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Offline BlufPurdi

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Hugo Chavez Mega-thread.
« on: Saturday 24 June 2006, 02:10:17 PM »
http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article485031.ece

Had to log into my account to get the whole story, as it was printed over a month ago.  Bit s*** that, but here it is.  Quite long, but a good read nonetheless.

Quote
An audience with Chavez, the man with the most powerful enemies in the world
What about Mugabe? 'He is my friend. Have you met him?' I have met many of his victims, I say. 'We all make mistakes'
Interview By Johann Hari
Published: 16 May 2006

The spectre haunting Latin America - the spectre of Hugo Chavez - furrows his big, broad brow, pats my knee, and tells me about the night he knew he was going to die. "I will never forget - in the early hours, I said goodbye to my wife and three little children. I kissed them goodbye and blessed them." He knew in his gut he was not going to survive that long, bloody day in 1992, when he and his allies finally decided to stage a revolution against the old, rotten order loathed by the Venezuelan people. " I realized at that moment that I was saying goodbye to life," he says, looking away. "So it is possible that, after surviving, one has been a bit¿ imbued with that sense ever since, no?"

There are people who wish Chavez had indeed been torn apart by bullets that night. To Condoleeza Rice, he is "one of the most dangerous men in the world". To Tony Blair, he is "ignoring the rules of the international community" and propping up the senile dictatorship of Fidel Castro. But to the lost millions living in the cardboard barrios that scar the high hills around Caracas - and run like a river of trash across the continent - he is a saviour. He is the first man to use the country's swollen oil wealth to provide free medicine, free education and cheap food to the poor majority, rather than funnelling it into the bank accounts of foreign corporations.

But the inevitable movie of Hugo Chavez's life will not begin here, with him despised by the elite and loved by the poor. It will begin in a shack with dirt floors and dirt-poverty, in a small village in rural Venezuela in 1954. Hugo Chavez's parents - both schoolteachers - were too poor to look after him, so he was sent to live with the woman he still calls Mama Rosita, his paternal grandmother. Sitting in the Presidential Suite at the top of the Savoy, he insists this did not scar his childhood. "No, it for me was a very happy period. I would give anything to go back to one day in my childhood. I was indeed a poor child, a peasant, but I was very happy with my grandmother. She filled me with love and solidarity."

He looks out towards the Thames and says distantly, "We were raised in a very poor family in a poor town on the banks of the river. One of the things I most love is rivers, the water running, flowing. I used to fish a lot, and we would hand out fish in the village among our neighbours so they could eat. We would go into the forest and pick up the mangos and hand them out so they would not be wasted. I never felt any repression." Just as this is beginning to sound like sepia-tinted nostalgia, he adds, "I was in close contact with poverty, it's true. I cried a lot."

He remembers Jorge, a kid he played ball with every day. "Then one day, he didn't come to school. We asked why. They told us his mother had died in childbirth. This happened a lot, because there were no doctors for anyone." Since Jorge's father had also died, "he was forced to go to work and become a child-labourer. He had little brothers and sisters, and they had to be fed." Then he pauses, and remembers his own little brother. " Yes, I saw the pain of poverty. My little brother was called Enso, he was a very beautiful child but he became ill. I remember him lying in a hammock. He was always smiling. But he died. There were no doctors, nothing. We buried him in a bag. He was one of those children who are swallowed by poverty."

Jorge became a child-labourer and Enso died unseen by doctors in a country that was almost unimaginably rich. Venezuela was already swimming in petrol wealth when Chavez was a child, but villages like his - home to the vast majority of Venezuelans - were left in African levels of poverty. Chavez grew up in not one country but two, a sniping twin-set of countries who can only glare at each other across a chasm of riches. First there is Rich Venezuela, made up of the tiny light-skinned elite who have been sucking at the country's oil wells for nearly a century, and have grown fat and full on the profits. This elite built Beverley Hill suburbs to wallow in, and when Venezuela was run exclusively for them and for multinational corporations by their merry-go-round of corruption-soaked parties, the world congratulated Venezuela on its "democracy". This is the Venezuela that left Chavez's little brother to die and despises him now, trying everything - a recall referendum, a semi-fascist coup, kidnapping - to force him out.

But those beautiful marble-white suburbs were always encircled by another Venezuela. This - the Poor Venezuela - was the home of Chavez and his grandmother. Rich Venezuela's "democracy" and its petrol-scented riches had no place for them. But young Hugo did not understand this. His radicalisation began later - when, as a 21 year-old rookie just out of the Military Academy, he was sent to put down a Maoist uprising in his own home-town. "It is there I began to see," he says now. "The peasants were subject to huge repression. [The army would] burn their houses down, accuse them without respecting the rule of law. I saw how peasants were tortured by my own side. I saw it happen. But I also saw the guerrillas, the rebels, massacring our soliders. One of them died in my arms. To me, he was a peasant, a human being, but I was in the military. I remember him saying to me, 'It was an ambush. Don't allow me to die.' A solider in my arms. He had been shot three times in the chest. He died."

The blood-stains remained on his mind. "I began asking - who's right here? Who's wrong? Are we right? [Is it] my people who sometimes torture and kill peasants, or the guerillamen, who are also torturing peasants? This was the beginning of my thinking." For the next few decades after his twentysomething shock, Chavez began to rise up the army hierarchy, reading about and debating radical politics. He became obsessed with Bolivar, the nineteenth century revolutionary leader who lead the fight to liberate Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru from Spanish colonial domination. But it is only in the 1980s, when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) entered stage right bearing a bag of shock therapy tools, that he found his political stage.

In 1989, the IMF demanded that the Venezuelan government slash the tiny slivers of spending that made their way out into the barrios. They ordered the government to prioritise the interests of corporations instead. Poor Venezuelans discovered that bus fares had doubled overnight, making it impossible to get to work - so for the first time in a century, they rioted. The army opened fire, and in a slaughter that trumps even Tiananmen in its kill-rate, they shot anything that moved. Hugo Chavez - by then a Lieutenant in the army - could not follow these orders. "I was in the army, but I asked myself - which army is this? Is it the army of Bolivar? No, it was not being used to defend Venezuela but against it, to trample the Venezuelan people," he says now. "Simon Bolivar said, 'Cursed be the solider who turns arms on his own people.' The soliders were forced to implement the bullets of the IMF, of savage neoliberalism. I would not do it."

Instead Chavez chose to rebel against the corrupt parties of the rich, who had all supported the IMF assault. In 1992, he attempted to stage a coup against the despised regime and prepared for death. Instead, he lived, telling me now he forever believes he is on borrowed time, pushing him ever further into risk after risk. He festered for two years in the notorious Yare Prison - his own Robben Island - comforted only by the knowledge that the candidate he publicly backed for election suddenly surged ahead and was set to win. "I was not alone. Many accompanied me. Many fought. Many died. I am not a hero because of that. It is because you are a human being that you do it," he says. Besides, "Prison is like an oven where you bake your ideas." He paced his cell, preparing for government.

Finally - in 1998 - he was able to put this jail-baked vision into practice, after winning power in a free and open election. His stated goal was no less than "to change the direction the world is going in," away from the "destructive model of capitalism ruling the world." He wanted to try something very different - to invest the country's oil wealth in the Jorges and Ensos.

Chavez has built "Missions" in every barrio, oil-funded centres providing free doctors - often for the first time - and literacy programmes for everyone, including the elderly who had never been to school. I still remember the pride on the face of a gnarled old lady I met in a Caracas mission as she proudly wrote her name on the blackboard for the first time. I remember the awe of the face of an old man who had been blind for forty years because of cataracts, but now could see again. I remember the quiet joy of a woman shopping in the new subsidised food centres, buying a plump chicken for her kids when before Chavez they lived on scraps. Now there are no children in Venezuela like the President's little brother, dying pointlessly because there are no doctors. This is a loud, proud challenge to the IMF model of mass privatisation and corporate rule - and all across the developing world, people are looking to it as a long-awaited flicker of hope in the darkness.

The President speaks about these programmes now in forensic detail - the amount of subsidy, what it buys, how it will make Venezuela richer in the long term to have an educated and fit population. "True democracy is not possible within capitalism," he says. "True democracy is only possible within the framework of socialism." A man sitting on top of one of the biggest pots of oil in the world is not supposed to talk like this. He is supposed to speak the language of Shell and Haliburton, not of Rosa Luxemburg and Simon Bolivar. He stresses he is not a communist, and he has said before, "Our project is neither statist nor neoliberal; we want the middle ground, where the invisible hand of the market meets the visible hand of the state - as much state as necessary, and as much market as possible." But in an IMF-ed up world, it takes a revolutionary to introduce social democracy to a developing country.

He sees these policies through a straightforward moral prism - here are riches, let's share them. Just like he handed out fish and mangoes in his village as a child, today he hands out the oil wealth. As the fossil fuel party draws to its terrible global warming climax, at least in one country, one time, it did some good. He popularises these policies on his weekly TV show, 'Allo Presidente' - a wildly entertaining show in which he sacks incompetent public officials with a whistle saying, "You're out", sings, dances, and makes Valentine's Day announcements to his wife declaring, "Marisabel, tomorrow I'm giving you yours."

But Chavez knew "I was making very powerful enemies" - not least in the White House. The Bush administration slams Chavez because he is a threat to the profit-margins of the petrol companies they depend on for their political lives. The petro-corporations fund American politicians' campaigns, pay for the think tanks that manufacture "common sense" in Washington, and will be waiting with fat contracts the moment they leave office. You can be as tyrannical as you like - anybody seen the House of Saud lately? - as long as you hand Haliburton a share of the profits. They are, he says, terrified that this idea of spending the profits from oil on ordinary people - rather than funnelling into the bank accounts of their good ol' boy paymasters - might catch on. It has already spread to Bolivia and looks set for victory in Mexico later this year. "Poor Mexico," Chavez says, "so far from God, so close to the United States."

And yet, and yet¿ amidst all this glory, could Chavez still join Latin America's long parade of false prophets, Che, Evita, Fidel, the people who promised liberation but could only in the end offer a tin-pot tyranny with a rousing marching tune? Will the Bolivarian Revolution end with a chorus of Don't Cry For Me, Venezuela?

His human rights-oriented critics point to his very close alliance with Fidel Castro and his decisions to meet with Saddam Hussein and even embrace Robert Mugabe. I put it to Chavez that under him, Venezuela has all the good things about Cuba - the great schools and hospitals - without the revolting things - dictatorship, censorship, repression. "I don't think in Cuba there is a lack of freedom of speech," he says with worrying speed. " If you approach Cuba from the perspective of the Western world, you might think so. But there, you have the people who express themselves on many matters. There is no repression in Cuba."

Really? What would he say to the Cubans jailed just for running private libraries, or to Vaclav Havel, who calls Cuba "the biggest prison on earth"? "What you have in Cuba is a very specific model of revolution. We are very respectful of the revolutionary people of Cuba and its institutions. In the grassroots in Cuba, there are constant elections that take place. Is it true that by electing a President or Prime Minister every five years you have democracy? Is it because you have press and TV channels that you have freedom of speech? There's a lot of cynicism behind that. So many lies behind that. Every country has its own model."

I grimace. What about Robert Mugabe? Does he regret calling him a " freedom fighter"? "He is my friend. I think he has been demonised too much. Have you met him?" No, I say - but I have met many of his victims. "We all make mistakes. I think you should interview Mugabe yourself so you have a better idea who he is and what he's about. You have to understand history of colonialism in Zimbabwe against the black people, he wants a world where people are equals without racism, that's my opinion."

It is bizarre. The Venezuelan press is totally free. Most of the newspapers hate Chavez and even incite his murder, but he has never moved to censor them one inch. In 2002, Chavez himself was kidnapped in a US-backed semi-fascist coup, held hostage for 48 hours, and forced to watch while the parliament and supreme court were dismissed and a new pro-American President was installed. Only millions of people taking to the streets and a rebellion within the army prevented Venezuelan democracy from being destroyed. But even after all this, Chavez is so reluctant to be seen as a dictator that he has not launched a crack-down on the conspirators. The men responsible are still walking the streets.

Yet here is Chavez defending some appalling dictators abroad. "No President will criticise his strategic allies to a journalist," one of his press officers tells me afterwards. It's true - I have tried to coax Tony Blair to condemn Vladimir Putin's monstrous mass murder in Chechnya or the mass torture in the jails of Saudi Arabia, and he offers weasely excuses. But given Chavez's willingness to wave aside a free press and elections in Cuba, could he one day do the same, travelling the old, worn dictator's path from zero to hero to Nero? Will he become like the guerrillas he saw as a stunned young soldier in his own home-town, fighting massacres and torture with more massacres and torture?

The President stands up, and places his arm around my shoulder, squeezing hard. The interview is drawing to a close, and he pledges that if the Bush administration attempts another coup, he will blow up his country's oil wells. "We are waiting. If they come for the oil, they will not get the oil," he says. And then he hurries away, back to - what? A slowly expanding programme of health and education for some of the poorest people in the world, a renewed democratic socialism spreading across South America? Or encroaching Castroism, fascist coups and oil fields burning and blasting long into the night?

Is he as bad as made out, then...?
Making mistakes is how you learn.
Every generation must fight the same battles again and again and again. There is no final victory, and there is no final defeat, and so a little bit of history may help.
“What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?” If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system.
That is why no one with power likes democracy and that is why every generation must struggle to win it and keep it – including you and me, here and now.

Offline BlueStar

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 24 June 2006, 02:37:05 PM »
I've spoken to Republican voters who think we're deplorable socialists because we have a National Health Service, so I'm not surprised this guy sends them loopy.

Offline indi

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Hand in Glove

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 24 June 2006, 02:55:08 PM »
He's redistributed the Venezualan oil wealth throughout the country, provided free health care and education, provides cheap oil for other poor South American countries and allows total freedom of the press, yet the US call him "one of the most dangerous men in the world" and back a fascist coup against him.  bluebigeek.gif

He's an absolute hero and should be seen as an ideal model for Latin American leaders.

Offline indi

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 24 June 2006, 02:56:14 PM »
He's redistributed the Venezualan oil wealth throughout the country, provided free health care and education, provides cheap oil for other poor South American countries and allows total freedom of the press, yet the US call him "one of the most dangerous men in the world" and back a fascist coup against him.  bluebigeek.gif

He's an absolute hero and should be seen as an ideal model for Latin American leaders.

:thup:

Offline Parky

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 24 June 2006, 06:02:39 PM »
Love the guy. But how long will they let him live? Already has to have 3 jets on standby and no one knows which one he will use till the last minute.  bluesigh.gif

Alan Shearer 9

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 24 June 2006, 06:08:28 PM »
All I really know of him is based on this programme I chanced upon about that coup, was interesting shizzle.

Geordiesned

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 24 June 2006, 06:08:59 PM »
Love the guy. But how long will they let him live? Already has to have 3 jets on standby and no one knows which one he will use till the last minute. bluesigh.gif

Oooh, it's just like "24"! :D

Offline Rehhagel

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 24 June 2006, 07:51:58 PM »
"It is bizarre. The Venezuelan press is totally free. Most of the newspapers hate Chavez and even incite his murder, but he has never moved to censor them one inch."

Yes, it is very bizarre to label the Venezuelan press as totally free.

According to Reporters Without Borders, in their Venezuela Annual Report 2006

"Amendments to 38 articles of the criminal code came into force on 16 March 2005, five of them directly concerning press freedom. The new article 148 provides for between six months and two and a half years in prison (up from just three months) for offending the president, with a 30% higher penalty if the insult is made publicly."

http://www.rsf.org/country-47.php3?id_mot=249


Reporters Without Borders also have a Press Freedom Index, this ranked Venezuela 90th level with Burundi, Cambodia, Qatar and Zambia.

http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=554


Freedom House have a publication entitled Freedom of the Press that labelled Venezuela as not free.

http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=16&country=6862&year=2005


Transparency International produced a Global Corruption Report 2006 that mentions freedom of the press in Venezuela, along with the lack of independence in the judicial system and corruption of the state oil company.

http://www.transparency.org/publications/gcr/download_gcr

You will be pleased to know that Transparency International also have an index, known as TI Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), where Venezuela is ranked 130th for the latest 2005 publication.

http://ww1.transparency.org/cpi/2005/cpi2005.sources.en.html


Not only that, it also produces a TI Global Corruption Barometer, with the latest being for the year 2004, take a look at Venezuela to see how the general public view their government.

"The Global Corruption Barometer is a survey that assesses general public attitudes toward and experience of corruption in dozens of countries around the world."

http://ww1.transparency.org/pressreleases_archive/2004/2004.12.09.barometer_eng.html


What does the man himself say? he says Mugabi is his friend and he is a freedom fighter that has just made mistakes. Now what does that say about Chavez?



Alan Shearer 9

"All I really know of him is based on this programme I chanced upon about that coup, was interesting shizzle."

The attempted coup Chavez made in 1992?

Offline indi

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #9 on: Saturday 24 June 2006, 11:38:16 PM »
Hmmm, after a little bit of research, it seems that some of your sources aren't quite as whiter than white, as they would have us believe.


"It is bizarre. The Venezuelan press is totally free. Most of the newspapers hate Chavez and even incite his murder, but he has never moved to censor them one inch."

Yes, it is very bizarre to label the Venezuelan press as totally free.

According to Reporters Without Borders, in their Venezuela Annual Report 2006

"Amendments to 38 articles of the criminal code came into force on 16 March 2005, five of them directly concerning press freedom. The new article 148 provides for between six months and two and a half years in prison (up from just three months) for offending the president, with a 30% higher penalty if the insult is made publicly."

http://www.rsf.org/country-47.php3?id_mot=249


Reporters Without Borders also have a Press Freedom Index, this ranked Venezuela 90th level with Burundi, Cambodia, Qatar and Zambia.

http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=554

Quote
The impartiality of RWB is not universally accepted. A significant amount of funding (19% of total) comes from certain western governments and organisations.[3][4][5] and some observers note RWB's alignment with almost all positions of these countries on controversial cases. ....

Pro-Castro groups are highly critical. Lucie Morillon, RWB's Washington representative, confirmed in an interview on 29 April 2005 that the organization receives money from the Washington-based Center for a Free Cuba ($50,000 in 2004), and that a contract with the US State Department's Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere, Otto Reich, requires them to inform Europeans about repression against journalists in Cuba. However, the organisation has denied that its campaigning on the issue of Cuba - in declarations on radio and television, full-page ads in Parisian dailies, posters, leafletting at airports and an April 2003 occupation of the Cuban tourism office in Paris - were related to the payments. [6]. 1.3% of total funding come from this source.[7] In addition, RWB receives free publicity from Saatchi and Saatchi, a member of the world's fourth-largest marketing and public relations conglomerate, Publicis Groupe. It has been noted that a major Publicis client is Bacardi which has been at the forefront of financing anti-Castro groups[8]. A judge stopped the organization from using a copyrighted image of Ernesto Che Guevara.[9] It has been described as an 'ultrareactionary' organization by the Cuban newspaper Granma.[10]

Critics have questioned RWB's methodology in ranking press freedom and the lack of direct understanding of existing laws in ranked countries[11].



Also, if you look at the history of the press freedom index, you'll notice that Venezuela's score has actually been decreasing (ie getting better) each year.



Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reporters_Without_Borders



Freedom House have a publication entitled Freedom of the Press that labelled Venezuela as not free.

http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=16&country=6862&year=2005



Quote
From Freedom House's website:


Freedom House is an independent non-governmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world. Freedom is possible only in democratic political systems in which the governments are accountable to their own people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms of expression, association, belief and respect for the rights of minorities and women are guaranteed.


Source: http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=2


Quote
Seems that might be a lie:


Freedom House is a research institute, primarily governmentally funded and headquarted in Washington, D.C.

The Financial Times has reported that Freedom House is one of several organisations selected by the State Department to receive funding for 'clandestine activities' inside Iran.[1]



Freedom House has faced accusations from critics over the years, some of whom have described the organization as being a "right-wing"[10] "anticommunist propaganda institution"[11]. Specific ratings that have been attacked include Cuba's rating of 7-7 as well as Cuba's inclusion in Freedom House's list of the world's 'worst' (most repressive) regimes. Frank Calzón who has served as director of the Cuban Program of Freedom House has been accused of a history of subversive activities against Cuba dating to the 1970's...


An article from 1990 argues that the organization was neoconservative, for example arguing that several prominent members at this time were neoconservatives.[2] More recent critics have also described the organization as neoconservative or conservative.[3]

Freedom House's work has also aroused criticism from those who favour the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. [15], or who worry that, for instance, entitling a report "Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques" study[16] falls short of the ideal of neutral assessment of freedom...

Other problems with the methodology have been alleged:

    * Constitutional and treaty restrictions on civil liberties are excluded from the analysis. Some democracies qualify the right to freedom of speech with de facto exclusion of certain groups, views, or types of speech. For example, in some European nations it is illegal to deny the Holocaust.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_House


Transparency International produced a Global Corruption Report 2006 that mentions freedom of the press in Venezuela, along with the lack of independence in the judicial system and corruption of the state oil company.

http://www.transparency.org/publications/gcr/download_gcr

You will be pleased to know that Transparency International also have an index, known as TI Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), where Venezuela is ranked 130th for the latest 2005 publication.

http://ww1.transparency.org/cpi/2005/cpi2005.sources.en.html


Not only that, it also produces a TI Global Corruption Barometer, with the latest being for the year 2004, take a look at Venezuela to see how the general public view their government.

"The Global Corruption Barometer is a survey that assesses general public attitudes toward and experience of corruption in dozens of countries around the world."

http://ww1.transparency.org/pressreleases_archive/2004/2004.12.09.barometer_eng.html


What does the man himself say? he says Mugabi is his friend and he is a freedom fighter that has just made mistakes. Now what does that say about Chavez?



Alan Shearer 9

"All I really know of him is based on this programme I chanced upon about that coup, was interesting shizzle."

The attempted coup Chavez made in 1992?


Offline Rehhagel

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #10 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 12:47:44 AM »
Johann Hari is a member of the Labour party, and describes himself as to the left of government who strongly supports the domestic policies of Chavez. Wikipedia of course.

"The impartiality of RWB is not universally accepted."

Not much is universally accepted, except maybe that 1+1=2, but then you'd get those that say it doesn't have to be, it can be 4, but for me 1+1=6. That's subjectivism.


I wonder if there is any organisation that is not supported by any government either morally or financially and whose donors or members, or those that run the organisation, have no political views whatsoever ?

Perhaps Indigo would like to provide an example of such an organisation. Or where else he gets the idea that the press in Venezeula is free.

Regarding impartiality at the individual level, the moment an individual becomes involved in something, he no longer is impartial, as his involvement requires an evaluation of the facts, which necessarily results in the individual favouring one side over the other.


Indigo, does it not bother you that Chavez considers Mugabi as a friend?

Offline indi

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #11 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 01:16:51 AM »
Johann Hari is a member of the Labour party, and describes himself as to the left of government who strongly supports the domestic policies of Chavez. Wikipedia of course.

What's that got to do with what I said.

"The impartiality of RWB is not universally accepted."

Not much is universally accepted, except maybe that 1+1=2, but then you'd get those that say it doesn't have to be, it can be 4, but for me 1+1=6. That's subjectivism.


I wonder if there is any organisation that is not supported by any government either morally or financially and whose donors or members, or those that run the organisation, have no political views whatsoever ?

There's a big difference between enjoying the support of someone (ie They agree with what you do) and being funded by someone (ie they tell you what to do). You can't help who agrees with you, but you can control who influences you. One good way of doing this is not to take their money!!

Perhaps Indigo would like to provide an example of such an organisation.

As I've said above, groups are not able to control who agrees with them, so I'm going to ignore that, but there are loads of organisations who are not funded by either government or big business and are therefore not influenced by their donors.

Here are a few to start you off:

Amnesty International: http://web.amnesty.org/pages/aboutai-index-eng

Greenpeace: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/about

CND: http://www.cnduk.org/pages/about.html


Or where else he gets the idea that the press in Venezeula is free.

I didn't comment on the freedom of the press in Venezeula, other than to say that the index you refered to showed it to be improving, which it does. What I commented on was the potential for the sources you quoted to display bias.

Regarding impartiality at the individual level, the moment an individual becomes involved in something, he no longer is impartial, as his involvement requires an evaluation of the facts, which necessarily results in the individual favouring one side over the other.

Where do I disagree with that? What I don't like is for that individual to then claim to be independent and impartial.

Indigo, does it not bother you that Chavez considers Mugabi as a friend?

It does. Although having distinctly dodgy friends seems to be a pre-requisit to becoming a politician, don't you think?

Hand in Glove

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #12 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 01:53:15 AM »
Rehhagel, I'm quite a casual visitor to these boards, only post when I think the subject is interesting enough to warrent a comment, so I don't know you or what your angle is here.

But I'd like to ask you, do you think Chavez is fundamentally wrong in using his countries oil wealth to provide free education and health care for his countries poor, or do you just think he's a bad leader because of some comments in support of Mugabi? I only ask because I'd like to know why you're so anti Chavez.

If you're opposed to him because he champions Mugabi are you therefore opposed to the American (and British) government for supporting, amongst others:
the Saudi government with their terrible human rights record,
fascist Nicaraguan and El Savlvador regimes (imposed by the U.S.),
the fascist group who attempted to over throw the democratically elected Chavez?

If you do it seems slights hypocrital to me.

Offline BlueStar

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #13 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 09:49:39 AM »
At least we can all agree that he's a better, stronger and smarter and leader than Bush  tongue.gif

Offline Rehhagel

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #14 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 09:55:06 AM »
Johann Hari is a member of the Labour party, and describes himself as to the left of government who strongly supports the domestic policies of Chavez. Wikipedia of course.

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What's that got to do with what I said.

Well you seemed to have forgot to mention the impartiality of the reporter of the article Bluf has posted.


"The impartiality of RWB is not universally accepted."

Not much is universally accepted, except maybe that 1+1=2, but then you'd get those that say it doesn't have to be, it can be 4, but for me 1+1=6. That's subjectivism.


I wonder if there is any organisation that is not supported by any government either morally or financially and whose donors or members, or those that run the organisation, have no political views whatsoever ?

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There's a big difference between enjoying the support of someone (ie They agree with what you do) and being funded by someone (ie they tell you what to do). You can't help who agrees with you, but you can control who influences you. One good way of doing this is not to take their money!!

In the case of RWB, it is claimed in the wikipedia article that 19% of the total funding is from western governments and organisations, which is not a significant proportion to have much effect on it. Its existence is not dependent upon government support or western organisations, it can exist without them.

A funder cannot tell an organisation what to do, it can merely say that it will withdraw its support if it does not perform a certain action, i.e blackmail.

Perhaps Indigo would like to provide an example of such an organisation.

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As I've said above, groups are not able to control who agrees with them, so I'm going to ignore that, but there are loads of organisations who are not funded by either government or big business and are therefore not influenced by their donors.

While they may not be influenced by organisations such as government and business, they will be influenced by the individual donors. Just as a government or business can threaten to withdraw support to influence the organisation, so can an individual donor, organisations are comprised of individuals after all. The influence of the individual donor is proportional to his contribution.


Offline Rehhagel

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #15 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 10:05:35 AM »
Hand in Glove


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But I'd like to ask you, do you think Chavez is fundamentally wrong in using his countries oil wealth to provide free education and health care for his countries poor, or do you just think he's a bad leader because of some comments in support of Mugabi? I only ask because I'd like to know why you're so anti Chavez.

Both.


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If you're opposed to him because he champions Mugabi are you therefore opposed to the American (and British) government for supporting, amongst others:
the Saudi government with their terrible human rights record,
fascist Nicaraguan and El Savlvador regimes (imposed by the U.S.),
the fascist group who attempted to over throw the democratically elected Chavez?

There is a difference, Chavez considers Mugabi a friend, friends share the same interests and values, and I doubt the shared interest between them is likely to be chess.

In the case of the U.S and British government's supporting tyrannical regimes, their support was not of friendship or respect, it was support derived from their strategy.

An instance of this is WW2 where the allies supported the Soviets, it was not out of friendship or respect, the support was derived from strategy.

Offline BlueStar

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #16 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 11:20:37 AM »
Maybe America wants to get rid of him before people start asking why poor people in Venezuela get healthcare, while about 40 million people in the US, the wealthiest nation in the world, are without health insurance.

This whole "He says Mugabe isn't that bad, we must crush him and stand up for human rights" is utter bullshit.  Look at the US relationship with the Saudis and the current bush ring-licking of the Chinese.  If you're on good terms with the US as far as oil or business goes, lack of democracy, horrific human rights record and professing support for dubious regiemes suddenly doesn't matter one f***ing iota.  There are much worse leaders in the world than Chavez.  It's simply the fact that he's not pals with America.  Do the Chinese and Saudi leadership not have any dodgy "friends"?

Offline Parky

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #17 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 12:11:17 PM »
Perhaps we can merge this one with the Masons thread? :P

Offline BlueStar

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #18 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 12:13:15 PM »
No, I'm staying out of that one. I'm not showing nee f***er my nipple.

Offline indi

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  • Death to David Pleat.
Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #19 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 12:35:46 PM »

Well you seemed to have forgot to mention the impartiality of the reporter of the article Bluf has posted.


Fair enough.



In the case of RWB, it is claimed in the wikipedia article that 19% of the total funding is from western governments and organisations, which is not a significant proportion to have much effect on it. Its existence is not dependent upon government support or western organisations, it can exist without them.


I disagree, I think someone who contributes 1/5 of the income of any organisation will have a significant influence over that organisation. Imagine a business with a customer who represented 20% of their income, I think they'd go out of their way to ensure that customer was happy, I know I would.

Also, if RWB can exist without the income from governmental organisatins, why doesn't it? I'd have thought that an organisation such as them would want to be not only be independent, but be seen to be independent, otherwise they open themselves up to people who claim their impartiality might be compromised, like me. Surely this would be an important consideration for such an organisation, in order to not appear to be hypocritical.


A funder cannot tell an organisation what to do, it can merely say that it will withdraw its support if it does not perform a certain action, i.e blackmail.

While they may not be influenced by organisations such as government and business, they will be influenced by the individual donors. Just as a government or business can threaten to withdraw support to influence the organisation, so can an individual donor, organisations are comprised of individuals after all. The influence of the individual donor is proportional to his contribution.


Does the top part not amount to the same thing?

Also, if you think that the governments etc don't expect anything back for their funding and/or big funders never try to influence organisations such as these, then you're naive - I don't think you are, so why do you think that I'm naive enough to accept that you do?

The difference is that the organisations I listed are, in the main, funded by losts of small donors and as you say: The influence of the individual donor is proportional to his contribution." so no one individual donor has any real influence over those organisations. None of them will have a single donor contributing anywhere near 20% of their income, hence their independence is secure. Each of them has it written into their constitution that they do not accept funding from big-business or government, they do this for precisely this reason.

Online Adam^

  • General Member
Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #20 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 03:11:31 PM »
ok a lot of stuff there but can i just make a comment having been to Venezulea and Caracas and seent he country for myself.

Ok when you arrive you think poor S.American country low stanard of living etc etc. Images of shanty towns beggers etc come to mind. But having traveld about the county and seeing differnet aspects of the place i have great admiration for chavez and what he is doing.

Taxi driver on Maragrita island wher our hotel was, he was well educated spoke good english in good health. Told us that he had been right though school but didnt want to go to university then when tourist trade picked up and began to grow he wanted to learn english. This he got free of charge attending night classes and had a very good level of english.

Safety and police etc. WE took one of the tours that lets you sepnd a night int he jungle then go to angel falls (very good trip definatly recomend this). Flying from Margarita to inland venuzela, arrived at some random town in middle of nowhere. Now at the airport there was a police presence and there seemed to be lots of locals going places as well. Now as a tourist u can expect to get atleast some hassel abroad however we got none, it was like the locals didnt care i never got asked for money or anything didnt see a single begger. Around the town there were police outposts and army stations, which all made you feel a far lot safer. Along the main road out to the river there were police/army checkpoints which increased safety as well.

Healthcare, i didnt get ill whilst iw as there so i ahve no first hand experience, but having seen a new hospital being built in Caracas, not in the middle of the city or in rich suburb but on the outskirts of the city near the shanty towns i can see that the oil money is gonig back to the people

Free press etc. I have seen report that he limits press and internet. Didnt see this anywhere, whilst i was there tey had referndum on wether Chavez should stay or go. There was no inhibition of either side and i saw more of the opposition on the TV than i did of Hugo himself.

Personally I think what he has done is class. He has shafted the us and anyone else and ran his country how he wants. He has improved healthcare education etc, and given oil to the countries who need it at a proper price. There are reports that he is becomnig a dictator and he might well be, I'm sure there is some censorship of the press but when he has imporved the lives of millions of people you cant complain. I found venezula one oft he nicest and safest places i ahve ever been. There were obvious afflent areas but the gulf between the rich and poor was not as large as i expected.

On a personal note i belive Bush etc dont like Chavez as he is donig what they should be doing. He is putting the countries wealth back ni to the country not lining the pockets of the wealthy. Other things i saw such as new transport links improving Airports and roads etc all made it appear as if this country was going places.

Edit

Just a point i cant see what you think is wrong with putting countires wealth in to helping the poor, if you think that should go live in texas tbh.
« Last Edit: Sunday 25 June 2006, 03:44:37 PM by Adam^ »

Offline Parky

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #21 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 06:13:25 PM »
It's always nice to have a post from someone who's been there.

Online Adam^

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #22 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 06:25:12 PM »
Granted i havent been in to the slums of caracas or seen all of the country but that was my veiw of what i saw and the people there were all far better of then the people i saw in Delhi last year.

Hand in Glove

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Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #23 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 09:50:19 PM »
When did you go? Were there many tourists there?

Online Adam^

  • General Member
Re: An Audience With Hugo Chavez.
« Reply #24 on: Sunday 25 June 2006, 11:15:34 PM »
Erm was summer 2004, was canny busy in Margarita and saw quite a few in Caracas, wasnt anything like sapin but quite a lot considering how far away it is and not exactly well known.