|Hugo Chávez: A real leftist?|
In 1999, Hugo Chavez became president of Venezuela. Soon after, he declared that he was leading his oil-rich country toward a 'socialist revolution' based on something called 'Bolivarianism.'
In the name of leftism, Chavez and his succesor Nicolas Maduro have expropriated property, organized worker collectives and recruited Cuban medics - and sent corruption out of control skyrocketed the homicide rate.
But at the same time, the so-called chavista revolution has failed glaringly to behave revolutionarily on social issues.
Across the globe, pot is becoming legal, abortion rights are expanding and same sex couples are winning legal recognition - but not in the supposedly revolutionary Venezuela, or its allegedly leftist allies Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
|Two cuddly guys. Mujica and Brazilian |
ex-Pres.Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Even countries ruled by conservative governments, such as Colombia and Great Britain have moved forward on these issues (which should call into question the left-right labels). Guatemala's Pres. Otto Pérez Molina, an ex-military general, in an outspoken advocate of drug legalization - altho he has not changed laws at home.
|In the company of gay leaders, Venezuelan |
Pres. Nicolas Maduro declares that the
revolution isn't homophobic.
Venezuela's supposedly leftist allies Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua haven't done any better. In fact, in a monumentally cynical move, Nicaragua's then presidential candidate Daniel Ortega, bought the support of the Catholic Church by promising to prohibit all abortions. So much for a moral compass.
Perhaps the contrast between Mujica and Chavez reflects a deeper difference in character. As president, Mujica lives modestly, drives his old car and lives at home on the outskirts of the capital. Chavez, in contrast, spent Venezuela's wealthy lavishly on himself - and by importing military weapons.
What's that all say? Maybe one man has character and the other did not.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours