JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
When millions of Venezuelans and South Americans sadly pay homage to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, it’s a little hard for the U.S. authorities and corporate media to peddle the lie that he was a “communist dictator”.
Quite the contrary…
Chávez demonstrated what a real Democratic leader does for the people of his country. Democracy was no myth to Hugo Chávez. That’s why it’s absurd to hear the U.S. corporate media (an extension of the oil and weapon industries) demonize Chávez in the attempt to paint him as a “dictator” and that he didn’t improve the conditions of poverty, which, ironically, was mostly created from U.S. corporate policies and intervention: reaping the profits-revenues from South American resources, everything from fruits to oil to coal, and leaving nothing for the people prior to Chávez’s leadership.
As author Eva Golinger expressed it on DemocracyNow.org:
“Chávez built a sustainable model; a viable alternative…Chávez opened that pathway and took that road to transforming Latin America forever. Venezuela has been transformed forever.”
Regarding the U.S. media’s absurd accusation-lies that Chávez was a “communist dictator”, Eva Golinger observed:
“Talking about the level of participation, today in Venezuela more Venezuelans participate than ever before in history. Everyone has a voice. Everyone wants to be active and involved. Before Chávez came into power—and I lived there during that time—it was a country full of apathy, full of apathy, full of exclusion, people who didn’t even care about participating because their participation meant nothing. That’s changed 100 percent and will never reverse its course.”
The U.S. government, represented by the oil and weapon industries, never liked President Hugo Chávez essentially because he 1) nationalized the oil and used the revenue for rebuilding Venezuela’s economy with the attempt to lift all boats, especially the poor, and 2) he was against wars. He was dedicated to creating a real social democracy, unlike U.S. officials who are dedicated to enriching themselves and their masters: the 1 percent corporate oligarchs.
The United States is not a democracy: it is a corporate police state. Thanks to the Bush and Obama administrations, we don’t even have the fundamental right that defines a civil society: habeas corpus; and our constitutional rights have been replaced with the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), which eliminated any shred of due process and individual privacy.
Economically, under U.S. policy, the pie chart looks something like this: a thousand or so wealthy families have rigged the system and now possess most of the global wealth pie with the exception of about 10 percent (one slice of pie) remaining for billions of people to fight over. It is a state that crushes earned benefits for the working people, labor rights, environmental protection, and opportunities to improve economic standing. The corporate state globally reduces wages to 50 cents a day in sweat shops; it is a rigged system that produces enormous profits for the few oligarchs and Wall Street profiteers while the U.S. middle class economy collapses from their policies commonly defined as “vulture capitalism” or “totalitarian capitalism.” It is a vulgar system that allows Big Oil, Chemical, Coal and Big Pharma polluters to eviscerate our environment—all for profits for the few.
In his New Yorker assessment, Jon Lee Anderson summarized George W. Bush’s disdain towards Chavez, but he is wrong to say that Chavez blamed Americans. He was angry specifically and only at G.W. Bush. If Chávez had blamed Americans, would he have supplied free propane-gas for poor elderly people in the United States who would have otherwise frozen to death? U.S. oil companies refused to help. Anderson writes that when an attempted “coup d’etat by a cabal of right-wing politicians, businessman, and military men tried to overthrow Chávez, he was…detained, before he was freed and allowed to resume office. The coup against Chávez had failed, but not before the plotters had apparently received a wink and a nod from the Bush Administration. Chávez never forgave the Americans. Thereafter, his anti-American rhetoric became more heated, and whenever possible he sought to discomfit Washington. Chávez closed U.S. military liaison offices in Venezuela, and ended coöperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration.”
Correction: Chávez’s anti-Bush rhetoric, not anti-American rhetoric.
Hugo Chávez “was a champion for the poor, for social justice, against imperialism, against aggression, against war,” in the words of Eva Golinger. That is why U.S. corporatists hated him. And the American people were and are never given a chance to know the real Hugo Chávez due to the U.S. government-corporate propaganda networks.
Like Franklin D. Roosevelt, one can imagine Chávez announcing to the oligarchs that control U.S. policy, a system that benefits the few at the expense of the many, that he “welcomes their hatred.” When the 1 percent hates a President, you know that that President is doing something right, something just, something good for the people.
For example, how would Hugo Chávez solve the debt problem? He would probably remind or inform Americans that our government has a long history of supporting the Arms industry’s nefarious practices of pushing wars for enormous profits that benefit weapon contractors and oil companies.
As expressed in the Railroad Telegrapher and republished in The Untold History of the United States (Stone & Kuznick), we learn why the U.S. is in debt today for the same wartime reasons.
“The American people are showing signs of awakening to the system that encourages wars, slays and tortures millions to build a few swollen fortunes, and leaves the common man and woman staggering under crushing debts…Labor’s millions are called on to fight all wars, to suffer and sacrifice…while the bosses gather their dollars and the bosses’ sons become officers. And after the war is over, labor pays and pays and pays.” The New Republic editorial succinctly summarized the wicked war practices by calling it “Murder Incorporated…the blood-dripping profits are there…”
So what would Chávez do? My guess is that he’d nationalize the oil, and he’d end billions of tax dollar subsidies to oil and coal. Then he’d put an end to the U.S. government’s reprehensible practice of raiding the people’s money (the treasury) and giving it to the weapon industrialists and to Wall Street executive Bankers to spend any way they wish with no accountability.
Those two actions alone would solve the debt in five minutes. Not only would he not cut Medicaid and Medicare, he would provide more funding to support those necessary health programs. In addition, he would shut down or slash the unnecessary surveillance agencies and use the billions of dollars going to weapon industries, for drones, Homeland Security, NSA, CIA and other Secret Service type of operations – to refund our public programs that Americans deserve from their tax dollars such as new schools, hospitals, decent healthcare services, land conservation and national parks, and he would begin to rebuild our corroding infrastructure, which would boost the economy by producing millions of jobs. He would open the presses and media so that all voices and all sides of important national and international issues could be heard and discussed, including criticisms of his policies. He would encourage cultural arts and intelligent debates over senseless violence and vacuous entertainment. He would certainly be opposed to Pentagon-CIA propaganda. And he would never accept President Obama’s violations of the U.S. Constitution, of assuming excessive abusive power to assassinate American citizens or anyone else for that matter. He would follow the constitutional laws of due process.
In short, Chávez wouldn’t last a day in the United Corporate States of America.
Millions of Venezuelans came out to grieve over the death of President Hugo Chávez. He was no dictator. Dictators are not loved by millions of people. He was a true Democratic President – unlike our government officials and Presidents that are bought and owned by the very oligarchs that have obliterated our democracy and replaced it with a corporate police state that benefits a few thousand corporatists while millions of people scramble to get by on the crumbs that are left. Selfishly and stupidly, they’re pushing this radical agenda of inequality of wealth to such extremes that it is bound to burst into catastrophic consequences: anarchy and chaos.
So the next time our politicians want to demonize Hugo Chávez or call him a dictator, a commie, I suggest that they should at least be honest and wear their sponsors’ logos on their suits at all times, and especially during campaigns when they give speeches, they should wear their corporate logo-ads on their lapels (instead of the U.S. flag), on their sleeves, on their pants, their ties, just like at the NASCAR races: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Shell Oil, Exxon-Mobil, Monsanto, Johnson-Johnson, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Koch, Dow … that way, they can’t even fool each other when they give their empty speeches.
Jacqueline Marcus is the editor of ForPoetry.com and the author of Close to the Shore by Michigan State University Press. She taught philosophy for twenty years at Cuesta College.