Remember Hugo Chavez?

Wondering what he has been up to? The New York Times keeps us informed:

President Hugo Chávez is using his decree powers to enact a set of socialist-inspired measures that seem based on a package of constitutional changes that voters rejected last year. His actions open a new stage of confrontation between his government and the political opposition.

Some of the laws significantly increase Mr. Chávez’s power. For instance, one law allows him to name regional political leaders who would have separate budgets, which could help him offset possible victories by opposition candidates in state and municipal elections scheduled for November.

Mr. Chávez is also trying to assert greater control over the armed forces through a decree creating militias, a new military branch he has pushed for.

Reigniting private property concerns, another law allows his government to “occupy and temporarily operate” private companies not in compliance with bookkeeping rules.

The set of decrees stops short of removing term limits for Mr. Chávez, which was one of the most polarizing measures in the package voters rejected in December. But more than a dozen of the laws are strikingly similar to items included in the failed constitutional overhaul, angering the president’s critics.

The full article can be found here.

Every time I read something on Hugo Chavez I am reminded of Hayek’s book, The Road To Serfdom and this quote from Cato:

“Since the collapse of the Soviet empire, many defenders of socialism have argued that dictators, including Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot, were aberrations; they took Marx’s ideas in the wrong direction. They claim that nationalization of the means of production (call it communism, socialism, or Marxism) and democracy can be compatible. In The Road to Serfdom, Hayek showed that it cannot. Some 50 years later, Hayek’s argument holds. Every socialist regime tends toward authoritarianism of some sort. Chavez reminds us of the anti-democratic nature of socialism. As such, he is turning into a major embarrassment for many on the Left who supported him. Unfortunately, what the proponents of socialism again and again fail to realize is that it is the message, not the messenger, that is embarrassing”.

40 Responses to “Remember Hugo Chavez?”

  • Fortunately we here in America have no experience of a president expanded executive power to unprecedented lengths. For instance the authorization of torture, the power to call someone an enemy combatant and deprive them of due process, monitoring phone calls and internet usage without any oversight. It’s not like our president would run a company out of business for not handing over private records or anything (Quest). It’s a free market here, with limited government regulation.

    And it’s not as if any president of ours would kick people out of public places and bus in his own paid stooges so that a willing media can show the President arriving and being greeted warmly by “tourists” kind of like Saddam walking through the streets along with adoring fans.

    Yeah, that Chavez is a real scary dude. Good thing we’re safe here.

  • And I didn’t even touch on your concern about Chavez dangerous control over armed forces. Need I even bother? The military abuses of Bush are too obvious to mention. I’m not defending Chavez, but I don’t know how you can post this stuff without recognizing the glaring problems with so called conservative U.S. politicians which I rarely see you mention.

  • I agree – which is why I continue to believe and support less government control of the economy, corporations, and the media. 😀

  • It makes since considering there is a backlash across Latin America to move power away from the centralized powers and into regional governments (seeking autonomy to protect their resources.) It’s funny, because the same forces that created strong centralized governments to protect private interest are now trying to deconstruct them to protect private interest.

    Otherwise, Chavez is enforcing the law and strengthening his military/militia… which is what a leader is supposed to do, right? It doesn’t surprise me considering he was nearly ousted a few years back via a US-backed golpe de estado. If the same thing had happened in the USA everybody involved would be rotting away in Guantanamo. In Venezuela they just bitch and moan.

  • IMHO, nobody in the administration really cares about Venezuela outside of oil interests…and since Chavez seems to be as eager as anybody to sell oil, its a big dont care. This isn’t the old USA vs. USSR days. If Venezuela turns communist it is no longer the threat it used to be – atleast not to United States citizens (as opposed to Venezuela citizens).

    Cheney even confused Venezuela with Peru. All the talk of the USA wanting to oust Chavez is just Chavez taking a page from Castro – the hype makes him feel important and gain support from anti-Americans.

    I’m curious msondo, at what point would you consider Chavez a threat to citizens of Venezuela? If this doesn’t worry you, along with his censorship of the media…what would?

  • If there is no interest then why is there such a strong propoganda campaign against Chavez in this country? According to statements by former US intelligence officers and the former US ambassador to Venezuela, the US did know and aide the coup attempt in 2002. We have a long history of supporting coups and genocidal regimes in Latin America over resources such as fruit, why wouldn’t we be interested in Venezuela’s oil?

    And what censorship are you referring to? The majority of Venezuela’s media is privately owned and very anti-Chavez. He has threatened to shut down Globovision which has openly advocated for his assassination and supported to coup attempt. Imagine if any station here openly encouraged the overthrow of the government here and appealed to the people to kill particular leaders. The fact that the station is still on the air and the people working at the station are not locked away or executed for treason assures me they have a much more liberal idea of free speech and we do.

    The only threat to the Venezuelan people I consider is a threat to their democracy. They should be free to choose a leader via a free and open election. They chose Chavez. I’m not going to say he is a saint and will leave a perfect legacy, but he has been at least strong enough to resist coup attempts, assasination plots, and foreign interests that have dominated Latin American policy for the past 400 years… impressive.

  • msondo If you like chavez so much than why are you here?

    And where in good god’s name to get you get your information from?

    And to add a little reality check;

  • Who said I liked Chavez?

    And why am I where? On this blog? Because I like to waste time? 😉

    And what information are you talking about? Most if it comes from a studying Latin America, both via academia and various flavors of the media. I read the Economist and WSJ regularly if that gives you any indication of where I get some of my media info from.

    Regarding your article: from the silly Obama ads on that site I figured it wasn’t the type of media source I tend to follow.

  • For the States news;

    For international;

    For business news? sorry! That one I don’t do for free.

    I have as you would say “various flavors of the media”, but those I don’t post. As to why? I don’t want you college kids
    to be as up to date as I am “Old folks like me have to protect are own butts”.

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