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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Chavez vs. the King

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Author Topic: Chavez vs. the King
TheSteelenGeneral
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Ah, the Western media displayed considerable amounts of glee when Juan Carlos apparently chastized Chavez for being rude for no good reason. And they'd have good reason too, were it not that the Associated Press omitted relevant history in report of Chavez's harsh words for Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar:

quote:
King Juan Carlos told Chavez on Saturday to "shut up" during closing speeches by leaders from the Latin world that brought the Ibero-American summit to an acrimonious end. REUTERS/Handout (CHILE).

By Justin Delacour

Latin American News Review

November 10, 2007

A common problem in English-language reporting about Latin America is the failure of reporters to put issues into historical context. For example, a recent Associated Press report quotes Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as referring to Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar as a "fascist" at the Ibero-American summit in Santiago, Chile. By leaving out the relevant background information, the report makes Chavez's statements appear so bizarre and undiplomatic as to be inexplicable. In reality, the Venezuelan President's strong antipathy toward Spain's former Prime Minister has recent historical roots in Aznar's support for a failed coup d'etat against the Chavez government in April 2002. Jorge Castañeda, Mexico's former foreign minister, has divulged that, during the short-lived Venezuelan coup, Aznar's government worked to cobble together diplomatic support for coup leader Pedro Carmona.

These kinda things also happen in other cases, like the republican debate, where Rudy G. displayed highly hypocritical indignation over the suggestive phrase "We invited 9/11", thereby conveniently forgetting the 10 years of bombing Iraq, support for dictators, war in Afghanistanm Palestine, etc.
Whenever this is brought up, the 'defense' I love most is: "But the 9/11 hijacker-terrorists were all rich middle class Saudis!", suggesting of course, that rich people could not possibly care about the plight of the poor and the oppressed and disowned. And thereby displaying nicely their own immoral morals: they are rich and they don't care about anybody else.

Back to Chavez vs the King:
Zapatero, stated that public discourse was best served with letting eachother finish speaking, on which he had a point, and that since Aznar was elected he deserved some respect, on which he was dead wrong. It's of course how one uses and abuses his office. Aznar did not only support a coup against a legitimate elected president of a friendly nation (Allende, anyone?). He also was quick to frame the ETA for the Madrid bombings, so as not to lay blame on muslim terrorists, which he knew would lose him the election, and while he knew from his own intelligence community (who DID have cojones), that ETA involvement was highly unlikely.
These two facts alone make him fascistic in my eyes. The fact that he followed Bush slavishly into Iraq, does not. That 'just' makes him criminally stupid.

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LoneSnark
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God, what is it with Chavez? Whatever he does, no matter how messed up, it is always excusable because of that damn coup. Well, I call bull****. Verbally supporting a coup in another country is a political fopa. But calling someone names at an international conference is simply childish.

And the best part is, you just accept it without question. What exactly did the TV station owners do during the coup that gets their license revoked and their business ruined years later without trial?

But it does not matter. Chavez is running his country into the ground and it will all fall apart eventually. Any major oil exporter that cannot manage to get milk to its citizens at $100 oil is not going to last when oil prices collapse.

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSN0642296020071112

[ November 13, 2007, 09:35 AM: Message edited by: LoneSnark ]

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TheSteelenGeneral
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quote:
Verbally supporting a coup in another country is a political fopa.
I assume you mean faux pas? sorry not up to speed with slang.
quote:
But calling someone names at an international conference is simply childish.
And you think the calling of names is worse than supporting a coup?
And you make it sound like "verbally" supporting a coup, is just something you can do, no harm no foul. So far, the usa has not "verbally supported" the the turkish republic on Cyprus, and they probably never will.
De jure recognition of a country, a revolution, it's a big thing.
You can't blow that of so lightly.
Try to imagine Ron Paul commits a coup in the usa, would you not mind whether he was "verbally supported" by the rest of the world?

Given the source, reuters, I am sceptical. With FOUR or FIVE private, commercial anti-Chavez channels, we'd have known it when there were milk-riots.

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Richard Dey
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There are a lot of social issues dividing two guys like Chavez and Aznar. Aznar, an archaristocrat, after all, was privatizing and plagued with strikes in both of his terms -- and the Chavistas are social revolutionaries (if not socialist).

Chavista foreign policy makes me very nervous, but I can hardly gainsay Chavez's offer to support gay rights against the Church and to lower the age of consent from 18 to 16 or 14. That, tmwot, is progress.

On the other hand, if anybody wants to call Queen Fredrika's son-in-law a fascist twit is free to do so.

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LoneSnark
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The article did not say there were milk riots, just shortages. The article did not suggest that the people in any way disliked Chavez, just that his twisted economic policies were screwing up the economy.

It is a funny fact of human nature that people will put up with most any policy, no matter how destructive, as long as they like the person doing it. Venezuelans love Chavez, that much is clear, so even after the Venezuelan economy collapses I bet he will still be able to win re-election.

All that said, how much Venezuelan TV do you watch that you would be better informed than reuters?

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TheSteelenGeneral
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quote:
Originally posted by LoneSnark: It is a funny fact of human nature that people will put up with most any policy, no matter how destructive, as long as they like the person doing it.
Do you realize that this statement could be easily made about Americans with regards to bush? By virtually everybody else?

quote:
All that said, how much Venezuelan TV do you watch that you would be better informed than reuters?
The point of the article linked, and me is that AP, Reuters are working from an Americentric, Eurocentric world view. You think they are unbiased, and maybe they try to be, but in the Chavez case they failed by ommission.

Japanese children were, and maybe are, taught to see themselves as victims of WW2 because two cities were nuked, they hardly hear anything about the atrocities the japanese army committed, including the large scale WW2 sexslavery. Also is half the story.

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LoneSnark
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I was not the first human being to make that statement. That statement has been made repeatedly throughout history in relation to many destructive leaders, including FDR, Hitler, and now Chavez.

As for the Reuters article I liked referring to various staple shortages throughout Venezuela, what did Reuters omit? Is there a good reason why people should be having trouble finding food in the middle of an economic boom?

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kenmeer livermaile
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Salient statement:

"Now the combination of the controls and unprecedented consumer spending"

What happens in the next year or so is more important to judging the situation, I say, than what is happening now.

After all, America never had a problem with maintain a supply essential commodities necessary to the functioning of its citizens (like gasoline, for example).

There is more than one way to create a staple shortage. Sometimes misguided foreign policy is misguided economic policy.

[ November 15, 2007, 02:43 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by LoneSnark:
But it does not matter. Chavez is running his country into the ground and it will all fall apart eventually. Any major oil exporter that cannot manage to get milk to its citizens at $100 oil is not going to last when oil prices collapse.

That collapse is happening pretty quickly. It may not even be required for oil prices to decline before Venezuela collapses. Everything below is from the linked article (I just snip it out).

Between its domestic consumption (at least 650,000 barrels a day) and its use of oil to make friends overseas, Venezuela gives away or subsidizes a third of its production. Surprisingly, Venezuela is importing oil products and may soon have to import gasoline. Chavez will have to subsidize gas imports heavily to remain at the current 6 cents a gallon Venezuelans currently enjoy.

All the money comes from PDVSA - the state oil company. Last year, Pdvsa’s payments to the state totaled more than $35 billion. How's it doing? Not well. The company needs 191 active oil rigs year to meet its production goals, there are only 73. Getting new rigs has been difficult, Pdvsa recently invited 63 companies to bid to supply rigs, but only 22 bid. Twelve received contracts, to supply 27 rigs, but only five companies actually took rigs to Venezuela. Why would less than half the companies that won the contracts actually follow through? Fear of nationalization. There is tremendous demand for oil rigs right now, why risk it somewhere that it might get taken from you?

Pdvsa also lost all the people that had any experience with getting oil out of the ground. In December 2002, Pdvsa’s managers locked out the workers and shut down Venezuela’s oil production for two months in an attempt to wrest control back form the state. After the strike, Chavez fired 18,000 of Pdvsa’s 46,000 workers — the vast majority of them were managers and professionals. Pdvsa wrote a letter to its contractors, warning them not to hire any of the 18,000 fired workers so those guys are long gone by now.

As a result of the above, oil production is falling fast. In 1997, Venezuela produced 3.3 million barrels per day of crude oil. Today, Pdvsa claims the country produces the same amount, but independent sources, including OPEC, say that figure is too high; OPEC puts Venezuela’s production at 2.4 million barrels a day last year.

Compounding the problem, Pdvsa is growing almost exponentially. Pdvsa now employs 75,000 workers, many more than in the past, and is looking to increase the number to 102,000 next year. The ultimate goal is to make Pdvsa more self-sufficient, reducing dependence on outside service companies. Creating their own Halliburton is expensive and difficult when you fired everyone that had the knowledge and experience.

When prices drop or production completely falls apart, what will they do? Venezuela once had a $6 billion oil fund to be saved for lean years; Chávez has spent all but $700 million of it. In a year or two, even that will be gone. Also, Pdvsa is also taking on debt. The company had very little debt until 2006, but this year it has borrowed $12.5 billion. In an oil boom like this, why do they need to borrow billions?

Inflation is officially at 16 percent but is most likely higher since so many goods are sold at state mandated prices which destroy profits and businesses. Many goods simply can’t be bought at the mandated price and consumers must pay double the price in a street market. Or the goods can’t be found at all, their producers forced out of business by price controls. Beans and sugar are hard to find cheaply in Caracas last September; fresh milk and eggs hard to find at all. Recently, people had to line up for five hours to get a liter of milk.

Farms and factories are in trouble. They can’t export and must compete at home with products imported at the official exchange rate, which is now about a third of the market rate. And so the country is awash in artificially cheap imported products, from basic foodstuffs, like Brazilian cooking oil. Once these farms and factories dry up and oil disappears, they'll be in big trouble.

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