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Response to JackRiddler (Original post)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 04:07 PM

20. Eulogy from Tariq Ali & some other good stuff...


This is a wonderful piece, must reading, with some very funny moments:

Tariq Ali: Hugo Chávez and me

I hesitate to quote, because it's of one piece. Just follow link.

Oh, okay, if you need convincing:

I remember sitting next to an elderly, modestly attired woman at one of his public rallies. She questioned me about him. What did I think? Was he doing well? Did he not speak too much? Was he not too rash at times? I defended him. She was relieved. It was his mother, worried that perhaps she had not brought him up as well as she should have done: "We always made sure that he read books as a child." This passion for reading stayed with him. History, fiction and poetry were the loves of his life: "Like me, Fidel is an insomniac. Sometimes we're reading the same novel. He rings at 3am and asks: 'Well, have you finished? What did you think?' And we argue for another hour.'"

It was the spell of literature that in 2005 led him to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Cervantes's great novel in a unique fashion. The ministry of culture reprinted a million copies of Don Quixote and distributed them free to a million poor, but now literate, households. A quixotic gesture? No. The magic of art can't transform the universe, but it can open up a mind. Chávez was confident that the book would be read now or later.

The closeness to Castro has been portrayed as a father-son relationship. This is only partially the case. Last year a huge crowd had gathered outside the hospital in Caracas, where Chávez was meant to be recuperating from cancer treatment, and their chants got louder and louder. Chávez ordered a loudspeaker system on the rooftop. He then addressed the crowd. Watching this scene on Telesur in Havana, Castro was shocked. He rang the director of the hospital: "This is Fidel Castro. You should be sacked. Get him back into bed and tell him I said so."

Above the friendship, Chávez saw Castro and Che Guevara in a historical frame. They were the 20th-century heirs of Bolívar and his friend Antonio José de Sucre. They tried to unite the continent, but it was like ploughing the sea. Chávez got closer to that ideal than the quartet he admired so much. His successes in Venezuela triggered a continental reaction: Bolivia and Ecuador saw victories. Brazil under Lula and Dilma did not follow the social model but refused to allow the west to pit them against each other. It was a favoured trope of western journalists: Lula is better than Chávez. Only last year Lula publicly declared that he supported Chávez, whose importance for "our continent" should never be underestimated.


AP: Chavez Wasted His Money on Healthcare When He Could Have Built Gigantic Skyscrapers
By Jim Naureckas

One of the more bizarre takes on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's death comes from Associated Press business reporter Pamela Sampson (3/5/13):

Chavez invested Venezuela's oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world's tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.

That's right: Chavez squandered his nation's oil money on healthcare, education and nutrition when he could have been building the world's tallest building or his own branch of the Louvre. What kind of monster has priorities like that?

In case you're curious about what kind of results this kooky agenda had, here's a chart (NACLA, 10/8/12) based on World Bank poverty stats–showing the proportion of Venezuelans living on less than $2 a day falling from 35 percent to 13 percent over three years. (For comparison purposes, there's a similar stat for Brazil, which made substantial but less dramatic progress against poverty over the same time period.)

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JackRiddler Mar 2013 OP
Cleita Mar 2013 #1
niyad Mar 2013 #2
Whisp Mar 2013 #3
Mnemosyne Mar 2013 #4
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KoKo Mar 2013 #6
reorg Mar 2013 #7
malaise Mar 2013 #8
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reorg Mar 2013 #10
The Magistrate Mar 2013 #11
JackRiddler Mar 2013 #12
Octafish Mar 2013 #13
Starry Messenger Mar 2013 #14
libtodeath Mar 2013 #15
noiretextatique Mar 2013 #16
jwirr Mar 2013 #17
Dpm12 Mar 2013 #18
Spitfire of ATJ Mar 2013 #19
LineNew Reply Eulogy from Tariq Ali & some other good stuff...
JackRiddler Mar 2013 #20
JNelson6563 Mar 2013 #21
JackRiddler Mar 2013 #22
JackRiddler Mar 2013 #23
Zorra Mar 2013 #24
Judi Lynn Mar 2013 #25
JackRiddler Mar 2013 #26
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