In the discussion thread: Study of Polls Shows a Clear Lead for Hugo Chavez in Venezuela's Presidential Election Race [View all]
Response to Roverticus (Reply #6)
Wed Aug 15, 2012, 12:35 PM
Peace Patriot (21,821 posts)
8. I was not speaking specifically about Chavez as to re-learning democracy.
I was speaking about Venezuelans, a people that cares enough about their democracy to insist on honest, transparent elections and to do all the hard civic work necessary to establishing this bottom line of democracy. They are also admirable in their political activism, grass roots organization and levels of public participation in politics and government.
You're citing "Freedom House"? They have contracts with the USAID (spawn of the CIA) and are secretive about those contracts:
The U.S. Agency for International Development this month refused to release key details of Freedom House activities in Cuba from January 2000 through December 2007.
USAID released its 1999 contract with Freedom House along with 11 supplemental agreements, but redacted the majority of the program descriptions that would give details of the non-profit organization's activities in Cuba.
No entity funded by the U.S. government, with all the horror that the U.S. government has inflicted on Latin America in the past and recently (Colombia, Honduras, Mexico) can be trusted on Venezuela. Lordy, the U.S. government supported the fascist coup in Venezuela in 2002!
"Chavez rules by decree."
So does the president of Brazil. It is a common practice in Latin America. It is perfectly lawful. The legislature--also democratically elected--votes powers of decree to the president which are time-limited and limited to specific issues. Lula da Silva, for instance, protected a wide swath of the Amazon for an uncontacted indigenous tribe by "decree." Chavez is housing thousands of people displaced by catastrophic floods and rebuilding their town with "decree" powers granted to him by the legislature.
"...in a country with his own constitution."
What a slander on the people of Venezuela who slaved over every clause in their constitution for more than two years in constituent assemblies all over the country, and then voted for their new constitution by a big majority. They reverence their constitution! They pass out copies of it on the street. They carry copies of it in their pockets. They print parts of it on grocery bags! And during the U.S.-supported fascist coup attempt in 2002 it was the first thing on their minds, even before the fate of their elected president. ("What about our constitution?!")
The coup regime suspended the constitution, the national assembly, the courts and all civil rights. It was the Venezuelan peoples' constitution--with its great expansion of human and civil rights--that the tens of thousands of Venezuelans who poured into the streets, during the coup attempt, were successfully defending, in one of the most remarkable events in Latin American history.
Chavez's personal constitution? That is bullshit.
The Chavez government has scrupulously followed the Venezuelan constitution--a constitution written and voted on by the people of Venezuela (also a common practice in Latin America, unlike here, where we are stuck with the "Electoral College" and oligarchic senators forevermore). And it is the Chavez government's very lawfulness that you are trying to attack by calling it "his own constitution." That is a lie and an insult to the people of Venezuela. It is THEIR constitution and Chavez's adherence to it is among the many reasons why they keep voting for his government, by big majorities--much as our people voted for FDR for four straight terms as president.
Chavez is no more of a "caudillo" (translation: "a man on a white horse") than FDR was. It is not often that "the people" get a real champion of the people as head of government--a leader with the interests of the majority in mind, who acts on their behalf and who understand who he owes his power to. Chavez understands the latter--who he owes his power to--more than any leader in the world. The people of Venezuela literally saved his life and restored him to his rightful office. He is clearly acting for them and with their approval. That is how representative democracy works!
Is it "participatory democracy"--the ideal of democracy? Actually, it is to some extent--for instance, in the establishment of community councils which control the use of federal funds locally--but the framework is representative democracy. It is very similar to our system but Venezuelans have been able to make that system work for the common good, whereas we are no longer able to do so. Like our people back in the 1930s, they were able to vote themselves a "New Deal." That is not possible here any more. And, indeed, it is so terrifying to the transglobal corporate monsters and war profiteers who rule over us, that they never stop with the lying propaganda about Chavez, a constant battering for over a decade now. And it is characteristic of that propaganda--I've read it again and again--that, if Chavez is not a "dictator" yet, he is sure to become one.
Well, the rightwing also called FDR a "dictator." They hated FDR just as viciously as the current rightwing, here and there, hates Chavez. Why? It is not anything that either leader did that was "undemocratic" (as if the rightwing and their 1% funders care about democracy! Ha!). It is because both leaders advocate FAIRNESS and act with strength TO BE FAIR.
Now, if you want to talk about theories of democracy, fine. In an ideal democracy, no citizen has more power than any other. All are perfectly equal. And there is no need for politicians. Everything is done by consensus.
Is Venezuela an ideal democracy? No. Was the U.S. an ideal democracy with FDR as president? No. Our systems of democracy require leaders and when the poor majority gets a leader into power, the rich elite and the transglobal corporations that they serve, squeal like stuck pigs. They don't mind Exxon Mobil making them rich on Venezuela's oil, while most Venezuelans wallow in poverty. They don't mind Bush Jr. murdering a hundred thousand people in the "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad, to get control of their oil. Those kind of true dictatorial actions don't bother them at all. But let a leader try to share the wealth and control the greed of the rich, and that leader--the one doing the will of the people--is called a "dictator" or, more sneakily, a "caudillo." And we liberals and progressives and leftists are supposed to cringe in fear of that leadership because...because...? It's not ideal!
No, Chavez is not an ideal leader. Nor was FDR. But the political system in the U.S. in that era, and Venezuela's political system now, worked and work as they should to produce leaders who truly represent the majority. And those leaders had to work every day against the 1%-ers who desperately wanted to undo those policies. The 1%-ers here have very nearly dismantled our "New Deal." Don't we wish we could elect a new FDR to restore it!
I have looked into the matter in great detail--including detailed scrutiny of the Venezuelan election system--and I am satisfied that Venezuelans have the leader they want and need. They've had every opportunity to throw him out--even one funded by the USAID (the 2004 recall election)--and they instead endorse him and his government by big margins, time and again. The Corporate Press never says WHY. I could enumerate the reasons why--the fair distribution of the oil wealth, for instance, universal health care, great expansions of educational opportunities, human and civil rights and public participation--a long list of "New Deal"-like policies that are NEVER reported. You seem to acknowledge these but resent the political power that has made them possible. Yes, Chavez is powerful--so powerful that he CAN and DID insist on the constitutional use of the oil revenues to benefit the common good.
Will the "Bolivarian Revolution" (Venezuela's "New Deal") be undone some day by the 1%-ers, possibly because it is too much based on strong leadership. That could happen, just as it is happening here. Or it could happen by assassination, by outright coup d'etat or by another U.S. oil war, or possibly simply by Chavez dying. Without Chavez, Venezuelans will have a hard time hanging onto their "New Deal." The "New Deal" looked permanent in 1945 (the year of FDR's death). It was not. It took time, but it has been almost completely destroyed. The greedbags are back in charge and more powerful than ever before.
We long for another FDR to put things right. We forget the long hard road to the "New Deal," which involved decades of labor and other activism and suffering, and strong attention to our civic responsibilities (for instance, insuring honest, transparent elections--a LOCAL and personal responsibility). We have a long difficult road ahead of us, to restore real democracy here. Venezuelans have walked that road and have arrived at a government that has greatly benefited them and has given them great satisfaction (one of the highest satisfaction and "happiness" ratings in the world!) They may have to walk it again. And maybe some day we will all learn not to be so dependent on our leaders.
To SEE this flaw in representative democracy is quite different from squawking about FDR or Chavez being "dictators" (or "personalists," or "caudillos"). They have both done what the people of their countries elected them to do, which required strength and the use of lawful power to battle the rich powermongers. Is that wrong? No. It's how things are supposed to work in these democratic systems. Are politicians almost always tempted to seek too much power, often justifying themselves that it's in a good cause? Yes. Should they be closely watched for this tendency? Of course! Should they be bludgeoned day in, day out, with nothing but negative so-called "news" by wealthy, transglobal media corporations who serve the 1%, with absolutely no balance whatsoever? That is not beneficial scrutiny. That is gross interference.
"Organized money hates me--and I welcome their hatred!" --Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
|Peace Patriot||Aug 2012||OP|
|Peace Patriot||Aug 2012||#3|
|Justina For Justice||Aug 2012||#2|
|Judi Lynn||Aug 2012||#4|
|Peace Patriot||Aug 2012||#5|
I was not speaking specifically about Chavez as to re-learning democracy.
|Peace Patriot||Aug 2012||#8|
|Judi Lynn||Aug 2012||#9|
Please login to view edit histories.