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Author Topic: Venezuelan Presidential Election 2012  (Read 6687 times)
Scottish Robb Stark
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« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2012, 11:11:03 pm »
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Oh Gosh, it's in only 6 days? Well, crossing fingers for Radonski. He might not be perfect, but at least he's not a megalomaniac populist clown with authoritarian tendencies.
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22:15   ComradeSibboleth   this is all extremely terrible and in all respects absolutely fycking dire.

"A reformist is someone who realizes that, when you bang your head on a wall, it's the head that breaks rather than the wall."

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« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2012, 11:23:24 pm »
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I don't see how anyone who calls him/herself left-wing can support reactionary, neoliberal forces who want to re-centralize control of the country with the wealthy elite and foreign corporations instead of Chavez. Yeah, he's not perfect on civil liberties and human rights, but he's hardly the first and he won't be the last Latin American president who isn't. You need to remember that the people that are working against him have been trying to delegitimize him and his supporters since he first came to power, up to and including literally overthrowing him in a military coup at one point. It's not like he's some murderous dictator; at worst there's a small amount of election fraud (but he still has the support of the majority of the Venezuelan people) and some press restrictions (on, let's remember, a faction that led an armed military coup against him after he was twice democratically elected by a wide margin).

If the neoliberal opposition ever came to power, there is absolutely no question that they would be just as bad or worse when it comes to using the government to silence and oppress Chavez and his supporters. Their history of opposition to him proves as much. Their first two attempts to remove him from power were anti-democratic and done outside legitimate means. First there was the 2002 military coup, which resulted in the forces that took over abolishing the constitution and immediately adopting totalitarian control of the country, leading to massive protests that forced them to allow Chavez back to power. Then in 2003-2004 there was a "general strike" at the state oil company, not of workers, but of the management, in an attempt to sabotage an industry that is crucial to the Venezuelan economy and weaken Chavez's position in the process. This extra-legal, anti-democratic attempt to remove Chavez failed as well. Only then, on their third try, did the rich elite turn to democratic means, a recall referendum that they lost overwhelmingly.

If you want a real example of political conflict between the 1% and the 99%, there is none greater than the fight that is going on in Venezuela. On the one hand, you have a neo-imperialist upper elite that has held a stranglehold on the country's economy for decades, profiting off the sale of the country's resources to the west while the majority of the country toiled in endless poverty. On the other you have Chavez and his supporters, mostly the poor and racial/indigenous minorities who for hundreds of years have had little to no say in how their country is governed. Is Chavez perfect? No. Have his policies fixed all the problems of social and economic inequality that have plagued the country since its inception? No. Would I prefer that he have greater respect for civil liberties? Yes. But at the end of the day, the choice is not between Chavez and some hypothetical perfect Third Way left-winger. It's between Chavez and the champions of an autocratic wealthy elite that has controlled the country for most its history.

I'll end by recounting what former Brazilian president Lula da Silva, a leader who I think all on the left and center-left can admire and support with few reservations, said in his endorsement of Chavez's re-election:

Quote
Our countries are still marked by poverty and inequality. We require more economic growth, social policies and structural reforms to build the developed, fair and fraternal society we long for. In everything that we have done up until now, which is a lot, the Forum and parties of the Forum have played a significant role, which could be even more important if we maintain our main characteristic: unity in the face of adversity.

I would like to say good bye adding that I would really like to be there. Not only to be part of the delegation, the Workers' Party delegation, but also to give a warm embrace to comrade Hugo Chavez. With Chavez's leadership, the venezuelan people has made extraordinary gains. The popular classes have never ever been treated with such respect, love and dignity. Those conquests must be preserved and strengthened.

Chavez, count on me, count on the PT (Brazilian Workers' Party), count on the solidarity and support of each left-wing militant, each democrat and each Latin American. Your victory will be ours. A strong embrace, a fraternal embrace and thanks comrade for everything you have done for Latin America.
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« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2012, 03:17:03 am »
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I don't have anything to add to the excellent post of Lief's above (who has, amusingly, ninja'd my posts like four times today and made the exact point I was trying to make far more quickly, coherently, and succinctly), so I'll just support it with some statistics! Courtesy of the UN, mostly.

Rate of Poverty in Venezuela

2002: 48.6% (extreme poverty at 22.2%)
2010: 27.8% (extreme poverty at 10.7%)

Venezuelan GDP in current dollars

1999: $90 billion
2011: $300 billion

Venezuelan GINI coefficient

2002: 0.49
2012: 0.39

(the USA has been like 0.44 to 0.46 in this time period; i.e., in the last decade, the equality of Venezuela's income distribution actually surpassed that of the United States)

Venezuela's International Reserves

1998: $14.9 billion
2010: $64.4 billion

Increase in Venezuelan government's spending on universities between 1999 and 2011: 814%



I could go on, but I'm sure you all get the point. I don't like Chavez's paternalistic streak, how rabid some of his supporters can get, or his erratic attitude towards foreign policy, but he's honestly done a ton of good for the people of Venezuela.

As for this election, I think it would actually be better for Venezuela if Chavez didn't win next week, because it would ironically ensure that the good work he's done remains. If Capriles is elected, he'll either govern as a leftist or he'll get nothing accomplished and end up widely hated and almost certainly recalled. Even in the worst case scenario, Venezuela at least establishes a precedent of peaceful exchange of power without having Chavez's work undone.

If Chavez is reelected, however, and he dies in the first four years of his term, then Venezuela's Bolivaran Constitution requires a new Presidential election be held within thirty days of his death. The rushed preparation for such an election would be madness, and I fear the MSUV could easily implode while trying to agree on a successor. If their infighting gets bad enough, the Venezuelan military would probably step in, and then that'd just screw everything up.

But yeah, that's my two cents on the election and why I support Capriles. I just wanted to assure you, Tweed, that I am not, nor have I ever, been a believer in Chris Dodd. Tongue
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« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2012, 04:33:37 am »
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And violence in Caracas is still growing, people are still poor and Chavez is still a clown who nobody respects. I'd support him over a right-winger, but we will see some social-democrats as Ministers if Radonski wins (which is unlikely).

The good thing about Chavez is that extreme poverty will be over by 7-8 years. But Radonski is also fighting poverty hard in Miranda, so, that's something good about BOTH of them.
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« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2012, 07:26:33 am »
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BK the reference was actually to Thomas Dodd.
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« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2012, 12:05:02 pm »
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Oh Gosh, it's in only 6 days? Well, crossing fingers for Radonski. He might not be perfect, but at least he's not a megalomaniac populist clown with authoritarian tendencies.

I really like this subject. It's good for distinguishing who is simply very left-wing and who is simply crazy.
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« Reply #31 on: October 02, 2012, 06:48:19 pm »
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Venezuela has one industry: oil. Oil prices have skyrocketed. ANY Venezuelan government would have a huge GDP increase. Then, of course, Venezuelan production has, reportedly, actually fallen despite much higher prices - because of mismanagenemt and incompetence.

Any numbers coming out of Venezuela right now are, unfortunately, not too reliable. Not because of any malice, actually - mostly because they've rid the bureaucracy of those who could compute them.
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Scottish Robb Stark
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« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2012, 07:08:39 pm »
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Oh Gosh, it's in only 6 days? Well, crossing fingers for Radonski. He might not be perfect, but at least he's not a megalomaniac populist clown with authoritarian tendencies.

I really like this subject. It's good for distinguishing who is simply very left-wing and who is simply crazy.

Kind of like Pinochet for right-wingers, so...
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Quote from: IRC
22:15   ComradeSibboleth   this is all extremely terrible and in all respects absolutely fycking dire.

"A reformist is someone who realizes that, when you bang your head on a wall, it's the head that breaks rather than the wall."

Peppino, from the movie Baaria
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« Reply #33 on: October 02, 2012, 07:17:39 pm »
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Are there any pro-democracy left-wingers in Venezuela? If not, then Radonski.
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« Reply #34 on: October 02, 2012, 07:28:11 pm »
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Are there any pro-democracy left-wingers in Venezuela?

Yes, Hugo Chavez.
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« Reply #35 on: October 02, 2012, 07:52:52 pm »
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Are there any pro-democracy left-wingers in Venezuela? If not, then Radonski.

Assuming you don't consider Chavez to be pro-democracy, Tongue it's worth point out that MUD (the anti-Chavez coalition that nominated Capriles Radonski) includes quite a few leftist groups, including social democrats, marxists, greens, and even a Chavista splinter group that has a couple of seats in Parliament.

There's also four minor candidates running and some of their party's names sound a bit leftist, but they're all non-factors in this two man race.
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« Reply #36 on: October 02, 2012, 09:03:17 pm »
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Are there any pro-democracy left-wingers in Venezuela? If not, then Radonski.

A lot. And they vote for Capriles Radonski.
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« Reply #37 on: October 02, 2012, 09:06:49 pm »
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Oh Gosh, it's in only 6 days? Well, crossing fingers for Radonski. He might not be perfect, but at least he's not a megalomaniac populist clown with authoritarian tendencies.

I really like this subject. It's good for distinguishing who is simply very left-wing and who is simply crazy.

Kind of like Pinochet for right-wingers, so...

No ifs or buts:

http://www.economist.com/node/8413038
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« Reply #38 on: October 02, 2012, 09:08:03 pm »
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And violence in Caracas is still growing, people are still poor and Chavez is still a clown who nobody respects.

His Majesty put it best, you know Smiley
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« Reply #39 on: October 02, 2012, 10:31:55 pm »
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Chavez will win, unfortunately.
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« Reply #40 on: October 03, 2012, 12:38:15 am »
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Oh Gosh, it's in only 6 days? Well, crossing fingers for Radonski. He might not be perfect, but at least he's not a megalomaniac populist clown with authoritarian tendencies.

I really like this subject. It's good for distinguishing who is simply very left-wing and who is simply crazy.

Kind of like Pinochet for right-wingers, so...

As mentioned before, it's quite a different thing to support a right-wing dictator against a left-wing dictator (or vice versa) than to support any dictator over any democrat. Supporting Stalin over Hitler doesn't make you a hardline Communist. It's really a false comparison.
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Scottish Robb Stark
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« Reply #41 on: October 03, 2012, 12:58:08 am »
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Haha, sure. To be fair, Lief does a far better job at defending Chavez than you do at defending that despicable human trash.
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Quote from: IRC
22:15   ComradeSibboleth   this is all extremely terrible and in all respects absolutely fycking dire.

"A reformist is someone who realizes that, when you bang your head on a wall, it's the head that breaks rather than the wall."

Peppino, from the movie Baaria
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« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2012, 01:10:22 am »
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Haha, sure. To be fair, Lief does a far better job at defending Chavez than you do at defending that despicable human trash.

Well, one would have to be delusional or putting up massive BS barriers to champion Stalin, Pinochet, or Chavez as great people in their own right. I'm not going to champion someone simply because they oppose the same people I oppose, even if I think they may be the least of all their contemporary evils.
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« Reply #43 on: October 03, 2012, 01:12:27 am »
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Prediction:

54% Chavez
44% Capriles
  2% Others
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« Reply #44 on: October 03, 2012, 05:56:40 am »
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As mentioned before, it's quite a different thing to support a right-wing dictator against a left-wing dictator (or vice versa) than to support any dictator over any democrat. Supporting Stalin over Hitler doesn't make you a hardline Communist. It's really a false comparison.

That's a bit of an odd point to make in defence of 'supporting' Pinochet.
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« Reply #45 on: October 03, 2012, 07:55:46 am »
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I think what this thread really needs, is a few more lovable Chavez photos. (Hey, it's better than diverging into an argument on Pinochet!)





     











Also, in the interests of fairness and equal opportunity:




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« Reply #46 on: October 03, 2012, 09:42:54 am »
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a good site for election news.

http://venezuelanalysis.com/
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« Reply #47 on: October 03, 2012, 11:38:49 am »
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Oh Gosh, it's in only 6 days? Well, crossing fingers for Radonski. He might not be perfect, but at least he's not a megalomaniac populist clown with authoritarian tendencies.

I really like this subject. It's good for distinguishing who is simply very left-wing and who is simply crazy.

Kind of like Pinochet for right-wingers, so...

As mentioned before, it's quite a different thing to support a right-wing dictator against a left-wing dictator (or vice versa) than to support any dictator over any democrat. Supporting Stalin over Hitler doesn't make you a hardline Communist. It's really a false comparison.

Allende was no dictator by any reasonable definition of the word.
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« Reply #48 on: October 03, 2012, 11:40:41 am »
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I think what this thread really needs, is a few more lovable Chavez photos. (Hey, it's better than diverging into an argument on Pinochet!)


Does "lovable" mean "goofy" in your idiolect?
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« Reply #49 on: October 03, 2012, 11:49:32 am »
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I think what this thread really needs, is a few more lovable Chavez photos. (Hey, it's better than diverging into an argument on Pinochet!)


Does "lovable" mean "goofy" in your idiolect?

You're terribly out of touch, ag - normal humans find warm, 'down to earth' photos of a great man interacting with 'real people', wearing normal clothes and with a smile on his face to be loveable.  What do you find lovable?  A grim white guy standing stiffly in a suit?
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