Adiós, Hugo!

Hugo-ChavezThe no-neck demagogue Hugo Chávez, pal to Sean Penn and Fidel Castro, has died. Good riddance, I say.

We have someone similar here in my country, a perpetual left-wing candidate who goes by his initials, AMLO. He can’t seem to get elected, but he comes close.

Reaction to Chávez’s death is pouring in. The Mohammedan zealot organization Fatah, which gets oodles of cash from America’s tax coffers, says Hugo was “a loyal friend.” And Jimmy Carter is down in the dumps.

Senility is a sad thing to see in a former president.

No matter that Hugo sent tons of petrobucks to murderous dictators like Castro, Iran’s Ahmadinejad and Syria’s Assad.

Tip of the day:  When you see a politician in a red beret, run the other way.

Obama has never been seen in a red beret.

But I’m betting that when he and Michelle invite Sean Penn or George Clooney or maybe Matt Damon to the White House screening room on Saturday nights, they all sport red berets, even Michelle with her bangs in her eyes like Brigitte Bardot, and they puff Cuban stogies and laugh out loud.

Perhaps they hum The Internationale and clink champagne.

40 thoughts on “Adiós, Hugo!”

  1. Good riddance, indeed. However, judging the mourning of the poor masses robed in red, I fear it won’t be long before another leftist demagogue takes his place. Let’s hope not.

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  2. Well, he did do one thing that America’s billionaire oil companies do not see fit to do, distribute free heating oil to America’s poor so they do not freeze in the winter.

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  3. Oh yes, another thing he did was to increase voter participation to the point where 97% of the population turns out to vote.

    He also eliminated voter fraud. The USA could take a lesson from Chavez:

    “In Venezuela, voters touch a computer screen to cast their vote and then receive a paper receipt, which they verify and deposit in a ballot box. Most of the paper ballots are compared with the electronic tally. This system makes vote-rigging nearly impossible: to steal the vote would require hacking the computers and then stuffing the ballot boxes to match the rigged vote.

    Unlike in the US, where in a close vote we really have no idea who won (see Bush v Gore), Venezuelans can be sure that their vote counts.”

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  4. You might want to read the Wikipedia bio on him. You may want to change your opinion. He was more about nationalism and anti economic imperialism. With 97% voter turn out it kind of hard to be a dictator. If he was the choice of that many people you can bet his successor will be just like him.

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  5. Chavez was the poster boy for the dark side of democracy — the point where the majority realizes it can “legally” steal the assets of the minority. And when the non-productive become the majority, the economic blood-letting is inevitably fatal for the overall community. Cuba being the primary example these days.

    I will not miss Chavez. But I would have been far happier if the thievery he represents had died. Not just him.

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    1. Right on the money, Steve. When you have an ignorant electorate, democracy becomes a serious problem, even more so when the voter turnout is 97 percent.

      Democracy returned Obama to the White House, for instance.

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      1. Yes, well that is a problem the U.S. right is trying to rectify. Who knows what might happen if the uneducated masses are allowed to vote! Six hours in line, photo ID, being able to spell someone’s name.There are many ways to allow only the elite a vote and the results can be pretty much pre-determined. They even have Chief Justice Scalia on their side, calling voting rights “racial entitlement.”

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  6. Now the word is that the U.S. planted the “cancer” in poor ol’ Hugo. At least that is what the new big wheel is saying. I tried to get an airline reservation but all the flights are full. Perhaps we can get a car pool together and offer our respects…

    Or maybe not.

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    1. Tancho: Reminds me of the belief that the U.S. government invented AIDS to kill off gays and blacks. I actually know otherwise well-read people who buy that. Astounding.

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  7. If you want to read a real analysis of the economy under Chavez try this:
    http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/venezuela_update_2008_02.pdf

    The lot of the average citizen has improved remarkably in the years following his election. University education is free and gas is sold for fifteen cents per liter.

    The poverty rate has been cut in half and health care is free.. National debt is non-existent and cash reserves are high.

    One can certainly see why the US and their lackies would vilify him. Gog forbid that their own citizens would start demanding some of these things.

    Anyway, it is an interesting study. If you do not want to go through all 23 pages, here is the conclusion: (sorry about the formatting, it must be a WordPress thing)

    Conclusion
    In sum, the performance of the Venezuelan economy during the Chávez years does not fit the mold
    of an “oil boom headed for a bust.” Rather it appears that the economy was hit hard for the first few
    years by political instability, and has grown rapidly since the political situation stabilized in the first
    quarter of 2003. High oil prices have certainly contributed to this growth, as has the government’s
    expansionary fiscal and monetary policy. Containing and reducing inflation, as well as realigning the
    domestic currency, appear to be the most important challenges in the intermediate run; in the long
    run, diversifying the economy away from its dependence on oil is also a major challenge.
    However, the declining public debt (as a percentage of GDP), the large current account surplus, and
    the accumulation of reserves have given the government considerable insurance against a decline in
    oil prices. This favorable macroeconomic situation has also left the government with much flexibility
    in dealing with inflation and the related imbalance in the exchange rate. Since the government is
    committed to maintaining solid growth, it does not seem likely that it would sharply curtail
    economic growth in order to bring down inflation, as is often done. This is especially true since it
    has not exhausted other alternatives. Venezuela is also well-situated to withstand negative external
    shocks, including a likely U.S. recession or even a serious global slowdown, a significant drop in the
    price of oil, and problems in the international credit and financial system. Therefore, at present it
    does not appear that the current economic expansion is about to end any time in the near future.
    The gains in poverty reduction, employment, education and health care that have occurred in the
    last few years are likely to continue along with the expansion.

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    1. The CIA World Factbook has this to say about Venezuela’s economy:

      Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 95% of export earnings, about 45% of federal budget revenues, and around 12% of GDP. Fueled by high oil prices, record government spending helped to boost GDP growth by 4.2% in 2011, after a sharp drop in oil prices caused an economic contraction in 2009-10. Government spending, minimum wage hikes, and improved access to domestic credit created an increase in consumption which combined with supply problems to cause higher inflation – roughly 26% in 2011 and 21% in 2012. President Hugo CHAVEZ’s efforts to increase the government’s control of the economy by nationalizing firms in the agribusiness, financial, construction, oil, and steel sectors have hurt the private investment environment, reduced productive capacity, and slowed non-petroleum exports. In the first half of 2010 Venezuela faced the prospect of lengthy nationwide blackouts when its main hydroelectric power plant – which provides more than 35% of the country’s electricity – nearly shut down. In May 2010, CHAVEZ closed the unofficial foreign exchange market – the “parallel market” – in an effort to stem inflation and slow the currency’s depreciation. In June 2010, the government created the “Transaction System for Foreign Currency Denominated Securities” to replace the “parallel” market. In December 2010, CHAVEZ eliminated the dual exchange rate system and unified the exchange rate at 4.3 bolivars per dollar. In January 2011, CHAVEZ announced the second devaluation of the bolivar within twelve months. In December 2010, the National Assembly passed a package of five organic laws designed to complete the transformation of the Venezuelan economy in line with CHAVEZ’s vision of 21st century socialism. In 2012, Venezuela continued to wrestle with a housing crisis, high inflation, an electricity crisis, and rolling food and goods shortages – all of which were fallout from the government’s unorthodox economic policies. The budget deficit for the entire government reached 17% of GDP in 2012, and public debt as a percent of GDP climbed steeply to 49%, despite record oil prices.

      Food shortages and rolling blackouts? Sounds just like the workers’ paradise of his best friend in the Caribbean.

      Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to prosperity. Only hard work, thrift, and educating the next generation well.

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  8. Croft. Why would anyone want to say adios to these kind of results. Glad you posted something that would abuse a lot of the US propaganda. With all the differing comments from people who supposedly know something I am surprised that someone did not look for some credible information sooner.

    By the way, the poster boy comment does not consider how the very small minority got all that wealth that the majority is now “legally” stealing.

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  9. Workers of de world, unite! You got nuttin’ to loose but yur shackels, er, sheckels, well, you know wut I mean. Now where do I vote? The dude in the red beret is my man. He gimme stuff.

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    1. Maybe I am wrong Felipe, but I don’t think Lincoln wore a red baret. Also the American slaves were not allowed to vote for him. That was who you were imitating, isn’t it? The Hollywood version of a slave? Where did you get it? Scalia’s speech?

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          1. Croft: It was an imitation of an ignoramus of any stripe, race, nationality and time in history. They are invariably the demagogue’s support system.

            Your incredible assumption that I was imitating a black slave in America two centuries ago brings to mind Ann Coulter’s wonderful comment that the two groups most fixated on race these days are liberals and skinheads.

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  10. If you had read The Motorcycle Diaries, seen the poverty in Bridge City, La in the early 50’s, or even the hillsides of refugees in Hong Kong in the middle 60’s you might understand Chavez’s mission. Please don’t be so indifferent about it.

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    1. Can’t comment on LA or Motorcycles, but the successes of Hong Kong vs mainland China during the 70’s speaks wonders for free enterprise vs “loving” dictators. Chavez “mission” would have destroyed Hong Kong. It was people fleeing Mao(who was “indifferent” to how many died) and seeking freedom that created those hillsides and lead to that island prosperity.

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      1. Patzman: It’s not just the ’70s, there exists today a stark difference between most of mainland China and Hong Kong, not to mention Taiwan. Most of the Chinese mainland is still quite poor and monstrously polluted to boot.

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  11. I understand that Venezuela has maybe the largest oil reserves in the world, so why don’t they work it out so that every natural born citizen gets a big fat royalty check every month and then everyone can be equal. Wait a minute….some of those university educated young people might get some funny ideas, like maybe inventing something or starting a business that makes them millions of pesos, and then the whole inequality thing starts all over again.

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    1. Equality starts with a level playing field. In Latin America inequality is the result of centuries of exploitation on a field that was not even near level. Check out some histories of the countries there and see the reasons for the countless revolutions.

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      1. “Equality”/France/socialism. We bailed them out of two world wars and the cold war. Better liberty-U.S. Constitution.

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      2. Carlos: You are quite correct about the exploitation in Latin America’s history. The solution is (barring benign, enlightened monarchy, which is always my preferred government) liberal democracy like in Chile, not communist dictatorship like Cuba or the vote-buying demagoguery of people like Chávez. You have identified the problem. You simply have chosen the wrong solution by heading left. Leftist totalitarianism in places like Russia, China and Cuba have been total disasters. (China is trying to backpedal as quickly as possible.) Moderated leftism (social democracy) in places like much of today’s Europe is going downhill very fast too. That, alas, is the route favored by Obama, and if not reversed will soon see the United States in as much financial trouble as much of Europe is today. It’s not far away. And you will see people rioting in the streets (young people!), as happens now in Spain, Greece, etc., demanding their government support, their underwritten lifestyle.

        Redistribution, no matter how you paint its snout, always fails in time. It cannot do otherwise.

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    2. Paul: Much of that Venezuelan oil money goes to prop up Cuba. Chávez shipped the oil, and it is processed in refineries outside Havana. I spoke to more than one person in Cuba last year who said that if the Venezuelan oil faucet were to be shut, they would be in even direr straits than they are now with their “equal” system. It is Venezuelan oil and massive tourism that now keep nonproductive Cuba from sinking totally into the sea. Communism! What a beaut!

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  12. I normally don’t do this, but I’m copying my comment on John Calypso’s blog on the same subject.

    Chavez wanted to help the poor, but his methods were completely unsustainable. He devastated the national oil company by refusing to reinvest. As a result, its output has steadily declined. He has completely destroyed the incentive to save and invest in other productive businesses, thereby ruining the productive capital base of his country. He has driven away much capital from Venezuela, thereby impoverishing the economy. Further he alienated and vilified the USA, other countries that could have brought productive investments and technical know-how to Venezuela. He also drove away a lot of the educated, productive people Venezuela badly needed. And street crime has surged under his watch.

    Sure, you can help the poor in the short term by feeding them the seed corn over the winter, but then what do you do for the next spring?

    No discussion of Hugo Chavez and what he has done for the poor of Venezuela should go without a mention and contrast with Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore. Yew was certainly a dictator in his early days, but he focused on long-term sustainable initiatives to improve the lot of his people. When he began, Singapore was nothing more than a mosquito-infested swamp, inhabited by very poor people. Now Singapore is a glittering success, with a strong economy, a major Asian financial center, and one of the richest countries in the world, on a per-capita basis.

    When you look at the approaches of two strong-arm leaders who tried to improve the lot of their countrymen, the contrast makes Chavez look like what he rightfully was: a loud-mouthed, anti-democratic demagogue who pillaged instead of creating. You don’t improve the lot of the poor by destroying the economy.

    In my view, that’s the proper perspective for Chavez, and it makes him look pretty pathetic. Let’s hope the long-suffering people of Venezuela get something better next time.

    Saludos,

    Kim G

    Boston, MA

    Where we think it’s sad that lefties, who supposedly care about sustainability, have nice things to say about Chavez.

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