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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Chavez the Barbarian

On Sunday, February 15th, Venezuela’s dictator Hugo Chavez won a referendum vote that eliminated term limits. This allows Chavez to run continuously for “President” of Venezuela, helping him to keep his stranglehold on power in the country. He last attempted to remove term limits in December 2007, but lost. This win is a major step forward for Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution, which is Chavez’s socialist reform in Venezuela.

The vote to eliminate term limits won with 54% of the vote. Not that large a win if you consider the amount of propaganda Chavez spread throughout the country. Flyers were posted all over to vote “yes” and reasons why they should vote yes. The British Guardian reports that the flyers read, “Chavez loves us and love is repaid with love,” while the second read, “Chavez is incapable of doing us harm.”

It is assuring to know that not all Venezuelans fall for this nonsense. Many student groups launch protests against the Chavez regime, but he has increased the violent response to quell the protests. Even when opposition wins via democratic elections, Chavez still finds ways to sabotage them. The Globe reported that Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma cannot work out of City Hall, because Chavez has used supporters to violently occupy the hall and force Ledezma to work out of an undisclosed location. While Ledezma asks for help to remove the thugs, he gets none. According to a Chavez official, “[I]t’s not the federal government’s responsibility. He should resolve that problem.”

Corruption and crime are big issues in Venezuela. Allegations have run rampant about voting corruption, exceptional cronyism, and Venezuela is a hotbed for international crime syndicates: drugs, money laundering and weapons. It doesn’t help that Chavez financially supports Colombian terrorist group FARC, who have caused hell for Colombian civilians and officials. With victory in the referendum, Chavez has promised to put an end to the corruption that runs rampant, but Venezuelans have heard that promise before from him.

Aside from the present issues, the economy of Venezuela faces large difficulties. With oil prices plunging, Venezuela cannot carry out its socialist reforms as it once did, because it depends on oil to supply the government with half its revenue. The government has slowed the nationalization of industries, because it doesn’t have the money to take over the private companies and investment in infrastructure for the country and the industries it already controls. The next challenge for Chavez will be how low oil prices will affect his plans for assisting the poor. He doesn’t want to cut welfare, stop subsidies on gasoline or food items, nor raise taxes. Papers state he will probably devalue the currency, which will affect the poor greatly because it will cost them more for food and inflation will approach the hundreds of percent. If he does decrease distributions to the people that live off the teat of government, there will be a social tsunami coming towards Chavez. It’s easy for the people to love you when you’re paying them to love you. What’s going to happen when you’re not.

With this referendum, we are going to see that Chavez is the next coming of Robert Mugabe. Both rose to power with the promise of providing for the poor; both forced socialist intervention on privately-owned property to distribute it to the poor and their friends; they became so drunk with power that they decided to feed the thirst via dictatorship, death to opposition, and corruption. They blame the West for their country’s problems, but they are incapable of doing wrong. Similar to Mugabe, Chavez may lack the relevance that his actions need to be taken seriously. However, with the new ties with Russia and Iran, Obama better prepare to address it when the time comes.