Sunday, October 07, 2012

Ecce Chavez

Today is election day in Venezuela. The opposition seems united, its candidate, Henrique Capriles, has run an energetic campaign and made a major comeback in the polls. Chavez has survived his health issues (so far), and the vote is expected to be very close.

While it is certainly fair to denounce the dramatic fall in economic freedom, personal freedom, and impersonal rule of law in Venezuela under Chavez, it is also important to remember that pre-Chavez Venezuela was not exactly a democratic paradise.

There is, after all a reason that Chavez was elected and re-elected and re-elected. People think Venezuela is a socialist dictatorship masquerading as a democracy (I don't think this is true), but pre-Chavez Venezuela was an oligarchy masquerading as a democracy.

While it may take 20 years to undo the damage Chavez has done to the economy and the rule of law, in the long run (40 or 50 years), I believe that Chavismo will prove to have been a net plus for Venezuela.

He broke the oligarchy. He gave voice and hope to millions of effectively disenfranchised people. I don't Venezuela can ever go back to the old ways again.

If I can get all Marxist up in here for a minute, to me something like Chavismo was almost an historical necessity for Venezuela given the abuses of the old regime.

For the big finish, I am going out on a limb and predicting a Capriles victory.


LoneSnark said...

I hope you know what you are talking about. Because what it sounds like is when Chavez falls a different oligarchy shall return, only now it can run a country devoid of rule of law and basic democratic protections.

Thomas W said...

I don't know the details of pre-Chavez Venezuela, but using your comments as a basis, it seems Mr. Chavez has in some ways created a new oligarchy with his own followers in power. While Venezuela is not known for rule of law today, was it in the past? Oligarchies aren't known for strict adherence to legal niceties.

In terms of the election, I predict Mr. Chavez will be declared the winner (whether he actually wins may be in question). Regardless of who wins, expect the loser to claim fraud.

G Wolf said...

"Sure, Madoff defrauded a lot of people out of a lot of money. But his actions also helped us realize a lot of problems with our financial system. I believe in the long run he will prove to be a net positive to the US financial system."

That's what you sound like.

Angus said...

called out by the Iron Sheik! Ouch!

G Wolf said...

haha. Usually I find myself nodding my head while reading KPC. But this time it just got a little ridiculous.