Hugo Chávez Editorial

Few governments in the world have been victims of devastating campaigns full of hatred. The Venezuelan government, led by President Hugo Chávez, is one of those victims. His enemies have tried everything: Coup d’État, oil strike, flow of capital, plots… After the attack against Fidel Castro, a similar situation has not ever happened in Latin America.

The most miserable lies have been said about Chávez, all of them orchestrated by the new propaganda office called –National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, financed by Bush Administration. With unlimited financial resources, this lying machine manipulates important media and organizations for the defense of Human Rights which are at the service of sinister plans.

Likewise, part of the social-democrat left-branched party surrender before these groups of liars.

Why so much hate? Nowadays, the social-democracy in Europe is experiencing a crisis of identity. The historic circumstances seem indicating that Chávez has the responsibility of assuming the international leadership of the left’s recognition.

While in the old continent the European construction has made impossible any alternative to neo-liberalism, in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador, inspired in the Venezuelan model, some experiences keep alive the emancipation hope of poor people.

In this regard, Chávez’s sense of balance is outstanding. This is the reason why he has become into a reference in many poor countries.
Has not Venezuela been refounded on a new base, legitimated by a new constitution that guarantees people’s participation in the social changes, always within the most painstaking respect of democracy and liberties? (1)

Has the government not given back the dignity to five million poor people?

Has it not recovered for the public the state owned oil company PDVSA?

Has it not de-privatized and given back the main telecommunication company to people, as well as the electric company of Caracas?

Has it not nationalized the Orinoco oil fields?

Finally, has it not assigned part of its oil income to obtain autonomy before the international financial institutions and to finance social programs?

• More than three million hectares of land have been distributed among peasants.
• Millions of children and adults have been taught to read and write.
• Thousands of medical centers have been settled in the popular suborns.
• Thousands low-income people with eye diseases have been operated for free.
• Basic food products have been subsidized and offered to poor people at a low price, 42% less than in the market.
• The weekly working hours have been reduced from 44 to 36 and the minimum wage was about 204 euros per month (the highest in Latin America after Costa Rica).

The result of all these measures is that between 1999 and 2005 poverty dropped from 42.8% to 33.9% (2). The population that works in the informal economy decreased from 53% to 40%. This decrease of poverty allows the maintaining of economic growth, which – in the last three years – reached 12% (one of the highest in the world), supported by a consumption rate that has increased up to 18% during a year. (3).

Given these results, without mentioning the achievements reached in the international policy, is it not surprising that President Chávez has become a target for where the owners of the world and their agents want to shoot?

(1) The lies concerning RCTV have just been denied since this channel has resumed its programs by cable and satellite from July 16.
(2) Poverty Rates in Venezuela. Getting the Numbers Right, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington DC, May 2006.
(3) Read the repport “Chávez, not so bad for business”, Business Week, New York, June 21, 2007.

Opinion article by Ignacio Ramonet / Le Monde Diplomatique / Rebelion.org