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Chavez Tightening Grip On Venezuela Further
Don't they have freezers in Venezuela?
Jefferson: I place economy among the first and important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
(03-20-2013, 03:40 PM)jt Wrote: Don't they have freezers in Venezuela?

I think freezers would do more damage to the body, due to water crystals rupturing the cells. Keeping the body in a very cool refrigerator would be best, but not if the body had been there for an extended time.

Obviously the authorities kept his death a secret for as long as they could, and defeated their own purposes as a result.
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AdelbertWaldron Wrote:Interesting article from the guardian.

Other than the violent crime, taking a rational look at the presidency of Hugo Chavez one concludes that it was overall good for the Venezuelan people. who saw per capita GDP increase 2 and a half times and unemployment, infant mortality, and poverty plummet. It was also good for oil companies, who saw exports from Venezuela increase 4 times.

Quote:• Unemployment has dropped from 14.5% of the total labour force in 1999 to 7.6% in 2009
• Population has increased from 23,867,000 in 1999 to 29,278,000 in 2011. The annual population growth was 1.5% in 2011 compared with 1.9% in 1999
• GDP per capita has risen from $4,105 to $10,801 in 2011
• As you can see in the graphic chart, Venezuela's inflation has fluctuated since 1999. Inflation now stands at 31.6% compared with 23.6% in 1999
• Venezuela has a complicated history concerning currency exchange rates. Compared with 1999 when the exchange rate was under one bolivar to the US dollar, the latest figures from Reuters place it at 4.3 Bolivars to one dollar
• Poverty has decreased - in 1999, 23.4% of the population were recorded as being in extreme poverty, this fell to 8.5% in 2011 according to official government figures
• Infant mortality is now lower than in 1999 - from a rate of 20 per 1,000 live births then to a rate of 13 per 1,000 live births in 2011
• Violence has been a key concern in Venezuela for some time - figures from the UNODC state that the murder rate has risen since 1999. In 2011 the intentional homicide rate per 100,000 population was 45.1 compared with 25.0 just twelve years earlier
• Oil exports have boomed - Venezuela has one of the top proven oil reserves in the world and in 2011 Opec put the country's net oil export revenues at $60bn. In 1999 it stood at $14.4bn

[Image: Venezuela-key-indicators--001.jpg]

Say what you want about Chavez, his ascendency to the Venezuealan presidency likely prevented a violent revolution in that country. With 23% of the population living in extreme poverty, extreme measures to correct the obvious mismanagement of Venezuela were literally the only option left. Had the situation continued it's likely that a group of guerrilla thugs such as the FARC would be able to easily expand their recruiting from this base of poverty and therefore expand their control out of the jungles and ever closer to Caracas.

He is also a great deal like Putin in that the reason the west hates him is that his seizure of the reins of power from international bankers for the people of his own nation has upset those interests. And for it his name is slandered and drug through the mud by the lizard media. At home his admirers have near cult like reverence for the man, who they view as a champion of his own people.

I loathed the man personally (still do), but such things as the above data cannot be ignored. I am sure this particular post will upset a lot of people on this forum, but I am amenable to admitting there may have been more to Chavez than what the media or the libertarians and conservatives might paint him as. I, personally, realize that the whole bit about free market globalism is often a recipe for disaster for many situations, and I agree with AdelbertWaldron in that by doing what Chavez he did, he likely prevented another violent revolution that would have erupted had he not gained office.

I urge you to read both the whole article AND the comments (especially from AdelbertWaldron) on that forum thread as food for thought.

Of course, that might be asking too much from some here, and Chavez is just some statist prick who needs to be hated regardless (lord knows one must stick to the Milton Friedman economic religion and current dogmas on how this country should be run). I predict few logical responses to this post, but hope springs eternal. Oh and don't nitpick shit out of here to argue at your own convenience.

Here is an outstanding comment from a man I know personally and who is quite well traveled (even ran a factory in Vietnam), which sums up much of the truth of things:

Ramon Wrote:We can't have leaders of a country actually looking after their people and the natural resources. If it doesn't fill the coffers of Ferengistan, conservative talking heads parrot the latest party line, and everybody lines up to shout the latest party slogans. Different countries call for different conditions, but the US needs to see that it is in fact a plutocracy milking it's own citizens dry and sending all of the wealth out of the country. Coincidentally its biggest supporters are those on the government dole in its myriad forms.

A quick note: the murder rate likely went up as part of a new crime wave targeting any new wealthy? I mean, no point in robbing and killing people on the same poverty level as you, but when there are all many more new targets emerging...this is what Ramon postulated, and he might be correct.

There were obviously both downsides and upsides to Chavez's rule. But what is being seen here is a difference from what we have been told by the media here.

Oh, and the origins of the data (I am sure this will be attacked ruthlessly):

Quote:Using data gathered from sources such as the World Bank, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Reuters, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the US Energy Information Administration (eia), the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and the Instituto Nacional de Estadística, we have been able to gather a variety of key indicators that show how Venezuela has changed since 1999 when Chávez first assumed office. We've used the most recent data where possible.

I am sure that because the format isn't approved, all this will be discounted.
As an aside, the exact thing occurred in Italy under 'El Duce'. Remember the part about making the trains run on time?

The problem with all Collectivist systems is that they very quickly reach their ceiling, once they take over from an even sorrier system before them. There is no place to go but upward under those conditions. However, that quickly ends, and the people are still left holding the bag. Most of the gains will have been made by redistributing wealth, and we all know how that ends.

And there is only one way to get the masses to forget about this: create a scapegoat. Like the Falklands to Argentina, I'm sure their old arch nemesis, Colombia, was just waiting the wrath of his future accusation.

No matter the hype, Collectivism does not work. It didn't under Italian Fascism, and it had almost certainly hasn't done so under Chavez's brand of socialism. And I guarantee you the successor, if he attempts to follow what Uncle Ugo started, will quickly find an exit door awaiting, because like I said, there is only so much to be gained before running into the ceiling corruption, egalitarianism, and suppression of opportunity.

Perhaps William will give this the Full Monty.
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So, you do not deny that perhaps Chavez might have been positive for the country, culture and people of Venezuela as a distinct entity? And what do you think would have happened had the previous politicians kept running things as they did?

Whether or not things continue to improve, stagnate or crumble will be born out in the next few years.
I didn't say that. I'm saying that the spurt of upward indicators were almost certainly a short burst, which quickly ends. Then the system is left with the need to distract the populous from the failure to keep improving. That is where the Scapegoat comes in. Its almost universal in all collectivist states.

Collectivism does not work. You should know that by now Tait. Just because some fellow posted this over at the Manly Excellence forum does not make it the gospel. There is always far more to this than meets the eye. Chavez was there only for a short time, in real time, and his predecessors were also bad news. With that as a starting block, its hard NOT to make positive gains.

And further, are you certain the numbers are accurate? Remember, this is from a Brit paper that is a cheerleader for Collectivism. And remember, it is always possible to get numbers to agree with you if you are willing to torture them enough.

But I stand by my point: Collectivism Does. Not. Work.
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I do know that our brand of social and economic theory doesn't apply in many parts of the world, and that I am willing to amend my perception of things based on new data. Something often lacking among many ideologues.

Also, I never said it was gospel, but that it was a refreshing and new viewpoint that should be thought upon and remembered when forming an opinion of things. I never liked Chavez, never will, regardless of any information that comes out about him. I am sticking to that, and I am cheered by the fact Cuban healthcare likely killed him in his cancer treatment.

I know how this place works: anytime something like this crops up, it becomes heretical and so does the poster. Data, however, tortured, is data, and I am not willing to dismiss it so easily as you have, JohnL. Let's try not to be myopic here. Just because the format is The Guardian doesn't mean the Guardian is entirely false.

In this case, could it be that the people endorsed Chavez because they preferred "collectivism" to international corporations and globalism (which often don't work in the interest of a local people either)? Could it be that we really aren't some shining beacon of how things should run?

You say things must keep improving, but is it really possible for infinite growth and expansion (doubtful)?

Or better yet: could it be that the media and all the talking heads, especially the US Gov't and conservatives, just paint Chavez as a totally terrible person because he threatened their political and business interests? Hmmmm
I cannot answer for 'so called' conservatives Tait. I am a true Liberal, in the 19th century sense. I believe passionately in Liberty, both economic and personal Liberty. If these things are missing, the potential locked within the individual is also stymied.

And asking me a question involving the DOP is not going to get you far. You need to address that to William, not me.

Again, Liberty is King. Restrict it, and you hold back the potential of others.
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I am not operating on the scale of libertarian or conservative, whatever. I am operating along the lines of looking at things a bit differently, such as my comment in italics.
Saying that Chavez's reforms didn't work is imposing an ideological viewpoint upon Venezuela that certainly doesn't exist in any meaningful way in South America. Since Pinochet and more recently the near revolution caused by water privatization in Bolivia there is a widely held distrust of Chicago school economics in South America, being viewed as a tool of the interests of foreign economic imperialists.

In the short term Chavez was undoubtedly a success for the people he was targeting. The poverty stricken venezuelan has seen their lot improved monetarily, even though the manner of these reforms was not wise in the long term. A smart country invests the wealth from oil into education, infrastructure, etc to attract industry in the long term. Needless to say, this isn't what Chavez did. But that's not something the poverty stricken would have loved him for anyway.

He was a man of his people for sure, and identified with the poorest. To those people he will always be a heroic figure, and loom large as a folk hero.

As far as the violence. There is similar violence in Mexico, but there's not nearly the same amount of effort placed into demonizing the heads of the Mexican government as there was into hating Chavez. The people pushing the media narrative in America must have been far more invested in recently nationalized Venezuelan industry.

People who lose large sums from nationalization have of course a vested interest in not making that seen as a good idea.
"Fancy meeting you here, friend."
Well, apparently those economic stats are bullshit according to John, and we're not even delving into the business about oil.

Concerning Victor's point on nationalization: how much of our dislike of people such as Chavez is so much driven the fact people lose money when folks like him come along. Ideology takes a backseat.
(04-06-2013, 07:13 PM)Gunnen4u Wrote: Well, apparently those economic stats are bullshit according to John, and we're not even delving into the business about oil.

A larger point about this could be made that our dislike of people such as Chavez isn't so much driven by ideology as the fact people lose money when folks like him come along.

The least those people could do is post some competing stats so that JohnL would have a base upon which to make a rebuttal of these figures. "I don't like the picture they paint, so I'm going to ignore them" isn't a very strong footing to make an argument.

Some oil company funded think tank should have some laying around somewhere. The economics of the situation certainly demand it.
"Fancy meeting you here, friend."
(04-06-2013, 07:13 PM)Gunnen4u Wrote: Well, apparently those economic stats are bullshit according to John, and we're not even delving into the business about oil.

Concerning Victor's point on nationalization: how much of our dislike of people such as Chavez is so much driven the fact people lose money when folks like him come along. Ideology takes a backseat.

Again, you are putting words into my mouth Tait. I open the door by asking if there was a chance that a Collectivist newspaper would stretch statistics to bolster a collectivist economy. And knowing that numbers will always go what one wishes, if they are tortured enough, this is well worth being aware of.

I would like to know where the stats are from. And I don't remember seeing any credits to them. Perhaps there were, but I don't remember.
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And I will state one more time, that almost every collectivist regime, when taking power, uses a flurry of change that is geared to offer short term success. But it is the long term that really counts. They almost always hit the wall early on and then are forced to use other means to keep the masses preoccupied.

Its straight out of the Karl Marx playbook.
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While that may be, John, the point of this is to illustrate other forces at play or work. Chavez probably didn't do the right things or they may not last a decade, but perhaps that isn't the whole point here...

You're stuck on this being a matter of ideology when really, it might just be a matter of money gained or lost or the rejection of international money making schemes. Our perception of Chavez may be linked to it. Not to mention the rejection of American or European style economic plans and links. That is what I would like to explore more as we discuss this.

Figure what it would be like for those data figures if Chavez was one of our guys.
(04-06-2013, 07:26 PM)Gunnen4u Wrote: Figure what it would be like for those data figures if Chavez was one of our guys.

I reckon the data would be gospel truth and on the front page of

Really from where I sit, Chavez is a consequence of 25% poverty rate, and a blowoff valve for what otherwise would likely have been a militant takeover of Venezuela by people like the FARC. Something that would have most certainly had a far worse outcome.

Whether these poverty rates are sustainable in Venezuela remain to be seen.
"Fancy meeting you here, friend."
Tait, that's fine. Suit yourself.
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I emailed Dan Mitchell, of the CATO Institute earlier this evening, and he got right back to me. I discussed the Guardian article with him, concerning the numbers. His reply to me:

Quote:I haven't seen the Guardian article, so I can't comment, but somebody
must be doing some strenuous cherry-picking of data.

He pointed me to an entry of his from March, 2011: In One Chart, Everything You Wanted to Know about the Relationship Between Good Policy and Economic Prosperity.

In the chart he compares three South American countries, from 1980 and 2008. Dan has a solid reputation for honesty, so I will accept his word here. Note the comparative wealth of the three countries in 1980, in which Venezuela is first in per capita wealth, but last in 2008.

[Image: chile-argentina-venezuela.jpg]

Quote:So what accounts for these remarkable changes in relative prosperity? The answer, at least in part, is the difference between free markets and statism. Simply stated, Chile has reduced the burden of government a lot in the past three decades, Argentina has reduced the burden of government a little, and Venezuela has gone in the wrong direction and increased the burden of government.

The following numbers come from the Economic Freedom of the World, which looks at all facets of economic policy, including regulation, trade policy, monetary policy, fiscal policy, rule of law, and property rights.

- * Chile’s score jumped from 5.6 in 1980 to 8.0 in 2008, and the country now ranks as the world’s 4th-freest economy (ahead of the United States!).

- * Argentina’s ranking has improved a bit, rising from 4.4 to 6.0 between 1980 and 2008, but that still only puts them in 94th-place in the world rankings.

- * Venezuela, by contrast, is embarrassingly bad. The nation’s score has dropped from 6.3 to 4.4, and its ranking has plunged from 22nd-place in 1980 to 121st-place in 2006.

You can read the entire short article at the provided link above. As I stated, he got right back to me on this. Can't beat that for service, can we?
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It's probably so that others in the region such as Argentina did comparatively better but it also looks like the data there unfortunately isn't terribly to the discussion, since Chavez took office in 1999. 20 years after the first data point in the chart.

I'll make a line graph for the three nations Per-cap GDP in a few.
"Fancy meeting you here, friend."
I have a question. Who is 'Yes_Man'? Is he an earlier attempt, or someone different? I notice the use of "New Vegas" in the profile. If this is not a different person, we need to get rid of it.
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