Hugo Chavez’s answer to Violence: Its the Damn Yankees’ Fault

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One has to always be mindful of the special interests behind the portrayals of controversial nations throughout the world. Conveniently for the analysis of Venezuela, that caution need not be exercised–its leader, Hugo Chavez, corroborates his critics just about every time he opens his mouth.

Venezuela has a serious violent crime problem; in Latin America, the murder rate per capita  dwarfs that of Mexico and is only second to the gang-infested El Salvador.(56 per 100k in 2009, 14 higher than Mexico. El Salvador had 71 per 100k)

Many Venezuelans are not happy about the violence, and yesterday 1500 of them spoke up about it at a protest in Caracas:

Venezuela Protest "Socialism, Blackout, and Death!"

Chavez responded to the criticism with the following:

“Violence is one of the visible and terrible effects of social injustice, of capitalism, of the model the bourgeoisie imposed on us”

I’m not an expert, so I cannot say with any certainty what roots violence derives from, but it definitely existed before the word capitalism came into existence.

What Chavez fails to say is that societies throughout time have established a variety of systemic structures to limit the amount of violence, even if the source of it cannot be uprooted.

Many Latin American nations have the same or worse levels of social injustice(i.e. Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador) yet are not as violent as Venezuela, which is compelling evidence that Chavez is simply blaming something else for his own failures, such as investing time and funds into an effective police force, or looking outside the myopic obsession with the word socialism to consider other forms of governance.

In other words, it’s far more likely that the exceptionally high rate of violence in Venezuela is more likely due to government incompetence than any direct cause and effect with “capitalism” and thus Chavez is exposed for weaving a mask(a weak one, at that) of lies to his people and to the world.

Unfortunately, many, including esteemed history professors, strengthen Chavez’s own ineptness at lying by creating better sounding propaganda abroad and blaming U.S. interventionism on all the self-inflicted ailments(well, Chavez-inflicted) upon Venezuela.

Knowing when to stop reading

Here is a poorly constructed defense of Chavez, in the form of a film review on Altnernet.org of Oliver Stone’s documentary, South of the Border. This is when I stopped reading, and for good reason:

There was little about the film I did not find fascinating or compelling…

one of the strongest points Stone makes is the way the American government and its complicit press corps give consistently negative coverage to, say, Venezuela but refer favorably to Colombia, one of the United States’ last malleable allies in the region.

Message to Alternet, and author Daniela Perdoma: One source of the disproportionate U.S. press coverage of Venezuela is because Chavez cannot keep his mouth shut; he provides constant fodder for amusing press reports. Its no surprise, then, that coverage of other leftist countries, such as Bolivia and Ecuador, are far less common in the U.S.

Moreover, there are plenty of small-time blogs, based in Venezuela, whose only shared characteristic with the media in the U.S. is disdain for their clown prince. Here, and Here, one can find detailed, thoughtful scathing analysis of Venezuela under Chavez.

It is disingenuous to simply dismiss Colombia as the U.S.’s last malleable ally and leave it at that. Colombia actually deserves some positive press; the crime rates there have plummeted in a grand fashion, allowing Colombian people to live with less fear. Much of the increased safety in Colombia can be attributed to Plan Colombia, more appropriately former President Uribe’s effective distribution of significant U.S. Aid to declaw FARC and the Paramilitaries.

I digress, it doesn’t matter that millions of Colombians’ lives have improved; U.S. imperialism deserves no credit in any quarter, even if it means supporting individuals who have incriminated themselves in destroying their own country.

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