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Venezuela and Russia Voting on December 2 – Worlds Apart

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Land redistribution has been another central project for Hugo Chávez. [3] 'The Chávez government has redistributed about 2.2 million hectares of state owned land to more than 130000 peasant families."

…"Land reform is one of the most progressive aspects of Chávez 's Bolivarian Revolution."[4] It is very important to notice here that the land that is being expropriated is uncultivated land only, land that is barren but that can feed hundreds of thousands of poor peasants, if redistributed to the poor peasants.

Chávez also has a vision for a united South America which goes straight against the U.S. age-old way of seeing the subcontinent as their backyard to draw profit from freely without being restrained by nationalistic and humanitarian considerations. He founded Mecrosur, the South American Common Market, and PetroSur to act as a coordinator of energy policies throughout Latin America.

A huge number of grass roots centers called misiones (or missions) have grown up throughout the country that give free basic health care and provide educational opportunities among the peasant population that had been entirely marginalized. The doctors employed in the misiones are often Cuban and the educational misiones that have been established deal with what were widespread illiteracy problems and also with general educational needs for adults and young people. [5] Venezuela is now declared a "Territory Free of Illiteracy" (Workers World, Nov 5, 2005).

Hugo Chávez primary goal is clearly to rescue the people from the desperate poverty that deprives millions of Venezuelans of a dignified life in spite of the fact that there is enormous wealth under their soil. His message is spreading to other countries in Latin America and, in some countries the government tries to walk the thin line between a U.S. endorsed economy and a system capable of saving the masses of miserably poor people through land redistribution and also by offering free universal education and health care. Even if social improvement occurs slowly, there is still the visible fact that Latin American governments now can see that there is another way.

The neoliberal credo of letting the masses suffer while enriching the few is not the way to solve the economic disarray that we have gotten ourselves into. The trickle-down theory that was supposed to solve all problems has been shown up for what it always was, a fraud to make the largest possible number of people subscribe to the callous theories of the Chicago school of free market economics. [6]

Putin and Chávez – different worlds

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Vladimir Putin has certainly saved Russia from the oligarchy mob rule that had spread like a plague during Yeltsin's era. He has accomplished this, however, at the price of repression of several freedoms that people in the West mostly take for granted. It must also be remembered that the recent legislative election was far from an election worthy of a free and democratic country. There is ample proof that the election was rigged in order to give Putin an overwhelming mandate to run the country with a stronger hand than ever. [7] Add that to the vicious Chechen war and Putin doesn't look much like a democratic ruler.

He is clearly not intending to give up the enormous power he has over the government. He may give up the presidency but we can be sure that a system is going to be worked out where Putin will go on exerting at least as much power as he has today.

As for Hugo Chávez, the West, and particularly the U.S. Empire, never stops painting this leader, who has emerged from the non-elite part of the population, as a dictator and a tyrant and attacking him through the privately owned majority of the Venezuelan media. The neoliberal world can not tolerate the existence of a major force of peace and equality that threatens the callously capitalist system which is dominating the world.

So who is the dictator? The one who silences the media or the one who leaves them free range? Who is the dictator? The one who fights a vicious war to keep the nation united in fear of the 'terrorists' or the man whose prime goal is improving the lives of the formerly neglected people in his country?

[1] "The Russian financial crisis (also called "Rouble crisis") hit Russia in August 17 1998. It was exacerbated by the global recession of 1998, which started with the Asian financial crisis in July 1997." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_financial_crisis

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[2] Nor was there any doubt that the poll was rigged. “The election was not fair and failed to meet standards for democratic elections,” concluded the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe in a joint statement. Nothing was left to chance to ensure a high turnout. http://www.economist.com/world/europe/

[3] Chávez keeping his promise to redistribute land (International Herald Tribune - May 16, 2007)

Chávez is carrying out what may become the largest forced land redistribution in Venezuela's history, building utopian farming villages for squatters, lavishing money on new cooperatives and sending army commando units to supervise seized estates in six states. http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/17/america/17


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Siv O'Neall was born and raised in Sweden where she graduated from Lund University. She has lived in Paris, France and New Rochelle, N.Y. and traveled extensively throughout the U.S, Europe, and other continents, including several trips to India. (more...)

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Venezuela is a Democracy. Corporations and th... by Ty on Monday, Dec 24, 2007 at 5:05:55 PM