Sunday, June 11, 2006

THE CHAVEZ SAGA II - "leftside"

The Chavez saga continues. I am herewith including additional excerpts of comments in this regard written by bloggers who visit the interesting Miami Herald blog of Andres Oppenheimer (link in this page).

leftside said:

Mousqueton: I don't quite get ya. You quote a wonderful T. Roosevelt paragraph about the need to get rid of our country's divisions but justify the "biggest house" in the barrio being able to control the others.

You urge Americans to "understand socialism as a civilized political alternative for many of our neighbors," but treat Chavez as the antichrist.

I have to ask which specific Chavez position do you disagree with? Beyond style, what exactly has he done that you thought was a mortal sin, worthy of "rubbing" our friends like Chile and Ecuador with some of our heaviest sandpaper possible?

You, like even the LA Times, seem to take for granted that Chavez is an enemy of democracy. But Chavez's real enemy is clear = neo-liberalism and capitalism. His democratic credentials are actually stellar in many ways (today's Venezuelans rate their democracy highest in Latin America). He's been elected more, by higher margins than about anyone. Participation is through the roof and the press and NGOs are as developed and oppositional (and free) as anywhere. And local participatory democracy is blossoming.

Is it just young idealism to want to eradicate illiteracy from your country (like Venezuela and now Bolivia)? Is it just irresponsible to want to earn the maximum value on your country's natural resources?

mousqueton said:

Off course you don’t get me!


While traveling to Mexico, I met a fascinating Peruvian gentleman in the plane and had the chance, later on, to have dinner with him. His name was Mr. Hector Delgado Parker and he was the owner of a major television station in Peru.

He was indeed an exceptional communicator, highly educated, had a deep knowledge of both American and Latin American politics and, to my surprise, certainly very liberal by US standards. I say surprise, because I would have expected the owner of a media company in Peru to be rather conservative.

He also had this special ability to break down a complex issue into its basic elements and then explain it in very simple terms.

Though we talked about Latin American literature and music, most of our conversation was political. I am not going to bore you with all the details but I will certainly quote something he told me that was indeed an epiphany.

He said that, in the world, there were basically two major antagonistic forces and that as absurd and amazing as it may seem both wanted to accomplish exactly the same thing; the elimination of poverty.

On one side you have the radical political and business conservatives that advocate eliminating poverty by eliminating the poor and, on the opposite side, you have the radical liberal and communist interests advocating the elimination of poverty by eliminating the rich.

He, like most responsible liberals both in Latin America and the US, was in the middle, advocating for a society based on solidarity; a society in which the strong take care of the week. A society where priorities and policy are decided by negotiation and compromise; meaning by this, that no one gets all that they want but everyone can live with what they do.

He believed that the same principles were valid and should be the foundations over which to build a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship between Latin America and the United States. The only realistic approach possible if we were to have a long lasting relationship between so many countries with different interests and priorities

He was right. That is the only answer if we are to expect progress and better standards of living for everyone in our continent, particularly for those who have so little and/or nothing at all. He was right if we are to expect Democracy to set routes and flourish in the Continent; a democracy based on individual freedom and rights; a democracy that promotes independent thinking and encourages everyone to pursue their dreams and happiness.

He was right, and curiously enough, he advocated exactly what Theodore Roosevelt, though a conservative, advocates in the passage of his memoirs cited in my last comment.

That is why you do not “get me” Mr. leftside.

Because it is obvious that you have chosen to align yourself with one of the conflicting forces that advocate the elimination of each other for the good of the poor; an irrational and unrealistic force that will end up making the poor and the ignorant pay for your egotistical and chauvinistic ambitions.

A force that will meet its match since radical conservatives in the US, who share the same purpose and motivations, will indeed be glad to oblige.

A confrontation though, with an outcome that resembles the title of the novel from the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez; “Cronica de una Muerte Anunciada” (Chronicle of an Announced Death”).

Read the posting on Mr. Chavez, “Nothing is more dangerous than a thick who thinks”, where I describe a possible scenario for that outcome which, off course, will hurt Latin America.

As for your comment indicating that I despise Mr. Chavez, I am sorry to inform you that it is wrong. I could not despise Mr. Chavez because he is not that important.

I do despise though, what he represents and I will explain this further, down to every small detail, in a future post.

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