The allegedly-eerie similarities between the bombastic Republican presidential nominee and our late galactic Comandante are the gift that just keeps on giving.  In a recent, especially auto-mojoneado little screed, Quico tried to convince us that the reason Trump won’t be as destructive as Chávez was is that he won’t be as disciplined and effective at destroying America’s democratic institutions as Chávez was at destroying ours.

 
It’s not any old autocrat who can create the kind of chaos Venezuela’s been experiencing. It’s a very specific kind of autocrat.

This is a dangerous self-deception from a leftie in denial about what it was that made Chávez so uniquely destructive: as though leftist ideology was an “accident” that accounted for no part of the damage Chávez did, as though institutional-destruction was the beginning and the end of the story. Quico should really know better: this isn’t about who had better etiquette (though God knows this is the first time Chávez has done better at that!)  The damage Chávez did is the damage only a communist will do once in power.

Let’s not fool ourselves: it’s not any old autocrat who can create the kind of chaos Venezuela’s been experiencing. It’s a very specific kind of autocrat, one burning with principled opposition to property as a right. That’s the only kind of autocrat who’ll push for policies that lead to acute shortages of basic food staples and medicines, the collapse of public services, the three-digit inflation, the destruction of the national manufacturing industry.

Those outcomes stem not from his rhetoric, nor from his illiberal tendencies (Fujimori was as illiberal as Chávez and ran a similarly sized economy) but by his ties to the old-school left in Venezuela that had been left out of power in 1958 and still supported many of the main Marxist axioms as late as in the 1990’.

In fact, Chávez serves as a cautionary tale of the resurgence of the all but dead left that somehow never got the memo once the Berlin Wall fell. Because there are plenty of dictators out there, but only a handful who set off the kind of economic cataclysm only the hard left brings about.

Of course, Chavismo was always built around an uneasy alliance between heterogenous political groups. Unlike his successor, Chávez was a master in unifying and reconciling the interest of radicals with the more pragmatic fractions of chavismo. But his long game was always establishing an “alternative” to capitalism.

Let’s not forget that even though initially Chavez vehemently denied being a Marxist and ran in 1998 as a third-way Caribbean Tony Blair, he openly embraced marxism soon afterwards, he had ties from the beginning with Venezuelan radical marxist groups who had even trained his handpicked heir,  his economic guru was an ideological Marxist dinosaur, counted Fidel Castro as a mentor and considered Cuba a “sea of happiness”, and even had a soft spot for North Korea.

 
Look, I’m as scared of a Trump presidency as any reasonably sane center-right pro-democracy millennial.

His most important economic policies were the expropriation  of the type of companies that no sane government on the planet runs, the establishment of draconian price controls, irrational labor regulations, and useless foreign currency controls. Chávez was a media savvy politician who knew how to pander to hip antiestablishment ideologies, but deep down the difference between 21st century socialism and the 20th century variant was always paper-thin.

Look, I’m as scared of a Trump presidency as any reasonably sane center-right pro-democracy millennial.  But Trump is not surrounded by a loony team of Marxist advisors hellbent on destroying the economy for the sake of denying that there is such a thing as a market.

Failing to mention that the worst legacy of Chávez (the destruction of the Venezuelan economy) is tied to his faith in discredited economic ideas is doing a favor to people like Alfredo Serrano, Pablo Iglesias or Jeremy Corbyn. Chávez is not just a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of populist institution-busting, he’s a cautionary tale for re-branding of Marxism as hip, anti-establishment ideology.

60 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Toro isn’t even the worst kind of leftist in denial. He at least admits the damage done by the more radical, statist policies of chavismo.

    There is another type of Venezuelan leftist that is far, far worse: people who seriously believe that this country has not reached “true socialism”. As if real socialism is some kind of Nirvana that you can achieve if you just get the right kind of central planners, ignoring most empirical evidence to the contrary. It baffles me, but there are Venezuelans who actually supported Bernie (who is much more similar to Chávez than Trump) on this basis.

    Great post.

    • Aveledo said a couple of years ago that the followers of Scientific Socialism are just people that have misplaced their religiosity.

      I would also add the conceit of having the monopoly in social justice.

    • Those leftists who believe socialism is some kind of Nirvana are almost as bad as those free market ideologues that think everything will be fixed in Venezuela if it can just be left to the free market. A lot of people around here seem to think Venezuela never reached a “pure free market” in the 1990’s, and that’s why structural adjustment failed.

      By the way, those who support Bernie are not supporting socialism. Bernie is a social democrat… huge difference. Have you ever heard of a place called Denmark, or Scandinavia, or Western Europe? Yeah, its literally the greatest place to live on the planet.

      • For those who hold up Scandinavian socialism as a positive example, I would make two points:

        1. Even they had to retreat from some of their more socially generous policies because they were not sustainable.

        2. The system sort of works there, because these countries have very socially homogeneous populations. Peer pressure serves to prevent the welfare systems from being abused to the point of collapse. This peer pressure does not work in a more multi-cultural society.

        • I agree, besides, Denmark has the third best environment to do business in the world according to the World Bank.

          Hell, if only the socialists focused more on that part of Denmark rather than its welfare, we would have some progress. But their model tend to be the Cuban environment to do business coupled with the Danish welfare, what is insane.

          • Because the cuban environment is the best to opress the population.

            Also, all those “socialist” european countries are actually capitalists, stop deceiving yourselves with that fallacy that they are the “socialism done right”, socialism is only an euphemism for communism.

  2. Chávez managed to unify the different groups of criminals in the same way he put the common criminals under his control to become his main weapon against the people: By promising them complete, boundless impunity for their atrocities as long as they wewre “loyal” to him.

    The ideology factor was just a part, for chavismo created an incredibly destructive monopy structure where the party-state overtook everything (The expropiations and cadivi are the two most notable examples of the govermnent-enforced monopolies), while leaving just the amount of “capitalist rights” to continue appealing to part of the criminals so they could profit as much as they wanted, again, only as long as they were loyal to Chávez.

    Chávez had a single objetive in mind when he achieved power, to suck as much as possible from the petro-rent, and if he managed to do so for the rest of his life, that would be fine with him, the communist ideology was just an useful tool to achieve said objetive, since communism by definition is the most effective method of getting the greatest amount of power over a country, contrary to capitalism where he would have to deal with other strong actors in the country that wouldn’t have to depend economically from his goverment.

    So it’s not just communist ideology, that makes about the 50% of chavismo, the other 50% is just thievery and common criminal behavior, it’s just that the two overlap in so many areas it’s disgusting (Again, the monopoly conglomerate controlled by the party-regime is the best example: Part of it is demanded by communist theory, the other part is because the criminals controlling the monopoly have the easiest money ever).

  3. Marxism is indeed a toxic and defunct ideology.

    But Chavez was never a marxist. Yes, some marxist supported Chavez. Some didn’t. Chavez was an autocrat, and one with encyclopedic ignorance in governance and public management.

    He also had ties with the old school right. He also pushed something a lot like facism which is not unusual from the military.

    And is not that he opposed property rights, what he opposed is lack of control over assets.

    Chavez was nothing but a communitarian with autocratic tendencies. Or perhaps the other way around. Or maybe just a facho.

        • I wouldn’t recommend anyone take their pointers on Marxism from Rodrigo. He appears to know virtually nothing about the subject.

          Hey Rodrigo, did you know Marx actually wrote very little about communism? Most of his work was about the workings of capitalism (ever heard of that 4 volume work called Capital?). Turns out he was mostly right in his analysis of capitalism… so right that a century and a half later his work is still required reading in most social science graduate programs. Much of his contributions have been so internalized by mainstream social science that its not even considered “Marxist” anymore…. “We’re all Marxists now,” one economist famously said.

          The fact that some people, and governments, have done awful things in the name of Marxism says virtually nothing about Marxism as a theoretical framework. Marx never laid out in any detail what an alternative to capitalism should look like. So any attempt is purely guesswork, not based on Marx’s writings.

          • Eatit, Indeed Marxs work was mainly a critique of capitalism. Marxism is a failed ideology because it fails from the start to propose a more just society. Marx as a sociologist was brilliant. Among the first to understand that society organizes itself around work.

            When I refer to marxism as an ideology I refer to the system that pursues a more equitable society via the redistribution of the means of production, and one that considers patron-employee relationships inherently unjust. The first in unworkable and the later is dogmatic.

            I haven’t read Marx directly. I have concerned myself with more modern authors like Cohen, Kymlicka and Rawls.

            I never made a reference to communism in any of my comments by the way.

    • Finally someone writes an opinion with common sense and with a great angle to diagnose our political and social tragedy. As with many other things, a correct diagnosis is the first step into a correct solution. Thank you for your post Mr. Linares!

      • I do not think that Chavez ever actually read Marx or had any particular belief in any ideology. He was not an intellectual of that caliber. What he did believe in was state power; the more, the better… with him at the head of the state and wielding that power.

        He said a lot of conflicting things over the course of his career. There is no evidence of any consistent economic principles or political philosophy other than that which served to help him consolidate power.

    • I totally agree. Two autocratic opportunists, who strikingly exhibit the same personality disorder. Most of us just call these people in everyday life assholes, in lieu of the more technical term, but when they are elevated by chance and opportunity, many mistake the condition for leadership and greatness. Sometimes with catastrophic consequences, as with Venezuela.

      To call Chavez a Marxist is to take a disordered but highly successful bullshitter at face value.

  4. Ambos tienen razón, pero igual van presos.

    No single characteristic of Chávez is the source of all the destruction he brought about. His communist tendencies are clearly a central point. So is his cunning and patience to execute plans over time. But if there’s an elephant in the room that nobody mentions, and if there’s a fundamental difference between Chávez and Trump, it’s the militarism.

    There’s been a few communist leaders in the west outside of Cuba and the URSS. Berlinguer and Napolitano in Italy, Carrillo in Spain, Miterrand in France, etc. Whatever the actual deeds of these folks may be, the fact is that none of them advocated nor caused any sort of mayhem comparable to what Chavez did. As for shrewd politicians who can execute plans over many years, well… that’s pretty much anybody but Trump. But who has militarized a society like Chávez without being an actual bona fide dictator?

    I’m not just talking about putting military men in power. I’m talking about the milicias, about civilian chavistas calling themselves tropa and calling the president comandante. I’m talking about how in every public office the answer to “why?” is always “we were ordered to”. I’m talking about every major public official, from judges to legislators, receiving orders directly from the commander in chief. It seems ridiculous to try to flesh out the main attributes of Chávez and ignore that everything he did was always done in a military context.

  5. I believe that Marxism is not quantum physics, when we say that Chávez was politically and economically ignorant and did not understand what real Marxism was we are doing people like Serrano a favour. First, you are supporting the idea that Marxism is a particularly difficult to grasp and complex ideology that has failed because it hasn’t been applied correctly.How many times have we heard that? Chávez knew enough about history to be attracted to central planning and the ownership of by the state of most means of production and a distrust of the market to set real prices (pretty much the practical application of Marxism in the 20th century) I’m not saying that Chávez was a rabid follower of Hegelian dialectic, but Giordani did know a lot about central planning and state owned factories to attract Chavez to do the same. Under the same justification no one can be a liberal, fascist, or any other ideology unless thoroughly verse in its scholarship. Then the only truly Marxist President could be Noam Chomsky.

    • Marxism is not complex. But Chavez wasn’t a marxist. Marxism still sucks on its own and didn’t need chavismo for that. So does fascism.

      I think that there is value on ideological debates, but the debate is infertile if we call things by the wrong names.

      Is today’s China marxist? There is a lot of central planning and state owned factories. Certainly Mao’s China was marxist.

          • Precisely. “Chávez knew enough about history to be attracted to central planning and the ownership of by the state of most means of production and a distrust of the market to set real prices ”

            There is a lot more to marxism than this.

  6. When looking at ideologies we must understand that they move at different intellectual and emotional levels , some more pure and theoretical , others more visceral and gross , some which are heavy weighted with rethorical embellishements rather than with concepts , the Catholicism of the theologian will be different from that of the mystic which will be different from that of the old village woman in the countryside, or that of the youngster just out of school. Sometimes the emotional resonance of an idea carries bigger weight in the character of a man that its doctrinal underpinnings ……., the Marxism of Chavez was certainly more primitive than that of Giordani ,

    Also Marxism is capable of bearing many different fruits , there is no one Marxism but many different versions , even Marx during his lifetime, at different periods spoused ideas which were incongruous with each other or even sefl contradictory…..!!

    Then there is the fact that for many abstract religious or political ideas do not involve a true intellectual conviction born of reflexion and critical study but something that just happens to resonates with the darkest promptings of their temper , which allows them to give their identity grand or glamorous expression , there are faiths that are founded not on reasons but on heavily adorned motives.

    Chavez Marxism gave expression to the megomaniacal cravings of a disordered mind , of a thugish character steeped in the need to display himself to the world as all powerful and good to satisfy the demands of an over grown narcicism , who needed to have enemies whom to disparage and insult and humiliate so as to pose as a heroic savior…..,

    In 1930’s Germany he would have been a Nazi, if he had been born in Siria he would now be an Islamic fanatic , above all he felt drawn to Power , the more conspicuous and arbitrary and absolute the better !! Marxism was just a way of ideologically cosmetizing his sadist and narcicistic desire to shine, to dominate to call attention to himself and to show his might by destroying an enemy which his adoption of Marxism melodramatically gave him …..!!

    • I disagree. There is no Chavez Marxism, Chavez didn’t defined Marxism, or made his own version of Marxism, Marxism shaped and gave birth to an authoritarian version of Chavez.

      He may had good intentions about poor people, but Marxism told him that it was Ok to steal from the rich to give to the poor.

      Let’s call Marxism like it is, an Authoritarian ideology that is placed at the same level as Nazi Ideology and that of the Islamic State.

  7. I wonder how many people that write / comment here about US politics meet the following criteria:
    1) currently living in US and have lived since before 2008.
    2) earn a six digit salary after taxes and insurance ( health, house, life insurance).
    3) own her/his own business/ practice or on their way to become partners, etc…
    4) have a 401K
    5) are friends ( real friends, like you know how much they’re making ) with gringos that are college graduates for more than 10 years
    6) have a mortgage to pay or a house already paid
    7) are U.S. Citizens
    Forget about miameros making 40k and driving BMW ( leased of course ).
    I know that criteria doesn’t fit the average gringo but it makes you an insider ( considering you started from zero). Just curious why so many respected, book smart Venezuelans that don’t live in the U.S. support Clinton.
    You won’t believe of many of us ( Venezuelans that meet the 7 criteria above) have voted republican ( in presidential elections) for years and will vote Trump in November.
    Not a Trump fan at all but Clinton creeps me out.

    • Sure it makes you an insider, because 80% of the household incomes in the US is less than 100K …so yes, i guess your 7 points makes you an expert in how US citizens will vote…and of course the importance of your vote over others… And yes I could believe how many Venezuelans like you would prefer Trump

    • I think you may be encountering some selection bias. That’s similar to me throwing out there that I don’t understand how Latinos in general vote Democrat when I know so many older, long-term wealthy Cuban residents living in Dade County who are registered Republicans. I’m guessing by book smart, you mean by and large highly educated (post-graduate) Venezuelans, of which a good many are academics. In general, post-graduate work, in the U.S. and elsewhere, generally slides a person towards (in the U.S. at least) a democratic identification.

      Moreover, the Republican party is dying a particularly painful death. It used to have two distinct wings: the evangelical religious conservatives and the far more moderate professional degreed/managerial class that was both educated and relatively wealthy. The last twenty years have effectively split off the moderate wing of the party and pushed it into the arms of the democrats leaving the party run by the hardcore rich elite and the base being the somewhat less educated but extremely religious far right.

      The ridiculous behavior of the Republican party in the last 6 years (or since the real rise of the tea party) has culminated in the circus show you see this year. The party has been gorging itself on vindictive positions and chain smoking its own rhetoric which gives it a candidate that is an arterial blockage. If he wins, expect the party to stroke out shortly thereafter.

    • I’m not sure what’s more ridiculous in your post, the many logical fallacies or your implication that you have to make more than 6 figures after taxes and insurance to be “booksmart”.

  8. And I’ll give my two cents: Even though *some* of the chavistas wanted to be marxists, or as they called themselves Socialists, they didn’t make the grade. They as a whole simply lacked the discipline, the fanaticism, any love for letters or hard work. They lacked an ideology. What they produced was Socialismo del Siglo XIX, a confusing potpourri of nationalist and vaguely socialist ideas.

    Sure, they expropriated, but did they do central planning, did they really try to organize and ideologize the “liberated” workers with dialectical materialism, did they even attempt to shape and understand the economy with marxist-leninism? Don’t laugh…, with very few exceptions they didn’t. Mostly, it was Hugo Says (applause!), and Hugo was notoriously inconstant and notoriously disdainful of receiving or acknowledging any “expert” advice. That’s what he has in common with Trump by the way, besides being abrasive.

    Don’t look at Cuba, or for that matter any other bona fide communist nation. These have their own problems caused by the failure of marxist economics.

    Look at any chaotic, possibly embattled, kleptocratic post-independence Third World nation, say in Africa, with a charismatic President for Life and some idiosyncratic, local version of Socialism, (call it Socialism*), something out of his illuminated mind that seemed to have been written between midnight and dawn. There you have the kinds of chaos, violence, (incipient) famine and corruption afflicting Venezuela. Most of the expropriated stuff was either abandoned or bought for a song by the acolytes of the President for Life. Who, cherry on the pie, tended to be military officers.

  9. And I’ll give my two cents: Even though *some* of the chavistas wanted to be marxists, or as they called themselves Socialists, they didn’t make the grade. They as a whole simply lacked the discipline, the fanaticism, any love for letters or hard work. They lacked an ideology. What they produced was Socialismo del Siglo XIX, a confusing potpourri of nationalist and vaguely socialist ideas.

    Sure, they expropriated, but did they do central planning, did they really try to organize and ideologize the “liberated” workers with dialectical materialism, did they even attempt to shape and understand the economy with marxist-leninism? Don’t laugh…, with very few exceptions they didn’t. Mostly, it was Hugo Says (applause!), and Hugo was notoriously inconstant and notoriously disdainful of receiving or acknowledging any “expert” advice. That’s what he has in common with Trump by the way, besides being abrasive.

    Don’t look at Cuba, or for that matter any other bona fide communist nation. These have their own problems caused by the failure of marxist economics.

    Look at any chaotic, possibly embattled, kleptocratic post-independence Third World nation, say in Africa, with a charismatic President for Life and some idiosyncratic, local version of Socialism, (call it Socialism*), something out of his illuminated mind that seemed to have been written between midnight and dawn. There you have the kinds of chaos, violence, (incipient) famine and corruption afflicting Venezuela. Most of the expropriated stuff was either abandoned or bought for a song by the acolytes of the President for Life. Who, (cherry on the pie) tend to be military officers, that, if the President for Life didn’t come from the military, then military control of the country is from day one.

  10. Here is how Trump could destroy the U.S. much faster than Chavez destroyed Venezuela… A large amount of the U.S.’s economic power is based upon perception. The U.S. dollar is strong because the world trusts the U.S. government to maintain its value. People and countries do business with the U.S., because they trust the justice system to enforce its laws. Countries engage in treaties with the U.S., because they trust the U.S. to honor their agreements. A large amount of the U.S.’s economic might has been leveraged by its perceived credibility and stability. If that credibility and stability appears threatened, it could very quickly have a negative affect on the U.S. dollar and its bond premiums. The U.S. carries a high debt to GDP ratio. A large simultaneous hit to its currency and and to its debt cost could cause irreparable economic damage. As president, Trump would damage the perception of America’s credibility and stability every time he opens his mouth. We could witness a case of “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

    • I wonder what would happen to US exports if the dollar went south.
      Hell, boys give it up. We got the worlds most efficient agriculture, a certain amount of mining expertise, we got forests like you ain’t ever seen, Cal Tech, MIT, LSMFT, we keep 50,000 ton battleships as parks, we’ve killed more people in a single day than the black death ever did. Keep these tiny details in your mind while you whine and yank.

  11. Chavez was a Marxist to the extent of which his intellectual interests didn’t collide with either power play or showtime. He was politically influenced at quite a young age by his brother Adan who, on the other hand, was a follower of Douglas Bravo’s insane ideas.

    That’s not to say that he didn’t get ideological ingredients from people such as Norberto Ceresole or plain good old bolivarian chovinism. Just that Marxism was the only internally coherent component and, as such, the most influential in the long term. Just look at Venezuela: It has all the typical economic malaises of real socialist regimes. And that’s not just a coincidence.

    We shouldn’t deny plain facts to preserve the appeal of the Venezuelan opposition to progressives worldwide.

  12. “It’s a very specific kind of autocrat, one burning with principled opposition to property as a right.”

    That was not Chavez’s passion. He never made a serious effort to confiscate the “illegitimate” property of the upper classes, or eliminate the private holdings of the middle class or working class. (Which the Communist states all did. It wasn’t just “the wealthy” that offended them, it was any private property at all.)

    Chavez’ passion was hatred and resentment of the Venezuelan Establishment – the criollo power elite that ran the Fourth Republic. His socialist training caused him to identify that group as “capitalist exploiters”, and so he talked a lot about “capitalism” as the enemy, but he had a huge cohort of wealthy boliburgueses working hand in glove with the chavernment.

    His target was not their private wealth or even that of oppo figures generally, it was the oil money. There was so much oil money by the mid-oughts that private wealth was secondary.

  13. Just remember that the demise of Venezuela was not brought down by Chavez. Chavez was the result of a stagnated and already decaying bipartisan system, and much of the status quo resurfaced during his times. Clientelist masses, populist policías and corrupt private industry and military classes, all institutions of the 4th republic, all on steroids during the latest commodity boom cycle and the irresponsible and unaccountable charisma model.
    ” money for everyone to buy appeasement”.
    Our treasury financed the socialist propaganda worldwide and many a flights of suitcases with $$$ made the different international stakeholders happy.
    There is a complete society of accomplices behind this debacle. It is very easy for many to just blame it all on Mapuro or Chavez themselves.

  14. Cesar Crespo largely tracks the thinking of UN Ambassador Jean Kirkpatrick, who famously defended right-wing dictatorships on the basis that they were more traditional, less totalitarian, and finally, better than Communist dictatorships. And this idea was central to US foreign policy during the Cold War.

    What I think this misses is the pure unpredictabilty inherent in a dictatorship based, like that of Chavez, Huey Long, or Donald Trump, on an organic link between the Great Leader and the People.

    Eight years after taking power, a certified right-wing dictator like Hitler was imposing a Five Year Plan on the economy; he needed industrial discipline in order to complete the German version of the Great Leap Forward, there called “rearmament”. Twenty-five years after taking power in order to overthrow the reign of wealth,, the leadership of Communist China announced the slogan “Enrich Yourself!” as regime policy.

    Once the institutional matrix of democratic checks and balances is gone, anything is possible. The subordination of the People to the Great Leader promises ruin. Absent the live institutional matrix in the U.S., Trump could be just as destructive as Chavez. It doesn’t matter what name he sticks on his dictatorial impulses, or what ideological justifications he uses. And no one knows what he would do.

    • Jeffry,

      I’m not a personal follower of the “but he is our son of a bitch” doctrine, nor I’m saying that Trump would be worst or better than Chávez or supporting him (If I were American I wouldn’t vote for him). Indeed, I agree that the prospect of a thin-skinned, ignorant and mercurial person like Trump having access to nuclear weapons is scary. But he is dangerous is a different way than Chávez, Everyday, when Venezuelan suffer the hardships that are the legacy of chavismo (scarcity, crime, a destroyed economy) I remember that Chávez was dangerous because he sold very staled Marxist economic ideas about central planning and state control of all industries that led to similar disasters in the USRR as something new and hip. I didn’t think I would ever defend Chávez, but I don’t think he classifies as a Hilter or Mussolini, he was not genocidal or a threat to world peace. About the organic link you mention this is more related that Chávez was able to do what he did because Venezuela was a country with extremely weak and discredited institutions to begin with. Many politicians would be Chávez if they were awarded a blank check to lead a country (which is regrettably what Venezuela did in 1999-2001). Trump will have none of that. No Constitutional Assembly, nor Congress appointed by him, no Supreme Court validating everything he does.

    • One thing is saying, one is being. He said whatever he needed to say to achieve his political goals. Like Bill Bass said, if libertarian was the thing at the time, he would had been libertarian (or claimed to be). Also, Jeffry’s point is very good.

      Ceresole (also mentioned in the comments) had it right, Chavez had what it was needed for the perfect caudillo. The great leader, the army and the people trifecta. Plus add the vast amount of wealth. Chavez could had said anything.

      By the way, in the same video you posted, he also claims to be an adamant christian. Was he? in your opinion? Because he said so.

          • “he also claims to be an adamant christian. Was he? in your opinion? Because he said so.”

            Subjective things like that are impossible to have a verdict.

            How do we know for sure that a gay person is really gay? He must feel attracted for the same sex. But how to know for sure? We just believe them because we have no other option.

            You can only say, at best, that Chavez was a very bad Christian, but to deny that he was a Christian when he said that he was one is impossible. It’s like those journalists at CNN who like to say that the Islamic State is not really Muslim, when the Quran says very clearly that everything you need to be a Muslim is to follow the Five Pillars of Islam. If you start following the Five Pillars, Rodrigo, you would become a Muslim, you might be a bad Muslim, but you would still be a Muslim.

            Regarding Chavez’ Marxism, it’s easier to judge.

            I would say that with the exception of Fidel, Chavez was the best marxist in Latin America. Where do you think those mass expropriations came from? Austrian economics?

          • Rodrigo, don’t forget that Fidel was completely pro-capitalism and anti communism UNTIL he seized the power.

            The point is, that marxist communists ALWAYS lie their asses off before getting the power because they know people won’t give them a single vote if they aknowledged themselves as such pests in the first place.

  15. Have you ever seen a film which purported to be ‘inspired’ by a novel by such and such author and then watching the film observed that its plot, character and language really diverted in crucial aspects from the original novel . Thats close to representing the Marxism of Chavez . It bears the same resemblance to orthodox Marxism that Mickey Mouse has to a real mouse. Basically Its a clumsy caricature of classic orthodox historical marxism (there are others) . What it does is borrow certain themes from orthodox marxism and use them to ideologically glamorize their rethoric and some of their practices……!!…it served as a prop to Chavez narcicism , allowing him to see him self as (and perform the part of ) a grand revolutionary redeemer of the oppressed classes ……!! Not sure Marx would have approved…!!

    • It reminds me of a now deceased Venezuelan journalist I loved to read who called Chavez the “Hero of the Museo Militar”. I just loved that. Yes, he loved nothing better than to associate himself with “revolutionaries” and “thinkers” to burnish his monumental ego. He was neither.

    • “Not sure Marx would have approved…!!”

      Marx said that Bolívar was a piece of s**t and lower, and still there are rabid marxists here in the “Bolivarian” Venezuela.

  16. To compare Trump to Chavez is fatuous, simplistic and typical of an intellectually lazy political thinker. Trump – who is a real estate mogul born and bred – to Chavez who burned “with principled opposition to property as a right” completely misses the mark.

    The choice in the US is clear – (a) go with Hillary who will stack the Supreme Court and re-write the Constitution and turn us into a Sud-style banana republic from which there will be no return; (b) call yourself a “reasonably sane center-right pro-democracy millennial” meaning you have totally bought the hard-left and establishment right narrative that Trump is not sane and not pro-democracy, thus ensuring the result of (a) supra; or (c) go with Trump who will keep America recognizably America and if he tries the autocrat mode [which is mostly propaganda that he will] it will be easier stopping him.

    • Comparing Clinton to Chávez is absurd too.

      Did her husband Bill turn USA into a banana dictatorship when he was president?

      If the comparison was made with Sanders, who openly praised chavista and cuban dictatorships, then it would be another case, man.

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