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Venezuela's Future

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Patrick Duddy formerly was Washington's Venezuelan ambassador. In September 2008, he was declared persona non grata and ordered out. He's currently a Duke University Center for International Studies diplomat in residence.

His article is entitled "Chavismo Is Entrenched." He accused Chavez of "virulent anti-Americanism." He "actively worked to move Venezuela - and the region - away from its historically deep relationship with the United States."

For decades, Washington dismissively considered Latin America its back yard. Repressive subservient client states were established. 

Ruthlessly exploitive policies were prioritized. Regional inequality and poverty intensified. Duddy and likeminded hardliners yearn for the good old days.

He deplores Chavismo. Relations with America "would likely improve with the election of an opposition candidate," he says. Go slow and make it happen, he urges.

Miguel Tinker Salas is Pomona College Professor of Latin American History. He's a frequent mainstream media commentator.

"Follow the Oil," he headlined. Last year, OPEC said Venezuelan reserves topped Saudi Arabia's. They're the world's largest supply. The country's natural gas reserves are the region's largest.

Washington covets control. It wants Chavez ousted to assure it. It wants neoliberal hardliners replacing him. 

Salas admits how Chavez "s(hook) things up." He reduced poverty dramatically. Privileged Venezuelans resent him. Most Venezuelans support him.

Whatever Venezuela's future holds, its "fractured society" will continue "battl(ing) over who will benefit from the riches that" began flowing a century earlier. 

Salas was mostly even-handed. He stopped well short of telling all. Bolivarianism involves more than oil. Its spirit pervades society. It champions progressive politics. It prioritizes helping Venezuela's most disadvantaged. Salas didn't explain.

Ray Walser is a veteran US Foreign Service officer. He was a State Department official for 27 years. He's a right wing ideologue. 

He's a Heritage Foundation senior policy analyst. He specializes in Latin America. He prioritizes US security and related interests.

He headlined "Big Shoes to Fill Globally." Chavismo without Chavez will be "daunting," he said. "Many predict it cannot be done."

Saying appears wishful thinking. Hardball US meddling prioritizes it. Venezuelans have plenty to say on their own. They're not about to roll over for Washington. They'll fight to preserve Bolivarian gains.

Walser repeated the usual canards. Venezuela's PDVSA oil company is "in trouble." The nation "suffers from high public debt." It's experiencing "slowing growth."

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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