Ecosocialist Notebook

The skewed priorities of Hugo Chavez

A dead-on commentary from FAIR: Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting:


by Jim Naureckas

One of the more bizarre takes on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s death comes from Associated Press business reporter Pamela Sampson (3/5/13):

“Chavez invested Venezuela’s oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world’s tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.”

That’s right: Chavez squandered his nation’s oil money on healthcare, education and nutrition when he could have been building the world’s tallest building or his own branch of the Louvre. What kind of monster has priorities like that?

Souce: NACLA's Keane Bhatt

Souce: NACLA’s Keane Bhatt

In case you’re curious about what kind of results this kooky agenda had, here’s a chart NACLA, 10/8/12) based on World Bank poverty stats – showing the proportion of Venezuelans living on less than $2 a day falling from 35 percent to 13 percent over three years.

(For comparison purposes, there’s a similar stat for Brazil, which made substantial but less dramatic progress against poverty over the same time period.)

Of course, during this time, the number of Venezuelans living in the world’s tallest building went from 0 percent to 0 percent, while the number of copies of the Mona Lisa remained flat, at none. So you have to say that Chavez’s presidency was overall pretty disappointing – at least by AP’s standards.

See also
Hugo Chavez Undefeated
and Hugo Chavez on Climate Change and Capitalism

More from my notebook …

Posted in Ecosoc Notebook, Latin America

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3 years 7 months ago

very right. my answer to the Chavez vs. Dubai & AbuDhabi question can be read at my homepage (sorry it is not entirely EN+FR+DE yet, partially it is only german)
my argument: the more “hard”working” we are, the faster we destroy the planet as Human Kind’s living basis: deforesting destroys Oxygene production, CO, CO2 and NOx plus thermal power plants (from gas & oil “upto” (!) nuclear) heat the breathing air with their 30% (!) efficiencies. (the rest 70% is waste heat)

Combining this fact with the “usual” hysterical run for income and with that slavery in Europe and Africa should be over by now, responsibility of Governments really should include to guarantee a minimum living standard and life quality to their citizens. And that is not only for rich countries, as shown in the http existenzgeld2 wordpress com (with link from my) homepage.

A fair 50% wealth tax sounds unreasonable and high at the first glance but if it is put in relation to GDP (and with a taxfree basic wealth amount of 30xGDP to 50xGDP = approx. 1-2 million $ by 2010/2012), only some 1-2% billionnaires could complain about it.