Case in point: we get this little item that Chávez donated $10 million to a Uruguayan university to help the school’s hospital pay its debts. The Uruguayans are ecstatic, as you can imagine. This is a gift, mind you, not a loan.
I guess we could argue about the logic of giving to a country that has a higher standard of living than ours, that enjoys improving credit ratings which are much better than ours, that is praised for its modest fiscal policies and impressive growth performance. But the argument would be a short one – these decisions cannot be analyzed through the lens of logic, because they are by nature illogical.
Chávez’s decisions, however, should be analyzed in political terms, but here the argument falls flat as well. In the last few years, public polling has consistently shown that people don’t like the giveaways to foreign countries, so much so that certain political parties have met success by using this as a hobby horse. And just a few months ago, we were hearing of how previous “associations” with Uruguay ended up in us paying for a giant heap of nothin’.
The conventional wisdom used to be that Hugo Chávez was an astute politician with his finger on the political pulse of the nation. Perhaps it’s time we get over that.
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