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zulater
05-24-2010, 09:25 PM
http://cbs2.com/wireapnational/Workers.in.Venezuela.2.1712571.html

Workers In Venezuela On Alert After Chavez Warning
FABIOLA SANCHEZ, Associated Press Writer


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) ― Venezuela's socialist president is threatening to "go after" the country's biggest food producer, and the corporation's workers are not happy about it.

Union leader Richard Prieto says employees of Empresas Polar held meetings Monday and agreed to "defend our jobs throughout the country."

Chavez on Sunday called for authorities to investigate whether the company has been hoarding food, saying if it continues "we will have to go after Polar."

Employees say they fear a government takeover would leave them worse off.

That's a twist on the situation in many Latin American countries, where workers have often protested efforts to privatize state-owned companies.

"All the companies the president ... has expropriated, all those companies have gone bust," Prieto said in a telephone interview from the northwestern city of Barquisimeto.

He cited the example of Vengas, a natural gas company that was seized by the government and is now called Gas Comunal.

"That company was the best gas business here in Barquisimeto," he said. "Now you can't get gas."

And the workers of that company have been at loggerheads with the government on a new union contract for four years, Prieto added.

At Polar, "we're the best-paid of any company in the country" and have good benefits, said Prieto, who is president of the union at Cerveceria Polar, the group's beer-making unit. "We feel proud to work for this business."

Chavez wondered aloud Sunday what the government would do with Polar's brewery in the event of a takeover, and said he would shut down the beer-making operation.

Last week, National Guard troops seized 132 tons (120 metric tons) of food that officials accused Polar of hoarding in storage. And last month, Chavez ordered a state takeover of property in Barquisimeto where Polar has warehouses and offices. Workers have protested that decision.

The government's tough stance against Polar comes as the country is struggling with sporadic shortages of some food, including sugar, corn meal, beef and butter. Analysts blame government price controls for the shortages.

Chavez has called Polar a monopoly and has accused it in the past of evading government price controls on basic foodstuffs by producing fewer of the price-controlled items.

Polar has denied wrongdoing and called the recent seizures of its merchandise an arbitrary "confiscation" by the government — which has nationalized other businesses in areas from cement to telecommunications in recent years.

Polar's president, Lorenzo Mendoza, is one of the country's wealthiest men. He said last week that "private investment has no substitute, and that's been shown not only in Venezuela but in the world."

Empresas Polar produces food made from grains, margarine, sauces, vinegar, ice cream, sea food, sodas, jams, animal food and Polar beer, among other items. It has 17 plants across the country and employs about 32,000 people.

ric asked for a thread on his his and Sean Penn's hero, so here it is. :wave:

ricardisimo
05-25-2010, 02:45 AM
I'm not sure what the problem is. I haven't looked into the specifics of the Polar case, but if they are a monopoly, that's bad for the economy. Most Americans would agree with that.

The last decent Republican president, Teddy Roosevelt, made his mark in history as a "Trust-Buster". I would have thought you would appreciate this kind of action; I thought you believed in the free market. You can't have a free market dominated by monopolies.

So, the government takes action. When you have a monopoly or an oligopoly, you can take the guilty parties over forcibly, as in Venezuela; you can regulate them heavily, as we do with utilities; you can split them into smaller parts, as Roosevelt and others did; or you can invent a government correlate to generate competition where there was none, such as the "public option" in health care which never materialized.

Having a government that does something to benefit its people is the key. I can't remember the last time we had a government that was willing to take serious action to protect consumers. Grey Davis vaguely suggested it at the height of the Western Grid Energy Fake Crisis, but never followed up on his threats, and was wisely voted out of office by seriously ticked-off Californians.

I hasten to point out that our government takes over companies as well... but only to protect investors. It hasn't done it to protect consumers since the Depression, if then. That's certainly one difference between the Chávez government and our two parties.

zulater
05-25-2010, 06:08 AM
http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=16104226

The opposition chose to boycott the previous election for the National Assembly, in 2005. It now recognises that was a costly mistake. Even before that, Mr Chávez had seized control of the courts. Since then he has been able to pass laws almost at will. The result, in the careful prose of a recent report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, is “the absence of due separation and independence between the branches of government in Venezuela”. It notes that more than half of judges lack tenure, and so can easily be removed if they rule against the government. The commission says that “the state’s punitive power is being used to intimidate or punish people on account of their political opinions.” And it adds that harassment and intimidation of journalists and media outlets have restricted freedom of speech. The government’s response to all these criticisms is that the courts are independent and that the Inter-American commission is biased.

Before the regional elections 260 candidates (nearly all from the opposition) were arbitrarily disqualified. Several prominent opposition figures have faced criminal charges. This month General Raúl Baduel, a former army commander who restored Mr Chávez to power after the 2002 coup, was jailed for eight years for corruption—charges he denounced as politically inspired. Mr Rosales has also been charged with corruption and is in exile in Peru. In March Oswaldo Álvarez Paz, a former opposition governor, was jailed and Guillermo Zuloaga, the manager of Globovisión, the last remaining opposition TV station, was charged, both for making critical comments about the president. Scores of radio stations sympathetic to the opposition have had their licences cancelled.

Other kinds of opponents face bullying. Óscar García Mendoza, a banker who is critical of the government, was hauled off for six hours of questioning after he launched a campaign to defend private property last year. Cecilia García, the rector of the Central University in Caracas, told El Universal, a newspaper, that the university has suffered more than 20 violent attacks since late 2008, and the powerful student movement that has emerged to defend democracy faces intimidation either from the police or from chavista gangs.

After the opposition’s strong performance in the 2008 regional elections, Mr Chávez curbed local government. In some cases this was done crudely. Antonio Ledezma, who was elected as mayor of Caracas, found his offices occupied by chavista activists, and most of his functions transferred to a government-appointed official. Much the same has happened to the state governor of Táchira. All state governors, whether chavista or from the opposition, have lost powers and money to the centre on the one hand, and to the communal councils on the other. A decree of March 2009 stripped state governments of responsibility for ports, airports and roads.

Pablo Pérez, opposition governor of the western state of Zulia, says that his budget has been cut by a third in real terms. His administration was building a motorway from Maracaibo, the state capital and Venezuela’s second city, westward towards Caracas. This now ends abruptly after 30km. The only thing the government has done is abolish the tolls on the motorway.

Mr Pérez, a young lawyer, is one of a new breed of opposition leaders. They are more pragmatic, and less identified with the discredited pork-barrel politics of the pre-Chávez era. After years of squabbling, the opposition has also made a big effort to unite for the legislative election. This month it used primaries to put the finishing touches to a single slate of candidates.

If you read this whole article I think it's fairly balanced, it's certainly not written from a right wing perspective. Anyway even if Chavez has done some good it should be fairly obvious that he's become consumed with power and looks willing to do practically anything to consolidate and retain it. You can't see the danger in that?

revefsreleets
05-25-2010, 08:43 AM
Having a government that does something to benefit its people is the key. I can't remember the last time we had a government that was willing to take serious action to protect consumers. Grey Davis vaguely suggested it at the height of the Western Grid Energy Fake Crisis, but never followed up on his threats, and was wisely voted out of office by seriously ticked-off Californians.

I hasten to point out that our government takes over companies as well... but only to protect investors. It hasn't done it to protect consumers since the Depression, if then. That's certainly one difference between the Chávez government and our two parties.

It's like you can't look past the teeny egalitarian contributions ( a few trees) this criminal has actually made to see the forest of corruption, greed, violence and economic despotism this thug actually lives on a day to day basis. He is not a "great leader of the people" or whatever hyperbole of the day these tinpot dictators deal in, he's an international criminal who has some influence because he traffics in petrol. Comparing him to any leader in the US outside of maybe a Mafia crime boss is a complete joke....and therein lies the rub. Either you say things like this simply to illicit a response by being controversial, OR you actually believe what you are saying...in which case there's really not too much more to say.

ricardisimo
05-25-2010, 10:36 AM
It's like you can't look past the teeny egalitarian contributions ( a few trees) this criminal has actually made to see the forest of corruption, greed, violence and economic despotism this thug actually lives on a day to day basis. He is not a "great leader of the people" or whatever hyperbole of the day these tinpot dictators deal in, he's an international criminal who has some influence because he traffics in petrol. Comparing him to any leader in the US outside of maybe a Mafia crime boss is a complete joke....and therein lies the rub. Either you say things like this simply to illicit a response by being controversial, OR you actually believe what you are saying...in which case there's really not too much more to say.

Why is he an international criminal? Has he attempted to overthrow a foreign government? Has he invaded another country without UN approval? Has he assassinated foreign officials? More generally: has he ever done any of the things US presidents do in the course of their average day?

Godfather
05-25-2010, 10:42 AM
So, how are the little people doing in Venezuela these days?

ricardisimo
05-25-2010, 10:44 AM
If you read this whole article I think it's fairly balanced, it's certainly not written from a right wing perspective. Anyway even if Chavez has done some good it should be fairly obvious that he's become consumed with power and looks willing to do practically anything to consolidate and retain it. You can't see the danger in that?

There are indeed many things to dislike in Chávez, not least of which are his persistent attempts at the end-around on constitutionally mandated term limits for the president.

What speaks quite well of Venezuela and Venezuelan democracy is that he has failed in his efforts. Despite his obscene popularity (numbers American politicians can only dream about) and his attempts at sweetening the deal with minimum wage increases and such, his constituents roundly and soundly told him "No" when he last attempted a constitutional referendum on term limits. Hurray for them.

The question raised in the other thread which inspired this one was whether or not we'd be better served in this country by someone like Chávez or by our usual douchebags from the Republicrat Party. You know how I feel about that.

ricardisimo
05-25-2010, 10:47 AM
So, how are the little people doing in Venezuela these days?

According to the folks at the CIA World Factbook, they seem to be quite a bit better than they were when he first took office. Of course, it is the CIA... the "C" stands for commie, don't you know?

revefsreleets
05-25-2010, 10:54 AM
The ONLY people who like Chavez are the poor in the Country...and he's going to run into trouble with them very soon. He's playing games now, manipulating the value of his currency to stem off inflation (which hits his poorest hardest), but that won't last. He already has production problems, and when the currency drops by 50% in one day, it will make it even harder on the people he needs voting for him the most: the poorest and most ignorant people in his country.

Also, Chavez's popularity in his country is right around the same as Obama's in his...and that's dubious, given the EXTREME amount of control Chavez's government has over the media. Citing anything that comes out of that Country as stone cold fact is akin to taking Baghdad Bob at his word.

Your unabashed support for him reminds of kids in high school dressing all in black to rebel and "not conform", all the while missing the fact that they are simply conforming to a different norm. You are basically simply parroting another party line....

ricardisimo
05-25-2010, 11:10 AM
Also, Chavez's popularity in his country is right around the same as Obama's in his...and that's dubious, given the EXTREME amount of control Chavez's government has over the media. Citing anything that comes out of that Country as stone cold fact is akin to taking Baghdad Bob at his word.

What exactly did I cite from Venezuela? As far as his control of the media, he basically has one radio program, and has started making use of treason laws which are still far short of what we have in the US.

Can you imagine what would happen in this country if the New York Times was receiving funding from Venezuela and using it openly and daily to advocate for the armed overthrow of the US government? How long do you think we'd allow that? How long has Chávez allowed it by contrast?

revefsreleets
05-25-2010, 11:19 AM
What exactly did I cite from Venezuela? As far as his control of the media, he basically has one radio program, and has started making use of treason laws which are still far short of what we have in the US.

Can you imagine what would happen in this country if the New York Times was receiving funding from Venezuela and using it openly and daily to advocate for the armed overthrow of the US government? How long do you think we'd allow that? How long has Chávez allowed it by contrast?

His popularity, for one...where do you get the "fact" that he has so much higher popularity? He doesn't...he just controls the small minds of the poorest and least educated.

For the second example, conversely, do you think threatening open armed violence against your political enemies would fly if Bush advocated it? Obama? Because Chavez does so on a daily basis.

Also, what of his open support of FARC, ETA and other openly aggressive terrorist organizations? And his failure to ever identify them as such?

You've hitched your star to the wrong wagon...

ricardisimo
05-25-2010, 12:58 PM
His popularity, for one...where do you get the "fact" that he has so much higher popularity? He doesn't...he just controls the small minds of the poorest and least educated.

Do poor people's votes not count? Do they count less, like three-fifths of middle class votes? Your absolute contempt for democracy never fails to astound. And if they are so ignorant, how were they able so deftly to navigate the subtleties of supporting his anti-poverty programs while still rejecting his constitutional referendum?

For the second example, conversely, do you think threatening open armed violence against your political enemies would fly if Bush advocated it? Obama? Because Chavez does so on a daily basis.

He's aggressively using his country's treason laws, which appear to be significantly less stern than our own. You don't have to have actually attempted to overthrow the US government to be charged with treason here. Do we hold Venezuela to a higher standard than we hold ourselves?

Also, what of his open support of FARC, ETA and other openly aggressive terrorist organizations? And his failure to ever identify them as such?

The FARC and ETA charges are bogus. A Spanish judge inserted the Venezuelan government in his indictments against ETA and FARC, but then refused to give any actual names. His assertions were based on the magic laptop of assassinated FARC leader Raul Reyes, which miraculously survived a missile attack that blew Reyes and his cohorts to bits, and then almost as miraculously corroborated Colombian president Alvaro Uribe's every claim. Ecuadoran investigators who had a crack at the laptop determined that the computer (shock!) had been "manipulated".

You've hitched your star to the wrong wagon...

I haven't hitched my star to any wagon. I've made it perfectly clear that I am an anarchist, and have no liking for any world leader anywhere. I think they're all scumbags, top to bottom. The question as I understood it was whether or not we'd be better off with Chavez as prez than with our usual douchebags.

tony hipchest
05-25-2010, 06:00 PM
The ONLY people who like Chavez are the poor in the Country...

so in other words 95% of the population. :coffee: [exaggerated for emphasis]

he just controls the small minds of the poorest and least educated.


so pretty much everybody? :hunch:



http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/213

Since oil is Venezuela’s principal source of income, its decline, combined with growing inequality in Venezuela, had a significant impact on the poverty rate. Depending on which statistics and measurement methods one uses, poverty increased dramatically from 33% of the population in 1975 to 70% in 1995.[6] While poverty more than doubled, the number of households in extreme poverty increased three-fold, from about 15% to 45%. Other poverty measures, particularly ones that are not just based on income, are slightly lower, but all of them paint the picture of a large increase in poverty in Venezuela over the past 25 years. Compared to other countries in Latin America, Venezuela has the largest increase in poverty in this time period and among the larger countries, it has the largest proportion of the population living in poverty.



Trends which accompanied this increase in poverty are a dramatic decline in real industrial and minimum wages, which dropped to 40% of their 1980 levels in twenty years, leaving them at a level below that of the 1950’s.[7] Overall government social spending dropped from 8% of GDP in 1987 to 4.3% in 1997. Also, the percentage of people working in the informal economy grew from 34.5% in 1980 to 53% in 1999. Finally, the level of unionization dropped from 26.4% in 1988 to 13.5% in 1995.

Oddly, however, Venezuela’s Human Development Index (HDI), as measured by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), does not reflect the poverty trend. The HDI measures not only per capita income of a country, but also factors in health and education statistics, such as mortality, schooling, literacy and other rates. Between 1970 and 1990 Venezuela’s HDI rose from 0.689 to 0.821. It then declined slightly in the second half of the 1990’s and then increased again in 1999 to 2001, during the early years of the Chavez presidency, ending at 0.7694 in 2001.[8]

There are perhaps two major possible explanations for this apparent contradiction. First, one possibility is that since inequality increased between 1975 and 2000, the wealthier portions of the population raised the HDI because their HDI improved disproportionately with regard to the HDI of the poor, thus increasing the HDI for the overall population. Second, it is possible that even though the proportion of the population that is poor increased, their HDI, just as that of the population in general, improved because government measures strengthened the country’s social safety net. While lacking concrete data make the argument conclusive, I would suggest that an examination of the poverty policies shows that the improvement in the HDI during the Chavez presidency is mostly traceable to renewed public policies that are focused on the country’s poor.



However, with the previously mentioned 20-year down-turn, which began in the mid 1980’s, the most important measures, which were originally meant to benefit the country’s poor, ended up benefiting the middle class. As the country became poorer and poorer and median wages declined dramatically, the middle class could no longer afford private health care and private education. As a result, the middle class gradually took over the country’s public education and public health system. Also, other programs originally targeted for the working class, such as the home buying assistance program, international study abroad grants, or the tax-free automobile increasingly became policies that supported the middle class.

An important factor in the gradual class shift in beneficiaries of government programs was that the services were no longer free. Public education, for example, gradually instituted registration fees and ever increasing costs for school supplies. Similarly, public health care, while nominally free or low cost, required patients to pay for all treatment supplies. The government’s sporadic shifts towards neo-liberal economic measures during the Carlos Andrés Perez administration (1989-1993) and towards the end of Rafael Caldera’s presidency aggravated the problems of poverty in Venezuela, due to privatization measures, social spending cutbacks, and increasing costs of public services.

Not only did the target population of government policies gradually shift towards the middle class, but poverty itself gradually changed. In addition to encompassing an ever larger proportion of the population, poverty began affecting people who would, based on their education, normally be considered part of the middle class. Poverty thus became much more diversified and generalized. Also, with large streams of migration coming from Colombia and other Latin American countries, the poor became ethnically more diverse. By the time of the second Caldera government (1994-1998), the state’s resources for alleviating poverty had become so scarce that hardly any programs were left that directly benefited the poor.


while by no means do i endorse chavez, your utter disdain for the poor and uneducated speaks volumes within this discussion, and political discussions on the whole.

it is pretty appearant you believe the upper 5% (or whatever) should set policies for all others, and everyone else should just fall in rank and file.

this type of thinking is the antithesis of democracy and so middle ages. so to build on ricos observation, do you think the uneducated and poor should only hold 3/5ths of a vote, or no vote at all?

ricardisimo
05-25-2010, 07:28 PM
So, how are the little people doing in Venezuela these days?

By the way... did you mean to ask about the little people (http://media.photobucket.com/image/midgets%20in%20Venezuela/wado33/midgets.jpg) in Venezuela, literally?

http://i187.photobucket.com/albums/x83/wado33/midgets.jpg

urgle burgle
05-26-2010, 03:36 AM
i love midgets(or is it dwarfs, or little people). the fro guy rocks. now this coudl be an interesting conversation. both sides play the idiot game. the left says that we have the vote of the poor and disenfranchised because they, supposedly, look out for them. the right says, hey, we look out for the small business people, middle America, the everyday folks. both could be taken to say they look after the less educated and the poor/middle class. When the populace voted for Clinton, they were intelligent and thoughtful. When the populace voted for Bush they were rubes and uneducated. Switch that to Obama. The populace was educated and thoughtful to elect him. those that didnt were hicks and racists. poor white trash. or the uber rich. which isnt that many. to compare our system and our institutions to Venezuela is rediculous at best. People used to love Capone, Dillienger, and Bonnie and Clyde. does that say anything, really? Again to compare the two, Venezuela and the US is like comparing cheetos to star fruit. as far as elections go. i fail to see the relevant point. when it becomes relevant, give me a yell.

ricardisimo
05-26-2010, 05:52 AM
I'm not entirely sure what exactly "The Idiot Game" is. My claim was that Chavez is quite popular at home, and revs replied that yes, but only with the "poor and uneducated" which suggests that their opinion somehow doesn't count. As a curious side note, poverty rates in Venezuela, while still quite high, have been cut in half during Chavez' tenure, at least according to those pinkos at the CIA. Literacy is up as well. This means that Chavez is consciously undermining his own base of support. What does he think he's doing? He should be increasing poverty rates!! More poor people to vote for him.

As far as giving you a yell when it becomes relevant, I find it very interesting that Chavez is brought up at all in conversation. Who cares what Venezuela is doing at any given moment? Why aren't we restricting ourselves to the things that we have some hope of controlling? Like, say, our own country's policies. I'm sure the people of Venezuela would likewise much rather not be bothered by us or spoken of by us.

The curious part comes when I point out that "... well, actually, Chavez is X, Y and Z... and Venezuela is really P, D and Q. and..." whatever else. Then the response is always the same: "Who cares? Why are we talking about Chavez and Venezuela?" The problem arises because people understand intuitively that official enemies of the state are to be reviled without reflection. But when it is pointed out that either there's not much there to revile, or that we are hypocrites, or whatever, then the only appropriate response is indeed "Why are we wasting our time on this topic?"

Why, indeed.

revefsreleets
05-26-2010, 07:54 AM
Um....see, the thing is, when your population is poor and uneducated, it's significantly easier to control the messages they receive, and, as evidenced even right here on this board, people who aren't bright simply lack the facilities to question much of what they are told.

Never said people who were dumb and poor were less than human or insignificant, simply stating that it's far easier to control a dumb population who doesn't know better and has no way of getting any more or better information with a "Ministry of Truth" indocrinating them from their early years with "the truth".

So, if they get a little taste, and get a little smarter, it still won't matter in the long run, because even educated people will believe crazy fairy tales if they are taught that stuff from the start.

As far as the denial of Chavez' associations, that's simply the tail wagging the dog in this case...Chavez controls the media and has in place a network of fear. It makes it very easy for his defenders (again, ala Baghdad Bob, or, maybe more correctly, Kim Jong-il)), to simply dismiss any and all criticism as unfounded. That is the EXACT reason I included cited criticism from the OAS...it's one thing to dismiss me and say I'm simply parroting what I'm supposed to say (which isn't true anyway), but a lot harder to dismiss the organization of American States, which is comprised of that countries peers and even allies in some cases.

And it DOES relate to other arguments, if for no other reason that it illustrates that people who let their views become overwhelmed with a contrarian view to everything, or, worse yet, controlled by simply nihilism, can have some real credibility issues when they decide to finally take a stand on one issue or another. I DO think it's related because of the fact that I don't take my information spoon fed from anyone, and the more I read on Chavez, the less I like...and in this case, it seems the US has got it right.

Finally, it's interesting to see certain elements of this board go SO far out of their way to simply make sure they are on the other side of the fence from me that they will defend, of ALL people, Hugo Chavez! It's astonishing to see...but also indicative of a true third rate posting mentality.

tony hipchest
05-26-2010, 07:37 PM
whaaa!

:wtf: instead of playing verbal cyber-pong with yourself, :jerkit: why dont you stay on topic and address the issues and facts?

:banging: