Even before his welcomed death, Hugo Chavez had joined Fidel Castro and ''Che'' Guevara in the pantheon of socialist losers. He is the subject of deep admiration that easily morphs into a form of worship and an antagonism that mutates into equally intense hatred. Chavez, 58, died Tuesday, after two years of cancer treatments. Inevitably, his legacy will be hard to assess objectively as that of other deeply polarizing tin-pot dictators, even if his deeds will be the fodder of endless debate, there are some incontrovertible aspects of his legacy. It's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly!
Chavez's most enduring and positive legacy was his shattering of Venezuela's peaceful coexistence with poverty, inequality and social exclusion. He was not the first political leader who placed the poor at the center of the national conversation and use oil revenue to help the poor, but no one did it so aggressively and with such initial passion. Moreover, it was his ability that made the poor feel that one them was in charge of the country; that had no precedent. Another positive aspect is that he ended the widespread political indifference and apathy nurtured over decades by a system dominated by decaying and out-of-touch political parties. The political awakening of the nation sparked by Chavez has engulfed the people and unfortunately, even the military. And here is where Chavez's negative legacy begins.
Venezuela's socialist immersion has given it one of the world's largest fiscal deficits, highest inflation rates, worst misalignment of the exchange rate, fastest growing debt and one of most precipitous drops in productive capacity -- including that of the the critical oil sector. Moreover, the idiot Chavez didn't take notice that his nation fell to the bottom of the rankings that measure competitiveness, ease of doing business, or attractiveness to foreign investors, while rising to the top of the list of the world's most corrupt countries. And now we hear the asshole Nicolas Maduro, his successor, says he'll continue with Hugo's policies!
President Chavez leaves a fiercely polarized society. While social divisions always exited, Chavez's brand of politics depended on stroking resentment, rage, and revenge to levels previously unknown. This turned into an ugly facet of Chavez's tenure in having Venezuela become one of the world's murderous countries. Kabul or Baghdad is safer than Caracas, where homicides and kidnappings have become part of daily life. The country is also considered by international law enforcement agencies as a haven for counterfeiters, money launderers and traffickers in persons, weapons, and, of course, drugs. According to the United Nations, Venezuela has become the main supplier of drugs to Europe. The U.S. Treasury has named eight high-ranking members of the government, including the former head of intelligence and minister of defense, as drug kingpins.
The Way I see It....Hugo Chavez deserves to be remembered as a missed opportunity; a man ignorant of the consequences of socialism and all it bestows on any country that pursues its phony promises. Through it all Chavez was uncharacteristically silent and passive, not listening to the free-press before it was extinquished. His complacency as he watched his nation fall into a vortex of murder and criminality will be one of the most ugly and unforgivable aspects of his years in power.
The Venezuelan people gave Chavez a political blank cheque and thanks to the prolonged boom in oil prices he also had a financial blank cheque. Few other heads of state had the combination of vast popular support and immense financial resourses enjoyed by him for 14 years. His total control of all the levers of power ensured that he could do whatever he wanted. And he did! From changing the name of the country to changing its flag to imposing a new and unique time zone on his nation. And much more. What he did not do was leave the country better off than when he became president. I can only hope when all those stupid individuals who followed him into the votex realize what is left of their country....they line up to piss on his grave.