The AP’s Natalie Obiko Pearson and Ian James got the bullsh*t by the horns, and they’re tooting Hugo’s “charismatic-leader-helping-the-poor-offering-free-health-care-education-adult-literacy-and-job-training-initiatives-that-help-millions-of-[insert country name here]” fantasy (emphasis added):
Bolstered by windfall oil profits, Chavez’s government is now offering more direct state funding to Latin America and the Caribbean than the United States. A tally by The Associated Press shows Venezuela has pledged more than $8.8 billion in aid, financing and energy funding so far this year.
After whetting our appetites, however, AP has a brief reality check:
While the most recent figures available from Washington show $3 billion in U.S. grants and loans reached the region in 2005, it isn’t known how much of the Venezuelan money has actually been delivered. And Chavez’s spending abroad doesn’t come close to the overall volume of U.S. private investment and trade in Latin America.
Or the billion$$$ in remesas (private money transfers) the legal and illegal immigrants to the USA are sending their relatives in Latin America daily.
Gustavo Coronel explains how Hugo Chavez’s Big Splurge: Buying Few Real Friends. Of course, Ian hasn’t read that one.
Ian’s the guy that did the puff piece on Hugo and Sean’s Excellent Adventure earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Ian’s way behind the times: The NYT is starting to wake up They’ve noticed a change
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has taken over from Fidel Castro the mantle of Latin America’s leading opponent of the United States, which remains the largest customer for Venezuela’s oil.
And they’re not happy:
Mr. Chavez’s claim that he is increasing “participatory democracy” by giving voice to Venezuela’s disenfranchised poor rests on gestures like the proposal to create grass-roots governing councils with executive authority over a range of issues. In fact, they would further erode democratic checks and balances by stripping power from state and local governments, where opposition parties retain some vestigial power, and giving it to entities dependent on the central government.
Indeed, Mr. Chavez’s plan to allow himself to run for re-election as many times as he wants – to achieve his stated goal of governing until the 200th anniversary of Venezuelan independence in 2021 – could lock Venezuela in the grip of an all-powerful strongman for years to come. It’s participatory democracy in which only Mr. Chávez and his friends get to participate.
But the AP’s notoriously gullible: Notice how they say, Castro Signs Essay Amid Health Rumors, as if they had witnesses to that action.
Over in Bolivia the coca leaves, the production over which Evo’s union leader, re making predictions: the coca leaves predict Castro will recover.
I kid you not.
I fully expect Ian and Natalie to have faith in Evo and his coca leaves.
(Re the use of bullsh*t on the headline: Long-time readers of this blog know that I strive to keep a certain level of discourse. However, words have meaning, and the meaning really applies in this situation.)
In a somewhat related item, when I posted about Hugo and Sean’s Excellent Adventure, I applauded Maria Conchita Alonso.
Maria Conchita became a naturalized American citizen last week, and has declared herself an enemy of populist governments (link in Spanish).