Chavez Otra Vez (HUM455/HUM415)

Here’s an opinion piece by Seamus Milne at the UK Guardian on the significance of Hugo Chavez’s re-election. As Milne notes, a virtually pathological antipathy for Chavez– who survived a US-backed coup attempt in 2002– predominates in corporate media. Because of the frequency with which Chavez is maligned as a “dictator” and a “strongman” you’d never know that Venezuela’s voting standards are among the highest in the world. By socializing energy resources– Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world– the Chavez government has been able to massively expand social programs for the marginalized. ( In any case, the perpetuation of socialism in Venezuela has frightened those trading in Venezuelan debt. Remarking on the drop in bond values immediately after the election chief economist at Exotix Ltd. said,  “The market was disappointed by the election result.”)Venezuela’s “Bolivarian Revolution”– backed by a majority of Venezuelans with the results of the last three elections– thus represents a rejection of the neoliberal economic policies that once afflicted most of Latin America. Milne’s contention is that this reversal of neoliberalism is being pioneered in Central and South America.

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