It looks like every sentence in your comment may be false. Since I don’t have all night to refute each one, tell me which you believe holds up to the facts, and then I’ll explain to what degree you’re wrong. Let’s just take the first sentence (split into two parts).
Chavez has destroyed private business…
In 2010 the AP and Fox News reported that, while President Chavez’s socialist rhetoric might lead you to suspect otherwise, the “reality on the ground” is that “the private sector still controls two-thirds of Venezuela’s economy–the same as when Chavez was elected in 1998, according to estimates by the Central Bank.”
And the balance between public and private sectors remains nearly identical to when Chavez took office in part because the private sector grew faster than the government between 2003 and 2006, when the economy was booming. (Fox News)
Now part two of the first sentence.
…making the country entirely dependent on oil.
First, the country has been dependent on oil since the 1940s, if not soon after oil was discovered there in the early 20th century, then at least by the 1970s and 1980s, when dependence could not have been worse.
Second, if anything Chavez has helped decrease dependence on oil, by increasing agricultural production. After decades of having to import its own food, by 2008, Venezuela was self-sufficient in its most important grains, corn and rice… “with production increases of 132% for corn and between 71-94% for rice since 1998”, and “on its way to reaching self-sufficiency in a number of other important staple foods”. >In 2010 the government announced that there had been a 48% increase in lands under cultivation since 1998. Over the same periods, production of some staples had increased substantially: “Rice production has risen by 84%, reaching nearly 1.3 million tons yearly while milk production has risen to 2.18 million tons, a 47% increase.” Wikipedia.
I’m in complete agreement with you that the challenge for the Chavez government is to diversify Venezuela’s economy away from its major dependence on oil. Let me first say, however, that the country’s dependence on oil has long been an issue facing Venezuela’s governments, and isn’t unique to the Chavez era. I’m not an economist and cannot claim to have expert knowledge of what exactly a solution to this problem would entail, but I’ve done a good amount of reading and it does seem to me that Chavez’s government is doing the right things to meet this challenge as it is working on various fronts to strengthen national industry and national agricultural production.
I am not going to deny that there are faults with the Chavez government’s effort to deal with the problem, but I would say that these faults have more to do with the implementation of its policies, not the policies themselves. (Of course I’m generalizing. I’m told that Chavez’s price-control policies, for example, have–for complex economic reasons I don’t quite understand–exacerbated food shortages in the country, and so may have been unwise.)
But let’s get to the issue of land reform. When oil was discovered in the early 20th century, Venezuela’s countryside was abandoned and its population moved to urban areas. Due to that agricultural decline, the country today imports 70% of its food. So it was wise for the Chavez government to define increase food self-sufficiency as one of its major goals, just as it was wise, in my view, to institute land reform policies to increase food production and employment by redistributing land to small farmers. Now, it is fair to ask whether these land reform policies have been appropriately implemented, but also bear in mind that hundreds of campesinos have been assassinated by hit men hired by rich landowners merely because they were attempting to implement the government’s land reform policies.
I’d end with quote from this interview about the achievements and challenges of the Bolivarian Revolution:
…even though the non-oil sector has grown more than the oil sector during the past years, the overwhelming share of export incomes still come from oil, and Venezuela is in every sense an oil economy. To some extent, new production initiatives have had some success, but to radically change production-, consumption-, and settlement patterns is extremely complex. So they have a long way to go, and substantial success is far from given.
Hello again, Ven28. We’ve argued in the past. I’ll try to be as friendly as possible.
You claim that the poor and middle classes are “getting fucked the most” by Chavez’s nationalization, and you point to Franklin Brito as an example to support this wild contention. However, it seems to me quite dishonest for you to blame Chavez’s nationalization for Brito’s death. A modest property owner, Brito was the victim of an “act of revenge by a corrupt local mayor”, who, although “pro-chavez”, actually thwarted the efforts of the Chavez government’s land reform and redistribution programs (which seek to alter the power structure between the landed elites and the landless peasant farmer) insofar as he validated land seizures from those farmers who were neither big land-owners nor exploiters. This is as much as I know; thus it would seem that Brito’s death cannot be read as an indictment of Chavez’s nationalization, but rather … of their failed implementation.
I regret that you would exploit Brito’s death to support your implausible contention that the poor and middle classes are harmed by Chavez’s nationalization, when the truth is that these are the very classes being killed whilst striving to implement these reforms. To date, hundreds of Venezuelan peasants have been murdered–by hired gunmen and right-wing paramilitaries–*for attempting to carry out “the Chavez government’s land reform policy*. The crimes strongly implicate wealthy landowners who vehemently opposed land reform” (Al Jazeera).
We know your tricks. We’ve had enough.
This isn’t a case of two groups of citizens “fighting over land”; it’s one group challenging the policies of government by resorting to “political violence”. Since President Chavez passed a land reform law in 2001 (with the intention of promoting agricultural production and lessening the inequality in land holdings), hundreds of peasant leaders have been killed for attempting to implement the government’s planned reform. In many cases the peasants had actually received titles to the land by the National Land Institute, but the large landowners refuse to recognize them. In fact, much of the land these large landowners claim as their own is actually state-owned, and the government can redistribute it as it sees fit. This is ‘political’ violence because the wealthy landowners are seeking to block the implementation of government programs, not by challenging them through available democratic channels (because they have no legal claim to ownership over so much land), but by resorting to violence, bloodshed, and murder, etc. Moreover, land reform is a central goal of the Bolivarian revolution, as it seeks to alter the fundamental power structure of the landed versus the landless; it’s a political struggle par excellence. There is an entire series of articles about “peasant leader assassinations”, for more information.
The vast majority of ‘political’ violence in the country is carried out against Chavez supporters (CITATION), hundreds of which have been murdered by wealthy landowners for attempting to implement the government’s new land reform policy (which wealthy landowners oppose, but which, if implemented, would reduce Venezuela’s dependence on foodstuff imports and reverse the effects of the “Dutch Disease”, which has plagued the country for decades).
Edit: is this the proper way to respond to evidence that goes against the image of Venezuela that you wish to paint, for ideological and political reasons? by downvoting without any comment?