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I thought Hugo Chavez was cool. What happened?

I've been reading about these hunger strikes in Venezuela and I'm not sure if it's propaganda or not.
According to the corporate media, there are 16 college students and professors on a two week hunger strike. They are claiming that Chavez is stifling their freedom of expression and that many others in the country are protesting about human rights abuses and such.

The information I read about Venezuela is seems so contradictory. Some sources claim that Venezuela is a progressive country and Chavez is simply trying to bring about positive change while others claim he's a dictator and is enforcing draconian law by taking over the media. My uncle spent time in Venezuela 10 years ago and he says that people there are dirt poor and generally don't trust Chavez yet there seems to be a fervor among many local activists that Chavez is misunderstood. My guess is that it's a little of both sides but opinions on Chavez seem totally polar.

Corporate Media says! haha ... hell you answered yourself! 11.Mar.2011 11:44

joe anybody iam@joe-anybody.com

F what the lieing corporate media sells you.
Number 1. The corporate media lies daily about US Imperialism.

The protest is an opposition ran "media charade".

Want more reliable info? Read:
"Venezuela Analysis"

Remember the Corporate Media lies and is like ingesting poison.


Lew Church, PSU Progressive Student Union lewchurch@gmail.com

At PSU, Progressive Student Union showed Revolution Will Not Be Televised to 200 students and community folk. It is an Irish documentary shot in 2002 when Bush, Tenant, Powell tried a coup against Chavez.

Global South/Third World leaders (not to mention Gore, Kerry, etc.) are wise to be cautious and/or paranoid about elections (or CIA and US foreign policy -- including efforts by NED (Nat'l Endowment for Democracy) or McCain's IRI (Int'l Republican Institute) claiming that Global South leaders/govts are "anti-democratic." With NED overseas and Citizens United here, the Election Industry is more about corporate power than people power, in many cases.

Term limits (outlawed by many US courts) work a lot like Citizens United: corporations have tons of money to spend on the election industry, and if there are no/few Leftist (or even some Demoratic Party) incumbents, it is far easier for Karl Rove and his right-wing 'nonprofit' cohorts to trash elected leaders that are progressive, or just defeat them.

Also, on socialism v. fascism: US corporate media loves to conflate these two, esp. citing the "National Socialist" part of Hitler's party name. Fascism is the opposite of socialism: that's why the int'l brigades and anarchists and socialists all fought together in the Spanish Civil War agaisnt Franco (who was supported by Hitler and Mussolini). The progressives then were supoprted primarily by Mexico and Russia -- FDR sat out the Spanish Civil War, along with England and France, by most accouns.

In terms of both Gaddafi and Akhamenajad (sp??) in Libya and Iran, they have been govts/leaders that have 'stood up to' and opposed much of US foreign policy. However, history is important: the right wing religious govt of Tehran got into power (over the socialist left in 1979 in Iran) after the CIA overthrew the nationalistic govt of Mossadegh in Tehran in 1953. (US also overthrew a nationalist leader in Guatemala in another coup that same year, both under Eisenhower).

OPEC countries will often work together in opposition to the main power bloc: Estados Unidos and US allies. Iran, Venezuela and Libya are oil-producing countries. Capitalism (globalization) is a lot closer to economic fascism than socialism is.

By claiming that RayGuns, for example, deserves to be the 5th head on Mt. Rushmore, right wing NGOs that have been naming things for RayGuns (National Airport in DC, for one!!!) -- use mainstream media to whitewash and 'dissappear' the whole notion that Reagan attacked thousands (hundreds of thousands??) of people in three wars in the 1980s in Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala (yet again), and Nicargua. In the case of El Salvador and Guatemala, the US backed right wing fascist governments, and in Nicaragua, the NED and other NGOS, along with Ollie North, Iran-Contra, etc. -- supported the right wing, fascist contras (going around Cooper-Church amendment) against the Sandinistas, who were socialist Left -- after they overthrew the US-supported dictator, Somoza (for many generations of Somozas, in fact).

The U.S. is not always on the side of right wing governments or movements, but since WWII (as noted by Howard Zinn, Chomsky, Medea Benjamin, et al.) -- it tends to be, despite all the rhetoric by mainstream media about democracy and freedom. And, if the US supports fascist governments (Mubarek in Egypt got $1 billion a year for 30 years??) -- does that make the US more fascist than democratic, per se???

In Venezuela, overall, Chavez seems to be both popular and progressive - despite US corporations like McDonalds and Coke (against whom there is a boycott) spending money in the Venezuelan elections to defeat Chavez, etc.

Iran and Libya, on the other hand, seem to be dictatorships at this point. More info/research would be useful on all three countries now vis-a-vis: the percentage of people in these three countries (all 'hated' by the Right in the U.S.) regarding --

gap between rich and poor people
unemployment rates
poverty rates
hunger rates

As oil-producing countries, all three of these countries may have resources to maintain economic equity, but it appears that Chavez is doing that and that Iran and Libya are not (are doing less so, in terms of 'socialist' or 'safety net' indicators like: housing, jobs, education, health care, transit, etc.).

Much of the revolts from Tunisia to Egypt to Bahrain and the rest of the middle east are about economic injustice: no jobs, even for college grads (how the Tunisian revolution started with a suicide protest by a college grad).


PO Box 40011, Portland, Oregon 97240

Can We Swap Obama for Chavez? 11.Mar.2011 15:28

By Mike Whitney (reposted by anon)

Feburary 08, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- --- On Monday, while Barack Obama was hob-nobbing with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hugo Chavez was busy handing out laptop computers to second graders at a school in Caracas. After that, the Venezuelan president rushed off to a food distribution plant which is providing $110 million in prepared meals for Venezuela's poor. Finally, he ended his afternoon by making an appearance at one of the many construction sites where new homes are being built for the victims of January's massive floods. It's all in day's work for Hugo Chavez.

While Obama has turned out to be the most disappointing president in the last century, Chavez continues to impress with his resolve to improve the lives of ordinary working people. For example, in just 12 years, Chavez has created a thriving national public health care system with 533 diagnostic centers and medical facilities spread throughout the capital. Health care is free and there have been over over 55 million medical consultations since Chavez launched the Misión Barrio Adentro program. Compare that to Obama's wretched cash-giveaway to the giant US HMO's which he has tried to promote as universal health care. What a joke.

Chavez has also led the way to greater political engagement and activism by establishing over 30,000 communal councils and 236 communes, all focused on entering more people into the political process and empowering them to bring about change. In the US, grassroots organizations are routinely shrugged off by party leaders who take their marching orders from deep-pocket elites who control both parties. For his part, Obama is less interested in what his supporters want than even his predecessor George W. Bush.

And what has Chavez done to loosen the stranglehold that corporations have on media? Here's what Gregory Wilpert says in his article titled "An Assessment of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution at Twelve Years":

"With regard to the media, ordinary Venezuelans now participate in the creation of hundreds of new and independent community radio and television stations across the country. Previous governments persecuted community media, but state institutions now actively support them - not with ongoing financing, but with training and start-up equipment.

The combination of greater inclusion and greater participation has led to a greater acceptance of Venezuela's democratic political system, according to the annual Latinobarometro opinion polls, which allow for comparisons with other democracies in Latin America. That is, more Venezuelans believe in democracy than citizens of any other country in Latin America. Eighty-four percent of Venezuelans say, "democracy is preferable to any other system of government." ("An Assessment of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution at Twelve Years", Gregory Wilpert, Venezuelanalysis.com)

Last week, Chavez joined the battle against Coca-Cola by attending a rally of striking workers in the city of Valencia, home to the main Coca-Cola bottling plant in Venezuela. Chavez blasted Coke saying that if they didn't want to follow "the constitution and the laws" then Venezuela could "live without Coca-Cola".

Right on, Hugo! Tell Coke to pack sand!

The 1,3000 striking workers are only asking for a meager raise to meet their growing expenses, but of course that cuts into corporate profits, so Coke is fighting their demands tooth-and-nail.

Try to imagine a scenario in which "business-friendly" Obama would do-battle with a major corporation?

Last week, Chavez announced that his government would spend another $700 million to fight homelessness and build another 40,000 houses. The president has stepped up his efforts since floods ravaged the country earlier in the year leaving tens of thousands without shelter. Chavez is determined not to make the same mistakes George Bush following Katrina, when disaster victims were left to fend for themselves forcing a third of the New Orleans population to flee to other parts of the country to find refuge.

And what effect has Chavez had on the Venezuelan economy? Here's Wilpert again:

"Just as the Chavez government has democratized Venezuela's political system over the past 12 years; it has done the same with its economic system, both on a macro-economic level and on a micro-economic level.

On a macro-economic level this has been achieved by increasing state control over the economy and by dismantling neo-liberalism in Venezuela. The Chavez government has regained state control over the previously quasi-independent national oil industry. The government nationalized private sub-contractors of the oil industry and incorporated them into the state oil company, giving workers full benefits and better pay. It also partially nationalized transnational oil company operations so that they control no more than 40% of any given oil production site. Then, the government eliminated the practice of "service agreements," whereby transnational oil companies enjoyed lucrative concessions for oil production. Perhaps most importantly, the government increased royalties from oil production from as low as 1% to a minimum of 33%.

In the non-oil sector the government nationalized key (previously privatized) industries, such as: steel production (Sidor), telecommunications (Cantv), electricity distribution (production was already in state hands), cement production (Cemex), banking (Banco de Venezuela), and food distribution (Éxito)." ("An Assessment of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution at Twelve Years", Gregory Wilpert, Venezuelanalysis.com)

So, are people better off with the telecommunications and electric companies privately owned by cutthroats like Enron (and the other Wall Street pirates) or should they be turned into public utilities?

How about oil? Are BP and Exxon better suited for the task than the public sector?

What about banking: Would you feel safer with Uncle Sam or Goldman Sachs?

Chavez has slashed the poverty rate in half, lowered unemployment from 15% in 1999 to 7% today, and shrunk inequality to the lowest level in Latin America. In Venezuela people are getting healthier and living longer. They're better paid and more politically engaged. "84% of Venezuelans say that they are satisfied with life, which is the second highest level in Latin America." And, guess what, Chavez is strengthening social security and retirement programs, not trying to destroy them by handing them over to Wall Street in the form of private accounts.

And, Chavez's generosity has not been limited to Venezuela either. In fact, he was the first world leader to offer medical and food aid to Katrina victims. And, he still provides free heating fuel to poor people in the northeast United States. Venezuela-owned Citgo joined with Citizens Energy "to provide hundreds of thousands of gallons of free and low-cost heating oil to needy American families and homeless shelters across the US." According to Citizens Energy President Joseph P. Kennedy, "Every year, we ask major oil companies and oil-producing nations to help our senior citizens and the poor make it through winter, and only one company, CITGO, and one country, Venezuela, has responded to our appeals."

That's right; no other oil company has given even one stinking dime to the charity. Chavez has provided over over 170 million gallons of heating oil since 2005.

In contrast, Barack Obama has done nothing for the poor, the homeless, ordinary workers, or the middle class. Zilch. He's been a dead-loss for everyone except the richest of the rich. Maybe we should swap him for Chavez?

It's worth a try.


indy 11.Mar.2011 21:38


Your guess is wrong. It's the wealthy industrialists who do not like Chavez. Because wealthy industrialists (there and here) control the media, there is an ongoing campaign to discredit him, tarnish his works, and corrode support for him around the world. Many leftists, progressives, anti-capitalists etc have been swayed by the media attacks and are either outright hostile or ambivalent. I suggest you NOT read the corporate media if you want to have a chance at a clear head.

The Media pre Chavez (1992) 12.Mar.2011 20:20

Joe Anybody


regarding the TV (?)censored in Venezuela ... watch this