Reality In, Garbage Out


Despite having its moments, The New York Times squarely remains The New York Times, of course:

Mr. Chávez changed Venezuela in fundamental ways, empowering and energizing millions of poor people who had felt marginalized and excluded. But his rule also widened society’s divisions.

Translation: By reducing society’s divisions, Mr. Chavez infuriated society’s overclasses, at home and abroad. They felt less happy, so therefore “society” was more polarized. Overclass = society, in other words.

R.I.P., and muchas gracias, Hugo…

9 Replies to “Reality In, Garbage Out”

  1. One of the secretaries in my office has met him at some sort of rally a while back (she’s Latino and travels all over SA). She told me she managed to reach in for a handshake and to tell him that not all Americans ‘hate’ him. She described his reaction as amused, but appreciative.

    (The other reason this is a good story is the fact that the person in question is Cuban, and her family has experienced some Castro regime-related hardships, so it’s not like she’s looking at Chavez with armchair-radical hipster colored glasses, but nevertheless found him handshake worthy.)

  2. Team Venezuela was playing its final warm-up game prior to the World Baseball Classic when they heard about Chavez’ death: ‘A Venezuela spokesman said the team had requested a pre-game moment of silence for Chavez and asked that flags be flown at half-staff, but was told by all parties involved — the Marlins, Major League Baseball and Roger Dean Stadium — that they were not prepared to do so.’

    This from a league that still forces ‘God Bless America’ down our throats during every 7th-inning stretch since 9-11.

  3. Nercules, this is more than just a slap in the face – it is also an instance of how, as organizational decision making and control become ever tighter in private dictatorships, fewer and fewer people are filling and able to act according to new information from reality, and you can see this everywhere.

    Not “prepared” my ass. It requires no preparation whatsoever to 1) make announcement on the PSA system, 2) have a few interns run over to the flags and lower them.

    I don’t know enough about Chavez to judge, but what little I do know is extremely incongruent with the attempts to paint him as just another criminal ruler in SA. Homeboy was elected multiple times, by wide margins, in spite of outside attempts to instigate unrest, and the progress made in poverty reduction, regional economic integration etc. has been acknowledged by multiple sources.

  4. Nerc, that story there is important and utterly par for the course. Anti-socialism remains as virulent among the overs as it ever was. They simply do it quietly now.

    Meanwhile, I’m no expert either, but I’d say Chavez is a very different animal from Castro, despite the ties. The latter was (maybe) the best edge of Socialism 1.x, which was a pretty big failure. The latter was a (the?) founding figure for Socialism 2.x. As such, he knew that democracy is not a bourgeois trick, but a prerequisite for any viable movement toward what we want and need. He handily won open and fair elections several times, in the face of huge pressure and shenanigans* from the United States. He is a legit hero. His rise and rule were a huge blow against imperialism and for a better future.

    *On those shenanigans, here’s an early and rare view.

  5. Richard Estes made the following comment over on Louis Proyect’s site, and I think it nicely captures some of the most important ways in which Chavez leaves a meaningful legacy:

    “Chavez drew a sharp line between the US and South America in regard to the US response to 9/11. Unlike many other countries in the rest of the world, South American ones refused to participate in renditions and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. For that reason, the US sought his removal less than a year later. While his response to the Arab Spring was embarrassingly wrong, his abandonment of neoliberal US economic policy, his successes in alleviating policy and illiteracy and his opposition to US militarism and imperialism made him one of the most important, if not the most important, political figure of the last 25 years.”

  6. Here is a IMO remarkable story from 2009, which impressed me even then, though I wasn’t paying nearly as much attention as now. Basically, CITGO (the venezuelan government oil company) provides free fuel for poor families *IN THE USA* (at one point with direct CHavez intervention), something that no *domestic companies* do.

    Their explanation? They are doing it for “political reasons”, to “undermine the Bush administration”. LOL! Where do you begin with this shit? (for one, damn straight, you better believe it is political every time you demonstrate, by impacting people’s lives, that their government is fkd.)

  7. And if you need a final proof that NPR is just as fucking corrupt as the NYT and the rest, here it is (actually an AP report they reprint):

    “Chavez invested Venezuela’s oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world’s tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.”

    here it is again, the system has spoken with rare honesty: “building amazing technological achievements for the few – good! meeting the needs of many – bad!”

    Full text:

  8. I can’t and don’t listen to NPR. I much prefer to check the official temperature by means of the corporate evening news, which is precisely the same at 1/3 the length, and without the over-enunciating pseudo-intellectual story readers. And good riddance to the precious trivialities of the non-news crap NPR peddles, too.

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