I’ve always had my suspicions about a certain crappy “news” outlet pretentiously calling itself the “Latin American Herald Tribune”. I never did trust it; there was something of a rightist stench about it. And today, I received this in my e-mail. I think it tells us something about who may in fact be behind them, making sure nothing but bad news gets out about Latin America’s socialist successes. You be the judge:
Now, anyone who knows even a little bit about Venezuela should be doing a facepalm over the headline alone. Venezuela is not a “communist” country in any sense of the word. That’s not merely editorializing, that’s just plain WRONG. Venezuela is democratic, and its president is duly elected, as are all its national assembly congresscritters. And some, including the president himself, are duly re-elected. And every major piece of legislation they pass is publicly ratified. Unless a surfeit of democracy is your idea of communism, Venezuela is not a communist country.
Of course, Venezuela does have an old and honorable communist party, one which was illegal under more than one military dictator (as well as quite a few of the weak-tea “democrats” of the Punto Fijo era of 1958-98). But it does not rule the roost, even though it does openly support the president, and its members often agitate for greater social reforms. They are also decidedly NOT under the control of Chávez, who criticized them not so long ago for organizing protests against the visit of El Narco Uribe. (It should be noted that public criticism, not jail, was the worst that any of them got for that show of undiplomatic independence. Chavecito is a president, not a dictator.)
And Venezuela enjoys close ties to Cuba, which is said to be communist, but is actually also surprisingly democratic at a grassroots level. Maybe it’s Cuba that the mindless drones behind that press release were thinking of? If so, they’re still in error. They wrote Venezuela.
Now, about that fertilizer company that the Koch profiteers are so hot under the collar about: Guess what, it was not “expropriated”, it was nationalized. And there’s a good reason for that: Venezuela can and should produce the overwhelming majority of its own food, and not be forced to rely on expensive imports from multinational monopolies. It was an agrarian country before oil was first discovered and commercially developed there, and when the oil runs out, it should be one again. That’s not going to happen without a lot of help from the top. And Chavecito knows this full well, which is why he’s nationalizing all these foreign-owned agro- and petro-chemical industries (with strong public approval!), and turning their output over to Venezuelan farmers instead of putting it up for foreign sale on a glutted world market. (You can’t fertilize your fields with dinero, after all.) It’s a perfectly rational and intelligent way of getting the country back to its self-sufficient agrarian roots, it’s producing high-quality local food (often by co-operative farming), and it’s helping Venezuelans to feed their families for less, too. Foreign corporations HATE that. So, of course, what better way to denigrate the reasonable measures of an elected government than to call it “communist”? And award lucrative cash “prizes” to opposition “students” who will never get themselves elected to anything?
But hey, if the Koch brothers want to make open fools of themselves suing a country whose citizenry holds them and their kind in rightful contempt (but bought them out for a fair price regardless), and the lazybums at the LAHT want to reduce themselves to just printing their shoddy press releases, maybe Venezuela’s Bolivarian government can counter-sue…for LIBEL. That money will surely come in very handy for more social missions to make the lives of ordinary Venezuelans better. Trickle-down and all that, you know.
(Thanks to Richard for sending me that screen-grab!)