Death Comes for el Comandante: Hugo Chávez (1954–2013)

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas on Nov. 27, 2009.
JUAN BARRETO / AFP / Getty Images

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in Caracas on Nov. 27, 2009

Like his idol, Fidel Castro, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was one of the most garrulous and pugnacious leaders Latin America has ever known. That makes his death in Caracas today, March 5, at age 58, after a long and secrecy-shrouded fight with a cancer whose type he refused to disclose, feel all the more incongruous: Chávez, who for all of his 14-year rule was as loud and ubiquitous a fixture in Venezuela and Latin America as salsa music on the sidewalks, departed the stage in uncharacteristic silence after not having been seen or heard from publicly for three months.

But Chávez’s demise is likely to spark a constitutional upheaval inside Venezuela, where he and his socialist, anti-U.S. revolution controlled the world’s largest oil reserves, and where an electorate bitterly polarized over his heavy-handed governance must now hold a new presidential election within the next month. (Chávez’s Vice President, Nicolás Maduro, is considered the front-runner.) The most hotly debated issue is sure to be Chávez himself and his legacy — whether his firebrand reign in the end represented an advance or a setback for the Latin American left.

(MORE: Remembering Hugo Chávez: A Demagogue’s Career in Quotes)

Chávez called himself a “21st century socialist.” In reality he was a throwback to the dogmatic and authoritarian 20th century socialism of Castro, Cuba’s former dictator, and to the 19th century caudillo tradition of Chávez’s demigod, South American independence hero Simón Bolívar. Chávez hoped that being democratically elected would obscure the fact that he didn’t govern all that democratically. It didn’t. So it’s tempting to dismiss him as an anachronism, a vulgar populist famous for gratuitous yanqui bashing — for calling then U.S. President George W. Bush a malodorous “devil” at the U.N. in 2006 — an erratic and messianic retro-revolutionary whose country’s vast petrowealth let him indulge his Marxist nostalgia.

Chávez was all of those things. But if he was a leader behind his times, he still managed to influence them. Voters don’t make a radical like Chávez their head of state unless they’re mad as hell, and his stunning ascent altered the western hemisphere’s conversation when it needed to be altered. When Chávez was first elected in 1998, post–Cold War Latin America was awash in free-market reforms. Those changes were necessary, but their negligent implementation only widened the region’s epic inequality. Chávez’s bellicose neo-statism was hardly the antidote, but his Bolivarian Revolution, which steered Venezuela’s oil riches to the barrios for a change, was a wake-up call. It reopened the door for the Latin American left — and, fortunately, more moderates than Marxists walked through it, including former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose capitalist-socialist “third way” has since helped narrow the region’s wealth gap and brought countries like Chile to the brink of development.

(MORE: The Loyal Lieutenant: In Hugo Chávez’s Absence, Nicolás Maduro’s Stature Grows)

Leftists like Lula, in fact, are the genuine 21st century socialists, and their rise made the more doctrinaire Chávez less influential well before his cancer was diagnosed in the summer of 2011. Ironically, you can trace that decline back to September 2006, when oil prices were soaring and Chávez was at the height of his power and popularity at home and across the developing world. He could taunt Bush at the U.N. and hear applause from Caracas to Karachi — yet in a TIME interview the day after that speech, he all but forecast how his global and regional relevance would wither from then on.

As he drank a succession of guayoyos, or cups of Venezuelan coffee, Chávez told me with his famously caffeinated conviction that he now planned to turn even harder leftward. “I no longer think a third way is possible,” he said, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. “Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation. Only socialism can create a genuine society.”

chavez_cover

After winning another six-year term by a landslide three months later, Chávez did turn further left. But chasing the mirage of ideological purity, be it capitalist or socialist, too often creates its own demons, especially authoritarian government and mismanaged economies. Chávez was never quite the dictator his critics claimed, and he did reduce Venezuela’s inexcusably high poverty — a large reason he won re-election last October despite Venezuela’s growing economic and security problems. Even as cancer made it hard for him to campaign, he remained the nation’s most popular political figure and defeated his opposition challenger by 11 points. Nonetheless, thanks to his own reckless and arrogant impulses, history isn’t likely to remember Chávez as fondly as his followers will.

(PHOTOS: Rise of Chavez: The Late Venezuelan President’s Path to Power)

It’s less likely to recall him as the crusader who toppled Venezuela’s criminally corrupt oligarchy in 1998, and more as the demagogue who led a failed but bloody coup in 1992. Or as the President who oversaw disastrous property and business expropriations, “media responsibility” laws that made insulting el comandante a criminal offense, and the elimination of presidential-term limits that he hoped would let him rule for life. It will view him less as the reformer who dynamically enfranchised and empowered Venezuela’s poor and more as the blowhard who presided over food shortages, the world’s highest inflation rate and South America’s worst violent crime rate. Less as the Bolivarian who worked for Latin American integration and countered U.S. hegemony in the Americas, and more as the polarizer who hurled sophomoric insults at Washington as well as foes at home — like his centrist opponent in last year’s election, Henrique Capriles, whom he called “a low-life pig” during a national TV address.

From the Plains to the Putsch
Either way, it’s not so surprising that Chávez favored the communism of Castro over the centrism of Lula. Born in rural Sabaneta, Venezuela, in west-central Barinas state, on July 28, 1954, Chávez grew up poor on the llanos, or plains, raised largely by a grandmother instead of his teacher parents. In Barinas he absorbed the sort of nationalist Marxism that got a boost in 1959 from Castro’s revolution in Cuba. Chávez learned to demonize the admittedly imperialista U.S. of that era and to deify Caracas-born Bolívar. He exalted the llaneros, the oft-defiant plains cowboys embodied by his great-grandfather, who had led a revolt against an early 20th century dictator.

Chávez’s schoolmates called him Tribilín, or Goofy, and made fun of his rustic shoes. But like so many Venezuelan lads of his social class, he found redemption in baseball (he was a good enough pitcher to get a tryout from the pros) and the army, where his Bolivarian self-image and his resentment of Venezuela’s venal, Washington-backed upper crust helped form an officer poised for rebellion — and convinced of his own grandiose destiny. As Venezuelan journalists Alberto Barrera and Cristina Marcano point out in their Chávez biography, Hugo Chávez Sin Uniforme (Hugo Chávez Out of Uniform), the military cadet had a knack for drawing “parallels between landmark events in his life and historic events” involving Latin American icons like Bolívar (whose remains Chávez would exhume in 2010 for a macabre autopsy).

(MORE: Latin King: How Did a Weakened Chavez Retain Venezuela’s Presidency?
)

All that came to a head on Feb. 4, 1992. Chávez, then a paratrooper lieutenant colonel, directed a coup against then President Carlos Andrés Pérez, a cogollo, or chieftain, notorious for corruption scandals even as he imposed austerity measures on Venezuela’s working class.

The putsch, which killed scores of civilians as well as soldiers, collapsed after Chávez failed to take the Miraflores presidential palace in downtown Caracas. Still, the insurrection was cheered by millions of fed-up Venezuelans, half of whom lived in poverty, and by millions more across Latin America who’d been left behind by the region’s capitalist reforms. Chávez, a charismatic speaker who Barrera and Marcano note had a “religious and emotional bond” with the poor, became the people’s hero when, while being led away in his trademark red beret, he declared on live television that his uprising was over only “for now.” He was right: the next year Pérez was ousted on corruption charges; in 1994, popular clamor forced then President Rafael Caldera to release Chávez from prison. The cashiered officer decided to take power via ballots instead of bullets — and four years later he won the presidency with an astonishing 57% of the vote.

La República Bolivariana
Chávez, inaugurated in 1999, rewrote Venezuela’s constitution to make what he called its “sham” democracy more “participatory.” Under the new charter he won a special presidential election in 2000 that gave him a fresh six-year term. He began jetting all over the world to forge ties with leaders who, like him, disdained Washington — and, more important, to get fellow members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to pump up oil prices. The success of that campaign took the Bush Administration by surprise and increased the annual revenues of Venezuela’s state-run oil monopoly, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), from around $25 billion in 1998 to more than $125 billion in 2008.

But despite Chávez’s democratic credentials and his vast social projects—the misiones that brought many barrios their first clinics, schools, bodegas, potable water, decent housing and local councils—participatory democracy increasingly meant concentrating power in the hands of el comandante. His subordination of the legislative and judicial branches, his politicization of PDVSA and his frequent, hours-long television rants so divided Venezuela that in April of 2002 Chávez himself was the target of a coup. For two days he was ousted from office; but TV images of the elite reveling in Miraflores, as if it were again their private country club, sent Chávez supporters pouring out of Caracas’ hillside slums to restore him to power. The event hardened his socialist leanings — and his hatred of the Bush Administration, which despite its denials was widely believed to have backed the coup.

(MORE: The TIME 100 — Hugo Chávez)

That debacle was typical of Chávez’s incompetent opposition, as was its failed attempt to oust him in a 2004 recall referendum. By then, oil prices were in dizzying ascent, and Chávez’s social spending at home and aid abroad, called petrodiplomacy, was lavish. Leftist Presidents were being elected across Latin America, including Lula in 2002 and stalwart allies like Evo Morales in Bolivia, and Chávez was their standard-bearer, if not the whole region’s. He even presided over a formal bloc of half a dozen like-minded governments, called ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas). His big aim, as he told me in 2006, was to replace the two-century-old Monroe Doctrine, which had all but codified America’s dominance in the Americas, with his Bolívar Doctrine. It would be a “counterbalance” to U.S. hemispheric hegemony, he said, “a doctrine of more equality and autonomy among nations, more equilibrium of power.” And to a surprising extent, he and Latin America have realized that goal in recent years.

For much of his 2000–06 term, Chávez’s socialist bark was usually worse than his bite. (U.S. diplomats were known for cabling back to Washington: “Don’t listen to what Chávez says, watch what he does.”) He revered Castro and imitated the Cuban dictator’s cult of personality, but could emulate Castro only to a point. As U.S. journalist Bart Jones wrote in his 2007 Chávez biography, Hugo!: The Hugo Chávez Story from Mud Hut to Perpetual Revolution, “Venezuela was not Cuba, and [Chávez] knew it.” But as Chávez’s petropower swelled, so did his head and his mission to be, as he told Jones, a global “subversive.” If his verbal assault on Bush at the U.N. won him kudos in some quarters — he even said the U.S. President had left behind a satanic “smell of sulfur” at the lectern — it cost him standing in many others, especially as he allied Venezuela more closely with international pariahs like Iran and Syria.

Hurricane Hugo in Decline
Lula, who also won re-election in 2006, was by then Latin America’s standard-bearer, and Chávez’s hemispheric star began to dim. In 2007 he held a constitutional referendum whose central question was whether to eliminate presidential-term limits; Venezuelan voters, feeling perpetual-revolution fatigue, defeated it. Chávez simply forced another plebiscite on the issue little more than a year later and won, but in the process he made himself look more like Castro.

As the global recession sent oil prices south again, Chávez’s failure to rein in a raft of crises — including petrocorruption inside his own revolution, which produced a cohort of wealthy Chavistas known as the “Boli-bourgeoisie,” as well as military leaders, like one of his Defense Ministers, General Henry Rangel Silva, accused by the U.S. of aiding drug lords — began to stand out. So did declining investment and production at PDVSA. With Barack Obama in the White House instead of Bush, Chávez no longer had a yanqui villain to help him distract Venezuelans from those domestic problems.

The opposition, as a result, began making electoral inroads (despite Chávez’s efforts to disqualify opposition pols, via controversial regulations, from running for office). Then, in June of 2011, Cuban doctors found and removed a tumor near Chávez’s pelvis. Eight months later it reappeared, and most pundits questioned how he could carry on a re-election campaign in 2012, especially now that the opposition finally had a viable candidate in Capriles, the governor of Miranda state adjoining Caracas, to challenge him and his United Socialist Party (PSUV).

(PHOTOS: Firm Grip)

After more treatment, Chávez declared himself cancer-free and went on to rout Capriles in October — because, he said, voters still revered him for “pulling Venezuela out of the swamp it was sunk in” before he came to power. Yet two months later he was back on an operating table in communist Cuba, where he could keep his true condition a more tightly guarded secret, and the world would not hear from him again. He in fact missed his Jan. 10 inauguration — causing critics to question whether, constitutionally, he was still actually President.

What Chávez couldn’t hide was the fact that his revolution was far too much a one-caudillo show, evidenced by the awkward government indecision back in Caracas during his long convalescent absences in Havana. Vice President Maduro, 50, who is Chávez’s handpicked successor and who for the moment is interim President, is likely to win the upcoming special election. But, given that Chávez’s 2012 victory margin was almost 10 points lower than what he got in 2006, it’s hardly certain that Chavism can be the same force without Chávez that populist Peronism, for example, has remained in Argentina after Juan Perón.

Still, whatever Chávez’s legacy is, Washington and the rest of the world need to remember the unmistakable reasons for his rise to power — chief among them a failure to build the kind of democratic institutions in Latin America that can close the region’s unconscionable wealth gap. That flaw still lingers, which is why the memory of Chávez should too.

(PHOTOS:Venezuelans Mourn the Death of Hugo Chavez)

70 comments
mj12
mj12

As a journalist one would thing you could be able to competently write an article showing very little bias but clearly this is not possible for you which leads me to believe and understand what your imperialist views are. Before you simply believe what main stream media leads you to you really should do a little more research into your topics!! Hugo Chavez did a lot of great things for the Venezuala and Tim facts are facts! Just take a look at this link that shows images of the improvements that happened while Hugo was in power! Unemployement decreased, infant mortality decreased as well as oil exports etc.  You as well as other journalists are one of the main reasons people in the Western world are misinformed due to your very biased led argument.

volution
volution

Yes, Chavez was loved by millions because of what he represented. Hope in the face of greed, ideals in the face of corruption, change in the face of oligarchs privileges. I met some of the Venezuelans who disliked Chavez, most of them Juniors and girls whose somewhat wealthy families felt threatened by their loss of privileges.

Lazaro_Padilla
Lazaro_Padilla

Is interesting this "article" is not saying that more than 50 presidents and Chiefs of State are heading to Venezuela to say Good Bye to Chavez (even a delegation from US Government), some of them really true friends. Also, is not saying that in just 24 hours more than 2 million Venezuelans visited him and millions more are forming in lines as we speak for kilometers to see him. Also, is not mentioned that even people from other countries are travelling to Venezuela to see him one last time.  Interesting right ? The most loved "dictator" in the world. 

Lazaro_Padilla
Lazaro_Padilla

Hugo you will be highly missed, but I am pretty sure the seeds you left behind will became strong trees that will be taller than all the lies than have been said about you during your political career just because you had the courage to say NO MORE.

volution
volution

Unfortunately for all these extreme haters, I’ve been to Venezuela. I'm sure most have never traveled to a third world country, except maybe to a resort. It is easy to attack a third world leader who tried to provide the minimum basic needs to the most dispossessed under the oligarchs attacks, while sitting comfortably in front of a computer that probably 90% of the people around the world can’t even afford, and quoting news from the Miami Herald, a newspaper full of “gusanos” to quote Castro’s nickname for anti-revolution expats. formerlyjames, quikev08, avoman and others totally get it right.

panageote
panageote

The Bush administrations policy of overthrowing governments created Chavez. Tim I agree Lula was different. Bush was also targeting Brazil and Turkey ( Ergenekon coup trials). That is why Lula and Erdorgan formed a political alliance and where able to deal with the treasonous Devil Bush.They were smarter than Chavez. Bush organized crime syndicate was targeting Turkey ,Brazil and Venezuela  for large gas and oil reserves. This is why we are hated America because we had treasonous gangsters in Bush White House. Bush and Company need to join Saddam Hussain and Bin Laden. Venezuela needs leadership that can criticize an administration but not a people or nation as a whole. We should also do the same.

volution
volution

I can tell Tim Padgett finds it very difficult to disguise his strong anti-Chavez bias. Is he a journalist or a pundit? Does he have anything positive to say about Chavez which, regardless of Mr. Padgett dismisal of Venezuelan voters, was elected democratically, without the so called US style Electoral Colleges.

volution
volution

I can tell Tim Padgett finds it very difficult to disguise his strong anti-Chavez bias. Is he a journalist or a pundit? Does he have anything positive to say about Chavez which, regardless of Mr. Padgett dismisal of Venezuelan voters, was elected democratically, without the so called US style Electoral Colleges. Finally, who is Mr. Padgett really pandering to?

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

News flash: he was right about Bush.  I know this: Chavez has a higher approval rating in his own country and throughout the world other than the United States than Bush and his thug international war crimes administration has.  So does Castro.  Americans live in a hunkered down xenophobic world where even the most despised president is defended against the others.

Many people are better off because of Chavez and Castro than some people want to know.  America will take a long time to recover from Bush the Terrible.

bostinks
bostinks

who gives a crap about this pos--he's rotting in hell

sum_dude44
sum_dude44

Saying he pulled Venezuela "up from the swamp" is like saying Mao really did a lot of great things to advance China. He acted like a dictator by suppressing free speech and completely smothering his political enemies. He limited any reasonable opposition party, impeded and replaced his country's constitution at will, and somehow managing to completely squander and miss-manage one of the largest oil reserves in the world, mostly by letting his cronies and yes-men manage industries they had no business managing. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/03/05/3268749/the-plundering-legacy-of-hugo.html

Givemeliberty
Givemeliberty

This guy was a communist demagogue  who got  oil income  in 14 years  over $100 billion  yet leaves a  govt debt of $144 billion  recently devalued the currency about 40%  has the highet inflation in the world  could reach 40-50 % this year.  Food and medicine shortages are the talk of the day  the country split in half  the poor are still poor wit out jobs   Great mess created  by class warfare, price controls, currency controls and other communist goodies

JohnDevlin
JohnDevlin

"But chasing the mirage of ideological purity, be it capitalist or socialist, too often creates its own demons, especially authoritarian government and mismanaged economies."

When has chasing capitalism ever created authoritarian gov't's or mismanaged economies?


Avoman
Avoman

Amazing, you can get CNN to say"Demagogue" about a dead socialist dictator, but not Obama. That most of you here are still mentioning Bush's name and not Obama's shows how ignorant so many voters are in both countries supporting a con man who props up straw men and false premises all day long like crumbs of envy leading you to the polls. Baaah sheeep

DavRi
DavRi

GOOD RIDDANCE!

EnriqueGarciaSolis
EnriqueGarciaSolis

The US media and government criticize every foreign head-of-state who is not subservient to US interests.  In his worst light, Chavez never wreaked the pain, damage and killings of Bush, who would have been condemned to hang as a war criminal indulging in an unprovoked war of aggression by a Nuremberg tribunal.  The only accusations in this regard in the International Criminal Court of Justice were squashed by the US government.  Generally, the US media has waved the US flag no matter what. This is hypocrisy.

EnriqueGarciaSolis
EnriqueGarciaSolis

The US media and government criticize any foreign head-of-state who is not subservient.  In his worst light, Chavez never caused the damage and pain that Bush effected.  Nevertheless, you will not read or hear criticism of his malevolency.  The US waves its flag excessively.

rutnerh
rutnerh

Chavez, a demagogue? Because he opposed US meddling in Venezuela? This currently seldom used expression is far more appropriate to some pols in DC.

xalf18
xalf18

Will Venezuelans now be better off than they were?  It remains to be seen.

tomasca
tomasca

misspelling in email: Hugo Chaacutevec instead of Hugo Chavez

kandw101
kandw101

Hey Chavez, the whole world has been waiting for the door to hit you in the a ss!

StephenSwain
StephenSwain

It's not exactly all "sound and fury, signifying nothing", but one wonders what it is about our Latino neighbors that makes them such easy prey for con men like Hugo Chavez?  He squandered billions of dollars, with a B, on expensive armament and swagger, and the question is:  How did all that serve the best interests of Venezuela?  Now what?

ShawnAnderson
ShawnAnderson

Like a true dictator, Chavez set up an oligarchy and made himself and his friends unimaginably wealthy while tossing crumbs to the poor, who thanked him for it. If nothing else, he was a clever devil. The world is better off without him.

ScottFrederick
ScottFrederick

Another successful targeted strike by presidente obama.

utesee
utesee

You know something is wrong when American  Vp said Mubarak of Egypt was not a dictator and Americans agree with him but at the-same time feel that a democratically elected president no more eccentric that George bush is a despot.

apr1677
apr1677

Hey Chavez..I bet you can really smell the sulfur now.

RobinsonRecalde
RobinsonRecalde

@Lazaro_Padilla Where do you live, boy? I'm sure you are not from Venezuela, you need to see it for yourself to make an opinion. I am venezuelan. Please, respect the truth. Maybe Chávez is an important person and relevant for the rest of the world, but don't mess up. You don't know anything about him. I can explain it to you if you want to... Read more, boy.

panageote
panageote

@volution Tim is not a pundit You want pundit, read Middle East Forum Daniel Pipes BS that is responsible for our problems in Benghazi. Wackos instigating Wackos 

panageote
panageote

@volution There is nothing positive about Chavez except when he called Bush El Diablo! He was not diplomatic and let his anger get the best of him. 

jabberwolf
jabberwolf

@volution Lemmings also jump off cliffs voluntarily... they just follow the other in front.

Venezuela is exactly what happens when you promise to pay 51% the taxes collected from the other 49% percent.
You can promise more and more and more - and there is no cost to the 51% , only to the 49%.
But soon the 49% leave and you can only take for so long. Romney is/was right.

That's what happened to Venezuela, and to an idiots, and idiots that follow, who didn't understand basic economics.
Now inflation is skyrocketing, Oil industry there is under producing and over priced, and murder rate has skyrocketed.

The only thing "good" was Chavez's fantasy - its nice to dream, but not at the expense of everyone else's reality.

panageote
panageote

@volutionTim is not a pundit You want pundit, read Middle East Forum Daniel Pipes BS that is responsible for our problems in Benghazi. Wackos instigating Wackos 



quikev08
quikev08

@Givemeliberty  To whom do the Venezuelans 'owe' all that money? Not to American banks as was previously the case.


Venezuela's debt has now returned to the same level that it was under the previously more democratic and free regime (in 1987). The big difference is that the poor now share the wealth.

How does that compare with the debt levels in the 'free' nations of the world. And what share do their poor get?

NickSchooler
NickSchooler

"When has chasing capitalism ever created authoritarian gov't's or mismanaged economies"

When a small few of corporations have accumulated so much wealth and power from the capitalist system that they start to control the government and it political process and when these small few have to large of an effect on the economy (Too Big to Fail).

wandmdave
wandmdave

@JohnDevlin perhaps mismanaged isn't quite the right term for problems caused but capitalism that is too ideologically pure but completely unrestrained capitalism almost inevitably leads to several economic ills like unsustainable income inequality, reduced competition if not outright monopolies, and more extreme macroeconomic volatility.

NickSchooler
NickSchooler

"dictator"?

Hugo was democratically elected, just because you don't like him doesn't make him a dictator.

notLostInSpace
notLostInSpace

@StephenSwain When you talk about billions of dollars, with a B, on expensive armament and swagger, and the question of how it serves the best interests of their country, I don't know if you are talking about Chavez or GWBush.  Except substitute trillions, add a couple of undeclared wars.....but the same swagger that saw W on the aircraft carrier declaring mission accomplished, or the "helluva job Brownie".  One thing I know Chavez did was give away oil to poor people in the US, and yes I know that was a political statement, but you have to admit it was a helluva political statement.   My point:  we are so quick to condemn and make fun of leaders of other countries, but we rarely make a fair analysis of our own.  Our present government is disfunctional, our tax policies are a joke, our infrastructure and economy are fragile.  Not a fan of Ron Paul but I strongly agree we need to tend to our own business and help countries that want our help.

Lazaro_Padilla
Lazaro_Padilla

@ShawnAnderson BTW USA is ruled by a group of companies (families) that conform the World's bigger DICTATOR. They are so good, that you are an slave, work for him and you not even know.

Lazaro_Padilla
Lazaro_Padilla

@ShawnAnderson Have you been in Venezuela or even know a real dictator? I bet not ... for that reason you do this comments. But history will show you. Wish you the best.

NickSchooler
NickSchooler

Yes, it is so different than our politicians setting up oligopolies.

panageote
panageote

@jabberwolf @volution  Romney was right What a joke. Look who is dreaming like Chavez. Thats the problem with Far Right and Far Left you live in a fantasy dreamland nut case world with no fact or math. Only cheap uneducated sound bite.

JohnDevlin
JohnDevlin

@NickSchooler Right, if corporations are so powerful why didn't Romney win.  After all he was much more a corporate guy. Are you saying the US is an authoritarian gov't?

JohnDevlin
JohnDevlin

@wandmdave @JohnDevlin Monopolies cannot be sustained, even Rockefeller's Standard Oil was losing market share(read Chernow's great book), and today w/tech creating hyper competitiveness monopolies are not to be worried over.  Capitalism is responsible for the prosperity the West has enjoyed over the last 150years or more.  The average poor person today enjoys a far better life than the well off person at the turn of 20th century, so the income inequality is unimportant.  The poor today simply lack the skills necessary to succeed.

Fnando00
Fnando00

@NickSchooler Chavez changed Venezuelas constitution for his own benefit and created laws to punish those that spoke against him... I would call that a dictatorship.

panageote
panageote

@Fnando00 Like that has not been happening since 9/11

what happened to The only thing to fear is fear its self FDR

or Stay Calm Winston Churchill