'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Friday, June 18, 2004

Left I on Venezuela 

Eli over at Left I on the news has a good post up about the coverage of the current situation in Venezuela by the Times and the Post. I especially liked this part:

Meanwhile, over at the Washington Post, they discover the scare story that the Times ran two weeks ago and was discussed by Left I on the News - that dastardly Hugo Chavez is attempting to "buy" the election by actually spending the oil income of the country on social needs! The fiend!

[ ... ]

"But critics say Chavez is pandering to the poor to save his political career and gambling irresponsibly with the long-term fiscal health of a state company that provides half the country's revenue.

"Most of the programs are directly funded and administered by the oil company. It has budgeted $1.7 billion for social projects this year, up from just a few million in past years. And Chavez recently said that he would funnel another $2 billion of company revenue into a social spending account. This week, Chavez announced that from now on, he would refer to the company as 'Petroleos del Pueblo de Venezuela,' the oil company of the 'people of Venezuela.'

I'd love to know how it is "playing on a nation's fears" to spend $2 billion on social needs. Or how it qualifies as "pandering," defined as "catering to the lower tastes and desires of others or exploit their weaknesses." You know, those "lower tastes and desires" like education, housing, and health care.

Well, as everybody knows the only sane thing to do with public assets is hand them over to private corporations ...

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