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Marc Cooper on Hugo Chavez

Posted on Oct 11, 2007
AP Photo / Victor R. Caivano

Editor’s Note: Marc Cooper, a former translator for Chile’s Salvador Allende reviews three books evaluating the remarkable rise of Venezuela’s irrepressible Hugo Chavez.
Truthdig Classics: Read Marc Cooper’s Dig, “The Big Blowup Over Venezuela,” and listen to Robert Scheer’s interview with Sharmini Peries, who served as an adviser to Hugo Chavez.

By Marc Cooper

(Page 2)

Indeed, Jones bookends his narrative with a write-up of two prolonged, late-night personal encounters with Chavez during which he, quite obviously, succumbs to the president’s legendary charisma and magnetism. There are a few too many fawning references to “El Comandante” in those passages for my taste—reading eerily similar to the writings of those who were seduced by Castro in those famous all-night marathon interviews in the 1960s and 1970s only to find, later, that Comandante Castro would personally hold power for a full half-century. Funny, isn’t it, how regimes that claim to be building a nation of new socialist men can find only one man worthy of actually ruling.

      Nary a trace of that deference to Chavez can be found in “Hugo Chavez: The Definitive Biography of Venezuela’s Controversial President,” published by Random House. Venezuelan journalists Christina Marcano and Alberto Barrera Tyszka do all they can, and only fairly well, to conceal their palpable contempt for their subject. Translated from the original Spanish-language edition, the biography carries an introduction by economist Moises Naim, who served as a Venezuelan Cabinet member during the 1990s. It was Naim’s austerity policies that helped spark the deadliest mass uprising in Venezuelan history and provided rocket fuel for the eventual rise of Chavez.


book cover




By Bart Jones


Steerforth, 568 pages


Buy the book

book cover


Changing Venezuela


By Gregory Wilpert


Verso, 352 pages


Buy the book

book cover


Hugo Chavez


By Cristina Marcano and Alberto Barrera Tyszka


Random House, 352 pages


Buy the book

      No wonder, then, that this particular account of Chavez’s life conveniently omits any mention of the Caracazo riots that cost hundreds of lives, discredited the ruling political class, and cleared the way for Chavez. Indeed, any characterization of Chavez’s opposition and its sometimes excessively exuberant dismissal of the needs of the poor, or of democracy itself, has been as much as airbrushed out of this volume. To be sure, the authors take a few stabs at evenhandedness, as in this description of the open warfare that sizzles between Chavez—who can often spend three, four or seven hours at a time on state TV—and the rest of the opposition-led media: “[Venezuela] is a country that it is intoxicated, overinformed, saturated by the manner in which one single story is told over and over again, subjected to the most endless and exhausting media diatribes. In the middle of this cross fire, the everyday citizen ends up in the worst position of all. ... On several occasions, the media associated with the opposition have made the mistake of disseminating information that was later discovered to be false. ... The state-run media, on the other hand, have become veritable propaganda brigades that seem willing to stop at nothing in their defense of the president.”

      So much for the he-said/she-said portion of this book, the remaining bulk of which is devoted to a one-sided but nevertheless revealing and often quite amusing rundown of the foibles and follies of El Comandante. Chavez wasn’t interviewed for this book nor were any of his current (as opposed to former) supporters, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some valuable baubles to be sorted through. For example, just how much government function Chavez has turned over to the military is eye-opening. The authors report that by four years into his tenure Chavez had a military man as vice president as well as the heads of several ministries, the national oil company, the national network of gasoline distributors, the customs office, several major banks, and many key transport, telecom, and broadcast agencies. Military officers also sit as governors of several Venezuelan states as well as members of Congress and as officials of his governing political party.

      Unfortunately, the authors are more interested in Chavez’s ex-wives and girlfriends, his recently acquired taste for Brioni and Gucci, the inordinate amount of time he spends globetrotting (more than you can imagine) and the painfully precise totaling up of how much time he spends in front of TV cameras. That two U.S. administrations might have embarked on crusades to undermine him and other, thornier parts of the Chavez story pretty much go missing. However, the Washington-phile authors do offer an implicit warning that the overtly hostile U.S. policy toward Chavez might be counterproductive. When Chavez first came into power in 1998, say the authors, the Clinton administration “misread” him and failed to sufficiently co-opt him. There’s a similar suggestion that the Bush administration’s “indifference” (itself a gross understatement) to the failed 2002 coup against Chavez cost American credibility and only strengthened Chavez’s hand.

      If your tastes run to reading through 300 pages brimming with phrases like “the dialectic of counter-revolution and radicalization,” then Gregory Wilpert’s “Changing Venezuela by Taking Power: The History and Policies of the Chavez Government,” published by Verso, might be your preferred selection among the latest Chavez biographies. If there’s going to be a Lincoln Steffens of the Bolivarian Revolution, it’s Wilpert. A former Fulbright scholar who has lived in Caracas through much of the Chavez period, Wilpert has become one of the most prolific of American admirers of El Comandante. After voicing a few doubts about the immediate course of Chavez’s project, Wilpert affirms he has seen the red-tinged future: “Venezuela’s Bolivarian ...Socialist project remains one of the best beacons of hope for a newly reinvigorated left in Latin America,” he writes. “As the Chavez government moves forward and experiments and sometimes stumbles with new forms of politico-economic organization, it leads by example and provides inspiration that a better world is indeed possible.”

      Wilpert does a dutiful, albeit tedious, job of systematically exploring and mostly praising every aspect of Chavez’s economic, social, political, and foreign policy. But gingerly tap-dance as he might around some inconvenient truths, even a misty-eyed Wilpert can’t fully avoid pointing to what he calls the “internal obstacles” facing the future of Chavismo: “the persistence of a patronage culture, the nearly complete dependence of the Bolivarian movement on Chavez, and Chavez’s own top-down governance.” Translation: massive corruption and a slide toward one-man rule.

      After a comfortable re-election at the end of last year, Chavez kicked off 2007 with a bang, announcing both a radicalization of his program and a further concentration of his personal power. Given their publishing deadlines, this trio of biographies, then, could only summarily touch upon what might easily become landmark events in Venezuelan history.  With a two-story-high inflatable float of his image rolled into a central plaza, Chavez asked the National Assembly to grant him power to legislate in 11 key areas by simple presidential decree as well as demanding that the two-term limit on the presidency be lifted. After the opposition stupidly boycotted the last election, leaving 100 percent of the Assembly seats in pro-Chavez hands, El Comandante will be granted his wishes, opening the way for him to fulfill his vow to stay in power until least 2021.

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By jose, May 12, 2009 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

just a blaind person can’t see a evil in Chaves eyes soon or later he will start to kill his own people and everyone who’s in his side will be responsable to

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By marimbadearco, November 10, 2007 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As many have pointed out, especially in the first few posts, Marc Cooper’s conservative, if not plain right-wing politics in regard to anything Venezuelan is clear.  And regrettable, almost inexplicable for this TruthDig site that has so much positive and politically progressive posts and news reports.
So: Editors of TruthDig.  Why do you continue to have Marc Cooper write for you, especially on Venezuela?

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By cann4ing, October 25, 2007 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

More on the “Voice’s” Center for Security Policy.  Amongst those associateed with it are Richard Perle, Adm. James Woolsey, Elliott Abrams, Frank Gafney, Douglas Feif & Dov Zaheim—many of who were associate with Iran/Contra.  Perle and Feif were at the center of the WMD canard used to justify the invasion of Iraq.  All are neoconservatives.  None can be considered a reliable source for what transpires in Venezuela—certainly not an unbiased and independent role given past U.S. complicity in the 2002 coup that sought to topple Chavez.  Indeed, anything emanating from a think tank comprised of individuals with a known track record for duplicity should be considered as propaganda absent had and convincing evidence verified by independent sources.

On the other hand, the OAS and the Carter Center had no personal stake in the outcome.  They had independent election monitors in place.  So no voice, it isn’t simply a question of choosing a source based on one’s ideological predilections but instead turns on objective analysis as to which source given its track record is reliable and which is not.

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By cann4ing, October 25, 2007 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

The truth is that the unsubstantiated “allegations” directed against Hugo Chavez regarding supposed electoral fraud and murder are the product of the same type of official duplicity played out through the corporate media that were the topic of “Manufacturing Consent”—a classic academic study of media performance as it relates to the disparity of coverage in U.S. client states and adversaries by Professors Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky.

One of the disparate coverage issues covered at length by “Manufacturing Consent” is media treatment during the 1980s in Guatamala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.  Herman/Chomsky note that among the “basic parameters” for “meaningful elections” are “(1) freedom of speech and assembly; (2) freedom of press; (3) freedom to organize and maintain intermediate economic, social and political groups…; (4) freedom to form political parties, put forward candidates, and campaign without fear of extreme violence, and (5) the absence of state terror and a climate of fear among the public.”  Their exhaustive study reveals these “basic parameters” did not exist in either El Salvador or Guatamala.

“In El Salvador, the only substantial newspapers critical of the government…were closed in July 1980 & Jan. 1981…, the first because its top editors and two employees were murdered and mutilated by the security forces, the second because the army arrested its personnel….An intensified campaign against the press occurred just prior to the 1982 election.  On March 10, a death list of thirty-five journalists was circulated…and on March 18 the mutilated bodies of four Dutch journalists were recovered….In Guatemala, forty-eight journalists were murdered between 1978 and 1985…”  In the two years preceding the March 1982 election in El Salvador, private organizations, teacher’s unions, student organizations, professional groups and the peasant union were “decimated” through the a the arrest and murder of their members.  In Guatamala, such intermediate organizations had been “regularly attacked by the armed forces since 1954.”  In El Salvador, the military drove the left leaning Democratic Front (FDR) underground in 1980 by arresting, torturing, multilating and then murdering five of its top leaders.  Scores of the moderate Christian Democrats were murdered between 1980 and 1984, and no candidate or party was permitted to run on a platform which called for an end to the military’s war with the FMLN.

Despite the fact that, in both these client states, voting was required by law, with the fearful populace obliged to have ID cards signed, establishing the fact they voted, the corporate media, including Dan Rather, asserted these elections were “legitimizing” evidence of “fledgling democracies.”  The large voter turn out was cited as evidence of “the triumphs of democratic choice.”

By contrast, electoral conditions in Nicaragua, as verified by independent observers, were remarkably fair, especially when placed in the context of the ongoing Contra war. Yet Herman/Chomsky demonstrate how, time and again, the U.S. mass media denigrated the validty of the Nicaraguan election and described its outcome as a sham.  In all three instances, the media uncritically relied upon Reagan administration sources as it either ignored or denigrated information emanating from human rights organizations and independent election observers.

Yeah, Voice, I know you want to limit matters to the unfounded charges against Chavez, but the people you rely upon have a history, and those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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By mdruss42, October 25, 2007 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

Voice, AI was talking, in the 2003, report, about the same killings and woundings that we discussed esrlier and that the author of the film used by the TV stations to “prove” that the supporters of Chavez were the perps, was a composit made to show something that never occurred.
So, while AI could say that these things took place in Venezuela, it would be difficult to “lay them at Chavez’s door. Is it George Bush’s fault when the police force of a big city committs some of their favorite crimes?

It is obvious that there is an effort to villify this man, but there has to be much more evidence that he means to rule as a dictator and is willing to litter the streets with bodies. It is not there, Voice. The people of Venezuela have elected this man repeatedly and are happy with his governance. The only reason for the USA to have anything to say is the oil in his country…control of the oil in his country.

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By voice of truth, October 25, 2007 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

MD, at least I did see what you were trying to point out, so even you folks have to say that I am not a complete idiot!

I actually lived in Broward County in 2000, so had a ringside seat.  The whole thing was just ridiculous, all around.  And as I stated regarding the Chavez stuff (you know, what this whole thread is supposed to be about), there were just as many cases of Gore supporters pulling some less than above-board actions.  I know, because I was there.

Anyway, at least we have all agreed that Amnesty International did, in fact, lay out a large of number of human rights abuses at the feet of Hugo Chavez. smile

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By mdruss42, October 25, 2007 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

No disagreement here….I was merely showing part of the NYT article Voice cited and commenting on it. Even their article saying that the election was not stolen said it wasn’t, but maybe it could have been, but then, again, maybe if you twisted it this way, it wasn’t. It did not mention the stripped voter rolls.

I looked back, sorry, I did not make it clear.

I have family in North Central Florida and the county I was raised in was one of only 2 or 3 who actually refused to carry out the orders from Gov Bush through Ms Harris, because they were illegal. It was one of the Valentines, I think, who was the election official, and she flat refused to do the removals from the voter rolls as she was ordered. There were also carloads of ballots traveling all over the state illegally, to make a recount impossible.

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By cann4ing, October 25, 2007 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

mdruss42:  For once you and I will have to agree to disagree.  The evidence is overwhelming.  It not only entails that which I previously cited, by issues of voter intimidation etc. Gore actually won Florida by huge numbers.  As someone who has practiced law for more than 30 years, I can tell you that the legal theory adopted by the narrow 5 member majority in Bush v. Gore was not merely unsound, but such a stretch that the majority took pains to note that its decision should not be regarded as a precedent in equal protection law.  This was a coup, both at the level of the Bush/Cheney campaign’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering before, during and after the election and in our nation’s highest court.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 25, 2007 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would NEVER tell anyone what they should discuss, and what they should not discuss. BUT

I do have two little four-year-olds running around, saying “yes you did, no you didn’t” about stuff that happened, past, and was done last week.

One would hope for a bit more maturity as the ages rise.  BUT as I said…ramble on about the 2000 election, and the 2004 election, and before you know it…. another election will have been lightly contested by one of the sides, this time in Missouri, or Wisconsin.

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By mdruss42, October 25, 2007 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

Contrary to what many partisans of former Vice President Al Gore have charged, the United States Supreme Court did not award an election to Mr. Bush that otherwise would have been won by Mr. Gore. A close examination of the ballots found that Mr. Bush would have retained a slender margin over Mr. Gore if the Florida court’s order to recount more than 43,000 ballots had not been reversed by the United States Supreme Court.

looking at a broader group of rejected ballots than those covered in the court decisions, 175,010 in all, found that Mr. Gore might have won if the courts had ordered a full statewide recount of all the rejected ballots. This also assumes that county canvassing boards would have reached the same conclusions about the disputed ballots that the consortium’s independent observers did. The findings indicate that Mr. Gore might have eked out a victory if he had pursued in court a course like the one he publicly advocated when he called on the state to ‘‘count all the votes.’’

Then it went on to say that if this had happened or that had happened then this or that might have taken place…....not one word about the stripping of the voter roles, something I know a bit about as the person in charge of elections in the county I was raised in refused Gov Bushs orders thru Ms Harris to strip the rolls because she said what they had ordered was illegal.

Now mealy mouthed playing with numbers may satisfy you but I am teaching myself to recognize BS in all it’s forms…...I hope.

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By cann4ing, October 25, 2007 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

The exit-polls for the 2004 were conducted by Warren Mitofsky, who had been involved in literally thousands of exit-polls both within the U.S. and internationally since the first exit-poll was performed in 1964.  As explained by Freeman/Bleifuss, the difference between exit polls (conducted as citizens are exiting the polls) and pre-election polls is like the difference between predicting the level of snowfall a week in advance and estimating the amount of snowfall by scientifically placed measurements on the day of the storm.  They are considered so reliable that our own government cites them when determining whether there has been fraud in a foreign election.

Freeman/Bleifuss do point to significant exit-poll discrepances in the 1988 and 1992 presidential elections, Florida 2000 and in the Republican presidential primaries in New Hampshire 1992 & Arizona 1996.  In each of these six cases of exit-poll discrepancies, “the official count benefited the Republican mainstream candidate…And, remarkably, in five out of the six elections; the candidate whose official numbers far exceeded exit-poll results was named George Bush.”

Statistics tell a remarkable story.  During the 2004 presidental election, in “ten of the eleven battleground states there was a shift—that is, the official county differed from the exit-poll results—and in all ten the shift favored Bush.”  Freeman/Bleifuss place the odds of that happening as one in 1,024.  The discrepancies were especially acute in the key battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania & Florida where the shifts in favor of Bush were 4.9%, 6.7% & 6.5%.  “Assuming these state exit-polls had no systematic bias, the likelihood of three such statistical anomalies…occuring together and all favoring the incumbent, Bush, is about one in 660,000”—statistics which render it “impossible that the discrepancies” in these three states “could have been due to chance or random error.”

Voice asks how the topic shifted to the Florida 2000 election.  May I remind you, Voice, that it was you and your Bush-supporting right wing think tank Center for Security Policy who began banding about your unsupported allegations of fraud in the Venezuelan 2004 election, when those truly focused on the “security” of our constitutional democracy should be more concerned with electoral fraud right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.  Put another way, given the symbiotic relationship between those within the Center for Security Policy and the Bush regime, People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

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By cann4ing, October 25, 2007 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

“Voice” typfies the lack of critical insight and analysis of most right-wing posters.  He or she has been sold on the canard that the New York Times is part of a “liberal” media.  Therefore, any article printed in the Times favorable to any point the right wishes to argue must be true—a rather curious position given the role played by Judith Miller and the New York Times in providing a megaphone for the administration’s WMD canards in the run up to the war in Iraq.

As Freeman & Bleifuss note in “Was the 2004 election stolen?” when “harris certified a 537-vote victory for George Bush…175,010 Election Day ballots were uncounted.”  These consisted of both undervotes and overvotes. “The uncounted ballots have since been analyzed indepently, most thoroughly by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), a nonprofit researech group based at the University of Chicago.  The NORC data reveals that despite all the legally and illegally disenfranchised voters, and despite the other obstacles faced by Democrating voters, including the butterfly ballot and blockades, Gore would not only have won, but would have done so by a large margin, almost 50,000 votes.”

Prof. Freeman notes, that the “reason so few people know the degree to which the failure to count the votes distorted the official certification numbers is that politicians, litigants, and the press incorrectly focused exclusively on…undervotes…in particular, punched chads…”  The original ballot study by the Miami Herald, the source of Voice’s NY Times article, was limited to the 10,000 Miami-Dade undervotes.  It determined that Gore would have picked up only 49 votes.  A subsequent hand recount of the undercounted ballots in Palm Beach by the Palm Beach Post, however, revealed that Gore’s net gain from the undercount was 682, which would have produced a narrow victory for Gore.

The bigger problem is that even the 50,000 Gore victory produced by the more thorough NORC study does not provide an adequate explanation as to why the exit-poll (and exit-polls are almost never wrong) showed a much larger Gore victory—in the neighborhood of 435,000 votes or 7.3%.  The explanation for the much larger gap in all probability lies in the vote rigging capabilities of electronic voting, though the matter was never subjected to the level of rigorous study that was afforded for the 2004 vote. 

(More about that in my next post).

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By voice of truth, October 25, 2007 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Here is the actual NYT reporting of the recount, as opposed to Krugman’s OPINION column.

Again, sorry.  Next?

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By voice of truth, October 25, 2007 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Sorry, the NYT SPECIFICALLY has denied the accuracy of Krugman’s article, and has even forced him to print a retraction.  In fact, in his first retraction he tried to get around actually saying he was wrong and misleading, but the NYT made him print another one!

“Our long-running campaign to get Paul Krugman to retract the lie in his August 19 New York Times column about the 2000 Florida presidential election has succeeded beyond our wildest expectations. Not only was the correction finally made in print in Sunday’s Times, the “newspaper of record” also announced the imposition of a new and more rigorous corrections policy for the entire Times editorial page. “

Also, and you really need to understand this, Krugman is an Opinion columnist.


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By mdruss42, October 25, 2007 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

Results…..NYT, NOV, 2000

Florida Campaigns


of vote
counted George W. Bush
DEMOCRAT Gore Bush Not
FLORIDA 100% 2,911,872 (49%) 2,910,942 (49%) ..

Quietly Florida Admits 2000 Election Fraud
By The Associated Press
April 26, 2002 | Filed at 10:17 p.m. ET

MIAMI (AP)—A federal judge has approved a settlement between Leon County and civil rights groups that sued over widespread voting problems in the 2000 presidential election in Florida…..

This from Paul Krugman who writes for the NYT…
In his recent book “Steal This Vote” - a very judicious work, despite its title - Andrew Gumbel, a U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, provides the best overview I’ve seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: “Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election.”

Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida’s ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Gore. This was true despite a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely Gore votes, most notably Harris’s “felon purge,” which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters

Maybe it is a different NYT than the one you read.

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By mdruss42, October 25, 2007 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

Amnesty International, 2003…Economic, social and political tensions led to an indefinite national strike on 9 April by supporters of the opposition movement demanding the immediate resignation of President Chávez. On 11 April a mass opposition demonstration converging on the presidential palace met pro-Chávez demonstrators in downtown Caracas. Demonstrators, the Metropolitan Police and the National Guard clashed and there were heavy exchanges of gunfire. Twenty people died from gunshot wounds and over 60 were injured. The ensuing crisis led to President Chávez’ removal from office and detention by the military. A de facto joint civilian-military administration was established under the opposition leader Pedro Carmona, head of Fedecamaras, the employers’ association. The de facto government issued draconian decrees, including the closure of the National Assembly and the summary dismissal of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General and the Human Rights Ombudsman. Police carried out raids on a number of homes of supporters of President Chávez. Among those arbitrarily detained were a minister and a National Assembly deputy.

There was widespread condemnation of the unconstitutional and summary removal of President Chávez, the illegal detention of his supporters, and the arbitrary powers assumed by the de facto government. On 14 April the new government resigned and President Chávez was reinstated. The civil disturbance during these four days left at least 50 people dead and many more wounded. The government and opposition accused each other of instigating the violence for political advantage…....

Compare the 2007 Venezuela and USA reports and Venezuela comes off as a much safer place to live and the report on the USA did not even try to list all the cases of torture, ill-treatment, and death by the various policing agencies in the USA. I remember a Houston cop named Scheirhart(?) shooting Byron Gilliam in the back 6 or 8 times while Mr Gilliam was trying to crawl out the window on the passenger side…..Said he stopped Mr G because he ” suspected he was not wearing his seatbelt”. This man had a long history of hatred and violence against blacks. Last I heard he was a cop in another town. That is one of many, many I knew of in Texas and Louisiana and was told by a lawyer in La that you could not even get cases like that into court. True, this is a few years ago, but the news since tells me that there has been no change.

My Grandma always told me to “Clean up around your own back door before you start talking about your neighbor’s”. Seems apt to me.

And if you do not think election fraud is something to be alarmed about, why were you citing possible fraud in Venezuela as a crime?

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By voice of truth, October 25, 2007 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

All this proves is that we can both come up with what we believe are credible sources to support our claims.  You say tomato, I say tomato (doesn’t come across the same in print!!).

What about the Human Right’s Violations reported by Amnesty International?  Are they a Republican mouthpiece organization?

Finally, how in the world did this chain devolve into whining about the 2000 US election?  Get over it.  Even the NY Times admits that when they counted all the votes, Bush won in Florida.  blah blah blah.

As a Red Sox fan since birth, I can empathize with the agonizing over “what-ifs”!

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By mdruss42, October 25, 2007 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

The social explosion, known as the Caracazo, finally came on February 27, 1989, when riots erupted in Caracas against a dramatic increase in bus fares, driven by fuel costs, and by the massive hoarding by supermarkets in anticipation that the government would authorize price increases in regulated food items. The AD government of Carlos Andrés Pérez—who had been returned to office on a populist platform, only to embrace new IMF “adjustments”—ordered the military to clear the streets. Thousands were killed by the repression.19 A state that had been held up as the model for Latin American democracy turned out to be as vicious as any.
find entire article…WHERE IS VENEZUELA GOING? at..

It would be intresting to lood at the newspapers for 1989 and see if we here in the USA were concerned about a government that we backed killig 300 to 1000 people in the streets of Caracas.

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By cann4ing, October 24, 2007 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment

mdruss42, after going back and reading the earlier posts of our so-called “voice of truth” I thought I would re-examine his claims of vote fraud in the 2004 Venezuelan referendum and his supposed source for all truth, the Center for Security Policy. 

First, it is interesting to note that all pre-election polling data was pretty consistent with the outcome—where Chavez received 58% of the vote.  This was the eighth time that Chavez’s mandate had been approved by Venezuelan citizens at the polls since 1988.

Immediately after the vote, the Venezuelan opposition—the same CIA backed parties who had been involved in the 2002 coup plot, asserted that the election was marred by fraud.  These claims were not only rejected by the Carter Center but also by Cesar Gavira, head of the Organization of American States, who said that election monitors found no evidence of fraud.  On Aug. 19, 2004 Democracy Now reported that this same opposition, supposedly so concerned with fraud, decided to boycott the ensuing election audit—not a very convincing tactic by those who allege widespread fraud, especially given that all Venezuelan optical scanners have a paper trail which could be examined.

I was curious about this Center for Security Policy, so I looked it up.  It describes itself as a “non-profit national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security.”  While it describes itself as non-partisan, it has all the earmarks of a neocon think tank.  It touts its sucess since its founding in 1988 “in the establishment of successful national security policies through the use of all elements of national power.”  Its web site contains an attack on the Move On “Betray Us” ad.  Its board of directors reads like a who’s who of the military-industrial complex, including a retired general and a former VP of the Strategic Integration & Operations Missile Defense Systems at Boeing.

One has to ask, how does the electoral process in Venezuela bring about the intervention of a non-profit organization which proclaims to only exist for the purpose of ensuring the security of the U.S.  Answer:  In the neocon world view, the “security” of the U.S. equates to a world wide U.S. hegemony that prevents the rise of any competing system—even if that system in no way constitutions a “military” threat to the U.S. 

Hmmm, considering the manner in which the covert branches of the U.S. government have always acted through such non-profit front organizations to destabilize any government which resists U.S. imperial domination, I have some trouble accepting the veracity of the post we received from the “voice of truth”—a rather Orwellian title given the content of his or her message.  I think independent entities like the Carter Center and the O.A.S. are far preferable as election observers than the rantings of a right-wing think tank.

Sorry, Voice, but at a site called “Truth"dig, that is precisely what we do.  Dig for the Truth, rather than simply accept it from some disembodied “voice.”

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By cann4ing, October 24, 2007 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

mdruss44:  I am not certain what the Center for Security Policy has to say about the 2000 and 2004 elections.  I do not why the Carter Center will not monitor any U.S. elections.  As President Carter explained, “The American political system wouldn’t measure up to any sort of international standards….”  Those standards require a “nonpartisan electoral commission or a trusted and non partisan official who will be responsible for organizing and conducting the electoral process before, during, and after the actual voting takes place…, uniformity of voting procedures, so that all citizens regardless of their social or financial status, have equal assurance that their votes are cast in the same way and will be tabulated with equal accuracy.”  To this I would add that above all elese, electoral integrity requires transparency and a means for independent observers to verify not only the equal opportunity for democratic participation but that every vote lawfully cast is duly counted.

Consider the 2000 fiasco in Florida where Voter News Service exit polls had Gore winning by a whopping 7.3% margin.  Instead of a nonpartisal electoral commission, the process before, during, and after the vote was in the hands of a governor who just happened to be the Republican candidate’s brother and a Secretary of State who contemporaneously served as co-chair of the Bush/Cheney campaign, a dual role Ohio Sec. of State Ken Blackwell would take on four years later.  Where the Carter Center international standards call for a uniformity of voting and vote counting procedures,  Florida had a crazy patchwork quilt of disparate voting systems, where people of color living in impoverished counties voted on obsolete equipment which ensured a significant reduction in the number of lawful votes cast that would actually be counted.  Both affluent and mostly white Tallahassee Countee and impoverished and mostly black Gadsden County voted on optical scanners.  In Gadsden one in every 12 votes was spoiled”—discarded without being counted either because of an “undervote,” where no vote was recorded for President, or an “overvote,” where the scanner read more than one vote for President.  Tallahassee did not lose a single vote.  The difference, as explained by Greg Palast, is that in impoverished and mostly black Gadsden, any stray mark and the vote was trashed, but make the same stray mark in affluent and mostly white Tallahassee and “zap!—the ballot returns to the voter.”  As Prof. Freeman & Joel Bleifuss note in “Was the 2004 election stolen?” “Counties and precincts more likely to support Bush disproportionately had technologies where errors would be brought to voters attention so that they could be corrected and votes counted.  Counties and precincts with large African American populations…had technologies where ballots would predictably go uncounted.  The U.S. Commission of Civil Rights…study concludes that although blacks made up 11% of Florida’s voting population, they cast 54% of the uncounted ballots.”

Then, of course, there was the bogus felon purge list created by Katherine Harris and Choice Point to illegally purge more than 83,000 innocent African Americans from Florida’s computerized eligible voter rolls; the Brooks Brothers riot when Republican Congressional staffers did their best imitation of Nazi brownshirts by banging on the glass doors, screaming and roughing up workers at the Miami/Dade Canvasing Board as John Bolton barged in and successfully demanded an immediate halt to the recount.  It never started up again.

Yeah, I think bloodless coup pretty much sums up what transpired in 2000.

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By mdruss42, October 24, 2007 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

This might intrest you, voice of truth…
A speech entitled MR DANGER AND SOCIALISM FOR THE NEW MILLENIUM at the Walter Gordon/Massey Symposium at the U of Toronto, by Maria Páez Victor who was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She has taught health and environmental policies at York and the University of Toronto.
“The bedrock of the Venezuelan government is its Constitution, created by an elected constitutional assembly, with widespread public consultation and ratified in a referendum.  Lauded as the most progressive constitution in Latin America, it has some elements that make it unique in the world.[49]  It guarantees the rights of women as well as children; full rights over land, culture, and language to Aboriginal peoples, includes environmental rights, and enshrines public participation.  It also guarantees social human rights such as the right to health care, education, work, and food.  And thus, it has given the state a role not just as guardian, but also as a promoter of civic and social rights.  It is unique in that it recognizes the right of housewives to social benefits, it specifically uses both female and male nouns and pronouns thereby asserting the active role of women, and it gives constitutional parity to all international human rights treaties signed by Venezuela
This is the very same Constitution that the leaders of the 2002 coup suspended with the support of President Bush.
No government is perfect, certainly not one like Venezuela’s that has inherited a weak, inefficient state bureaucracy, which is battling underdevelopment, which is struggling to maintain the rule of law amidst a culture of corruption and where key and powerful elements of civil society are anti-democratic and are backed by the powerful US superpower. [50] Nevertheless, government of President Chávez has not once suspended constitutional guarantees despite extreme provocation of a coup d’etat, irresponsible media calls to violence and racism, crippling lockouts and street riots.  And while rights abuses may occur, as they do in the region, Venezuela’s record on human rights is excellent compared to Colombia, Peru, Honduras or México and other neighboring countries.[51]  They are certainly not in the league with those committed by the US.  In Venezuela, there are no illegal political prisoners, no secret prisons, no displaced populations, no practice of torture, no illegal detentions, and Venezuela has invaded no country.”

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By mdruss42, October 24, 2007 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

Of course, you are correct, Ernest, but, as you know, when we do it it is known by another name or not spoken of.

What has the Center For Security Policy had to say about the 2000 and 2004 elections?

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By cann4ing, October 24, 2007 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

Patrick Henry, Hugo Chavez has insisted that Venezuela retain a paper trail.  The Venezuelan elections were monitored by the Carter Center which verified that both the election and the ensuing count were both transparent and fair.  The interesting thing is that when British media asked President Carter whether the Carter Center would be willing to monitor American elections, he flat out refused, because the U.S. electoral system does not have in place any of the safeguards the Carter Center regards as essential to safeguard against fraud.

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By cann4ing, October 24, 2007 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

mdruss42:  Thank you for providing the detailed account of RCTV’s role in the 2002 coup, including its fraudulent effort to blame the shooting on Chavez reporters.  Yes, corporate owned media was used as a weapon by the coup plotters in Venezuela, but your question about what would happen to corporate media in America did the same thing overlooks something.  Our media was involved in a coup two years before RCTV joined in the 2002 aborted effort to overthrow the democratically elected Hugo Chavez.

On election night 2000, at a time when the exit-polls showed that Gore had won Florida by a whopping 437,000 votes, the president’s cousin, John Ellis, working for Fox News, promptly declared Bush the winner, a declaration that was then seconded by NBC, at the command of its GE’s CEO.  GE is the parent company of NBC and a major player in the military-industrial complex.  This effort afforded the Bush camp—truly coup plotters—an enormous advantage in the ensuing challenge as the Rovians portrayed the opposition Gore/Lieberman team as “Sore/Loserman.”

As recounted in “Was the 2004 election stolen?” media complicity would recur on election day 2004, when Prof. Steven F. Freeman would experience a 1984-like moment as he confronted markedly different realities reflected on network webistes and network news broadcasts.  “The laptop screen projected a Kerry victory in nearly every battleground state, in many cases by substantial margins.  But on TV James Carville was saying that Kerry needed to ‘draw an inside straight’....The Slate Web site indicated a narrow edige to Kerry in Florida; the networks all had Florida solidly in the Bush camp.  CNN’s Web site data informed us of commanding Kerry victories in Pennsylvania and Minnesota; TV anchors told us these states were too close to call….[In] Ohoio…exit polls showed Kerry with a projected victory of more than 4%...TV viewers were left with little doubt that Bush had won.”

A funny thing happened as, in state after state, the Kerry margin of victory evaporated in favor of a commanding Bush victory.  The web site data evaporated as exit-polls were “adjusted” to match the official account.  But for a glitch on the CNN web site which continued to post its data after the polls closed, Freeman would not have known that the gap between the exit-polls and the official count continued right through the last vote cast, thereby demolishing the theory that the surge to a Bush victory can be attributed to heavy Republican voting at the end of the day.

The critical difference between Venezuela and the U.S. is that here in the U.S. the plotters were successful in carrying out their coup—the media conglomerates were rewarded with FCC rule changes favoring increased consolidation.  In Venezuela, the coup failed and with it any effort to cover the extent of media fraud, hence the eventual refusal to renew the RCTV license to broadcast.  Here in Amerika, well all I can say is, Welcome to Oceania.

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By mdruss42, October 24, 2007 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

in 1958 this took place…...
The overall system of limiting politics to the two dominant parties was cemented in a formal pact, known as the “Pact of Punto Fijo” (the town where the agreement was signed), in which the main parties agreed to divide the spoils of the oil state amongst each other and to actively exclude any challengers, particularly from the left, such as the socialists and the communists. With time this system degenerated, from the perspective of the citizenry, into increasing corruption and pauperization of the general population, which is what eventually allowed Chávez to completely break the pact.
The increasing levels of inequality, the periodic economic crises, and the increasingly obvious levels of corruption combined to produce a political system that was ever more unstable. The IMF riots and subsequent massacre of 1989, in which the police and the military killed anywhere between 300 and 1,000 people, the two coup attempts of 1992, the 1993 election of a former president running as a candidate of a new political party, and the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez, a former coup conspirer and political outsider, were all symptoms of the political crisis in Venezuela. However, while all these events of the 1990s were symptoms of the same crisis, the election of Hugo Chávez in some ways represents the apex and turning point in the crisis.


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By PatrickHenry, October 24, 2007 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

I wonder if Venezuela uses the same paperless voting machines we use, it could explain alot.

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By mdruss42, October 24, 2007 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

Voter Fraud….
Center for Security Policy has strong ties with the Republican Party with many members serving senior posts in the Reagan administration and George W. Bush administration. Donald Rumsfeld, currect Secretary of Defense under Bush, is a receipient of the the Center’s Keeper of the Flame Award. The Center is not shy in touting its strong ties with the U.S. Government. SO WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THEM TO SAY?

The main disturbance in the vote was that the opposition made good on its threat to release exit poll data well before the polls closed. They did not do so officially, but via rumor and via the U.S. polling firm Penn, Schoen, and Berland, which broke Venezuelan law and sent out a press release to news outlets in the U.S., claiming that the opposition would win the recall referendum with 59% of the vote. Later this would form one of the main pieces of opposition “evidence” that there had been fraud committed against their side. THIS FROM A VERY LONG AND DETAILED ARTICLE BY GARY WILPERT AT WHICH HAS LOTS OF FACT THAT CAN BE CHECKED.

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By mdruss42, October 24, 2007 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

Thus, for two days before the April 11, 2002 coup, RCTV cancelled regular programming and instead ran constant coverage of a general strike aimed at ousting Chavez. A stream of commentators delivered fierce criticism of the president with no response allowed from the government. RCTV also ran non-stop adverts encouraging people to attend an April 11 march aimed at toppling the government and broadcast blanket coverage of the event. When the march ended in violence, RCTV ran manipulated video footage falsely blaming Chavez supporters for the many deaths and injuries.

On the same day, RCTV allowed leading coup plotter Carlos Ortega to call for demonstrators to march on the presidential palace. After the overthrow appeared to have succeeded, another coup leader, Vice-Admiral Victor Ramírez Pérez, told a journalist: “We had a deadly weapon: the media. And now that I have the opportunity, let me congratulate you.” Another grateful leader remarked: “I must thank Venevisión and RCTV.” (Fair, op. cit)

Please tell me what would happen to ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or any other TV organization in this country who did this? Would the government wait for years till the license ran out to take them off the publically owned airways?

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By mdruss42, October 24, 2007 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

On April 11, 2002, although the opposition march had been directed towards the PDVSA headquarters, the leaders, Carlos Ortega of the Central de Trabajadores de Venezuela and Pedro Carmona of FEDECAMARAS called for a change in route: to Miraflores, the presidential palace, despite the lack of a legal permit to take that direction. Immediately, the private media stations broadcast the calls “To Miraflores” and superimposed them over the government’s appeals to not seek a confrontation with pro-government supporters rallying outside Miraflores that same day. The private channels were strategically positioned near the Chávez supporters when the gunfire rang out and the pro-government protesters began to fall. The shots were hitting them in the head and frenzied demonstrators were ducking down, trying to find cover from the deadly bullets. They were being shot at by snipers and Metropolitan Police officers, who support the opposition

Soon after, the private stations began broadcasting a video showing Chávez supporters firing from a bridge near the presidential palace, Puente Llaguno, at an unseen recipient. The video included a voiceover that stated, “Look at that Chávez supporter…see how he unloads his gun at the peaceful opposition march below…” What the video didn’t show viewers, was how it manipulated the setting and failed to include the wider angle of the scene, which evidenced an empty street below and Metropolitan Police hiding behind vehicles and buildings, taking shots at the Chávez supporters on the bridge. The opposition march had never taken the route that would have led them to Puente Llaguno. The video was a montage.

The author of the video, Luis Alfonso Fernández of Venevisión, who won the top journalism prize in Spain (Premio Rey 2003) for that same news video, later admitted to the newspaper Panorama (8-31-2003) that “in reality, that day he did not see the Chávez supporters firing at the opposition march.” Furthermore, journalist Ricardo Márquez of Últimas Noticias wrote that Luis Alfonso Fern·ndez stated he could not see whom the Chávez supporters were firing at and that the voiceover on the video was added after the events. Also, another journalist from a private channel, Del Valle Canelón of Globovisión, initially affirmed that in the video, the group of civilians were seen firing, but against the Metropolitan Police…....
EVA GOLINGER…..article is at venezuelanalysis and I know you can e-mail her with questions and will get an answer.

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By voice of truth, October 24, 2007 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

To MDRuss42, sorry for not getting back earlier, I actually have a job.

Vote Fraud
Regarding the Venezuelan recall referendum of 2004, according to the Center for Security Policy, “the [Hugo Chávez] regime delayed and obstructed the recall referendum process at every turn. Once the regime was forced to submit to such a referendum, moreover, it used a fraud-filled voting process to ensure victory. The government did everything—including granting citizenship to half a million illegal aliens in a crude vote-buying scheme and “migrating” existing voters away from their local election office—to fix the results in its favor. The outcome was then affirmed and legitimated by ex-President Jimmy Carter’s near-unconditional support.” “Jimmy Carter ignored pleas from the opposition and publicly endorsed the results, despite the fact that the government reneged on its agreement to carry out an audit of the results.”  The Carter Center claims to have carried out the audit.

Human Rights Watch expressed concern in a personal letter to Chávez over the safety of human rights defenders in Venezuela. Human rights organization Amnesty International has catalogued a number of human rights violations under Chávez’s administration. As of December 2004, Amnesty International had documented at least 14 deaths and at least 200 wounded during confrontations between anti-Chávez demonstrators and National Guard, police, and other security personnel in February and March 2004.

I don’t want to make this posting huge, but there are tons of documented cases of corruption, drug trafficking, shutting down the opposition media, political imprisonment, graft, theft and murder. There is a reason the UN itself named Caracas as the gun-death capital of the world.

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By mdruss42, October 24, 2007 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment


I’m waiting.

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By cann4ing, October 24, 2007 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

Bill Blackolive: How can you say that our precious little dubya doesn’t have a sense of humor?  He has a sense of humor, albeit what might be referred to as “dark humor.”  Why the President of these United States, leader of the free world, actually thought he was being funny when he started looking under his desk for the missing WMD.

Yeah, I know, there are always those party poopers who didn’t laugh, you know the nearly four thousand American soldiers and around one million Iraqis who lost their lives over the WMD canard, the thousands more who were maimed for life or the millions more who have been displaced.  But hey, every comedian faces the prospect of a stick-in-the-mud.

One wonders what type of jokes dubya has come up with in private about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.  Why I’m sure those who have been tortured would find them a barrel of laughs.

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By Bill Blackolive, October 24, 2007 at 9:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chavez has humor.  How many rulers have humor?  Chavez has backing from the poor.  How many rulers?  Case closed, good grief.  In the US of A the population better get to accepting their government is covering up 9/ll.  We best fix our home.

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By mdruss42, October 24, 2007 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

OK, I’ll bite. What, exactly is Chavez’s current list of crimes?

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By Conservative Yankee, October 24, 2007 at 8:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

by voice of truth

“Worse, no one born into the poor has any real shot at making a better life for themselves, and they know it, and are resigned to it.”

“Truth” is subjective!

There is the “United Fruit Company” truth.
The McKinley/Roosevelt Panama Canal truth.
The Sandinista vs USMC truth.
The Evita Peron up from poverty truth.
The Fidel Castro Batista/Mafia truth.
The Monroe Doctrine (penned by James Madison) truth.
The Salvatore Allende CIA/ITT truth.
The Catholic church as plantation massa enabler truth.

One truth with which I am very familiar is the US Gas/Oil Companies vs South America’s desire to own it’s own resources.

The USA has always gotten along with dictators who repress and impoverish their people. The only time we get real pissed at governments from the south is when they attempt to keep (for their people)their natural resources. We hated duly elected Allende for nationalizing the Chilean phone company, BUT we got along fine with Augusto Pinochet who “disappeared” thousands of people who foolishly thought they should have the right to Unionize!

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By voice of truth, October 24, 2007 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

Tripe.  Past dalliances by the US into trying to form a vision of Central and South America that we wanted is no reason to ignore Chavez’s current crimes.  He is nothing but a thug, one in a long line of latin dictators.

The vast majority of Venezuela’s wealth is still concentrated in a few, the only difference is that now the few are cronies of Chavez.  All previous wealthy Venezuelans moved to South Florida.  That’s why my former town, Weston, became nicknamed Westonzuela.

Like Castro before him, the US plays right into his hands.  He can use us as the evil bogeyman while the majority of his population languishes in conditions that make Katrina survivors look wealthy.

Central and South America is and always will be a very class-oriented, heirarchal and corrupt region.  That will never change.  The proof is clear.  In none of these countries has there ever been a true bettering of life for the poor.  Worse, no one born into the poor has any real shot at making a better life for themselves, and they know it, and are resigned to it.

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By cann4ing, October 21, 2007 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

Nope, CY, didn’t downplay any of them.  The fact that, in the limited space of a Truthdig post, I mentioned the role played by Milton Friedman and his “Chicago Boys” as being included amongst our “so-called democracy loving elites” in the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected Salvador Allende and General Pinochet’s ensuing political and economic reign of terror by no means was intended to be to the exclusion of the likes of Kissinger, Nixon, G.H.W. Bush etc. any more than I would think that your post meant that you intended to absolve Richard Helms and the CIA.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 21, 2007 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

108340 by Ernest Canning on 10/19 at 2:45 pm

“Milton Friedman, would later look to Indonesia as a model to be followed in the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende by Agosto Pinochet.”

Your statement appears to downplay the work of George Herbert Walker Bush (head of the CIA) International Telephone & Telegraph, and the Nixon Administration, particularly Alexander Haig and Henry Kissinger in the OTHER September 11.

Later Haig would say “We couldn’t allow another Marxist regime in OUR HEMISPHERE No matter who the Chileans elected!” The thrust of his speech followed the paternal diplomacy we have pursued in South America since McKinley. Paraphrased he said: “if the Chilean people are too stupid to vote correctly, we’ll select their government.” Another instance of us bringing “democracy” to someone else’s country no doubt. Then, as in Indonesia, we stood back and allowed Pinochet to eliminate thousands of Chileans. 

I wonder how the Chileans who survived feel about the USA reverting to isolationism?

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By cann4ing, October 19, 2007 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

CY you make an excellent point.  Consider the following from Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine:”

“Since the Second World War, [Indonesia] had been led by President Sukarno, the Hugo Chavez of his day (though minus Chavez’s appetite for elections).  Sukarno enraged the rich countries by protecting Indonesia’s economy, redistributing wealth and throwing out the [IMF] and the World Bank, which he accused of being facades for the interests of Western multinationals….The U.S. and British governments were determined to end Sukarno’s rule, and declassified documents show that the CIA had received high-level directions to ‘liquidate President Sukarno….’

“...the opportunity came in October 1965, when General Suharto, backed by the CIA, began the process of seizing power and eradicating the left.  The CIA had been quietly compiling a list of the country’s leading leftists, a document that fell into Suharto’s hands….Suharto…sent out soldiers to hunt down four to five thousand leftists on his ‘shooting lists,’ as the CIA referred to them; the U.S. embassy received regular reports on their progress.  As the information came in, the CIA crossed names off their lists until they were satisfied that the Indonesian left had been annihilated….

“The shooting lists covered the targeted killing; the more indiscriminate massacres…were, for the most part, delegated to religious students.  They were quickly trained by the military and then sent into villages on instructions from the chief of the navy to ‘sweep’ the countryside of Communists.  ‘With relish,’ wrote one reporter, ‘they called out their followers, stuck their knives and postols in their waistbands, swung their clubs over their shoulders and embarked on the assignment….’  In just over a month, at least a half a million and possible as many and 1 million people were killed….”

Klein points out that a group of Indonesian economists trained at UC Berkeley under a grant from the Ford Foundation were actively involved in the overthrow of Sukarno, then were appointed to key financial positions in the Suharto government where they proved “hospitable to foreing investors wanting to mine Indonesia’s immense mineral and oil wealth, described by Richard Nixon as ‘the greast prize in the Southeast Asia area.”

It can be forcefully argued that indiscriminate mass killings of a group because of it represents a particular “political sector” is as much a form of genocide as indiscrimate mass killings that are race or religious based.  Our own so-called “democracy-loving” elites, including Milton Friedman, would later look to Indonesia as a model to be followed in the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende by Agosto Pinochet.

So when our elites now refer to Hugo Chavez as a “dictator” one has to receive that with a huge and sceptical grain of salt.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 19, 2007 at 6:23 am Link to this comment
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Chavez vs Suharto? One our friend one our enemy? One trying to right years of inequity, and one profiting off his countries class structure.

Makes a person wonder how our governments designate “good” and “bad.”

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By cann4ing, October 18, 2007 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

For a more extended an less biased analysis of Venezuala’s refusal to renew RCTV’s license to broadcast, replacing it with public television, see the May 31, 2007 debate between Andre Izarra, former news manager at RCTV and now the Communications Director of the Venezuelan government and Professor Francisco Rodriquez on Democracy Now!

An intriguing question raised by Democracy Now’s Juan Gonzales and followed up by Andre Izarra, is what would the American FCC, which has the power to sanction stations, renew or pull their license which grant a monopoly privilege to broadcast over the public airwaves merely for failing to meet the public interest if that station were actively engaged in a plot to overthrow the duly elected government of this country, or, as is alleged with respect to Globovision, openly called for the assassination of the nation’s president.  Sort of puts a different light on whether the refusal to extend RCTV’s license to broadcast was the work of a power hungry dictator, as Mr. Cooper would have us believe.

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By RdV, October 18, 2007 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Any world leader that calls Bush an asshole wins points with me.

  I like Chavez and although the author whines about his tactics, I understand the necessity. Our elites considered Roosevelt a traitor to his class too and are constantly seeking to consolidate their wealth and power at the expense of the worker—and then blame the worker. The author mildly refers to the opposition channel but it seems to me that the opposition dominated the media outlets as their propaganda mouthpiece. I wouldn’t mind so much if the Fox model didn’t dominate our suceptible dumbed-down
  At least in Venezuela the people can count on at least some representation from their government and if Chavez stacks the deck with those of a like mind, it is better than the corporate elite our politicians exclusively answer to.. It has been too many capitulations by our Democrats for me to buy that they are simply spineless; they are complicit. We could use Chavez, but instead the anti-Red indoctrination runs deep and the kneejerk reaction is predictable and easy for our cut-throat capitalism masquerading as Democracy to channel as public enemy #1.

  The criticism seems petty compared to our military policing of the planet and the duration of the Bush-Clinton dynasty.
Spare me.

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By Monish Chatterjee, October 18, 2007 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment
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I was just as shocked as several perceptive commentators by the vitriolic tone of this essay/review.  I subscribed to The Nation for a few years, but during that time, was often disillusioned by its frequently pandering positions towards war, Israel, and progressive views.  I had sent multiple letters to The Nation (in one instance even complimenting them) on controversial issues- but none was ever published or even acknowledged. 

To think that a Washington demagogue such as Marc Cooper writes for The Nation gives me more reason to not subscribe to The Nation again.  His rabid hatred for Chavez (whom I see as a refreshing voice of courage at one of the most dismal times in human history, where a sadistic killer in Washington with a minuscule brain and unlimited genocidal power is threatening human civilization itself, and filling the world with hatred; Chavez has rejuvenated South America, and given it the strength to rise up against the vicious northern Goliath) stands as testament for the duplicity of the American “Left,” the worst representatives of which currently populate the two Legislative Houses in Washington.  Wearing interchangeable labels of “D” or “R”, these corrupt charlatans are carving up the world for personal profits, and butchering human rights at will.

Chavez may not be perfect, but he is the best thing going, given the monstrous visages of Blair, Aznar, Howard, and the Texas executioner collectively terrorizing the world.

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By Kevin James, October 18, 2007 at 11:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Speaking of the media, FCC is about to pull the last obstacle blocking the absolute monopolization of the news and information paving the way for Big brother controlling information.
“The review of the media ownership rules deals with several longstanding regulations governing the number of newspapers, television and radio stations that companies are allowed to control in any particular market”
FCC should reduce the media conglomerate’s control and keep the flow of information free but it is doing exactly the opposite. Now you can expect all the news and information in your city to come from one source, the Rich Ruling Class’s P.O.V.

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By ocjim, October 18, 2007 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Ernest Canning does bring up a true point. Our media does seem to follow familiar scourge words for Bush-identified enemies like Chavez and the Iran president. Both are demonized with little real objective analysis of their actions. This is a real recipe for ignorance among Americans who consume these diatribes. I am for objectivity in evaluating outside leaders and not being fed pablum by the corporate media.

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By cann4ing, October 18, 2007 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

Why does Marc Cooper begin a piece by a man who has been twice elected by an overwhelming majority of his people in elections certified by the Carter Center as fundamental fair as someone who “conspired” to gain power?  Why does Cooper suggest that the past CIA-backed coups against President Arbenz in Guatamala (1953) and President Allende in Chile (Sept. 11, 1973), each of which led to a decades long reign of terror by corrupt military dictatorships as merely “follies”?  Does Cooper not realize that these “follies” were not merely isolated incidents but a product of U.S. neoliberal imperialism intended to insure the dominance of the corporatocracy that is so aptly described by John Perkins in “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”—a system that is designed to benefit a very small class of elites both within the U.S. and within the nations dominated by the corporatocracy?

Hugo Chavez has not merely led an effort to create a truly democratic, socialist state but has led the way for one South American nation after the other to begin breaking the chains U.S. imperial domination and economic strangulation of their impoverished masses.  Where the corporatocracy gives lip service to “democracy” while persisting on the dictatorial control needed to preserve and extend a system of extreme wealth disparity, Chavez is working towards reducing the economic gap.  As we in the U.S. are belately coming to realize 27 years after the Reagan counter-Revolution against the New Deal and the middle class, political democracy is not feasible absent some semblance of economic democracy. 

We have truly reached misnomers of Orwellian dimensions when a would-be dictator, George Bush, is described as the “leader of the free world,” when the neoconservative goals of the Project for a New American Century of a “New World Order” entailing U.S. hegemony and control of the world’s resources and a system designed to leash the many to a form of indentured servitude in which millions of people slave away in sweat shops for $2/day so that a handful of billionaires can get richer still entails “spreading democracy” and where someone like Hugo Chavez who strives to break away from this vice-into-virtue system and to empower the exploited is described as a “dictator” who has, at least in Mr. Cooper’s eyes, engaged in “transgressions” such as the pulling the license of a TV station that not only produced Fox News-like propaganda but whose owners were actively involved in the previous CIA-sponsored coup that had sought to overthrow the democratically elected government.

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By ocjim, October 18, 2007 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

Hugo Chavez couldn’t do anymore damage to our country than W. At least the media wouldn’t support his treachery. Or would they?

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By boggs, October 18, 2007 at 2:14 am Link to this comment

I have to say that I admire Hugo Chavez and his cause and I detest Bush and his agenda. Chavez is for his people, Bush is for himself and his cohorts. Chavez desires peace while Bush lusts for war.
Chavez social leaning is much preferable to the fascist leaning Bush.
Chavez is a man of humanity and Bush is a boy of torture.

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By mdruss42, October 17, 2007 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

Jkoch, is that something like the trillions our pentagon has “mis-placed”, or the airplane full of cash that disappeared into the bottomless pit of Iraq?


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By Jkoch, October 17, 2007 at 9:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no “bolivarian” model.  Oil prices make or break any Venezuelan government.  Hugo came to power in 1998, when Orinoco crude was down to $16 / barrel.  Were prices to fall below $30, his government would have acute cash problems. Any threat to food subsidies would mean Caracas riots again.  Of course, with prices well over $70 / bbl, Hugo has a good margin of comfort.  Venezuelans can fill their TANK for $2 and buy their daily food for about the same.

Since oil may stay high for quite a while, the real question is whether Chávez can keep internal corruption from tarnishing his administration.  The weak link in the “bolivarian” dream is the lack of oversight and audit.  Pray, where are any current, unaudited financial statements for PdVSA?  Who audits or publishes any audited statements for the sundry “missions” or the unconsolidated “trusts” administered by finance ministry’s special “bank” headed by a military academy chum?  What really happens to all the dough handed out to “capitalize” the idle savana lands or bankrupt plants?  Walter Martínez learned fast what happens to a journalist who raises questions about such matters.

The “oil money” conga line: first Gómez, then Pérez Jimenez, then Andrés Pérez, then Caldera, then Hugo, next Hugo, next Hugo ...

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By Conservative Yankee, October 17, 2007 at 5:45 am Link to this comment
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107341 by Kevin James on 10/15 at 5:22 pm

“The left, Liberals, Democrats or whatever you want to call them have NEVER been interested in defending the poor and working class in this country.”

You sure-as-shootin (pardon the unintentional pun) got that right!  All one needs to do is look in Kennedy’s / Kerry’s backyard to the forgotten “Immigrant City” of Lawrence. Kennedy, Brooke Tongas, and Kerry stood by while the textile entities that built and powered the city left without paying workers, keeping their pension and health/care promises, or even paying taxes on their abandoned mill properties which became superfund sites. Did they declare bankrupcy, which would have given workers at least some of their money? did they move to some off-shore corporate haven where they couldn’t be reached by our laws? Did they go-out-of-business?

They did none of these things (initially) They moved to the Carolina’s, Alabama, and Mississippi, bought land, built new factories, and put up their old name plates from the New England they abandoned. Essex, J.P. Stevens, Arlington, and Consolidated, began making their textiles with cheap (read non-union) workers.  Now they have left the south for China and India, seeking the corporate version of Nervana… the $2 a day worker!

When this happened, the congress was controlled by Democrats. and the “liberals” were bemoaning the far away war in a south-east Asian country where one day we would get our cheap Faded-Glory shirts!

Democrats for the poor?  Give me a break!

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By Paracelsus, October 16, 2007 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

What good is a full constitutional republic in Venezuela if the CIA is ready with money to subvert the press and fund a pro American government? And what is so bad about a pro Venezuelan government? I don’t care what government the people there choose. Just don’t hurl sharp, burning objects at me.

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By PatrickHenry, October 16, 2007 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

We need a constructive government who is willing to work with Venezuela and Cuba and enrich the people of the western hemisphere.

Bust up the sugar lobby controlled by the ex-pat cuban exiles in Florida, whom have exerted exraordinary power in congress through their lobbies.

Castro had my vote as “survivor” and should be respected as having withstood all that America (his loving neighbor) threw at him.

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By geronimo, October 16, 2007 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment
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Having been a translator for Salvador Allende as well as a visitor to Nicaragua’s Sandanista revolution, the author has to know that the antics of the U.S. government invariably force third world revolutionary governments to take protective measures, whereupon, Washington brands them as totalitarian states ruled by demoniacal leaders and does everything it can to topple them.  What should the U.S. government do in regards to Venezueala?  Hands off, that’s what, leave Venezuela for the Venezuelans, and worry instead about how its destroying democracy in the good old U.S.A.

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By Sil, October 15, 2007 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment
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Mr. Cooper is no better than Hitchens. He is a pro-war liberal, a reactionary, and demagogic in his overwraught venom he spews particularly at Chavez, but also “others” on the left. He has been systematically wrong in the past, and his ideology fits well with Mario Vargas Llosa who has moved to the far pro-market right and has also impugned the new indigenous movements on the continent. I can only surmise he carries a particularly racialist disdain for Chavez which unfortunately, is endemic in the elite left of South America as well.

His columns are huge blot on Truthdig.

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By Kevin James, October 15, 2007 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The left, Liberals, Democrats or whatever you want to call them have NEVER been interested in defending the poor and working class in this country. Just look at all the democrats who ran for office. The system is full proof. Unless you can raise millions you will not stand a chance and who is going to give millions to a candidate who wants to overthrow the dictatorship of the party. It is still a year away and we know who is going to be the Democratic candidate for presidency!
America has been committing all their international crimes for many years under both Democrats and Republicans. People who defend the Democrats so hard are the problems in this country; we know what the Republicans stand for! These Democrats are the ones who are defending a system that has no plan to help the poor and be just. It is a Capitalist system that feeds on blood and sweat of the poor and lower middle class both in this country and abroad.
Robert Sheer is one of those defenders of the Democrats and the Party.
But Mr. Cooper I have a question: The United States can take thousands of soldiers and drop hundreds of thousand pounds of explosives wherever they please, kill and maim hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children with depleted uranium. Create refugees out of several million people but if another country wants to get rid of their puppet criminal dictators who were the West’s stooges and the root cause, they have to do it with a Scandinavian style Democracy? They have to keep the playing field fair so those well financed and supporters of the Western hegemony can continue their lies and methods to subvert the masses once again? Really?!

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By mdruss42, October 15, 2007 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

...American revolution was nothing more than a minority of the colonists seceding from the British empire planning essentially the same type government repackaged under new management. Using high-minded language in Article I, Section 8 of the supreme law of the land, the founders and their successors ignored the minimum objective all governments are, or should be, entrusted to do - “provide for….(the) general welfare” of their people under a system of constitutional law serving everyone. But that’s not its only flaw build in by design….THIS FROM STEVE LENDEMAN AT aid=6594

French Rev….
The social and psychological burdens of the many wars of the 18th century, which in the era before the dawn of nationalism were exclusively the province of the monarchy. The social burdens caused by war included the huge war debt, made worse by the monarchy’s military failures and ineptitude, and the lack of social services for war veterans.
A poor economic situation and an unmanageable national debt, both caused and exacerbated by the burden of a grossly inequitable system of taxation.
The Roman Catholic Church, the largest landowner in the country, which levied a harsh tax on crops known as the dîme. While the dîme lessened the severity of the monarchy’s tax increases, it nonetheless served to worsen the plight of the poorest who faced a daily struggle with malnutrition.
The continued conspicuous consumption of the noble class, especially the court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette at Versailles, despite the financial burden on the populace.
High unemployment and high bread prices, causing more money to be spent on food and less in other areas of the economy;
Widespread famine and malnutrition, which increased the likelihood of disease and death, and intentional starvation in the most destitute segments of the population during the months immediately before the Revolution…....Sound familiar?

The Russian Rev started in the 1880s as a class war without center or organization, which left it vunerable to people like Lenin, then Stalin, who never had anything in mind but power,as became evident.

The Cuban Rev, was a class war, but with the added problem of control of the economy from the outside.
Castro may have been young when he carried out the take-over of the government of Cuba, but he was apparently mindful of what had gone before, and tried to keep the same things from happening to the Cuban people. He knew enough to know that the revolution had to be fueled from the bottom up if it was to survive.

So, you see, the seeds were there from the beginning in every case.

President Chavez actually reads books. Is it possible he understands what has gone before and is trying to control enough to avoid the most obvious problems, but not enough to negate what he aims for? It is perfectly obvious that he could be a Pinochet if he aimed for that, so since he has not, he must have something else in mind.

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By Conservative Yankee, October 15, 2007 at 6:07 am Link to this comment
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106964 by BadMan on 10/14 at 4:53 am

“. We are living in Revolutionary times and the ones sitting in high rise New York offices reading and reviewing books about leaders they have never met, about countries they have never lived in, making judgements on revolutions that affect a poverty they have never experienced or dreamed, could never even hope to understand.”

A salient point here is that while the “reviewer” MAY indeed be sitting high in a “New York Office” he is far more likely (these days) to be sitting in Hamburg, Bonn, Paris or Copenhagen.  In case anyone out there missed it, US based publishing houses are as rare as US manufactured Toasters!  I agree that no matter where the reviewer is sitting, she probably NEVER experienced the “South American variety” of poverty!
107086 by Paracelsus on 10/14 at 5:45 pm

“Aren’t there any conservatives who harken back to Robert Taft on such matters?”

Absolutely, We just don’t have a candidate of like mind!

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By Paracelsus, October 14, 2007 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

Why is it so few believe in the “prime directive”? Chavez is no danger to us. He sells us petrol. And he is over there. Why do we have to interfere? I think think most of the world would welcome our benign neglect over the Peace Corps, World Bank loans, and multinational drug fighting jurisdictions. I would welcome some splendid isolation. Aren’t there any conservatives who harken back to Robert Taft on such matters?

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By BadMan, October 14, 2007 at 5:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I must agree here, this Mark Cooper seems to not have understood anything he read. His mind was made up before he opened a page, he has obviously never lived and strived in Latin America and therefore what good is his opinion to the masses. He makes fun of the right wing facists in Venezuela and then spews the same hate they do.

Chavez is by no means perfect, and he is honest enough to admit that, but at least he is trying to make things better, with all the ” journalism ” going around, what good has it really done the poor ? All they do is talk, well the new world needs action, so put down those pens and put your money and your lives where your mouths are. This is rhetorical because I know you won’t.

It is ok to be journalists, but don’t make fun or belittle something you couldn’t possibly comprehend. We are living in Revolutionary times and the ones sitting in high rise New York offices reading and reviewing books about leaders they have never met, about countries they have never lived in, making judgements on revolutions that affect a poverty they have never experienced or dreamed, could never even hope to understand. So why expose your own ignorance and bias?

There IS nothing more powerful than an Idea whose time has come, I and many others believe that. You can dream up whatever future you want with your country, but ours is OURS, don’t try to deform our hopes and dreams with your politically naive and foreign insults.

May the revolution continue, may the poor, those stepped on and over by ” progress ” and greed for once have some peace, stability and happiness and may the revolutionaries not stop until this is so.


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By Conservative Yankee, October 13, 2007 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

106845 by Douglas Chalmers on 10/13 at 2:15 pm

“But, what was the USA like in the 1920’s-30’s, CY???”

Wasn’t there….don’t care!

That’s some cut&paste;job….you learn that in the Hill-the-shill slime school?

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By Jonas South, October 13, 2007 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

The majority of humanity long for a light in the darkness, an economic model to counter neoliberalism. For several years now, we followed the Venezuelan experiment, hoping that Chavez will give us something we can use. Will he?

My reservations have nothing to do with whether he relies on military officers, (He has to: most other Venezuelans with management experience, however incompetent, and college education, however bad, consider themselves above the masses they would have to serve.) nor with whether he is fluent in slick diplomatic jargon. Neither do I hold him responsible for problems that require generations to solve, nor for coddling unsavory regimes in order to stave off the Empire.

But I do wish he would take his revolutionary journey at a more leisurely pace. For example, local corruption will decrease only when civil society develops a robust watch-dog capacity, and not before. For every corrupt mayor or councilman replaced by a local council, many attended by only a few people, one will fall under the sway of a local family or clan.

Similarly, a single political party, kept in power for a long time, will stiffle reform the same way the CCP did in China, the Congress Pary in India, and the PRI in Mexico.

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By Douglas Chalmers, October 13, 2007 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

#106806 by Conservative Yankee on 10/13 at 9:06 am: “... When I was there in the Fifties…. The USA is one of a very few places where we (theoretically) value rights over food…!”

But, what was the USA like in the 1920’s-30’s, CY???

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By Conservative Yankee, October 13, 2007 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Picking apart Chavez and his “style” or “methods” ignores the reality of Venezuela.  When I was there in the Fifties, the poor population worked like slaves for enough money to eat and have a small shack. When I returned in the 80’s the “lower class” had moved to the big garbage dumps on the Edge of Caracas. they lived there, foraged there,  and occasionally died there when soldiers came out for “target practice”

The wealthier folks lived behind large concrete walls which had glass shards embedded in them to prevent climbers.

Were I a poor person in that Venezuela, I would gladly forfit my right to “vote’ for some food and decent housing for me and my children.

The USA is one of a very few places where we (theoretically) value rights over food!

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By thomas billis, October 13, 2007 at 9:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have read some of the comments and really really wanting Chavez to be a hero is not enough.I hope the other left leaning governments in South America do not use Mr Chavez as role model.The shame is he could do such good for the people of Venenzuela and in the end I fear he will be just another tin horn dictator.I am not one of those who read press handouts from the administration and I cheered when he made that speech at the UN calling Bush the devil.People like Chavez give fodder to people who say that left leaning governments in South America cannot be sustained in a democracy and must be implemented with force.I am rooting for Chavez for the sake of the Venezuelan people but the information on the ground is not good.

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By Verne Arnold, October 13, 2007 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

With our despicable and barbaric policies in Central and South America in the past; it’s a wonder to me that any Norte Americano can visit there and not be shot on sight.
I for one am very happy to see the rebellion against the U.S.’s foreign policies regarding “free trade” (NOT!!!) and imperialist policies.  There is presently an awaking, a reckoning, that will further reject the dominance of the neocon, imperialistic, adventurers.  If karma really exists, we as Americans are in for a very big, very bad payback, coming soon.  The Central and South Americans have chartered a course independent from their previous “owners” and should be allowed to make their own mistakes without interference from “us”.

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By Ed, October 12, 2007 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hugo Chavez is a great American as Aung San Suu Kyi is a great Asian. They are the most thoughtful and courageous amoung us.

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By Zena, October 12, 2007 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gee; what was it they said to Jesus? We never knew such a one could come from Nazereth?

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By Bubba, October 12, 2007 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

“As grotesque as he sometimes looms, Hugo Chavez is but a Frankenstein monster cooked up in the lab of failed economic and political orthodoxy. But just as certain, Chavez’s alternatives are still a long way from the ‘better world’ prophesized by Wilpert. With each passing day, it seems, ‘21st Century Socialism’ as served up by Hugo Chavez is more redolent of the same authoritarian and demagogic stench that permeated the failed revolutions of yore.”

Speaking of “stench,” Mr. Cooper, if you’d been honest and begun your article with this steaming pile instead of leaving it to the end—as though it were a conclusion drawn from what preceded it and not the foregone conclusion it finally reveals itself to be—you would have saved me the bother of persevering through and then past page 1. 

This kind of journalism from the “left” is what taught me to pick up publications like Tha Nation with gloves. 

Compliments, on the other hand, to the Commentators on Marc Cooper.  This includes, of course, Lee, who must surely be trolling. Tell me it so, Bonito. 

For some real analysis of Chavez and Venezuela, see here:

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By Douglas Chalmers, October 12, 2007 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

106494 by Louis Proyect on 10/12 at 5:54 am: “...Hugo Chavez is no more of a “totalitarian” than Salvador Allende was….”

Oh, does that mean another CIA-inspired overthrow? Well, I guess the Venezeuelan air force won’t be the ones bombing their parliament this time, eh?

Anyone who is an enemy of Bush must be good, but “ever since he was a young military officer”..... hey, that sounds a bit like GWB. Which one is tarred with which brush???

Still, if he stops accepting $$US for payment for oil shipments to anywhere, that will be the end. That is what really happened to Saddam, after all.

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By Paracelsus, October 12, 2007 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

I recall how angry Vicente Fox was about Chavez blocking FTAA. I feel that the people of Venezuela have a right to choose their government, and if it knocks the one world government types on their haunches, then so much the better.

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By Sleeper, October 12, 2007 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

I don’t know these days.  If a leader can bring about universal health care while spreading wealth and reducing poverty, I think we could use some leaders like that. 

It seems ours stuff their pockets as they help to consolidate wealth and creating more poverty.  They seem quite happy too allow millions to go without healthcare and set up systems so that working men and women pay the bills for the everyones healthcare.

Add that our government LIES to itself while evesdropping in on every conversation rather verbal or in text.  It really make you wonder who’s freedom is more credible.  Especially, when it can designate any crime as a terrorist act so that they can hold even citizens in confinement indeffinately without charging them. 

The dream of our Republic has definately been misrepresented.

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By bunciBongo, October 12, 2007 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr Marc Cooper how low you have to go to write such propaganda. Shame on you and those who publish it.
Dennis Kucinich will win in 2008 or all of US will lose.

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By Mariam Russell, October 12, 2007 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Using all that oil money to further his agenda.
If he is not “with us” then he must be a dictator, or, at least planning to be, one of these days.
Shut down that TV station after it blatantly broke the law, committed treason, well that is definitely censorship, and only a dictator would do that.

And you have actually been out of the United States, and have read a book, and are bi-lingual? Then you have no excuses, Bud, you are being mealymouthed to avoid saying anything of meaning, or anything not politically correct.

YUK, you need a different line of work.

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By Michael (UK), October 12, 2007 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chavez is good for Venezuela, good for Venezuelans and bad for American oil companies. All the rest is sour grapes and hate of anything labelled “socialism”. And yes Bush is an ass hole, a genocidal ass hole.
In reality you only have to question why many Americans like this Marc Cooper is actually pre-occupied with what is happening in Venezuela. Is it out of some deep compassion for the Venezuelans themselves? Perhaps they would like to help out in the same way they rescued Iraqis from an oppressive regime, killing 1.2 million of them in the process and displacing another 4 million plus, presently living in squalor in refugee camps.
Where is the American compassion in regards to them? Is the USA paying those countries which have taken these refugees to help out with a problem they caused by an illegal invasion?

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By ender, October 12, 2007 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Articles like this do much to explode the myth of a ‘leftist media’ in America.  He doesn’t argue that outright atrocities were committed by America to maintain US power in South America, but since Chavez has had to fight US intervention, coup and assasination attemps with a sometimes heavy hand, he must be a totalitarian.  You won’t see any of the US media talk about Vensuela having turned around the lives of 80% of it’s population which lived in abject poverty as little as 5 yrs ago, into a people with universal health care, a higher literacy than the US, and a bright economic future.

Because even the ‘leftist media’ spout the same capitalist party line, in almost every case, few Americans can see through the fog of propaganda to realize that the Democratic Socialism is not Russia’s totalitarian Communism, and that the socialist states of Northern Europe have better standards of living, and consider themselves happier, than most Americans.

They perpetuate the lie of a two party system in the US, when all we really have are two versions of the same group of puppets to the capitalist elite that control 95% of the wealth in this nation.

Truthdig and the like talk about the agenda of the Bush administration that has stipped rights and perpetuated an illegal war justified by lies, but they don’t talk about why almost none of the Dems have promised to get us out, and why the wishes of the American public have no effect on what our gov’t does.

Chavez is less of a Demagog than the empiralist in our White House.  I can only dream when of the day we can elect a person in this country willing to fight off the commands of the ruling class, and act in the interest of the Citizen.

Chavez for President…Of the US!!!

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By Lee, October 12, 2007 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hugo Chavez is nothing more than an arrogant pompus thug who rules by bullying and eliminating anyone who opposes him. He reminds me of Bonito Mussolini, the way he struts around beating his chest. His so called redistribution of Venezuela’s wealth is a sham. Out of the billions of petro dollars his country produces, he throws crumbs at the poor as a distraction, while spending billions on the military, in order to maintain and consolidate his demagoguery.
The downtrodden in his country are simply pawns who are being duped. His alliances with Castro, Ahmadinejad, and Kadafy are further proof that Chavez is just a two bit dictator who unethically uses his political skills to feed his megalomania.

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By Louis Proyect, October 12, 2007 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

Hugo Chavez is no more of a “totalitarian” than Salvador Allende was. Allende was also accused of censoring newspapers and radio stations. Back in 1973 Cooper would have understood how the yelps about Allende’s dictatorship helped to destabilize Chile. Now he has become a yelper himself. That’s what you get when a radical journalist morphs into a liberal lapdog of the US State Department.

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By Nancy, October 12, 2007 at 6:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

~snicker~ At least the ones he called ‘brothers’ are at least HONEST dictators. Whereas bush is not…

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By Max Shields, October 12, 2007 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

Why don’t “reviewers” like Mr. Cooper just stop pretending and write a book instead of using others’ as a pretext to present their political take?

After all this is not about the quality of the research by any of these authors but the pre-determined political prism Cooper brings to his subject - Hugo Chavez. Right, Mr. Cooper? This is not about books, it’s about an opportunity to foist your political view in a faux review.

That said, there is not a living leader (and only a few mythological ones) who are anything but extremely flawed.

What is of much greater importance is what is happening in the South. And we should ferret out those very transformative changes. They are much much deeper than the phenomenon of one man, or woman. The changes are real, grassroots, and deeply democratic. They are really not socialistic in any Marxist variation; while there is a focus on the distribution of common wealth and sustainability, these are far far from the Marxist writings on production - the 19th - 20th century debacle that has gutted the planet and poisoned the air.

Yes, Venezuela has oil and it is a means. It is a mixed blessing. It is providing the means of tilting the economic power a bit, but it can, like the over played hand, lead to just the opposite of what the Venezulan wants and needs. The experiments are extensive and are far removed from any kind of totalitarian, authoritarian or dictatorial state.

No, Mr. Cooper, Chavez is an easy target. He is on the US demonization agenda, and you play pretty much into it.

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