Hugo has called Bush everything but a upright guy and Bush in turn has gone about a smear campaign against Chavez in South America. For some reason, the two do not like each other. I visit forums and discussion boards and I see that the posters are really not sure about Chavez. He is either a devil or the new “Castro”. I guess your political party will determine how you think of Chavez.
But the one people that have been overlooked in the rush to condemn the man, is the Venezuelan people. What an American politician thinks of Chavez means absolutely nothing to the average Venezuelan; but rather what has he done to improve their lives. Good point, Professor! What has he done?
Good question, why don’t we take a look?
Poverty decreased from 55% to 34%
Social spending increased from 7.83% to 14.69%
Virtually eliminated hunger through a program of subsidized groceries in poor areas.
Medical care reaches 18 million people through free clinics
Access to higher education for poor and working people
Affirmative action programs for indigenous people
Highest minimum wage in Latin America at $286 per month
Just a few of the improvements that Hugo has made in the lives of the average Venezuelan. I am sure that the figures will be disputed by the US, but keep in mind that the US figures are manipulated also. Economist ALWAYS manipulate figures it is how they stay in work.
I would say that the average Venezuelan is doing fairly well off under the leadership of Chavez. He may not have many friends in Washington, but people in Caracas, could care less what those in Washington have to say or think. US corporations use to having their way in Latin Americ are being awakened by the move of several countries that are trying to improve the lives of their residents and not the bank accounts of companies. I feel like this trend toward a nationalistic program and the turning away from exploitive capitalism will continue, with more and more countries choosing the “Bolivaran Revolution” model.
Do not get me wrong, there is still capitalism in these countries, but it is more geared toward the country than the company. I would say with the successes he is showing, he will be the leader for a long while.