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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/3/09

Global Financial Crisis and Hugo Chavez

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Message Abdul Basit

The Financial Crises that has gripped the globe resulting in growing unemployment, poverty and hunger, which will further increase during the coming months and years, has created great uncertainty. While global political and financial leaders, as well as the media and establishment that support them, are groping in darkness for solutions, it is futile to expect, on the ability of these leaders, that they can retrieve the situation.  They themselves are the basic reason for these crises. This was proven during the just-concluded World Economic Forum meeting in Davos where empty discussions and debates were held, all of which lacked any concrete ideas to fix this crisis. The Davos Forum failed to find any answers, focusing more on problems instead of potential solutions.

The current crises are due to the wrong policies that were hitherto pursued by the so-called dominant leaders led by the United States and its allies, whose aim was to serve the corporate military establishment instead of addressing the crises as a whole. Most of the efforts of these leaders were to bail out the banks and corporations that paid huge bonuses and incentives to its executive at the expense of the taxpayers and common people. This is because the capitalist and consumerist policies pursued by these nations rely heavily on these financial institutions, corporations and Stock Exchanges. The recent ILO report has predicted a frightening scenario in which 51 million more jobs could be lost by the end of 2009, leading to a 7.1 percent global unemployment rate.  Those who manage to keep a job face deteriorating earnings and other conditions of employment.

The world has been continuously deceived by theses leaders and we have repeatedly fallen into the same trap again and again.  After the disastrous eight years of the Bush administration, the world is looking forward to Barack Obama, who might either be one of the highly sophisticated among these traps or an initial source of future change. The coming months and years will provide the answer.

What Do We Require from the Leadership?

At this point, the arrogant and exploitative policies of the world's sole superpower and its allies at least temporarily benefited them and their allies. But since the last two years after the financial crises and the climatic crises that have engulfed the world, these leaders and nations can no longer continue their arrogant policies as they have also started facing the brunt of their policies that earlier ruined third world countries. We cannot solve the impending crises with the existing leadership that is part of the problem and is more interested in igniting new conflicts, instead of solving the existing financial and existential issues that are haunting humanity as a whole.

While searching for new leadership and new solutions to overcome the serious financial straits, we must discard the current economic and financial system and terminologies associated with it, as they have only brought suffering to the bulk of humanity.  Not only must we discard their ideological confines and arrogance, we must also open our minds and hearts to formulate a new route to rescue humanity from the current crises and build a better future.

While criticizing the current leadership and their short sighted and arrogant policies, taking into consideration the dire consequences that we are about to face in the coming years, it is important to understand what kind of leadership is required and what are the policies to be implemented to overcome these serious challenges. Some of the immediate measures that the world requires to take to face the challenges are as follows:

1. With the global financial collapse and the ensuing bankruptcy and shut down of many corporations and companies that will result in job cuts and unemployment, we will face growing poverty, hunger and homelessness. This will result in financial and economic breakdown, social evils, crimes, chaos and civil wars. In order to prevent this situation, it is essential that governments take the necessary steps of taking over and controlling the public distribution system and other essential and life sustaining services, to ensure the smooth distribution of basic essential items, including food to all sections of the society to prevent further deterioration and civil strife that may follow. This is also essential considering our depleting food stocks and a growing population.

2. With the collapse of the neoliberal economic and financial system that the current administration is trying to save with all its efforts, the 'other' leadership must formulate and implement alternative sustainable economic policies that will ensure equitable distribution of the limited and depleting resources and ensure an environmentally sustainable, agrarian economic system as a replacement to exploitative, consumerist and polluted capitalist system. This includes conversion from a financial to a humanistic economy and implementing an interest-free banking system. The localization of economies by building self sustaining cooperatives and ensuring self sufficiency at the grassroots level is one of the basic ingredients to ride over the crises.  In this way we can build a sustainable society.

3. The great disparities and injustice between nations and resulting exploitation and oppressions has led to the conflicts and social chaos. Depleting resources and the financial collapse will further aggravate these crises. In order to prevent future conflicts and to bring justice to all nations and all strata of society, we need a global leadership that is above narrow confines to ensure justice for all, especially the oppressed and the downtrodden. Resistance, mass movements and civil disobedience have to be organized against the existing establishment representing the capitalist- corporate-military axis and their neoliberal capitalist policies. Resistance should also be organized against the arrogant imperialist foreign policies of these nations pursue and the resulting exploitation, injustice and brutality that is imposed on the people of other nations by them.

4. Addressing and implementing policies to counter the threat of climate change that has resulted in huge natural upheavals, melting glaciers, rising sea level, extinction of variety of species and depleting agricultural yield.

Is there any leader of distinction and stature among the present statesmen and stateswomen who can lead the world to overcome the dire situation in which we find ourselves?

The 'Other' Leadership

Taking into account the current leadership and their negative performance, it is natural that we make an in-depth analysis about the 'other' leaders who are accused by the dominant media and regimes as 'tyrants' and 'dictators'. Although many leaders come to our mind, the most prominent among them are Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Ahmedinejad of Iran..etc. In this article we will look into the policies pursued by the one among them namely Hugo Chavez, an icon of resistance against imperialists and oppressors. In order to understand his leadership, it is important to assess the progress and change he has brought in Venezuela during the last ten years of rule.

Hugo Chavez of Venezuela

Hugo Rafael Chavez Frías, who came to power in Venezuela as the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution (popular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution of revenues, and an end to corruption - in Venezuela) and promoting democratic socialism and Latin American Integration, is a strong critic of neoliberalism, globalization and the imperialist foreign policy of United States and its allies.

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I am an Indian Expatriate presently residing in Kuwait
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