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[flagged] Venezuela Anti-U.S Revolt Ending in Whimper as Exodus Mounts (bloomberg.com)
29 points by ayanai 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments

The scary thing is Venezuela was doing relatively well not that long ago. I like to think democracy and a relatively good economy can keep a nation afloat and healthy to some extent ... but rather Venezuela's government has largely chosen this path in one way or another. It's kinda terrifying.

"Voter turnout [at Venezuela's 1998 election] was 63%, and Chávez won the election with 56% of the vote. Academic analysis of the election showed that Chávez's support had come primarily from the country's poor and 'disenchanted middle class', whose standard of living had decreased rapidly over the previous decade, while much of the middle and upper class vote went to Römer.

Chávez's presidential inauguration took place 2 February 1999. He deviated from the usual words of the presidential oath when he took it, proclaiming: 'I swear before God and my people that upon this moribund constitution I will drive forth the necessary democratic transformations so that the new republic will have a Magna Carta befitting these new times.' Freedom in Venezuela suffered following 'the decision of President Hugo Chávez, ratified in a national referendum, to abolish congress and the judiciary, and by his creation of a parallel government of military cronies'. Soon after being established into office, Chávez spent much of his time attempting to abolish existing checks and balances in Venezuela. He appointed new figures to government posts, adding leftist allies to key positions and 'army colleagues were given a far bigger say in the day-to-day running of the country'."

TL; DR Institutions which should have fought back didn't and populism usurped the democracy.


Thank you for that, I was just about to say. It hasn't been a democracy for quite a while.

Source: I have relatives who were born and raised in Venezuela.

I'm not sure it was 'populism' that Chavez brought so much as revolutionary socialism

>... Cuba, where he met Castro and became friends with him.[144] During his stay in Colombia, he spent six months receiving guerilla training and establishing contacts with the FARC and ELN terrorist groups, and even adopted a nom de guerre, Comandante Centeno

He may have sold it as populism, but once in power switched to dismantling democracy. It seems tricky to get rid of that stuff - the system in Cuba has been stable for years if not so good for the residents.

> I like to think democracy and a relatively good economy

You mean, not a centralized, planned economy.

It was only a good economy, in as much as government revenue was good, and in turn government services were good.

As soon as oil prices slumped, the economy started falling apart, and measures taken to mitigate the effect just made things worse.

Are you saying Venezuela is a democracy? Cause I have bad news for you...

There are many people who think their countries are "democracies" merely because they have multiple parties and hold elections. If a country's checks and balances are so weak that it can be sunk by one or two demagogues within a decade, it probably shouldn't be called a democracy regardless of its selection system.

Technically speaking there isn't any country that is a democracy. Trump just declared war on Syria, even though it's congress's job to do so, President's go above their power all the time or do things outside their role capacities via Executive actions.

America is a Republic, as is most so-called 'Democracies'. I can't wait for the first true democracy to emerge, where we use technology to cast votes.

I like the idea of where you can vote on all bills/issues/etc, or you can lend your vote to someone you trust for specific issues - like Bill Gates or Elon Musk.

See Liquid Democracy: https://medium.com/organizer-sandbox/liquid-democracy-true-d...

Not now I wouldn't.

In the past I would.

Who is flagging these articles?

The greatest argument against socialism is the condition of countries (Venezuela, Cuba, USSR, China before capitalism, North Korea, etc.) that try to adopt it in some form. Socialists will forever argue that some implementation was flawed. But I see many varied implementations of capitalism and each is functional.

Would you consider a 'typical' Western-European style 'social democracy' to be essentially capitalist? Honest question.

I can definitely agree that going 'full socialism' hasn't had a good track record, but somehow it doesn't feel right to call what we have over here 'capitalism'.

I'd call it a hybrid system... True socialism is where the government decides how much toilet paper to produce, say 100k units per month..while the public uses 200k or 50k... -- so there's either a surplus or not enough.

Supply and demand are null/void, the government might then decide lets up tp production as it's needed. Capitalism is the market decides based on indicators from 'votes' --everytime you spend money you're voting on what that item is worth, how much supply/demand is given to it, etc...

Giving people who live in a country benefits and providing social well-being is NOT true-socialism, it's just love/respect for fell human beings. Ensuring everyone in a country lives above poverty shouldn't be debated about it should be something people take a sense in pride about and something they focus on eradicating.

It's not true-socialism in you still have a market, market conditions still predicate what's bought/sold/manufactured. The only difference is tax dollars are spent a little more on helping people. I think America is a horrible manager of money we could easily implement universal healthcare or guaranteed basic income and change some of the tax code to afford it all.

There's plenty of things we waste money on. The defense department has gatherings where they pay around $5 per ounce for coffee, $15 for donuts or pastries, etc.. private contractors can somehow get away with gouging the government and basically stealing tax-dollars.

We spend a trillion a year on a huge military, we don't need to be the police of the entire world. We need to close all bases, we have enough nukes/etc to dispel threats to our own borders, let's stay neutral again until we're called into another world war, but let's stop all the wars we're currently in.

I hope the predictions are true for 2030 that 40% of jobs will disappear forever, as it'll force us to really consider guaranteed basic income or end up just as Venezuela is now.

In Europe, that's we call communism, not socialism.

I wonder if techies can do anything to help? Better flow of information? Crypto?

U.S. and European foreign policy has hurt Latin America. But that has nothing to do with Venezuela's present condition. Hugo Chavez was popularly elected in internationally-recognised elections. Through his and his successor's mismanagement, a formerly-wealthy oil nation--better off than others in the region--has fallen. This is a story of failed institutions and the destructiveness of populism, not of foreign interference.

That's one perspective. Another (perhaps broader) perspective is that there's been a generations long civil war throughout South and Central America between elites and oppressed populations, and throughout this conflict, the US state has sided with and supported elite rule, oftentimes including gross violations of human dignity. This goes back to the Monroe Doctrine.

If the U.S. is responsible for Venezuela's present condition, then Venezuela never had a hope. "During the 1970s, Venezuela was the richest country in Latin America. With the region’s highest growth rates and the lowest levels of inequality, it was also one of the most stable democracies in the Americas" [1]. (Unfortunately, the economy failed to diversify away from oil before "the collapse of the 1980s and 1990s when global oil prices dropped.")

Not only was Venezueala wealthy before Chavez, it ran proper elections. Its balanced, stable democracy reflected its population's will.

The unfortunate truth is aloof upper/middle classes ignored Venezuela's poor. The latter got pissed off and, on their own volition, voted in a demagogue who then tore apart the country. Many problems in Latin America find origin in American meddling. Venezuela, today, is not one of them.

[1] http://americasquarterly.org/content/venezuela-chávez-anatom...

All that context isn't needed. The relevant meddling in Central and Latin American has had two majors flavors:

1) the US manipulated, deposed, and built governments there for the last century, often triggering or at least backing civil wars. Much of this was done to further corporate interests, like The United Fruit Company.

2) During the Cold War, the US convinced the governments of the regions to retool their militaries as counter-insurgency forces to counter communist rebels.

Those set the stage for any number of oppressive regimes and wars.

The rise of Chavez could be seen as obvious, given the above, but Venezuela's specific problems today are due to Chavez' party and his successor.

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