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Old 05-24-2010, 09:25 PM   #1
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Default The wonderful world of Hugo Chavez.

http://cbs2.com/wireapnational/Worke...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.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: The wonderful world of Hugo Chavez.

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.
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: The wonderful world of Hugo Chavez.

http://www.economist.com/displaystor...ry_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?
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: The wonderful world of Hugo Chavez.

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Originally Posted by ricardisimo View Post

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.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:36 AM   #5
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Default Re: The wonderful world of Hugo Chavez.

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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?
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: The wonderful world of Hugo Chavez.

So, how are the little people doing in Venezuela these days?
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: The wonderful world of Hugo Chavez.

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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.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: The wonderful world of Hugo Chavez.

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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?
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: The wonderful world of Hugo Chavez.

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....
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: The wonderful world of Hugo Chavez.

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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?
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