet theme.
Trying to equate Chavez to Stalin is laughable at best.
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Old March 7 2013, 05:07 AM   #7
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

junxon wrote: View Post
i'm not sure what to make of chavez. he seemed a bit eccentric but was no where near the levels of crazy dictators like the north korean guy.
I would not call him a dictator. I think they had many elections in Venezuela during his ruling. If I am not mistaken, they had one in 2012 as well.

(Unless the "dictator" part only went to the Korean guy. )
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Old March 7 2013, 12:03 PM   #8
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

yeah i didn't mean to call chavez a dictator, just the korean guy.
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Old March 7 2013, 12:24 PM   #9
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

Naira wrote: View Post
junxon wrote: View Post
i'm not sure what to make of chavez. he seemed a bit eccentric but was no where near the levels of crazy dictators like the north korean guy.
I would not call him a dictator. I think they had many elections in Venezuela during his ruling. If I am not mistaken, they had one in 2012 as well.

(Unless the "dictator" part only went to the Korean guy. )
Nah he wasn’t a dictator, although I have concerns about any leader who pushed through changes to the law to ensure he could rule indefinitely, even if that rule came with democratic legitimacy, so I’d put him in a category with Putin in that respect.
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Old March 8 2013, 02:46 AM   #10
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

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Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
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Old March 9 2013, 03:07 PM   #11
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

Chavez played a role in Venezuelan society far close to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's, except without pussyfooting around with Jim Crow politicians and their lynch mob supporters. Or double dealing in world politics.

Now that he's gone, most likely the US will succeed in organizing a military coup. After Chavez' opponents succeed in regaining power, the mass of the population (which has seen poverty sharply reduced) will be put into its proper place. This will require murder, torture, and all manner of mere political corruption. But the return of these American spiritual values to foreigners who never harmed a citizen of this country will delight all right thinkers here.
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Old March 9 2013, 08:08 PM   #12
gturner
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

^Uh, the bad stuff you mention is what Chavez was doing. The Economist just ran an article on the horrible legacy of Chavez and whether Venezuela will recover easily or stay with the Chavistas and continue its downward spiral.

Latin America as a whole had finally moved away from its historical pattern of militaristic dictatorships and communist dabblings and switching to open democracy and free markets - except for Cuba and Venezuela. Venezuela was an odd case because it had been one of the countries that already was a non-militaristic open democracy with free markets. Chavez reversed that.

The only reason his economy wasn't a complete disaster is that through no act of his, oil prices happened to skyrocket around the time that he took power, giving him lots and lots of money to buy people off and to cover up his abysmal economic management (such as seizing productive enterprises and ruining them, or ordering food stores to sell their food below cost or face arrest).

Ironically he called it the Bolivarian revolution, but Bolivar was an Anglophile. Chavez said the real threat to Venezuela was the capitalists in the US and Columbia, all working for the evil Jews, and so Venezuela became a close ally of Iran. He said his followers must all be armed, so he bought AK-47's in bulk and spent 14 years causing trouble for his neighbors, persecuting his domestic enemies, destroying all but the oil sector of Venezuela's economy, and creating a flood of refugees. A more pathetic leader is hard to imagine.
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Old March 9 2013, 08:46 PM   #13
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

There were worse despots. Even Saddam served as a stabilizing influence.
Syria might wind up answering to someone even worse. Hard to say.
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Old March 9 2013, 10:25 PM   #14
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

The notion that alleviating poverty is an offense to democracy just shows how rotten the concept of democracy has become. The free market failed the people of Venezuela long before Chavez. But even if you wanted to consider Venezuela as an oil state, any honest effort to do so would contrast Venezuela to such wonderlands as Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Qatar, Bahrein, Brunei. Chavez was as a god among men compared to the scum (but beloved allies of the US each and every one) who rule those countries.

Hating a man for his virtues is pretty close to turning yourself into a cartoon villain. Who but Snidely Whiplash could whip himself into a froth over food subsidies when theire is widespread hunger and malnutrition?

However, Chavez did not fundamentally changes any of the state or social structure in Venezuela. All his good deeds are mere policies that will be reversed, for the pleasure and profit of the wealthy in Venezuela, and their foreign masters. In the end, his life was written in water.
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Old March 9 2013, 11:23 PM   #15
gturner
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Re: Hugo Chavez has died

stj, the hunger and malnutrition is worse now than it was when he took power. He foreclosed on the productive farms, then closed down mom and pop food stores because *gasp* they insisted on selling slightly above their own costs so they wouldn't go broke and starve.

Venezuela has some of the most productive farm regions on Earth. It's a growers paradise that exceeds anything in California's central valley. Under Chavez, like most socialist regimes, the people ended up standing in lines and food stores that didn't have any food.

Here's an example from two months ago.

Miriam Villae never knows what she'll find on the shelves of her grocery store in the Venezuela capital these days. Chances are it's not much.


As the oil-rich country grapples with the highest food shortage in four years, the 62-year-old grandmother and many others like her are being forced to make do without staples like flour and butter.

"Today I found corn meal and oil but there's no sugar," Villae told AFP as she slipped two packages of maize into her cart at a Caracas supermarket -- much to the delight of her young grandson.

"Wheat flour has long been missing," she added, noting that, day after day, she comes to "hunt" for chicken.

"Is there butter, is there butter?" asked another woman excitedly as both she and Villae gingerly tried to dodge the long lines of shoppers that formed as word spread about the delivery of oil, rice and the all important corn meal, used to make arepas and empanadas.
And of course the government blamed the usual suspects.

The government, which earlier this year launched a plan to prevent shortages and introduced price controls in 2003, blames the bare shelves on an increase in consumption -- along with hoarding by producers and speculators.
If they can't find food, and consumption has increased, what the heck were they eating before?! And of course hoarding by producers and speculators would explain why he allied with Iran, since starvation is always the Jews fault, even in countries that don't have any Jews. (Chavez often railed about the evil Jews.)

And if you suspect that Business Insider is run by Jews, try a similar article at the Huffington Post.

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelans have been coping with sporadic shortages of foods ranging from cooking oil to sugar, and lately a dearth of flour is preventing some bakeries from making bread.

Marco Freitas, a manager of a Caracas bakery, is selling mainly cold cuts and dry pasta now that his bread shelves are nearly empty. Freitas said he hasn't been able to get enough flour lately.
Or how about a New York Times article?

CARACAS, Venezuela — By 6:30 a.m., a full hour and a half before the store would open, about two dozen people were already in line. They waited patiently, not for the latest iPhone, but for something far more basic: groceries.

Venezuela is one of the world’s top oil producers at a time of soaring engery prices, yet shortages of staples like milk, meat and toilet paper are a chronic part of life here, often turning grocery shopping into a hit or miss proposition.

Some residents arrange their calendars around the once-a-week deliveries made to government-subsidized stores like this one, lining up before dawn to buy a single frozen chicken before the stock runs out. Or a couple of bags of flour. Or a bottle of cooking oil.

The shortages affect both the poor and the well-off, in surprising ways. A supermarket in the upscale La Castellana neighborhood recently had plenty of chicken and cheese — even quail eggs — but not a single roll of toilet paper. Only a few bags of coffee remained on a bottom shelf.

Asked where a shopper could get milk on a day when that, too, was out of stock, a manager said with sarcasm, “At Chávez’s house.”

Keep in mind that Venezuela used to be the regions bread basket and a major food exporter. Now it has to import coffee. Imagine that. It's like Kansas having to import wheat. The New York Times article goes on to have economists discuss the problems there.

Venezuela was long one of the most prosperous countries in the region, with sophisticated manufacturing, vibrant agriculture and strong businesses, making it hard for many residents to accept such widespread scarcities.

...

But many economists call it a classic case of a government causing a problem rather than solving it. Prices are set so low, they say, that companies and producers cannot make a profit. So farmers grow less food, manufacturers cut back production and retailers stock less inventory. Moreover, some of the shortages are in industries, like dairy and coffee, where the government has seized private companies and is now running them, saying it is in the national interest.
It always works out like that, whether in Soviet Russia, Eastern Europe, or Maoist China. They always blame everything from the potato harvest to capitalist speculators, and people stand in line at bakeries that don't have any
bread. Like those countries, Venezuelans can't even find any toilet paper and probably have to use Chavez party fliers, as was commonly done in Eastern Europe. Only under socialism could a banana republic actually run out of bananas.
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