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Venezuela today and pre-Chavez are worlds apart. Venezuelans overwhelmingly approved constitutional reform by national referendum. Everything changed for the better.
Americans can't imagine rights afforded all Venezuelans. Washington's duopoly power condemns them to eroding public services, growing poverty, unemployment, hunger, homelessness, despair, and repression enforcing policy on non-believers.
Reform is a work in progress. Transforming generations of government of, by, and for privileged elites alone takes time.
Venezuela's transformation has miles to go. But it's accomplishments in 13 years under Chavez are impressive by any standard. Most Venezuelans wholeheartedly endorse them. They deplore returning to pre-Chavez days.
Henrique Capriles Radonski is Washington's man in Caracas. He represents money power, neoliberal extremism, and pre-Chavez harshness. He heads the opposition umbrella group Table for Democratic Unity (MUD).
Venezuelan and Western media scoundrels support him. His Primero Justicia party was involved in Washington's aborted April 2002 coup. At the time, Capriles was Baruta mayor. He and other party members were involved.
At a July rally , Chavez told supporters:
"We have made the vital strategic decision that every time there's aggression from the imperialists and the bourgeoisie....we will respond by deepening the socialist revolution."
No wonder a Columbia University Earth Institute study called Venezuela South America's happiest country. A 2011 Gallup poll ranked it fifth globally. A GISXXI survey found 84% of Venezuelans are "satisfied" with their lives. An equal percent call themselves "happy" or "very happy."
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