My response to Eva Golinger

124

No, Chávez didn’t make dreams come true for the poor. He didn’t improve their lives. Instead, he gave them money, and made them miserable on the side.

My take over at Americas Quarterly.

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124 COMMENTS

    • he teased them with very little money , made them line up at banks for hours and hours , lines 1 klm long for 2 to 3 hundred bs , then for this they had to get in these buses and go to rallys and act like they went on thier own without pay

  1. A powerful rebuttal. Thanks for posting. Of course beyond debates *about* the poor and whether their lives have improved, there’s also the question of how the poor *themselves* understand whether their lives have improved. If they believe their lives have improved and vote accordingly, how do we make sense of that? I suppose one response is that they’re unsophisticated and lack capacity for delayed gratification. But coronil’s self mystified elites suffer the same problem, so maybe it’s not a poor/rich issue but a petrostate issue (yet again). It’s really amazing (I think?) how that explains everything.

    • That’s the big puzzle, I guess. I doubt the poor understand the implications of increased indebtedness. I doubt they understand the Venezuelan state, as conceived by Chávez, is simply not viable. And from speaking to people, it’s clear they don’t see the link between public policy and crime.

  2. Walt Disney is a ‘maker of dreams’. Woe to the country that gives a ‘maker of dreams’ unlimited power.

    Great rebuttal.

  3. Chavez acted towards the poor, as a patronizing pederast, giving them some “candy” handouts to later use and abuse their emotional connection. Like ABT explains today in el Nacional.. A religious following. The poor don’t even understand what they really got themselves into after selling their souls for the said handouts…

    • I suppose that’s one way of putting it. It still doesn’t explain why it’s been elites and not the poor who historically have crafted the kind of policies that perpetuate this dynamic; and not just historically in Venezuela but also looking ahead (though I may have missed it, I see no real indication by the opposition that much will change vis-a-vis the petro state)

  4. Somebody had to go out and refute her outrageous claims and arguments. I don’t understand why CNN gives her so much airtime. They love her. Biggest Chavez groupie …

    • She got in CNN because they are reorganizing under Jeff Zucker as their ratings are the worse and lowest ever. Typical opportunist que se aprovecha de las situaciones.

  5. They love her because In tv good looks and good delivery ( even if the lines are parroted) count more than truth and content !! Also they thrive on contrived polemics and she is the only chavez supporter they can find that is presentable before US tv audiences as a counterfoil to the opposition voices of dissent .

  6. Now I am reallt pissed with Chavez! I wish I got to eat canteloupe every morning! Plus I have to prepare my own breakfast! That post by Golinger made me hungry more than anything, I would love an arepa with queso right now….

  7. I have to say Juan, this article of your is astoundingly, and embarrassingly, full of nonsense. Let’s just take a snippet, shall we?

    “Thanks to an unprecedented influx of petro-dollars, the disposable income of poor families rose significantly in the latter portion of the Chávez era. However, the poor now have less access to quality jobs. Close to half of Venezuelans of working age labor in the informal economy. While public payrolls have increased to roughly 2.5 million people, the consensus is that this is clearly unsustainable. The number of private employers has decreased by about a third, according to government statistics.”

    Funny, you say there are less quality jobs now, but give no evidence of it. In fact, according to the very source you link to the percent of Venezuelans working in the informal sector has decreased since 1998, after having increased throughout the 1980s and 1990s when your rich buddies were in power! And a decrease in private employers (which your source does not show) does not mean “less access to quality jobs”, especially if those jobs are replaced by public sector jobs. According to your own source, unemployment is also lower than in 1998. So how you conclude that “the poor have less access to quality jobs” is really quite remarkable since all your facts say otherwise!

    You go onto discuss public debt, and compare it to 1998 in real terms, whereas anyone with a brain knows that the only comparison that makes sense is that of its relationship to GDP, which is clearly much lower now than at any time in the 1980s or 1990s.

    https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=dt_tds_dect_gn_zs&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:VEN&ifdim=region&hl=en&dl=en&ind=false&q=venezuela+gdp

    And you go onto link to a bunch of well-known neoliberal hack-jobs who write out of hatred to Chavez, not because they have clearly analyzed the facts. Hausmann argues that Venezuela has had the lowest average GDP per capita growth rate in Latin America, which is obviously false if you just, you know, look at the statistics?

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2012/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?pr.x=38&pr.y=6&sy=1999&ey=2012&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=311%2C336%2C213%2C263%2C313%2C268%2C316%2C343%2C339%2C273%2C218%2C278%2C223%2C283%2C228%2C288%2C233%2C293%2C238%2C361%2C321%2C362%2C243%2C364%2C248%2C366%2C253%2C369%2C328%2C298%2C258%2C299&s=NGDP_RPCH&grp=0&a=

    But hey, I’m impressed Juan. It takes an impressive level of intellectual dishonesty to overlook all of these terrible distortions and keep a straight face.

    • Interesting links. What’s your opinion regarding the problems with inflation and scarcity in Venezuela right now? How would you solve them?

      • Inflation and scarcity are both related to the massive explosion in consumption among the poor in recent years, hardly something which should be seen negatively.

        http://www.fedeagro.org/consumo/default.asp

        The solution is to continue to increase local production, which indeed has been what this government has been doing.

        https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=agricultural_production_index&fdim_y=prodution_index_category:1&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:VEN&ifdim=region&hl=en&dl=en&ind=false&q=venezuela+gdp

        • Ha! What a pathetic result for Venezuela. That’s despite a magnitude more money “invested” in agriculture, and the greatest oil windfall in Venezuelan history.

          According to the page you linked, Venezuela has increased production at a lower rate than Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and probably many others I’m too lazy to compare.

          2012 – 1999 – Country – % Increase
          112.72 / 94.4 = Venezuela 18%
          104.65 / 89.65 = Mexico 16.7%
          111.46 / 78,4 = Bolivia 42%
          123.46 / 82.6 = Peru 49%
          106.56 / 79.99 = Chile 32%
          126 / 75 = Brazil 68%

          Not a result to be trumpeted! Given all the money invested and Venezuela’s increasing population, it’s something to be ashamed of. If Venezuela had simply copied the policies of Brazil or Chile, and it could have increased production more for much less money on the governments part. Actually, given Venezuela’s population increase (22%) I would have expected at least a 22% increase in agricultural production, instead Venezuela’s agricultural production has DROPPED on a per capita basis (a sensible way of looking at it since both the opposition and Chavistas agree there is unused agricultural land in Venezuela).

          https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_pop_totl&idim=country:VEN&dl=en&hl=en&q=venezuela%20population

          Your attempt at showing Chavez’s success has instead revealed a failure, please try again!

          • Funny thing is I wasn’t trying to “show Chavez’s success”. I was simply refuting Juan’s nonsense. (There is a difference, even though you apparently don’t understand that.)

            Indeed, the results in Venezuela have not been as good as they should have been. (Although Mexico’s 16% is not better than Venezuela’s 18%. Not good at math are we?)

            However, it is false to claim that Venezuela has had a magnitude more to invest in agriculture. In places like Peru, Chile, and Brazil, most of the investment in agriculture comes from the private sector. In Venezuela, the private sector has historically not been interested in investing in agriculture.

            So it is false to say “If Venezuela had simply copied the policies of Brazil or Chile, and it could have increased production more for much less money on the governments part”. The problems is not one of government policies, but rather one of the logic of the Venezuelan private sector, which is drastically different than that of Brazil or Chile.

            But please do list the policies that Chavez could have implemented that would have created such explosive growth in agriculture. Chances are they have already been tried in Venezuela, and they failed.

          • Don’t be silly man, what you say points directly to the “neo-liberal” conclusion that policies that are open to the private sector, instead of intensiley aggressive, help make way more potatoes.

          • Except that’s already been tried before, and it created way LESS potatoes. Look at the statistics.

          • BTW, one also has to take into account the fact that Venezuela’s economy was completely trashed in 2002-2003 by the actions of the Venezuelan opposition. If you use the starting point of 2003, you will likely get very different results.

          • Indeed, if we go from 2003 to 2012, Venezuela increased faster than both Brazil and Chile. Ooops!

          • Exactly, that’s why it makes sense NOT to pick 2003 as the starting year, production was artificially reduced.

          • how quickly the not-so-innocent *forget*.
            GAC: in real life you don’t get to cherry pick the Chávez years of his administration that provide a more palatable snapshot. In real life, you don’t get to rewrite history, unless it’s for your selective parrots. Chávez began firing oppo members of PDVSA under the plan of appropriating the company. Period. His plan backfired on him.

            Don’t be so ignorant.

          • Oh, I forgot, Chavez should be blamed for the economic recession that resulted from opposition attempts to overthrow him. How silly of me!

          • Evidently, GAC, you failed to promote your earlier theory. Now you shoot out another snow job, trying again to fool others. You really should be a travel agent for tours to a parallel universe. By sitting like a toadstool, here, you simply show yourself to be a fool for not even being able to figure out your target market.
            #LowIQ
            #Excusemonger

          • If a government failed to take action against the management of a state-owned enterprise that was blocking its central economic program, they would lose all authority and effectively cease to be the government. Chavez was elected and his authority flows from his popular mandate. It’s him that gets to choose the management, not the management that gets to choose the president. Which is the the right way, as you all found out the hard way.

            Even if you illogically maintain that Chavez was to blame, your argument still has no merit. Whomever was responsible for the oil stoppage, it was only once it was defeated and the opposition were no longer able to sabotage the economy, that the government was able to implement their economic program.

            And after you lost, instead of the economy collapsing as the opposition predicted it would, the precise opposite occurred: it boomed. And Chavez carried on winning elections because he directed the proceeds of that economic growth towards the majority of Venezuelans, and especially the poor. The ordinary Venezuelan seems to have worked that voting for a president who makes his life demonstrably better is quite a smart thing to do.

          • What, the economy didn’t boom. It did worse than Venezuela’s compatriots, despite much more resources being available.

          • Wrong. Starting from 2003 it did BETTER than its neighbors. I’ve linked to the stats. All you have to do is read them. Can you handle that?

          • Yes, but you already pointed out 2003 was a year of artificially low results. So it makes no sense to begin a comparison there. The fact that you insist on it is a tacit admission Chavez was a failure, which I guess is as good as it will get from you.

          • It actually makes perfect sense to begin the comparison there, because it was when the Chavez government was finally able to implement its economic program (and when it began to implement all of the policies you all complain about now).

            It would be inaccurate to include the years of recession as part of Chavez’s economic policies, because the economy was destroyed by opposition attempts to overthrow him.

          • You have no argument, and you know it, that’s why you just respond with short quips and no facts.

          • yes this JC is a cop out , anyone who doesnt know what Chavez was is a complete brain washed exhuman , this is what i see when I see these red shirts , animals plain animals nothing more , no respect for anything except for what they can steal or …………… you should see the tents at the court house in Barceona , they are protesting because they cannot steal the doral beach hotel legally , they were kicked out when they invaded it , now they are living like animals in front of it and no one cares because this is what they are , animals

        • If you believe investors inflation is driven by exchange rate and price controls:
          http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-30/chavez-s-681-bond-returns-buoy-goldman-andes-credit-correct-.html
          http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1152534/venezuela-inflation-pushes-price-used-cars-above-new-ones

          If true the increase in agricultural output is generally to be regarded as positive, but as norskediv points out productivity has actually dropped.

          There is the debt issue to worry about. Perhaps the chinese will help keep the chavernment afloat:
          http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/policy_research/NewBanks.html

          • If one takes the real value of the Bolivar/Dollar today, there is little, if any, improvement in agricultural value added in the Chavez years, and that even assuming that the statistical lies on agricultural production provided by the Ven. Govt. to the WB are true (NOT). Bloggers: trying to argue with GAC, who uses lying Ven. Govt. statistics provided to trusting international organizations (WB, UN, et. al.),which are not sending research teams to Venezuela, is A WASTE OF TIME !

          • The statistics are based on the constant value of US dollars in 2000. So the real value of the Bolivar has nothing to do with it. But thanks for trying NET! You almost made a coherent argument!

          • Poor GAC:”Constant dollars as of Jan., 2013″, before the recent maxi-devaluation, which still has the Bs./$ grossly overvalued, as per the actual Parallel Rate (just 4X or so the recently 6+ rate). Dishonest, much???

          • GAC,
            The fact that Venezuelan production is in Bsf and that the stats are in dollars, introduces huge distortions due to the overvalued official exchange rate and the obscure black market rate. And overvalued Bs artificially increases value in US$, specially as local currency has lost its value in respect to the dollar. Check you math.

            It would be a lot better if you actually explore those same charts in BsF at some constant value. Some of the data is available at the BCV website but there is much more labor to get them presentable.

          • Rodrigo, even if what you are saying is true, it would NEGATIVELY impact productivity, making my argument that productivity has increased even MORE true. Great argument!

          • GAC, you need to work on basic math.

            If Bolivares are overvalued, it will artificially inflate the productivity of a worker producing something valued in Bolivares. This is really, really basic.

          • http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/130318/produccion-privada-de-alimentos-cayo-3-en-2012

            Some choice bits:

            Al comprar las estadísticas del BCV sobre la producción interna de alimentos, se observa que la manufactura del año pasado es 5,02% inferior a la registrada en el año 2008.
            Mientras la producción interna disminuye el consumo avanza a paso redoblado, y la demanda de la población está centrada en bienes prioritarios como los alimentos.

            Compared to 2008, local food production is DOWN.

            El acceso a los insumos y materias primas fue el principal obstáculo que tuvieron que enfrentar las empresas privadas el año pasado.
            La producción nacional fue insuficiente en rubros claves como arroz, maíz y café, y las importaciones dependieron del Estado, que es quien realiza las compras a través de la corporación de Abastecimientos y Servicios Agrícolas (CASA).
            Las trabas en el acceso a las divisas y los cuellos de botella en la liquidación de las mismas también afectaron la reposición de inventarios de las empresas, lo cual tuvo impacto en los niveles de producción. Incluso, por retrasos en pagos a los proveedores internacionales se perdieron líneas de créditos y por ende los despachos.

            El Banco Central reconoció en su informe que lo que sostuvo la producción de alimentos el año pasado fue “la mayor disponibilidad de materias primas e insumos importados”, que “permitieron estimular la actividad productiva de las empresas”.

            So, in order to keep the market supplied, we had to IMPORT FOOD. Awesome!

            Great way to ensure FOOD SOVREIGNTY, let’s IMPORT food yo! More chances for double invoicing and selling $$ on the black market! More GUISO for the Guardia Nacional! YOLO baby! YOLO!!!!!!

          • This article is about food manufacturing, not production. Try again genius. I’d suggest maybe you should start by, oh I don’t know, looking at production statistics, and not some random article from El Universal??

          • “This article is about food manufacturing, not production.”

            So what are you saying, food doesn’t need to be “manufactured”?

            So glad to see all those harina pan trees and vegetable oil vines are doing well.

            Likewise the sugar bag mines.

            I suggest you should, oh I don’t know, get a clue about what’s being discussed, cabeza ‘e ñame.

          • Some food needs to be manufactured. Other food doesn’t. This is not rocket science. But apparently it is too complex for your limited brain capacity.

          • Well, look who discovered tepid water! Congratulations!

            Your brilliance outshines the North Star!

          • By the way, just so you know, when people discuss food production they typically exclude food manufacturing. Food production is measured in the basic agricultural raw materials. Manufactured food is measured under manufacturing output.

          • All of those statistics aren’t really all that impressive considering how much oil money went through the governments hands in these last 14 years, look at Chile or Costa Rica for example, they don’t have an endless river of oil money to spend, yet they managed to outright beat us in several categories. That I think its the greatest tragedy for my country, how we lost the opportunity to become a greater, more prosperous lndfor the sake of one man’s megalomaniac dream. (And yeah some statistic do hurt, specially the ones related to murder, having family members and friends be the numbers on some of those)

          • Exactly, GAC throws all this BS around about the Venezuelan private sector being different than the private sector in every other south American country. But he ignores the fact that Venezuela has invested more money in agricultural than these other countries have even if you include private sector investments. Venezuela put far more oil revenue into agriculture than other countries received FDI, but still lagged behind them.

          • GAC: Re the purported Fedeagro stats posted above do note that in Venezuela agricultural statistics although posted under the Fedeagro name are really Ministerio de Agricultura y Tierra stats which Fedeagro often criticizes as ‘overestimates’ of the actual production but which fearful of the reprisals of a Regime that controls its access to foreign currency needs or to the prices it can charge on its products is careful of not antagonizing openly by pointing out the doctored fake nature of those stats . MAT stats prove nothing but the regimes use of statistical manipulation to further the propaganda goals of the Regime !! There are Fedeagro presentations on symposiums and academic forums where it clearly declares many of those stats doctored or fake.

          • It has been clearly demonstrated huh? Well, then, I’m sure you’ll have no problem “clearly demonstrating” to me how they are false?

            And other organizations like Innoven, or the FAO who also accept MAT’s statistics, they must also be victimes of government doctoring!

            When you don’t like what the statistics say, just claim they are false! Easiest (but most pathetically stupid) trick in the book!

        • ‘Inflation and scarcity are both related to the massive explosion in consumption among the poor in recent years, hardly something which should be seen negatively.’

          In countries where the planning minister actually knows anything about planning, governments don’t implement policies that drastically increase demand without taking precautions to ensure that supply matches demand growth.

          Venezuela, unfortunately, has a government that doesn’t even comprehend basic supply-and-demand issues. That’s why, for instance, we have seen a sharp growth in electricity demand, unaccompanied by a comparable expansion of generation and distribution capacity. Hence, widespread and often lengthy blackouts, which further damage the country’s growth potential and productivity.

          Corpoelec must be one of the few companies in the world that fines its customers for consuming too much of its product. That’s how screwed-up this place is.

          But rest assured: I will feel much better the next time I am engaged in a fruitless search for butter, flour, cooking oil or whatever, knowing that that is really a symptom of how well the country is run.

          • “In countries where the planning minister actually knows anything about planning, governments don’t implement policies that drastically increase demand without taking precautions to ensure that supply matches demand growth.”

            Haha!! This is hilarious. In other words, the government should keep the poor from eating more until they can assure that local production can meet that supply? Sorry poor people! You’ll just have to keep wait!

            “That’s why, for instance, we have seen a sharp growth in electricity demand, unaccompanied by a comparable expansion of generation and distribution capacity.”

            Again, we shouldn’t help the poor increase their purchasing power, and allow them to buy more televisions and air conditioners because that will create blackouts in East Caracas and rich people will miss their soap operas!

            ” Hence, widespread and often lengthy blackouts, which further damage the country’s growth potential and productivity.”

            Funny, because up above I already showed that agricultural productivity has increased more than in any other period in recent history. Do you have statistics that show otherwise?

            “I will feel much better the next time I am engaged in a fruitless search for butter, flour, cooking oil or whatever, knowing that that is really a symptom of how well the country is run.”

            Actually, if you had any social consciousness, you should feel better knowing that the poor are eating better. Or would you prefer to go back to the days when the poor didn’t eat so much? At least that way you’d be able to find your butter when you need it, you selfish piece of shit.

          • Just to make it extremely clear what donacobius is saying here, it basically goes like this:

            “I don’t care if the poor are eating better, and are better off in general, because I can’t find butter and flour!”

          • Donacobius didn’t write any of that, but then again, you’re the guy who’s know for calling people names when they don’t agree with you.

          • GAC, do you know what the term “taking things out of context to make the other person look bad” means? Wait, you do know what it means, you do it so often because you know how flimsy your arguments are.

          • Just because you call it paraphrasing it doesn’t change the fact that you’re still taking what Donacobius said out of context. But hey this is the Internet, you can insult me all you want because I call you on your bullshit, so go ahead, I guess.

          • I didn’t quote anything that donacobius said, so it is impossible to “take it out of context”.

          • Discuss the following arguments:

            1. Blackouts don’t affect the poor. Their only consequence is that rich people’s leisure pursuits are interrupted.
            2. There are no shortages in the barrios. Poor people can find basic foodstuffs whenever they need them, and never have to buy sugar – for instance – from a buhonero at four times the controlled price.
            3. Anyone earning above the median income who complains about blackouts or shortages is by definition a selfish bastard concerned only about the luxuries they’re missing out on.
            4. Venezuela used to have to import foodstuffs like rice, maize and sugar, but after a decade of expropriations is now happily self-sufficient in all these essentials.

            Use only one side of the paper, and if afflicted by uncontrollable fits of hysterical laughter, please try to avoid falling off your chair and hurting yourself.

          • Of course there are also shortages among the poor, but that is irrelevant in light of the fact that they now consume 50 percent more calories per capita than they did in 1998, despite shortages. Same goes for electricity. They consume 20 percent more per capita today than they did in 1998.

            In other words, you are complaining about the side-effects of a drastic reduction in poverty, and the supply problems that were inevitable from that.

            Your argument is just completely irrational, as you say that the poor should have to wait to increase their consumption, and should not eat more until domestic production can increase enough to supply it. Not only is that disgustingly selfish, but its plain stupid.

            I’m sure that if you were the one living in poverty you might think a bit differently, wouldn’t you? But I do feel sorry for you because you can’t find butter and flour. I really do.

          • ‘Your argument is just completely irrational, as you say that the poor should have to wait to increase their consumption, and should not eat more until domestic production can increase enough to supply it. Not only is that disgustingly selfish, but its plain stupid.’

            Yours, GAC, might make more sense had you actually read what I said. I talked about ‘supply’, not about ‘domestic production’. Unlike the government – which insists on using the rather barmy concept of ‘food sovereignty’, I was referring to food security, a vital component of which is a country’s ability to sustain the supply of basic foodstuffs regardless of the vagaries of (in this case) the price of a barrel of oil.

            I did not – and I do not – argue that the poor should simply wait for domestic production to rise in order to obtain enough to eat. But periodic bouts of serious scarcity are symptomatic of an unsustainable food supply policy, as are containers full of rotting food and inflation rates that impede the poorer members of society making sustained progress in their living standards. That’s just poor planning.

            It’s not too hard, even for a government as incompetent as this one, to convert a tenfold increase in the price of oil into a temporary rise in calorie intake for the masses. The test of good government is to translate that into a sustainable rise in living standards. The evidence suggests that Bolivarian ‘socialism’ is an edifice built on sand.

          • I may have to agree that the poor consume 50% more FAT and CARBOHYDRATE calories than before but not protein … leave protein out of it.

          • “I did not – and I do not – argue that the poor should simply wait for domestic production to rise in order to obtain enough to eat.”

            You implied it when you said that the government should have first taken measures to ensure supply matches demand. What you don’t seem to understand is that those measures take a significant amount of time to implement, whereas the poor would like to eat better right now, not several years down the road.

            “But periodic bouts of serious scarcity are symptomatic of an unsustainable food supply policy, as are containers full of rotting food and inflation rates that impede the poorer members of society making sustained progress in their living standards. ”

            No, periodic bouts of scarcity are symptomatic of a demand explosion that the country’s infrastructure wasn’t designed to handle. Local production cannot increase fast enough, the nation’s ports cannot increase imports so drastically, the distribution networks are not adequate. But that has nothing to do with its sustainability.

            As for inflation rates, they were much higher before Chavez, so I’m not sure what your argument is there.

          • GAC, you are lying again. Inflation was not higher before Chavez came into office, it was lower. The year he came into office it was 23% and on a CLEAR DOWNWARD TREND. The year of his death it is 31%+, and it is clearly set to explode.

            You yourself were linked to this picture in another thread.
            http://bit.ly/QOA2Mj

            Secondly, the simple point that I clearly established above is that production increased in Venezuela much less than many other countries, countries with much less invested in agriculture (private or public sector). Sure, consumption increased, but there’s no reason production had to grow at such an anemic rate. And the ability to plan for increased consumption is CLEARLY, CLEARLY something that could have been done over the last FOURTEEN years. That’s donacobius’s point, if a country like Germany can rebuild after WW2 in ten years, Venezuela can account for somewhat increased consumption in fourteen. Chavez’s administration shows quite simply pathetic results.

        • “The solution is to continue to increase local production, which indeed has been what this government has been doing.” HAHAHAHAHA good one …I think you really has to do what you username is , get a clue… because if local production is more imports….yes great…and specially in a petrostate with dutch disease…yes really…get a clue

  8. There’s another key point about the ‘poverty reduction’ story: it was completely arbitrary. If you became the millionth twitter follower, lost your home in a high profile flood or wrote in to El Presidente, you might get a free house. But if you were none of the above your chances of getting help you really needed were limited by your political allegiance, ability to turn out to government rallies and whether there was any money left after your local PSUV benefactors had taken their cut. Chavez gave dreams, for some. And nightmares for many others.

  9. “He gave them (devalued paper) money (which only has real value at overly-subdidized Mercal/gas stations), and made them miserable on the side (highly-inflated prices everywhere else, sadly deficient healthcare, very poor education at all levels, incredible world-leading crime/homicides imposing a de-facto 7 P. M. curfew , country-wide electricity blackouts, generalized barrio water shortage, crumbling infrastructure, insider looting of a once-in-a-lifetime oil price windfall,and coerced/threatened voting against a rational alternative to their misery).”

    • A Marxist’s heart never bleeds for the poor, and certainly not out of charity or compassion! It is not in their universe to have such values or sentiments. Dogmatic Marxists such as Maduro and Castro do find it useful to feed and motivate their future cannon-fodder, and in the context of the PSUV’s Chavez militarization of Venezuela, and putting Cuba’s G2 Jefe, Ramiro Valdes, in charge of intelligence, energy, the military–in effect consolidating industry and the goverment, the country has been primed for a war of aggression, misdirection, and conquest.

  10. Juan, thanks for writing truths that needed to be told in this piece. It really sheds light on the shallow claim that poor Venezuelans are better off because of Chavez. I only wish those who vote for Chavez could actually be convinced of the veracity in the points you emphasize. Truly great piece.

  11. Love your last paragraph, Juan:
    “The poor today have more cash and social services but fewer prospects, less safety and more debt than they did before Chávez came to power. Given the extraordinary income Chávez enjoyed during his tenure, his presidency can probably be characterized as a missed opportunity, a once-in-a-generation chance to permanently improve the lives of the poor that was sadly lost.”

  12. What strikes me most about the Golinger piece you are rebutting is the intense personal connection between her and Chavez. It troubles me she seems incapable of objectively examining Venezuela, decoupling it from the experience of eating arepas with Chavez in a luxurious airbus. It reminds me of those fawning pro-Castro pieces that describe “Fidel, the man” ignoring the basic reality of his ruthless dictatorship.

    Juan, I think you wrote an excellent piece. It troubles me that if it is true that poverty has been reduced, why is it that the crime rate has exploded? Why is it that if demand for basic staples has increased, then supply to fulfill them has not? If Chavez has truly improved the educational system, where are the signs of greater technological and scientific independence?

    The saddest is the deeply flawed leadership style Chavez presented. Rather than creating a sense of national purpose, Chavez divided society into “us” vs “them” (the 44% that voted for Capriles in previous elections, for example). Never once was there an acknowledgement that Venezuelans who opposed him also love their country.

    Chavez leaves us major distortions apart from the ones you highlight. As you point out, truly a “missed opportunity”.

  13. And the other your piece would be read by people in poli science, economics, etc…not in cnn…Gollinger a woman that was not even Venezuelan, only of course by decree!

    • yes he did make cheap arepas in certain parts of the country , just another scam for him for the poor to believe he was worth a f…!!
      I think we should all be glad where he is and concentrate on getting the opposition into power and turn this country around

      lets stop complaining about what he was and be constructive about getting Maduro out and capriles IN , for the love of god

      • I completely agree with you and I apologize for going off topic, its just Bollinger reminded me how much I’d like an arepa con queso, or even better a tequeño.

      • But turning back to serious matters, to get Maduro out you have to address what Chavez’s legacy is all about because as you have heard the chavistas on this forum explain repeatedly, many of them want more of the same.

        As pointed out by JC one challenge is to describe the legacy so that the message doesn’t get lost behind macroeconomic jargon or is easily twisted using false cause-effect arguments. In other words, how to convince people that bad chavernment policy and not the opposition impedes progress.

        The other obvious challenge is identifying and addressing the voters who can be convinced.

        So you have to repeat your message in as many different ways as possible so that different people will grasp it and be convinced by it.

        • yes you are correct indeed , but I see here in venezuela that many people that voted for caprilles before say that they cannot win against Maduro so why try , we need to get a positive attitude , I think there is enough chavistas that will turn so we can win this election

  14. Well, I see GAC showed up to liven things up. And, I must say, he is really on his game, in terms of intensity, volume, and especially the ability to get under your skin.

    • if his game is to look like an ass then yes otherwise he’s very rusty and a bore. The time for his game style was ten years ago…a little late to the party. [We’re going to be leaving the ad-hominem stuff at the door Erik -ed]

  15. the trolls basic rant goes as follows : because the regime spends so much on the poor poverty is down and consumption is way up so that production plus imports cant keep up with demand , the big point being that poverty is down . the way I see poverty its like a disease which manifests itself in symptoms which make a person feel unwell , when you treat the symptoms and make the person feel better they are not cured , its simply that for a while they are freed from the symptons of their disease . What the regime does is spend a lot of money to treat the symptoms of poverty with social programs which are badly administered and have no secure lasting effect because the causes of the disease have not been really tackled and the disease is still there . Curing poverty means giving people the capacity to competently integrate itself into a well run economy capable of giving it the means, the income it needs to assure itself a decent dignitied livehood for the long term , not dependent on the hands outs of an interestedly philantropic but philandering incompetent and corrupt government. In this sense poverty has not dropped , if anything it has increased even though the feeling is that poverty has receded , the actual fact is that people still lack the means and the conditions that allow them to scape it in a lasting secure way . at the same time the government has made a show , a farcical show of doing things to improve poor peoples capacity to overcome poverty , more education , better health care , but in fact the quality of this education and health care is so poor and spotty that it doens change anything , people are still rivetted to poverty even though they are decieved into feeling that because they dont feel their its chains as heavily as before they are freed from them . The purely statistical treatment of poverty misleads us into a false conclusion . that its gone while the truth of the matter is that the conditions being created by the regime make poverty more rooted although for a time more bearable , until the flow of oil income starts spurting out and becomes insufficient to meet all artificially boosted demands.

  16. ok Ed, pero no me borres la info de la casa de Eva Golinger en Miami Beach. My point to GAC is that his former bosses and founders of Venezuelanalysis all live in the US. Eva returned to NYC to give birth and raise her baby. Wilpert returned to teach and run the NYC consulate. What and where is GAC up to? Seems to me he missed the boat.

    Visit AboutUs.org for more information about CHAVEZCODE.COM
    AboutUs: CHAVEZCODE.COM

    Registrant: Make this info private
    Golinger, Eva

    9417 Bay Drive
    Surfside, FL 33154
    US

    • Isn’t that a classic? Like most *revolutionaries*, their allegiance is based on nothing more than a salon exercise. Here’s lil’ Eva denouncing the evils of the empire (US), praising the government of the (late) Hugo Chávez as the end all and be all, and pronouncing with pride her (Mom’s) Venezuelan heritage that she gained only by decree. So what does Eva go and do, when she’s “with child”? She runs to the evil empire to have her baby. Meaning, Venezuela is not good enough for her, personally, or for the future of her child.

      • Another thing … Since Eva is really an American citizen pretending to be more Venezuelan than the Venezuelans, her baby would automatically be entitled to American citizenship, by virtue of his/her Mom’s nationality, no matter where that baby was born. That Eva chose the evil empire to deliver and raise her child tells me doubly so, that her commitment to Venezuela was a sham, was only part of Eva’s excellent little adventure.
        Another phoney ….another delusional …

  17. Write to your elected US Reps about Eva’s endorsements of overthrowing the USA by any convenient means. Has she registered as an agent of a hostile foreign power? Has she correctly paid taxesonthe $3.5 plus she has been paid by the Cubazuelan government and its’ proxies?the $3.5 mil was paid there for work mostly performed here, so she can’t compliantly claim it was expat income…and itw as forthe sortof anti-American tripe she spews, plus her networkign with fringe groups and her organizing Bolivarian Circles here. one of my nephews was mugged by members of a Bolivarian Circle in Valencia last week in a paramilitary police barrack for exercising peacefully and politely his right to have his vote counted. For fometing all of this (big) brotherly love and Boliwashing it, we need to make sure Eva gets equal access to justice, not hefty CCN paychecks.

  18. Well, friends, Eva Golinger has gone and done it again! Just when I expected the depths of Anti-American Yellow Journalism had been plumbed, that the pandering was finished, Eva has been busy wallpapering her blog and other places that recirculate her spew with Allegations that American Hostage Tim Tracy is an Intelligence Operative of El Imperio. Talk about being retro, it sounds like vintage Fidel, ca. 1960 something!

    Now, whether Eva is correct, or if she is not, (and my money is definitely on NOT, after all, she is the Princess of Lies, half-truths, evasions, glittering generalities, fabrications, innuendo, distortions, exaggeration, to name only a few of her renowned journalistic techniques), your acts have certain consequences.

    The consequences of Eva’s hate speech here is mortal danger for Mr. Tracy, and for any others of whatever nationality that Maburro and company wish to accuse of espionage, sabotage, or of simply telling the truth! Eva has given substantial facial support in writing and verbally to the arrest, imprisonment, and abuse of Mr. Tracy. You all know how it is in Linda Blair’s carcels. Which Pran is on the case, here?

    The legal theory Eva has most violated here is the United States’ Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (Pub.L. 97–200, 50 U.S.C. §§ 421–426). It applies whether Mr. Tracy is an operative or not, because Eva has stirred up a witch hunt and motivated the Chavistas to go on the rampage and lay hands upon any convenient American citizen or resident they choose.

    Mr. Tracy has been deprived of his liberty, his livelihood, his reputation. He is suffering in captivity, his health and life are endangered. Eva, it is so typical of the nouveau riche to have not a care for the welfare and health of those they injure as they float to the top of the Ty-d-bol! And you are certainly one of the nouveau riche! Your depraved indifference to MR. Tracy’s well-being and safety speaks for itself! Think of how his family and loved ones suffer. It seems, your mother did not impart these redeeming value to you in your childhood. Well, you’ll have a lot of time out to think things over if you ever come back stateside, please come soon!

  19. since luminaries such as the non-civilian “Get A Clue/GAC” have chosen to display their lack of comprehension of basic macro-economics here, I must testify to this truth. Domestic production of nearly all industrial and agricultural products is less than one half what it was before Chavez reign.
    Chavez threw a lot of money at projects aimed at “national food sovereignity.” Any country with significant capacity and the means to get it done ought to be able to feed itself. A couple of types of “misiones” and some cooperatives were funded. Most never became more than holes in the ground, because Chavez’s bureaucrats looted the resources, like his Socialist Utopia Cities, for example, Caribia. Chávez hired CUBAN engineering companies and technical advice from Belarus, a former Soviet republic that Carrizales, the housing minister, was officially quoted as saying has “much experience in agro-industrial cities.” Sure, like it has experience with the pink chicken in formaldehyde that Chavez imported. And, look at Cuban infrastructure…they couldn’t find VENEZUELAN developers, architects, and engineers?

    Among the cooperatives were those established to grant expropriated land to campesinos, in theory, this fallow land would be put back into production by families in the small cooperatives. Well, the land was fallow for a reason— it needed to rest and become refreshed! And the campesinos had no means to get seeds, tools, fertilizers– nobody thought things through to that level of detail. So, much of the land, in areas such as Barinas was escheated to persons who had established cooperatives and who had the money to buy all of the necessities, such as Chavez’s mother, brothers. in the same way, his daughters became owners of commericial edifices that had been expropriated and converted into residential flop-houses.

    Increased domestic production? that one requires some thought and triangulation–with actual case histories, with facts.

    A family I know owned and operated an old and very successful culinary oil company. It competed with companies in Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador…until Chavez threatened to expropriate. his lackeys then bought the company up for a few cents on the dollar (or the Euro). So, did it then become a cooperative worker’s paradise? Well, PSUV sycophants were installed to manage the operation at huge salaries. And, due to ALBA, Mercosur, and other entangling convenia, the plants’ production had to be suspended, in order to guarantee success for owners and workers in Argentina, Brazil, etc.. As in this instance, so in hundreds of others. What is going on with ceramics in Valencia, at the former Owens Illinois fabrica? At Bundy SA? Make a list, document it all. Then, crunch the numbers. Venezuela’s loss is in direct proportion to the gain of other nations, in general, the most shiftless work forces on the continent were rewarded for ideological purity while Venezuela has been punished for being productive, and for taking care of itself! If you aggregate their “gains,” and subtract the absolute value of your loss in GDP and GPP, you establish identity! Then, there is the parasitic Cuban factor, feeding on its’ colony Venezuela like a mega-leech!

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