Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hugo Chavez: What Is He Good For?

Leftists reflexively support him, rightists reflexively attack him. But is he making any use of himself, as a socialist, on behalf of Venezuela's poor?

Not much, apparently. It's all about oil:

"His government, the thinking goes, has provided subsidized food to low-income families, redistributed land and wealth, and poured money from Venezuela's booming oil industry into health and education programs. It should not be surprising, then, that in a country where politics was long dominated by rich elites, he has earned the lasting support of the Venezuelan poor.

"That story line may be compelling to many who are rightly outraged by Latin America's deep social and economic inequalities. Unfortunately, it is wrong. Neither official statistics nor independent estimates show any evidence that Chávez has reoriented state priorities to benefit the poor. Most health and human development indicators have shown no significant improvement beyond that which is normal in the midst of an oil boom. . ."


Blogger richard said...

So is Hugo more like Ed Stelmach or Ralph Klein? The smart money's on Klein, before the relative sobriety more recently, of course....

11:30 PM  

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