Hugo Chavez, 1954-2013

I don’t have anything clever to say about Hugo Chavez. I’ve felt for a long time that many on the U.S. left were too quick to embrace him as a kindred spirit, when he actually was more of an ego-maniacal mess. People often admired or hated him more because of their own agendas rather than anything he actually did.

Various perspectives:

Zack Beauchamp, “Why Democrats Shouldn’t Eulogize Hugo Chavez

Rory Carroll, “In the End, an Awful Manager

David Sirota, “Hugo Chavez’s Economic Miracle

10 thoughts on “Hugo Chavez, 1954-2013

  1. Jon Lee Anderson also had an interesting piece in the 1/28/2013 issue of the New Yorker (“Slumlord”), but online the article has been archived, so I can’t provide a link that will work.

  2. When Chavez spoke at the United Nations and said, “The Devil was here, smell the sulphur”, in reference to George Bush speaking there prior to Chavez..I figured he can’t be all that bad. He at least understood the true nature of Bush regarding his invasion of Iraq.

  3. Swami,
    I’m with you on that one.

    Anyone who hated George W. Bush that much, couldn’t be ALL bad.

  4. He was a fairly typical populist strongman, with enough oil money to be able to tell the hegemon to buzz off. The fact that he was allowed to live at all proved that the hegemon has jumped the shark.

  5. Chavez is a product of the struggle between the indio majority and the blanco minority in Venezuela. The blancos, who claim descent from the original Spanish conquistadors who conquered Venezuela, until Chavez came upon the scene ruled Venezuela as little Southern plantation masters, treating the indios as their personal slaves to be used and discarded as needed. The indios didn’t like that. Chavez was an indio. ‘Nuff said.

    My personal take on Chavez is that the most generous critics, those who stated that his economic theories were simple-minded and his approach to governing the country was haphazard and demonstrated a lack of knowledge of how to govern, were most probably correct. He wasn’t a “dictator”, he was elected by the majority of Venezuelans in fair and free elections, but he didn’t know how to govern except by emulating his former blanco oppressors (except oppressing blancos this time, returning 500 years of favors). That said, he was wildly popular among the indio majority, and it was a situation the U.S. should never have attempted to intervene in (the abortive coup was a disaster for U.S. prestige in the region and merely made Chavez bolder).

  6. Bad was right on on chavez, and he helped all the anti-usa coountries that needed help. He was the foil that they(meaning we) had to have. Now we have to fall back on those horrible freely elected governments in Argentina, and Brazil to be our counters.

  7. When I think of Chavez, I think of the line “it’s complicated”.
    Like bad tux said, he helped the least of his brothers, and that’s a great thing.
    High 5 to Paradoctor, Swami, and ‘Gulag too.

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