Friday, November 30, 2007

Half Measures

Regarding Hugo, the American "left/progressive" crowd is shamefully clueless. They cherry pick information without regard to the big picture and gush like teenage fans. Take the mantra that Hugo Chavez is a good example of a successful government which cares for its people, that Hugo's leadership is unique; an inspiration. Huh? They tap dance around reality and the high probability of where Venezuela is going.

Thanks to war's windfall oil profits Hugo has been able to direct sufficient funds to the peasantry which keep him in office. In the US it would be known as buying votes. Just as Latin American socialists before him (and better ones), Hugo alienates the middle class and the ruling class. The middle class which does the bulk of white collar/blue collar work and the ruling class investors – somewhat necessary classes in the modern world, unless a revolutionary leader intends to go in like a conquistador and break the necks of the colonial anglo-oligarchy but that's a another method entirely, and the "civilized" world would be horrified for a long time (not briefly pretend aghast as they are with genocide of color.)

I suspect the Anglo ruling class has not been too concerned as they know there's no need to overthrow Chavez – he'll do himself in. The long lines at food marts for basics such as milk, sugar, coffee, eggs, chicken, will eventually end his reign. Similar to the US technique against the Sandinista revolution in the 1980s - minus the Reagan contras. It will be shortages, lack of trade and investment in products outside of oil, bureaucratic corruption, and a populace where all gradually become equally poor as the middle class flee and the ruling class wait it out in Miami.

Hugo spends Venezuela's bounty on social programs for votes with his focus for social change on the social class least capable of sustaining change. José Peasant can now write his name when he gets a free vaccination and government subsidized frijoles, but the unemployment rate touches nearly 20% of the active population and 60% of the population still lives below poverty line" and the inflation remains at above 10%. Hardly conditions American "progressives" could tolerate much less support. And neither will the political middle and upper class Venezuelan. The middle/upper class will revolt and the ruling class, by choice or government interference, cuts off the supply of staples, and the poor are as poor as ever.

Even with free clinics and lead pencils, Hugo's agrarian reform will not lift the rural poor. Land give-away has never broken ruling class power. At worst they take land back, at best they sell it to the government, and buy it back cheaper at a later date, and everyone starts over in the same place.

Progressives may have thought it noble when Chavez confiscated the British century old Vestey family cattle ranch (there goes your BigMac), but it's a half measure, a vote-getter. The Vestey Group says the land is unsuitable for agriculture due to poor soil and heavy Andean rains. Less than a year after the ranch was officially confiscated, with government claims that Vestey couldn't prove legal ownership, Chavez reached a deal with the Vestey Group – agreeing to pay Vestey $4 million for 186,000 acres – and to prohibit illegal squatters. If lucky, the peasants may be able to scratch out survival on land not suitable for agriculture. But, as with Nicaraguans in the '80s, most will be forced back to the cities looking for a better way to survive, especially when government cronies line their pockets with funds earmarked to subsidize the farm seed, fertilizer, etc.

Half measures rule the day. Half measures – better described as "civilized behavior" by the class that rules "it all." Even if the rulers themselves murder and plunder it they convince peons to behave amicably (and stay in place in food lines). Half measures - the sheople taught to play by rules devised by the rulers and producing the same results (unless you're one of the 4-1/2 million clones living in Norway's anglo-socialist utopia.)

And remember, please bring the free nerf baseball bat, which your inspirational government has given you, to the ruling class gunfight, thank you.

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