Saturday, July 18, 2009


* Mac Margolis, writer.
The Bolivarian Revolution was supposed to be about helping the poor, but what is happening is loss of FREEDOM of the MEDIA in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. Both Ecuador and Venezuela are now without opposition viewpoints of opinions. Bolivia is getting there. The TOTALITARIAN POLICE STATE is tightening controls over all facets of life in these countries. Any idea of democracy is crushed. Like Cuba where teenagers who express a curiousity, or independent mind and can be jailed for not being socialist enough. You get three years in jail for what the state thinks you are thinking. Like all DICTATORS and Presidents For Life, Tyranny claims to be to help the poor. In Russia, they killed over a 100 million Russians for so-called helping the poor. It was the poor who suffered. Under MAO in China, they killed more than 500 million, POL POT murdered and enslaved first 4 1/2 million. In China it wasn't until the Communist Party turned to capitalism they started to succeed and turned the state into a ONE PARTY government. Still it is all about POWER, ABSOLUTE POWER. EGO of course, you need the EGO of a tyrant. Helping the poor what a cruel joke the BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION turned out to be.
The following article was recently in Newsweek Magazine by Mac Margolis. Even if you take the democratic attitude out of the articles, the repeating cycles of Latin American rule through FEAR and TERROR can be felt for us older generations.

QUOTE FROM NEWSWEEK ON THE WEB COMMENTARY PAGES, AND WRITTEN BY MAC MARGOLIS ( at least that is what it says where I read it on the internet.)

For just a moment, in the early days of his presidency, Venezuela's Hugo Chávez looked almost like a healer. "Let's ask for God's help to accept our differences and come together in dialogue," he implored his conflicted compatriots in 2002. Instead, what Venezuelans got was an avenger. The government is seizing privately owned companies and farms. Labor unions have been crushed. Political opponents are routinely harassed or else prosecuted by Chavista-controlled courts. And now, after a decade of the so-called Bolivarian revolution, tens of thousands of disillusioned Venezuelan professionals have had enough. Artists, lawyers, physicians, managers, and engineers are leaving the country in droves, while those already abroad are scrapping plans to return. The wealthiest among them are buying condos in Miami and Panama City. Cashiered oil engineers are working rigs in the North Sea and sifting the tar sands of western Canada. Those of European descent have applied for passports from their native lands. Academic scholarships are lifeboats. An estimated 1 million Venezuelans have moved abroad in the decade since Chávez took power.

This exodus is splitting families and interrupting careers, but also sabotaging the country's future. Just as nations across the developing world are managing to lure their scattered expatriates back home to fuel recovering economies and join vibrant democracies, the outrush of Venezuelan brainpower is gutting universities and think tanks, crippling industries, and hastening the economic disarray that threatens to destroy one of the richest countries in the hemisphere. Forget minerals, oil, and natural gas; the biggest export of the Bolivarian revolution is talent.

The Bolivarian diaspora is a reversal of fortune on a massive scale. Through most of the last century, Venezuela was a haven for immigrants fleeing Old World repression. Refugees from totalitarianism and religious intolerance in Spain, Italy, Germany, and Eastern Europe flocked to this country nestled between the Caribbean and the Andean cordillera and helped forge one of the most vibrant societies in the New World. Like most developing nations, the country was split between the burgeoning poor and an encastled elite. But in the 1970s and 1980s, Venezuelans were the envy of Latin America. Oil-rich, educated, with a solid democratic tradition, they lived a tier above the chronically unstable societies in the region. "We had a relatively rich country that offered opportunities, with no insecurity. No one thought about leaving," says Diego Arria, a former Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations who lives in New York. "Now we have rampant crime, a repressive political system that borders on apartheid, and reverse migration. Venezuela is now a country of emigrants."
Click here to find out more!

It's much the same all over the Axis of Hugo, the constellation of nine states in the Andes, Central America, and the Caribbean that have followed Chávez in lockstep in the march toward what he calls 21st-century socialism. In the name of power, justice, and plenty for the downtrodden, the leaders of the "Bolivarian alternative" in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua are rewriting their constitutions, intimidating the media, and stoking class and ethnic conflicts that occasionally explode in hate and violence. The overthrow on June 28 of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, a key Chávez ally, is the latest example of the blowback from the Bolivarian revolution.

The middle classes and the young are taking the brunt. A study just released by the Latin American Economic System, an intergovernmental economic-research institute, reports that the outflow of highly skilled workers, ages 25 and older, from Venezuela to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries rose 216 percent between 1990 and 2007. A recent study by Vanderbilt University in Nashville showed that more than one in three Bolivians under 30 had plans to emigrate, up from 12 percent a decade ago, while 47 percent of 18-year-olds said they planned to leave. Many established professionals have already made up their minds. "I ask myself if I'm not patriotic enough," says Giovanna Rivero, an acclaimed Bolivian novelist who is leaving for a teaching job at the University of Florida and has no plans to come back. But "Bolivia is coming apart. There are people who've known each other all their lives who don't talk to one another anymore."

In Venezuela, Chávez has pushed hard against anyone who refuses to accept his party line. Daniel Benaim was one of Venezuela's top independent television producers, turning out prime-time entertainment and game shows for national channels with Canal Uno, a leading production house. "We had 160 employees and a 24/7 operation," he says. But after the failed coup against Chávez in 2002, the government cracked down on independent media, and programming budgets dried up. In a month, Canal Uno was down to four employees and heading for bankruptcy. Benaim redirected his business to serve the international advertising market and raked in prestigious international awards, including multiple Latin Emmys. But opportunities for non-Chávistas in Venezuela had withered. One by one, he watched the people he trained over the years leave the country. "I used to give angry speeches about the brain drain. Now I have to bite my tongue," says Benaim, who is also moving to the U.S. "We had the best minds in the business, and now there's nothing for them here."

One of Benaim's associates was Gonzalo Bernal Ibarra. He, too, had soared up the career ladder in broadcast television and until recently ran a campus network that reached 100,000 students. Everything changed in late 2007, when Chávez lost a referendum to rewrite the Constitution and began to crack down on his media critics, including Bernal. Strangers in jackets with weighted pockets—dress code for Chávez's military-intelligence police—began to follow him day and night. Then Congress was set to pass a bill obliging schools to teach 21st-century socialism. "I didn't want my kid learning that crap," says Bernal. Even shopping became a trial as spiking inflation and government price controls emptied the supermarkets of basic goods like milk, eggs, and meat. One day in late 2008, Bernal opened a bottle of whisky and held a yard sale. "I got drunk and watched my life get carted away," he says. He now lives in the Washington, D.C., area, with his wife and 6-year-old daughter, and is trying to adapt. "I was living in the most beautiful, wonderful, funny country in the world. Now a third of my friends are gone. In another 10 years, Venezuela is going to be a crippled country."

No industry has been harder hit by the flight of talent than Venezuela's oil sector. A decade ago, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) ranked as one of the top five energy companies in the world. Everything changed under Chávez, who named a Marxist university professor with no experience in the industry to head the company. PDVSA's top staff immediately went on strike and paralyzed the country. Chávez responded by firing 22,000 people practically overnight, including the country's leading oil experts. As many as 4,000 of PDVSA's elite staff are now working overseas. "The company is a shambles," says Gustavo Coronel, a former member of the PDVSA board who now works in Washington, D.C., as an oil consultant. Until 2003, researchers at the company's Center for Technological Research and Development generated 20 to 30 patents a year. Last year it produced none, even though its staff had doubled. PDVSA produced 3.2 million barrels of crude oil a day when Chávez took control. Now it pumps 2.4 million, according to independent estimates.

The decline has spread across Venezuelan society, heightened by cronyism, corruption, and censorship. In May, on the pretext that scientists were pursuing "obscure" research projects such as "whether there is life on Venus," Chávez began to slash budgets at the university science centers, where the country's cutting-edge public-health research was carried out. Instead he poured petrodollars into official misiones científicas (scientific missions), where the purse strings are controlled by Chávez allies. Now the country's most respected research institutes are falling behind. Earlier this year Jaime Requena, a Cambridge University–trained biologist at the Institute of Advanced Studies, was forced into retirement and stripped of his pension after publishing a paper charging that scientific research in Venezuela was "at a 30-year low." The number of papers published by Venezuelans in international scientific journals has fallen from 958 to 831, a nearly 15 percent drop, in just the past three years. At 62, with an aging mother, Requena has few options: "It's not easy to get another job at my age. I would leave Venezuela if I could. My friends and colleagues all have."

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