SocraticGadfly: Adios, Hugo Chavez

March 05, 2013

Adios, Hugo Chavez

Surprisingly, Alternet's report of the Venezuelan president/quasi-strongman's death wasn't too fawning.

The Wall Street Journal's news page actually plays it pretty straight.

Counterpunch has yet to weigh in. I'm curious what it will say. (That said, last December, after Chavez's re-election, it did have some errors; for one, Guyana and Costa Rica, one next door and one arguably in the same region, both have lower inequality, as measured by Gini, than Venezuela. Both countries did it without the blessing, or the curse, of oil.)

And, the WSJ is right on some things. Chavez failed to significantly cut crime, among other things.

How bad is it? Slate says that, on an average weekend, more people are killed in Caracas than in Baghdad and Kabul combined.

Of course, both it AND Alternet ignore that the CIA may have been involved with the coup attempt against him in 2002. That's why I'm wondering what Counterpunch will say.I'm also wondering, because the way some "professional leftists" fawned over Chavez  is a good example of why I call myself a skeptical left-liberal. (I add that the December Counterpunch ignored any human rights or censorship issues from Chavez.)

Think Progress gets it right. That includes noting, with a World Bank report, that the decline in inequality was reflected throughout Latin America. As TP notes, that doesn't offset Chavez' political bullying, anti-Semitism and more.

But, shock me that Sean Penn is already gushing.

And Jimmy Carter, who talks about being allowed to monitor Venezuela's elections in 1998. (Think Progress notes that Jefe Chavez hasn't allowed that since 2006. And Carter cuts off his eulogy at 2004. Slick bastard.)

There are two questions.

One is, is Chavez better than what Venezuela had before? A very arguable, but nowhere near slam dunk, yes.

The second is, is he as good as Venezuela reasonably could have had? A very arguable no.

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