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What Next for Venezuela?


#1

What Next for Venezuela?

Mark Weisbrot

Venezuela's opposition has won a large majority of the country's legislature, or National Assembly, for the first time in 16 years. Many observers in Washington see this as a tipping point for Venezuelan politics.


#2

: 'Make the Economy Scream': Nixon, Kissinger Role Backing 1973 Chile Coup.


#3

The neoliberal flytrap once more dangles "democracy" bait.


#4

"What Next for Venezuela?"
I think the larger question that should be raised is what next 4 the future of mankind and an alternative to the vicious capitalist system that devours its enemies, its young and ultimately itself and all life on earth.


#5

The neoliberal flytrap's love of "democracy" derives from their finely-honed skill at manipulating it.

Perhaps we should reconsider what is the ideal political system.

Plato's 'benevolent dictator' comes to mind - a well educated person trained from birth in justice and compassion, who would prefer to live a private life but would agree to rule after much persuasion by the populace.


#6

Wish this guy would make up his mind. He just presented as truth most of the
economic points he attacked in his November 7, 2013 article in the Guardian.

By his own definition he must be a "Venezuela Hater"... Ha.


#7

There are some things that need to be addressed. What was life like before 1998 for the average Venezuelan? Have there been gains since that time and, if so, why? Venezuela is struggling, some of it is because of decisions made by the PSUV, some of it because it is a poor country and is dealing with things most poor countries deal with, some of it is because of external (economic, political, military) factors, some of it because of outright destabilization. Having said all of that, what that the opposition is offering is going to change any of that? Will the things this author mentioned (changing the exchange rate, going to really change that much in the country? Is inflation a problem that just emerged in Venezuela in 1998 or does it pre-date Chavez taking over? Yes, some of those things could have an impact, but Venezuela's has far more radical/institutional problems that will not be solved by things like changing the exchange rate or by changing its price controls.

As I said with a poster in another thread, the oligarchy today largely inherited their money and, besides, how did their families first get that money? Most of their money doesn't go towards their country's development, never did. A lot of it is in places like south Florida, off shore tax shelters, sits in banks doing nothing or goes toward luxury imports (further draining foreign currency reserves). Economists, going back centuries, have said that the rich can aid economic development IF they spend the money they make back into the economy. The oligarchy in Venezuela largely doesn't do that. They also have a horrible record on human rights and in regards to Venezuela's democracy. Given how much money and power they have, how much can be accomplished unless something is done about them?

Venezuela has had major problems in diversifying the economy, and they have tried to do just that since Chavez took over. However, the country is poor and its enterprises have to compete against far more powerful capitalist companies, with better products that are currently cheaper. Historically, counties used massive amounts of protectionism to develop. Ha Joon Change, a developmental economist, has written lots of books on the subject and has shown that the US, Britain, Japan, France, China today, and most every other country, developed behind massive amounts of protectionism. That isn't possible now for most countries as the WTO, the World Bank, the regional developmental banks and the like don't allow poor countries to do that. Many economists from the developing countries, notably Raul Prebisch, wrote a lot about import substitution, but he also noted (after it failed in some countries) that protectionism can sometimes protect inequitable economic oligarchies too. So, in addition to protectionism, you also need other structural changes like land reform, breaking up oligarchies, etc.

Venezuela has also tried to implement socialism in a world that makes that hard. It is possible, but a country either has to rely mainly from what it can produce domestically or have lots of help from other like minded countries. Chavez tried to do that and succeeded to an extent, but not enough obviously. The non-aligned movement and the third world project did put forth an alternative economic program in decades past (the New International Economic Order), it it could have radically changed the international economy and allowed a country like Venezuela to accomplish its goals as far as building socialism with a little more ease. That doesn't exist at this point though, that has to be built.

The PSUV also clearly has made mistakes, beyond just some economic policies they could have implemented. One thing that personally inspired me was the participatory nature of the revolution, but there seems to have been a slow erosion of the relationship between the people and the state over time, especially since Chavez died. The oppositions's policies are horrible and will make most of the things that Venezuela is dealing with worse (at least if the right wing gets its way). However, that doesn't mean that the PSUV didn't make mistakes and lose the trust of the people. Certainly destabilization and sabotage played a huge role in that, with the help of groups from the US (among other countries) through the NED and the CIA.

Any rate, given all of this, it isn't surprising that Venezuela has many problems it is dealing with (many of the problems they share with most every other poor country), it is actually amazing it has accomplished what it has. It has accomplished real gains in regards to access to social services, education, anti-poverty programs, housing, etc. The right's policies never did, and won't, improve the situation on those and other issues. Anyone cheering the right's victory shouldn't go into hiding if they get their way. Stay and answer to the social impacts those reforms will have.


#8

What is next for Venezuela? Probably time to send in the economic hit men with the option of gold are assassination!


#11

Damn, You caught me at my hand wringing. Ha. Going dancing instead. I saw today where 12 Venezuelian Supreme Court Justices simultaniously announced their retirement, to be replaced by new guys and gals that will get a new 12 year term. What a coincidence!

The drums sound fun...


#12

The Chavez supporters have been on the winning side for 20 years. A child born in 1995 will not think about their country in the same way, ever again. They'll not look North for much help, either. The U.S. elites, with the help of the Saudis and the GCCs, knocked Venezuela down a notch. But, it sure cost them dearly, imo. If oil stays below $80 a barrel the new bosses will be tossed out, too. Unless, of course, the rich want a battle royale in the streets between now and 2020. To be continued......


#13

Thanks for showing us your red, white and blue slip. Who would of known, besides the CIA, you even bothered to wear one with your trench coat and black bag accessories.


#14

This all sounds good until you consider the age old paradox that "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely" and the ugly American truth that "nobody is untouchable", as we have all been witness to in the untimely and violent deaths of one Paul Wellstone and John Fitzgerald Kennedy-


#15

From the Article:
"Now, what about the future? If the opposition gets a two-thirds majority of seats (112 or more), it would have important powers, such as the ability to remove Supreme Court judges, censure the vice president and call an assembly to propose changes to the constitution".

Meanwhile, back here in the good ole USA, we have A Supreme Court 5 that unconstitutionally "appoints" an undesirable President, unilaterally places our Democracy up for the highest bidder at election time and A Vice President that should not only have been "censured" but imprisoned for his Draconian and again unconstitutional policies- And these 5 Supreme Court Judges can in no way be removed, indeed, we are saddled with them for life and they couldn't be pryed from their lofty perch even by Atlas and A titanium crow bar for leverage-
It would seem Venezuela's Political system has much to be admired....


#16

Have you ever considered that that age old paradox might not be true in all cases?

I haven't heard where Ho Chi Minh or Fidel Castro were
corrupt, and they both survived the many attempts by the empire to do them in.

If a society finds a person who governs to their liking, why should they be obligated to risk his/her defeat in an easily-manipulated election?

"Free elections" are a favored tool of the rapacious capitalist interventionists.


#17

Haha! WTF are you talking about? I've read your comment twice and still don't know....I recommend doubling your medication and go lie down... ;/


#18

I'm sorry Port, but your argument leads to the logical conclusion that you are saying that both Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro had absolute power? Does this not subtract then from the idea of "Democratic" ? Peace.


#19

They were both admired and granted absolute power in important matters by their people for decades, which I see as a form of democracy much more authentic than the dog and pony show elections that pass for democracy in the empire and many of its colonies - where the candidates of both parties are in agreement to suppress the common man and further enrich the oligarchy, but lie about that fact for selfish reasons.

The empire has the form of democracy but the substance of dictatorship, while the reverse is true for the nations led by the two men mentioned above.


#22

I only said "you ever considered"- I didn't say it was written in stone- Of course it might not be true in all cases-
But again, Castro did become and remain A Dictator, and I think he did this to hold it all together, but he was A Dictator and even imprisoned one of his closest Military Officers that was with him from the get go, for disagreeing with him- Many American News outlets smear him as being wealthy on the sly and living A life of opulence and Luxury- I personally find this hard to belief-Just not in his character- And he is one of my hero's along with Che of course....
Ho Chi Minh was A man to be admired, and as far as I am concerned we were on the wrong side of that war... But, how in the hell did Viet Nam become A sweat shop for Capitalism wthin decades of that wars end- I'll have to check out Ho Chi Minh's successor- I am sure Ho would be turning over in his grave- What really pisses me off is all of the Presidents that refused his pleas to free Viet Nam from French Colonialism with our help in forming A Constitution modeled after ours-
As far as your argument goes, it wouldn't take much to out do what this system here has morphed into- Unbridled Capitalism doesn't seem to mix well with true Representative Democracy- The Pigs hog the trough----The Neo-Cons "One World Government" needs to be stopped at all cost....


#23

Thank you for your brilliant response.
I agree that Putin is remarkably similar.


#24

I have read Balzac in the past and liked him, really need to read it again. I didn't know that about Moby Dick...that is a fun historical nugget. Thanks!