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A Recent Great Interview w. Hugo Chavez

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by glynch, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

    Dec 1, 2000
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    Exerts from a good interview. It is worth reading the whole thing.

    Greg Grandin: I'd like first to ask you about the Honduran crisis. Manuel Zelaya--the president overthrown in a coup on June 28--is currently in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, having returned to the country in secret. What happens next? What can be done to force those who carried out the coup to negotiate?

    Hugo Chávez: It's not for me to decide what the next step is. Zelaya has called for dialogue. That was the first thing he did as soon as he entered the Brazilian embassy. The coup-plotters have responded with repression, death and terror. I believe that the brutal nature of this coup will lead to its failure.

    GG: But how do you explain the intransigence of Roberto Micheletti, the president installed by the coup? There is about a month to go before the scheduled November 29 presidential elections, and whether Zelaya is returned to office or not, we know that one of two candidates from either the National or Liberal parties--both conservatives--is going to win. So why wouldn't the de facto government want a negotiated solution, allowing a symbolic return of Zelaya to the presidency for a short period in order to legitimate the outcome of the election?

    HC: Noam Chomsky has a book, which I read for the first time when I was in Spain, called Fear of Democracy. There is your answer. Fear of democracy. In Honduras, they had a sham democracy. It was run by elites, what was called a liberal democracy but in reality was a false democracy. Honduras has been governed by a small group that for a long time has been supported by the United States, which used Honduras as a military base against other countries of Central America, against Cuba, turning the country into a colony.

    Manuel Zelaya came from the ranks of the Liberal Party, he entered the government as an intelligent young man, breathing in the new winds blowing from South America, the winds of change, I would say even winds of revolution. It is different from the revolution of the 1970s. This one is carried out not with rifles but by a peaceful people, it is a democratic revolution. Montesquieu said that men needed to be able to ride the wave of events. And that's what Zelaya did. With his cowboy hat he climbed up and rode the wave. And as soon as he broached the question of convening a constitutional assembly to consult with the people about refounding the republic, the political class that has governed all this time, the Honduran bourgeoisie, became frightened. That is the fear of democracy.

    GG: What is the importance of events in Honduras for the rest of the continent? There are signs that the right, the transnational right, is regrouping, and that it sees Honduras as the first battle in a larger struggle to roll back the left.

    HC: They are going to fail. Of course, it is important not to underestimate the continental right. It has gone on the offensive in many places. They attacked Venezuela, hard, with the support of Bush, as you know. They attacked in Brazil, trying to destabilize Lula so the Workers Party couldn't govern. They failed. They attacked Bolivia, hard, with all the venom of a serpent, in an effort to overthrow Evo Morales. They failed. They attacked Ecuador, and Rafael Correa is still there.

    Then, in Honduras, they attacked what they believed to be--and in a way was--the weakest flank. But they were in for a surprise. For three months, the Honduran people have been in the street, with unprecedented strength. That's what they found on the supposed weak flank. So I think the continental right should well consider its next step. They haven't even been able to consolidate their power in Honduras, notwithstanding that they enjoy the monolithic unity of the Honduran bourgeoisie and the support of the military, so if they decide to attack again in South America, they will fail.

    It is a battle, a game of chess, that we are fighting everyday. But the continental right has lost its way, it doesn't have a project for governance. In the United States, the government is bailing out banks, intervening in the economy, yet in Latin America, the right continues to talk about "free markets." It's totally outdated, they don't have arguments, they don't have any sense.

    GG: But they will have seven US military bases in Colombia.

    HC: It seems as if there are two Barack Obamas. And hopefully, the Obama who spoke today at the United Nations will win out in the end. But it was Obama who also approved the seven military bases in Colombia. Nobody can think otherwise, because who is the president, who is the commander-in-chief of the military if not Obama? If Venezuela decided to send troops to another country, or to set up a military base in Puerto Rico, it would be me, as president, making the decision. So Obama is full of contradictions, and hopefully the people of the United States, you, the thinking public, need to push your president.

    If I were I New Yorker, I would say, Mr. President, why are you putting military bases in Colombia? I said to Obama in Trinidad [at the Summit of the Americas in April] what I said to Bill Clinton ten years ago--one could at least talk to Clinton--and the same I told George W. Bush--only one time, because one couldn't talk about anything with him--"let's look for peace in Colombia."

    Hopefully the people of the United States will demand from its president, and its government, and its congress, to stop with the politics of war throughout the world. Obama said some troublesome things today, veiled threats. I have the phrase here, if I am not mistaken, that the US "will know how to defend the interests of all." Does this mean that tomorrow Obama is going to be able to say that he has invaded Iran in order to defend the interests of Venezuela, or of Mexico, or of Algeria? No, Venezuelan interests are to be defended by Venezuela. The US should defend the interests of the US. Where are the US people, where are the intellectuals, who could put limits on their government?


    GG: This is a debate now within the United States...

    HC: Jimmy Carter is saying it. And hopefully Obama won't be assassinated because of it. But Obama has also taken up the theme of social reform almost as if it were a point of honor, because he made the pledge during the campaign. And also, as Obama knows, out of necessity. Everyday there is more poverty in the United States, everyday there is more uncared-for people who don't have medicine, doctors, or even education. This country is eating itself from the inside. What's happening to the American, how do you say it, Dream [in English]. I believe in the American Dream, but the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., not the dream of consumerism, unbridled capitalism or individualism, that craziness, that's not a dream it's a nightmare. Now, the recalcitrant right attacks Obama hard, calling him a socialist...

    GG: Even a Nazi.

    HC: Yes, a Nazi! When we met in Trinidad and shook hands, the right roasted him here for doing so: "Chávez! Why are you greeting Chávez?!" Imagine the craziness just for saying hello. It's irrational. The right here is scared that Obama is awakening a popular current in the people of the US, and they are trying to stop it. Where it is going to wind up, who knows? But I have a question, where is the US people? Where are the people, when their leader tries to propose something in benefit of the people? The people need to go out into the streets, not just to vote but to passionately protest, to support the president, so he can fulfill his promise. Where are the people?

    GG: It is the right that is in the street.

    HC: Yes, the right has taken over the street. There is much to do. Those who represent progressive thought--and I include you--need to know that without the people, there is no democracy. The people of the United States need to wake up, wake up and help construct a new country, a great nation, a true democracy. Obama can be an opportunity, and you need to support him with great force, in order to contain those that ferociously oppose whatever change. Like in Honduras. It's the same situation. The progressive community of the United States needs to support Obama to achieve change, and then it has to demand more change, and more change, and more change.

    HC: We have achieved nearly all of the Millennium Development Goals. I was here almost ten years ago, in the Millennium Summit, and they even assigned me the task--I wasn't yet considered the devil, though they were undoubtedly still evaluating me--to coordinate one of the roundtables. I was there for a few days, day after day working and talking with Clinton, Fidel was there too. I remember the day Fidel shook Clinton's hand, Clinton and Fidel, and I was witness to their short conversation. We had meetings with delegates from Africa, Asia, from China, Russia. Now, we proposed some goals [to reduce poverty].

    But today, at the global level, we are poorer than ten years ago. And not only in absolute numbers but relative numbers. But in Venezuela, poverty continues to go down. Unemployment continues to go down. The minimum wage is the highest in Latin America. Social security continues to reach more and more people. The standard of living has risen in Venezuela and according to the measures used by the United Nations Development Program we are in the top rank of human development. We are far from our goals, but we have left the inferno. Attention to the excluded, literacy, Venezuela is now a territory free of illiteracy. Poverty has been halved from it was ten years ago, which was one of the Millennium Goals. Access to potable water, we passed that Millennium goal a long time ago. In education, we have doubled the number of children going to school.

    It is possible to leave poverty, it is possibly to pull people out of misery. We call this socialism. In Obama's reflections--the ones I have heard--there are elements of this thought. We don't call it socialist, but it is a revindication of public policy.
  2. Oski2005

    Oski2005 Contributing Member

    Nov 14, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I didn't see any questions about why he's shutting down media that opposes his decisions. I thought this was a good interview???
  3. Shovel Face

    Shovel Face Member

    Sep 3, 2009
    Likes Received:
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    Chavez invites Obama to 'path of socialism'

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called upon the US President Barack Obama to follow the path to socialism, which he termed as the only way.

    "Come with us, align yourself, come with us on the road to socialism. This is the only path. Imagine a socialist revolution in the United States," Chavez told a group of workers in the southern Venezuelan state of Bolivar on Friday.

    Chavez, who taunted the United States as a source of capitalistic evil under former president George W. Bush, added that the US needs a leader who can take it to a 'higher' destiny and bring it out of "the sad role that it has been given, as a murderous, attacking power that is hated all around the world."

    Chavez said that people are calling Obama a 'socialist' for the measures of state intervention he is taking to counter the crisis, so it would not be too far-fetched to suggest that he might join the project of '21st century socialism'.

    "Nothing is impossible. Who would have thought in the 1980s that the Soviet Union would disappear? No one," he said.

    "That murderous, genocidal empire has to end, and some day there has to come a leader ... who interprets the best of a people who also include human beings who suffer, endure, weep and laugh," the outspoken Chavez said.
  4. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

    Dec 1, 2000
    Likes Received:
    That would be the the job of the conservative to mainstream media that hate Chavez and make this pretty much their only story. Every notice how there seems to be a lot of this media still functioning? These outlets have virtually no interest in stories such as reducing poverty in Venezuela. They also have no interest in whether these media spew lies that probably make Fox News look factually based.
  5. MoonDogg

    MoonDogg Member

    Nov 12, 1999
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