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Venezuela's Future

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Imagine what she teaches students. They're best advised to avoid her.

Michael Shifter heads the Inter-American Dialogue. He teaches politics at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. Earlier he worked for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). It's mandated to destroy it where it emerges. Shifter was also a former Ford Foundation staffer.

He's notoriously hostile to Chavez. He titled his article "Change Must Come Gradually." He deplores Bolivarianism and wants it replaced.

He turns Venezuelan reality on its head. He calls "reform" and "improved governance" "essential."

"Difficult choices" have to be made, he claims. Jettisoning popular popular programs should happen slowly. He's for "piecemeal" change.

"Moderation" should replace Chavismo and "grandiosity."

Venezuelans alone will decide their future. Outside meddling won't be tolerated. Bolivarian achievements are cherished. Shifter and other neoliberal hardliners want it replaced.

Joy Olson is Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) executive director. She's a frequent mainstream media commentator. She avoids discussing what most needs explaining.

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David Smilde is a senior WOLA fellow. He specializes in Venezuela. He and Olson headlined "Fight Crime, Respect the Poor." They claim government "oil-financed social policies are of questionable sustainability."

"Lack of transparency and accountability threaten them." Venezuela's "enormous fiscal deficit will need to be addressed."

Instead of accurately discussing Venezuelan conditions, both contributors distorted reality. They greatly exaggerated crime problems. They ignore high US levels. A previous article said the following:

On November 18, 2012, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence said "epidemic levels of gun violence (claim) over 30,000 lives annually." 

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data document it.

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Every gun-related death leaves two others wounded. Every year, about 100,000 Americans are gun violence victims. Countless others are irreparably harmed. Nothing whatever is done to curb or prevent what's shocking and intolerable.

Olson and Smilde also accused Chavez of compromising press freedom. Chavez's social democratic agenda prioritizes it. America pays it lip service. In Venezuela, it's real.

It shows in government tolerance for strident anti-Chavez print and broadcast rhetoric. Corporate owners dominate Venezuela's media. 

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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It is hard to take the NYTimes' "Room for Debate" ... by Robert Cowen on Saturday, Jan 5, 2013 at 6:58:40 AM
Viva Chavez.... by Ken Stevens on Sunday, Jan 6, 2013 at 12:38:10 AM
in the region with its high inflation & number... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Jan 6, 2013 at 7:59:12 AM