Is Venezuela's Chavez a Dictator?
On the other hand, his political and security moves are worrisome. He has six more years, and he has consolidated all left-wing parties, and has begun a campaign against the private media, denying the renewal of a license for RCTV. The corporate media has been, admittedly, even more biased than Fox News, stridently anti-Chavez, but democrats everywhere get worried when freedom of the press is threatened. He has also beefed up his military, and armed a peoples militia.
Given history, though, you can hardly blame Chavez. The US did immediately support the coup d'etat that overthrew Chavez, the elected president, for two days in April, 2002, and there is conflicting evidence as to whether the US had a part in the coup itself. Further, it is incontestable that the US played a role in destabilizing Chile in the early 1970's and, at very least, supported Pinochet's overthrow of the Socialist government of Salvador Allende in September, 1973. I'm sure Chavez is very aware of the fate of Allende's peaceful revolution.
History has consequences. Chavez has clearly taken steps to prevent either destabilization (arguably attempted by the labor federation CTV in 2002), or a military coup, and his program to broaden Venezuela's market for oil beyond the US, and his regional trade pacts are, in part, understandable defensive measures, as well as a challenge to the Washington Consensus.
And why should he renew a TV license to a channel that used it to support a coup against the legitimate government? Broadcast TV should recognize that it has a public responsibility: it is granted a license to use the public's airwaves. If NBC supported a coup attempt against President Bush, would its license be automatically renewed?
While he has made mistakes, and while his programs have only begun to scratch the surface of his country's problems, Chavez offers something new, inspiring new leaders in Latin America to look for alternatives to the neo-liberal Washington Consensus dominated by the US.
We can just hope that the opposition will cohere enough that Chavez will be kept honest and democratic.
No leader, facing only token opposition, remains a democrat for long-as witness our own government under total Republican rule. Here's hoping that the opposition in Venezuela will force at least the honesty that we are hoping for from the Democrats taking over Congress in this country.
Related Tags: media, socialism, chavez, dictator
I have written for many journals and blogs, and taught college for 27 years (politics and economics). I have a Ph.D. in Economics, Political Science and Anthropology.
In my website, http://www.roman-empire-america-now.com/index.html I introduce the idea that there is a ruling class both in the US and globally that is not concerned with anything but its own interests, and that this phenomenon is paralleled by the situation in the late Roman Empire. In that case it led to the Empire's destruction.Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
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