Hugo Chávez

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Hugo Chávez (1954–2013, full name Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías) was the socialist/populist president of Venezuela. Although he was democratically elected and didn't make any openly autocratic moves, he engaged in a lot of demagoguery and was seen by opponents as progressively creeping toward dictator status. However, the three elections won by Chávez were deemed free and fair by the international community.[1]

In many ways, Chávez and the Venezuelan state were one and the same. Chávez ran on a cult of personality, diminishing many of the democratic institutions within Venezuela. He typified majoritarianism, the idea that democracy is about elections only and that the opposition (those who didn't vote for him) could go fuck themselves. He had a bit of a messiah complex, assuring others that God would remove all obstacles to his goals for Venezuela. Arguably the only positive thing going for him were his policies on poverty reduction,[2] but those were largely funded through oil money, which was obtained through the nationalization of the oil industry, which made Venezuela more dependent on oil than it was before, which was problematic for them when the oil crash happened. So, even that's still mixed. Plus, any decrease in poverty that Chávez might have caused has long been undone.[3][4] He still holds appeal for lefties who would rather live in a socialist hellhole than a capitalist nightmare; the opposite of Putin's fan club.

The economy under Chávez more or less collapsed and became inordinately dominated by the oil industry, inflation was consistently high, and Venezuela has one of the highest crime rates in the world. Even oil production decreased under his tenure, due to systematic mismanagement of the state oil company.[5] Venezuela today has the world's worst economic growth, worst inflation, and 9th-worst employment rate — unless Chavez's daughter wants to donate some of that billion-dollar fortune she 'inherited.'[6][7][8]

Political positions[edit]

Hugo Chávez and George W. Bush compare their favourite books
I write about peace and criticize the barriers to peace; that's easy. What's harder is to create a better world... and what's so exciting about at last visiting Venezuela is that I can see how a better world is being created.
Noam Chomsky in 2009.[9]
So, it’s a—I mean, if you look at it, it still has—if you look at, say, the U.N. Human Development Index, Venezuela still ranks, say, above Brazil.
—Chomsky in 2017[10]

Chavez, a fierce opponent of neoliberalism and imperialism, was very critical of George W. Bush. As a result of this, Chavez was the darling of the American liberal establishment for years. Hollywood actors would come out loudly proclaiming what a wonderful place Venezuela is. Oliver Stone and Sean Penn were probably the most notorious, but Michael Moore and Kevin Spacey also met with him.[11][12][13][14] Hollywood has a weird hard-on for socialist dictators. (Chávez also had a lot of oil, and Americans were legitimately worried God would tell Bush to invade their government would try to "liberate" Venezuela just like Iraq and other energy producers.)[15] And every cult needs a devil for its god to fight.[16][17]

Chavez was very fond of declaring that everyone wanted to overthrow him, and then subsequently taking actions against those groups; examples include failure to renew the license of a private television station that he alleged was calling for his violent overthrow. He also tried to eliminate term limits - this was done through a popular referendum that eventually failed. On account of this first failure and his obvious dissatisfaction, he called the people of his country to yet another election, and after an aggressive campaign, he won with 6 million votes in favour versus 5 million against. He also nationalized the profits of the state oil company PDVSA, raised the literacy level of Venezuela, and enjoyed using profane language on national television for 8 hours straight every Sunday. So, at the very best, mixed.

Personal views[edit]

Chávez claimed to be a devout Christian,[18] called Jesus the world's first socialist, and was a huge fan of Noam Chomsky.

Good things Chávez did[edit]

After taking power in 1998, he used Venezuelan oil revenues to try to raise the standard of living of poor Venezuelans. He formed programs attempting to improve universal health care, education, and affordable housing. Venezuelans have actually managed to have more civil liberties than before the Chávez era; he accused many Venezuelan media outlets of sedition,[19] but took comparatively few steps to censor them.

He instituted a constitutional referendum and allowed the Venezuelan people to vote on a new constitution, and called many more referenda on significant questions.

Cheap oil for the poor[edit]

Chávez executed a humanitarian propaganda coup in the winter of 2006-2007 by performing an end-run around the State Department, negotiating an arrangement for low-cost heating oil (through the national oil company's subsidiary Citgo) to be delivered to needy households in Massachusetts and other states directly with a former Massachusetts Congresscritter and former teen heartthrob.[20]

He ended this program shortly before Barack Obama's inauguration, but quickly bowed to public pressure and restored it again for the winters of 2008 to 2012.[21]

Insane Economic Policies[edit]

That's about where it ends, pretty much everything else led Venezuela to become a complete catastrophe.

Some Myths Rebutted[edit]

When it comes to any failed state that can be ideologically devastating and world-view shaking, there are always going to be people who are just plain stupid and will try to twist facts and make up any story they can to fit their agenda.

Sanctions[edit]

Like with pretty much every communist regime, tankies; and even people who claim to not be tankies, but who, for some reason, take it upon themselves to defend these regimes; will just scream "sanctions!" to explain any problem they might have had.

In April 2019, Human Rights Watch and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health jointly published a report entitled "Venezuela's humanitarian emergency: Large-scale UN response needed to address health and food crises", noting that most early sanctions were "limited to canceling visas and freezing assets of key officials implicated in abuses and corruption. They in no way target[ed] the Venezuelan economy." The report also stated that the 2017 ban on dealing in Venezuelan government stocks and bonds allows exceptions for food and medicine and that the 28 January 2019 PDVSA sanctions could worsen the situation, although "the crisis precedes them".[22]

Oil[edit]

While it's certainly true that Venezuela was overly dependent on oil, it's way too much of a stretch to say that was the only reason for its collapse, especially when taking other oil-dependent countries and regions into account.

Venezuela was only 11th in the world in terms of oil production,[23] and Venezuela was only 9th in the world for oil exports as of 2014.[24] 4 years earlier, in 2010, it was still only 8th.[25] Venezuela isn't even in the top 15 countries for oil dependency, measured by oil exports as a % of GDP.[26]

Inflation[edit]

Inflation didn't really take off before July 2018, but the country was doing quite poorly before then.[27]

Breif overview[edit]

Chávez was an old-style Latin American caudillo and thus his policies were more dependent on what the poor masses wanted than what was economically prudent. For instance, he started printing money almost immediately after taking office and the bolívar (named, like almost anything in Chavista Venezuela, after Simon BolívarWikipedia's W.svg) tanked, which is bad if your economy is dependent on importing everything that is not oil. Providing welfare based on a single source of major revenue is never a good idea; Alaska got hit very hard by oil prices, but Alaskans aren't breaking into zoos to scrounge for horse/flamingo meat[28] (the “Maduro diet”), because they have a decentralized economy which can plow through a resource depression.

Prior to Chávez, Venezuela had a pretty healthy agricultural sector and was actually self-sufficient in many important foodstuffs. Today, it is both easier and cheaper to get a gallon of gasoline than a gallon of milk.[29] Supermarkets are barren,[30] and it's not just capital flight. It's destruction of capital and the suppression of new capital formation. So you have a whole country of farmers who stopped growing food because they were forbidden to make a profit off of it.[31] And by "money" we mean foreign currency, gold, silver, ammo, oil, food, jewelry or anything besides bolívar, because it's just a piece of paper now.[32] Most people don't have any of those, because they weren't prepared for such an apocalypse. They trusted their government.

Nearly every sector that is not petroleum has tanked, and today the most lucrative "businesses" are a) currency speculation (the bolívar has two different exchange rates officially, and a totally different one unofficially) and b) smuggling petrol or petroleum products to Colombia, where it can be sold for dollars or exchanged for goods. Of course, Chávez and Maduro blamed "bourgeois speculators"[33] (and now "nefarious" smugglers)[34] for all the problems in the country.

Co-operatives[edit]

Chávez, in his effort to democratize the workforce, established a bunch of worker-owned and operated co-operatives the moment he got into office, in 1998. By 2006, there had been 100,000 worker co-ops set up, which represented around 1.5 million workers. Just to ensure they were on the same level as private enterprises, from day one he made sure to give them cheap start-up credit, technical training, and by giving preferential treatment to co-ops with government purchases of goods and equipment. Not even a year later, in 1999, he increased the number of co-ops that got tax incentives.[35] If that doesn't scream confidence that worker ownership of the means of production can work, I don't know what does. Around 16% of the workforce was employed in these co-ops in 2005, but a 2006 census showed that 50% of the co-ops were either functioning improperly or were simply created just to get gobernment gibs access to public funds.[36]

Hydrocarbon Laws[edit]

He pretty much nationalized the oil industry in 2002 by demanding that the government own, at minimum, 51% in the PDVSA[37], which in itself isn't a bad thing when done by governments in countries that aren't insane, but like with much of what Chávez did, it was done terribly. This did increase dependency on oil, but as we've previously seen that wasn't much of a factor in Venezuela's catastrophe. He also increased royalties paid by foreign corporations from 16.6% to 30%.[37] Foreign investment flows by the end of his presidency in 2013 were half what they had been in 1999.[38]

Under his tenure, oil production decreased, from 3.2 million barrels per day to just 2.4 million per day in 2008.[5] Perhaps one of the reasons that oil production fell after nationalization was because he just filled the company with his cronies and supporters, instead of, y'know, people who actually understand how to manage an oil company.[39]

Agriculture[edit]

Chávez's agricultural policy was such a success that Venezuelans are now on a revolutionary diet.[4][40]

Price Controls[edit]

In effort to "counter inflation and protect the poor", Chávez implemented price controls on around 400 food items in 2003,[41] which immediately caused shortages and hoarding.[42][43][44] In March of 2009 the government introduced quotas for 12 basic food items because there were terrible shortages greedy capitalists wanted the people to starve. Producers were forced to produce them at a loss.[45] Datanálisis, an independent polling firm found that powdered milk could be found in less than half of grocery stores in Venezuela and that liquid milk was even more scarce in the country.[43] In 2011, food prices in Caracas were nine times higher than when the price controls were put in place and resulted in shortages of cooking oil, chicken, powdered milk, cheese, sugar and meat.[46]

Food and Farm Seizures[edit]

Eventually, Chávez caught on to these capitalist tricks of not supplying food due to it being wholely unprofitable and decided to take matters into his own hands. In May 2010, Chavez ordered the military to seize 120 tons of food from Venezuelan corporation Empresas Polar.[47]

As the policy of food expropriation seemed to have no to a negative effect on the shortage, as businesses became even warier of producing food and starting investing greater amounts of resources into smuggling their food out of the country (like the 750 tons that tried to go into Columbia),[48] the Chávez government turned to outright nationalization of farms. When discussing the farmland, Chávez said, "The land is not private. It is the property of the state." Some of the farmland that had been productive while under private ownership became idle under government ownership, and much of the farm equipment sits gathering dust. As a result, food production fell substantially, and imports rose in order to combat the ever-worsening shortage. In 2009, food imports had risen to $7.5 billion, more than a sixfold increase from when Chávez had first taken office.[49] In 2018, Venezuela imported 70% of its food.[50] One farmer, referring to the government officials overseeing the land redistribution, stated, "These people know nothing about agriculture."[49]

Grocery Store and Food Related Nationalization[edit]

He also brought many supermarkets and grocery stores under government control, under which many sat empty.[51] In February 2009, Chavez ordered the military to temporarily seize control of all the rice processing plants in the country and force them to produce at full capacity, which he claimed they had been avoiding in response to the price caps.[52] He nationalized the grocery stores Exito and Cada in 2010. These were turned into a state-owned operation called Bicentennial Supplies that by 2017 had largely collapsed, with 60% of its shops shut and 6,000 of its 9,000 workers dismissed.[53] In 2010, after the government nationalized the port at Puerto Cabello, more than 120,000 tons of food sat there rotting.[54] Within 2 years of the Cariaco Sugar Plant's nationalization it was only producing 11% of what it was previously.[55] The Ezequiel Zamora Sugar Plant, which was started in 2002 as a new state enterprise by Chávez, has cost a huge amount but is largely in ruins and barely producing any sugar.[56]

As part of his strategy of food security Chávez started a national chain of supermarkets, the Mercal network, which had 16,600 outlets and 85,000 employees that distributed food at highly discounted prices, and ran 6000 soup kitchens throughout the country.[57] In 2008 the amount of discounted food sold through the network was 1.25 million metric tonnes,[58] often sold at as much as 40% below the price ceiling set for privately owned stores. Simultaneously Chávez expropriated many private supermarkets.[57] The Mercal network was criticized by some commentators as being a part of Chávez's strategy to brand himself as a provider of cheap food, and the shops feature his picture prominently. The Mercal network was subject to frequent scarcities of basic staples such as meat, milk and sugar – and when scarce products arrived, shoppers had to wait in line.[57]

Land Reform and Farm Subsidies[edit]

Chávez, being the revolutionary he was, figured that it was about time the gross inequality in the ownership of farmland was addressed. As of January 2009, the Venezuelan government had redistributed nearly 2.7 million hectares of idle land (nearly a third of the 6.6 million acres of large, "unused" land held before 1998) to 180,000 landless peasant families.[59] He also decriminalized the occupation of idle private land and started an initiative known as Mision Zamora to assist small and medium-scale producers to gain title to land.[60] While many farmers were promised landed titles, many never got them, as they were forced to work in collectives this sounds awfully familiar.[49]

Agricultural credit also increased dramatically, from approximately $164 million in 1998 to nearly $7.6 billion in 2008, with many of the credit decisions being made by local communal councils, rather than government bureaucrats. Additionally, in 2008, several laws were passed to provide financial assistance to struggling small farmers, such as debt relief programs and crop-failure insurance.[59]

Pretty much none of this actually helped to improve food production or deal with the shortage.[44]

Food Production[edit]

Changes in food production between 2007 and 2011.[61]

  • Maize fell by 40.3%
  • Rice by 38.9%
  • Sugar by 33.6%
  • Coffee by 46.5%
  • Potatoes by 63.5%
  • Tomatoes by 31%
  • Onions by 24.6%

Beef and veal production plummeted from 1998 to 2014 by 75%.[62]

Worrisome observations[edit]

Hugo Boss[edit]

Despite his Chomsky fanboyism and the fact that he still remained subject to the popular vote, he also pushed through the legislature the ability to make laws on his own,[63] which is kind of the essence of being a dictator.[note 1] The legislature did have to ratify any changes he made, although at the time the entire government structure was staffed by Chávez supporters.

Chávez also attempted to remove term limits and sought the ability to override democratically elected provincial governors, but when the referendum failed, he graciously accepted it as the will of the people — for all of two years, until he held another referendum on his term limits, which passed.[64]

Meanwhile, with inflation at over 20%[65] and food shortages growing,[66] his popularity may have been past its peak when he fell ill.

Labor issues[edit]

Despite Chávez's leftist image, his relations with organized labour were spotty at best. PDVSA, its employees and management, as well as the main labour federation, CTV, were primary sources of opposition to Chávez. Following a December 2002 general strike (which effectively ground the country to a standstill), called by CTV and supported by PDVSA workers, Chávez purged 19,000 employees from the company's rolls and stacked the management with Chávez loyalists.[67] In 2003 a rival pro-Chávez labour federation, the UNT, was formed in an attempt to lessen the anti-Chávez influence of CTV. As a result, during the 2006 elections, the head of PDVSA (as well as Venezuela's energy minister) told workers to either support Chávez or lose their jobs.

Since the stacking of PDVSA management with Chávez's friends, oil production in Venezuela is down 50%; Venezuela is (or was) the 5th largest oil supplier in the world.

Support for terrorism[edit]

Chávez had some other troubling associates, specifically, a man named Raúl Reyes, who was the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of ColombiaWikipedia's W.svg (more commonly known as FARC). When Colombia launched a raid against FARC which crossed EcuadorWikipedia's W.svg's border, Chávez threatened to attack Colombia if they pursued FARC terrorists into his country. Since that time, there have been many disclosures of financial support for FARC.[68][69] There is also proof of (at least) partial support of the Basque Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) terrorist group: indeed, one former member of ETA, Arturo Cabillas, was in his government.

Conspiracy theories[edit]

Chávez also consistently claimed that the US was about to invade Venezuela, ostensibly to remove him and subjugate the Venezuelan people under its iron booted Yankee imperialism (although to be fair, the US has in fact tried and tried and occasionally succeeded at that sort of thing in other countries). His "evidence" was a few military personnel in Colombia and the fact that American servicepeople have been on some nearby Dutch islands for years. Chávez accused the United States of using a weather-based weapon system to cause the 2010 Haitian earthquake (as if earthquakes were caused by weather!), which he believes shall ultimately be used against Iran.[70] In 2011 Chávez claimed that the United States could be using a secret weapon to inflict cancer upon Latin American leftist leaders.[71] Chávez later denied that he was making rash accusations, more just thinking aloud. If you want to know, those affected by cancer include:

  • Hugo Chávez – incumbent President of Venezuela, confirmed in 2011 that he had undergone treatment for cancer (and died from it in 2013)
  • Dilma Rousseff – current President of Brazil, announced in 2009 that she was undergoing treatment for lymphoma
  • Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010. Lula, a smoker for 40 years, was diagnosed with throat cancer
  • Fernando Lugo – incumbent President of Paraguay, was diagnosed in 2010 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma

It must be true!

Civil rights[edit]

Later in his presidency, Chávez grew increasingly intolerant towards his opposition. In 2007, he failed to renew the broadcast license of Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), an opposition television station that participated in the 2002 coup against him.[72] RCTV continued as a cable network, but early in 2010, it was removed from the networks along with several other cable channels for, e.g., refusing to broadcast Chávez's speeches and not showing enough soap operas in the afternoon.

Religious fanaticism[edit]

Chávez took to saying that God would fix all of Venezuela's current problems, because God was actually a socialist just like him. In particular, despite forecasts from climate scientists that a drought that seriously affected hydroelectric power generation on the country's main dam during early 2010 would continue for quite some time, Chávez was convinced that God and nature would do so much sooner, overruling El Niño in favor of the Bolivarian revolution.[73]

Support for acknowledged dictators[edit]

To go along with Chávez's own dictatorial flirtations, he is on record as supporting leaders who are acknowledged on most hands to be dictators. He palled about considerably with Fidel Castro of Cuba, whom he befriended when touring Latin America in search of support for his Bolivarian revolution. He later joined Castro in supporting the Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi against the growing insurgency in that country, stating that people opposing Gaddafi are involved in a big U.S.-led conspiracy to colonize the place.[74]

Politicization of education[edit]

Chávez froze the budgets for the traditional public universities, where a number of his political opponents are stationed,[75] and established a new system of schools under the name of "Bolivarian University." These institutions, whose criteria for admission consist largely of being able to show up to class, have a primarily political purpose: they are aimed at quickly training a large body of Qualified Professionals to, say, staff public health care centers (thus allowing Chávez to make good on his campaign promises) and engage "radical journalism" that will counter the influence of the country's Biased Neoliberal Media.[76] The curriculum there has been criticized as "thinly veiled propaganda," and concerns have been raised about how all the new college graduates (the university had 180,000 students before it graduated any) will be able to be employed in a manner fully utilizing their skills.

In an interview, the rector of the Bolivarian University confirmed that there is a direct political goal to the university's programs, as the university expects its graduates to learn commitment to the "transformation of society." The rector also responded to the concerns about the potential underemployment of the university's graduates by evading them, first by claiming that when they speak of "work" for the graduates they do not mean jobs, and secondly with a lot of the usual slop about how "our job isn't to create professionals, but to empower people."

Convoluted violence[edit]

In 2007 anti-Chávez students were fired upon by masked gunmen. Many suggested that Chávez was trying to suppress those who would vote against referenda to give him more power; on the other hand, the referenda were expected to pass easily.[77] The gunmen were identified by university officials as members of a paramilitary group loyal to Chávez.[78]

Checkbook diplomacy[edit]

Not happy with having tanked the Venezuelan economy with his insane "Bolivarian" policies, Chávez also tried to buy himself an empire of like-minded presidents throughout America. Most of the other socialist or communist movements were dependent on Chavista funding for most of their reign, be they Cuba (who at least sent well-trained doctors in exchange), Bolivia under Morales, or Honduras under Zelaya. Of course, this only helped to increase the dependency on oil and when the price of petroleum tanked, the whole house of cards came tumbling down.

Antisemitism[edit]

Chavez has been accused multiple times[79][80][81][82][83] of holding antisemitic views, espousing antisemitic rhetoric and using it to attack political opponents foreign and domestic.

Conservatives and Chávez[edit]

Chávez became something of a liberal bogeyman to many conservatives. This ignores the fact that, other than oil, Chávez had no weapons to wield against the United States. His military was a joke and other states were starting to turn against him. However, wingnuts still treated him as an imminent danger to the United States[note 2] and he probably has Weapons of Mass Destruction.[note 3]

This fact may be why the Bush Administration did not clamour for war against Venezuela, unlike say, Iran or Syria. (Clamoring for war does not necessarily mean actually going to war.) Also, the reasons for war in Iraq simply don't exist in Venezuela.[note 4]

Fox News[edit]

The morons at Fox News seem to have great difficulty in understanding that there is a difference between Hugo Chávez and César Chávez.[84] Well, who can blame Fox, they are just two of that kind of people.

Ghostly Cesar Romero: I am the spirit of César Chávez.
Homer: Why do you look like Cesar Romero?
Ghostly Cesar Romero: Because you don't know what César Chávez looks like.
The Simpsons, Hungry, Hungry Homer

TV ventures[edit]

Chávez had a television show in Venezuela, titled Aló Presidente. It essentially consists of him talking into a camera for several hours (with occasional singing and dancing), sort of like the The O'Reilly Factor, except the Factor makes a tacit acknowledgment that other views exist. And doesn't have singing and dancing. In May of 2009, Chávez broadcast his program for four days straight (with breaks).[85]

¿Por qué no te callas?[edit]

At the 2007 Ibero-American Summit in Santiago, Chile, Chávez continuously interrupted Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's speech by denouncing José María Aznar (Zapatero's predecessor as Spanish PM) as a fascist and as someone "less human than snakes." Zapatero (widely known to be very much opposed to Aznar's policies) defended Aznar by pointing out that he had been chosen by the Spanish people as their legitimate representative. Although the organization switched off Chávez's microphone to stop him, he continued to interrupt Zapatero's speech. And then, in a glorious moment, King Juan Carlos I leaned forward, turned towards Chávez and told him "¿Por qué no te callas?" ("Why don't you [just] shut up?"), reminding people that Spain still had a king. The king used familiar rather than formal Spanish, which is highly disrespectful when used outside of close personal or family relationships. Hence he spoke to him like an adult might speak towards an insolent child. This phrase soon became a meme, with T-shirts, mugs and assorted memorabilia being produced and sold everywhere in and outside of the Spanish-speaking world.

Unfortunately, Chávez never followed the request, and it took cancer to silence him.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. For example, one of the powers given to the original dictators, in the Roman Republic, was the power to rule by decree.
  2. For example, Pat Robertson called for his execution.
  3. See Iraq War
  4. This raises the question, if Venezuela is antagonistic, has a weak military, but has oil, was the War in Iraq entirely about oil? Reasonable minds can differ on this question.

References[edit]

  1. U.S. Relations With Venezuela, U.S. Department of State.
  2. Two sides of Chavez, one difficult legacy, The Globe and Mail
  3. In Venezuela 82% of people live in poverty. The Guardian
  4. 4.0 4.1 More than one in five Venezuelans are undernourished. The Economist
  5. 5.0 5.1 Venezuela's oil output slumps under Hugo Chavez.
  6. Lansberg-Rodríguez, Daniel, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria Gabriela?" Atlantic 8.28.14.
  7. Minaya, Ezequiel, "Chávez Heir Lands First Job: U.N. Envoy", WSJ (9/19/14 at 4:40 p.m. ET ).
  8. Holmes, Frank, "New President Good News for Argentina", Forbes (12/1/15 at 10:56 AM).
  9. Suggett, James, "Noam Chomsky Meets with Chavez in Venezuela", Venezuela Analysis (28 August 2009, 11.30am ).
  10. "Chomsky: Leftist Latin American Governments Have Failed to Build Sustainable Economies", Democracy Now! 5 April 2017.
  11. Penn, Sean, "Conversations With Chavez and Castro", The Nation 28 November 2011.
  12. Orozco, José, "Oliver Stone film on Hugo Chávez flops with Venezuelans", CSMonitor 29 June 2010.
  13. Romero, Simon, "Michael Moore Irks Supporters of Chávez", NYT 25 October 2009.
  14. Lee, Ashley, "Kevin Spacey Defends Venezuela Protests: 'They Are on the Right Side of History'", Hollywood Reporter (9 April 2014, 10:48 AM PDT).
  15. "US investigates Venezuela coup role", BBC (14 May 2002, 11:57pm GMT).
  16. Stout, David, "Chávez Calls Bush ‘the Devil’ in U.N. Speech", NYT 20 September 2006.
  17. "Chavez Smells 'Sulfur'... Again", Daily Beast (18 February 2009, 10:44 AM ET).
  18. Chavez demands Pope apologize for Indian comments, Reuters
  19. Venezuela's war of the airwaves, BBC
  20. Venezuela's Oil Giveaway, Time
  21. Chávez restores free home heating oil program to US poor, Christian Science Monitor
  22. Venezuela’s Humanitarian Emergency
  23. Top 20 Oil Producers
  24. CIA World Factbook. Some of the data is skewed because other countries are looked at years later, but it seems to generally old true, as we'll see in the next source.
  25. CIA World Factbook 2015 Archive, showing data for 2010.
  26. The economies most dependent on oil
  27. Venezuela's Inflation. Click the "1Y" button for specifics.
  28. Khan, Shebab, "Venezuelan ambassador denies there is humanitarian crisis - despite citizens stealing rare zoo animals for food", Independent (17 August 2016, 7:09pm BST).
  29. Shah, Kushbu, "Venezuela's inflation rates are now highest in the world, sending food prices through the roof",Business Insider (9 August 2016, 9:41 PM).
  30. Otis, John, "As Food Crisis Worsens, Venezuelans Loot Almost-Empty Stores", NPR (20 Junes2016, 12:13 PM ET).
  31. Livingstone, Grace, "Venezuela's farmers: 'Planting for the revolution'", BBC 25 February 2016.
  32. Rueda, Manuel, "Venezuelans are hawking everything from wedding rings to their hair just to feed themselves", Fusion (3 January 2017, 1:24pm).
  33. Llana, Sara Miller, "Chávez vows to punish 'bourgeoisie speculation' after devaluing currency", CSMonitor 11 January 2010.
  34. "Venezuela's Maduro Vows to Extend Colombia Border Crackdown", Voice of America via Associated Press (25 August 2015, 8:53 AM).
  35. Venezuela's Cooperative Revolution
  36. Changing Venezuela by taking power: the history and policies of the Chavez government. pp. 77-78
  37. 37.0 37.1 Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics, and the challenge to the U.S.
  38. The Chávez Legacy
  39. Up in smoke. The Economist
  40. Venezuelans Are Losing A Lot Of Weight Amid Money Crisis. Newsweek
  41. Meat, Sugar Scarce in Venezuela Stores. Washington Post
  42. Venezuelan shoppers face food shortages. BBC
  43. 43.0 43.1 With Venezuelan Food Shortages, Some Blame Price Controls. New York Times
  44. 44.0 44.1 Venezuelan food shortages bode ill for Chavez's re-election. USA Today
  45. Chavez boosts food price controls. BBC
  46. [Medieval policies]. The Economist
  47. Chavez Government Seizes 120 Tons of Food from Venezuela's Largest Company. Latin American Herald Tribune
  48. Venezuelan troops crack down on smuggling along Colombian border.
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 In Venezuela, Land 'Rescue' Hopes Unmet. Washington Post
  50. Hollowed-out Venezuela counts the cost of crisis. Financial Times
  51. A Food Fight for Hugo Chavez. Business Week
  52. Chavez orders army to seize Venezuela rice mills. Reuters
  53. Red de Abastos Bicentenarios volverá al sector privado
  54. Thor Halvorssen, A Rotting Chicken in Every Pot: Venezuela's Disastrous Food Policy. 8 February 2010, archived from the original at the Huffington Post.
  55. HCR Capitulo 9 - Caso Centrales Azucareros
  56. Central Azucarero Ezequiel Zamora cosecha resultados amargos
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 A Food Fight for Hugo Chavez
  58. The Chávez Administration at 10 Years: The Economy and Social Indicators
  59. 59.0 59.1 "The Venezuelan Effort to Build a New Food and Agriculture System". Monthly Review
  60. "The Food Sovereignty Movement in Venezuela, Part 1". Venezuela Analysis
  61. Seizing land, seeding chaos in Venezuela: Biography of Hunger 2. The Global Americans
  62. Venezuela Beef and Veal Meat Production by Year.
  63. New Venezuela hands Chavez wide powers, The Guardian
  64. Hugo Chávez wins referendum allowing indefinite re-election, The Guardian
  65. Venezuela Raises Lending Rates in Bid to Cut Prices, Bloomberg
  66. Venezuela scrambles for food despite oil boom, The Guardian
  67. A Decade Under Chávez Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela
  68. Laptop emails link Venezuela to Colombian guerrillas, The Guardian
  69. Colombia Is Flashpoint in Chávez’s Feud With U.S., The New York Times
  70. Hugo Chavez: A U.S. Weapons Test Caused The Haitian Earthquake, Business Insider
  71. US rejects Hugo Chavez remarks on Latin America cancer, BBC
  72. Chavez to shut down opposition TV, BBC
  73. Chavez trusts God and nature in power crisis, Reuters
  74. In Venezuela, Chavez tries to boost Gaddafi, Washington Post
  75. Violence and Discrimination Rise in Opposition-Controlled Venezuelan Universities
  76. Chavez Educates Masses at a University in His Image, Washington Post
  77. Lawmakers in Venezuela Approve Expanded Power for Chávez, The New York Times
  78. Mr. Chavez's Coup, Washington Post
  79. https://www.forbes.com/2009/02/13/chavez-jews-referendum-opinions-contributors_0215_rowan_schoen.html
  80. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/hugo-chavezs-jewish-problem/
  81. http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/102374/sowing-hatred-in-venezuela
  82. https://www.adl.org/news/article/hugo-chavez-in-his-own-words-0
  83. http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/08/15/venezuelas-government-sponsored-anti-semitism/
  84. Google Honors Cesar Chavez, Right Wing Goes Into Massive Freakout Mode
  85. 'Aló Presidente,' Are You Still Talking?, Washington Post