Venezuela Protests Chavismo

Friday, February 28, 2014

Moisés Naím, contributing editor at The Atlantic, senior associate in the International Economics Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, chief international columnist for El Pais and La Repubblica and the author of The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn't What It Used to Be (Basic Books, 2013), and Joshua Goodman, Venezuela bureau chief at The Associated Press , give context for the current protests in Venezuela, including why they are happening, the media blackout, Cuba's influence on the country and if the protests might bring about some kind of change.



Joshua Goodman and Moises Naim

Comments [21]

Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

The Poignant Obama – Chavez Love Story (Wall Street Journal)

“The bloodshed in Caracas over the past 12 days brings to mind the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, where President Obama greeted Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez with a huge grin and a warm handshake. A couple of months later the State Department attempted to force Honduras to reinstall pro-Chávez president Manuel Zelaya, who had been deposed for violating the constitution.

Brows were knitted throughout the Americas. Why did the U.S. president favor the Venezuelan dictator, protégé of Fidel Castro, over Honduras, which still had a rule of law, press freedom and pluralism?”

Feb. 28 2014 05:45 PM
James from NY, NY

I found the unbalanced nature of this segment terribly disappointing. Its very title, "Venezuela Protests Chavismo" conveniently glosses over the fact that just two months ago, Pro-Chavez candidates won over 76% of the mayoral posts in last year's municipal elections, which were seen by many as a referendum on Maduro and his continuation of "Chavismo" policies. Of course, if there had been an expert on the show to offer an alternative perspective (They're out there if you look. To name a couple, Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research or Keane Bhatt, author of the NACLA blog “Manufacturing Contempt,” which critically analyzes the U.S. press and its portrayal of Latin America.) they may have highlighted this basic point and provided greater context for the more specific issues discussed.

Feb. 28 2014 01:00 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@Dlore - please read my first post, regarding the attempted coup and my credit to Chavez for resiting it. However, I know Venezuela very well and I have no patience for utter incompetence and people that are either blind to or outright support it.

Feb. 28 2014 11:06 AM
Jaime Viñas from NYC

A BIG THANK YOU to Brian and wnyc for this segment.

I just wanted to react to my friend form Guyana, who oversimplified Venezuelan's as party-and-sports-loving people. In other words, that's code for 'lazy'.

Venezuelans have been living in a nightmare. An yet, they still get up every morning, they go to work, they go to school, they go to the supermarket and find empty shelves, they can't go out at night for fear of being robbed, carjacked or killed. There are limits on travel. There are currency controls. They go to vote and the system is rigged. There is no justice. Imagine living in that reality!

Venezuelans are fed up with not being able to live their lives. And the students are at the forefront of that sentiment.

Just like in the US, Venezuelans want "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". And there's nothing wrong with that!

Feb. 28 2014 11:06 AM


Since the real kool-aid we're talking about is being served to you by the U.S. State Department -- you know, the one which historically supports the fascists of Latin America and loves military coups -- I hope you're enjoying it.

Funny, isn't it, how the same folks who claim to hate Obama administration, and not believe a word it says, can't get enough kool-aide from John Kerry and the permanent hacks of the foreign policy establishment?

Feb. 28 2014 11:01 AM
Renter from East Village

The opposition controls the food and energy distribution of Venezuela and have been exposed hoarding vital supplies in warehouses to cause social unrest and opposition to the Govt. These actions and sabotage of Govt. programs assisted by US covert actions in the interest of multinational corporations is typical of the capitalist economics paradigm that sees any policy that puts social and human need first as a threat.

Feb. 28 2014 11:00 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Sophia and dlore - stop drinking your kool-aid. Cutting the "poverty-rate in half" whilst managing to shrink the overall economy by about as much - does not count.

Feb. 28 2014 10:56 AM

A lot of the money went to basic medical care and education for the poor.

The reason that seems like "nothing" to opponents, is that they are the ones who already had these basics.

Feb. 28 2014 10:48 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Oil is a blessing and a curse, and in the long run, the curse outweighs the blessings. When a nation relies on its natural resources, the human resources become mentally lazy because they get money for doing nothing.

Feb. 28 2014 10:48 AM

Is it really a surprise that WNYC, and Brian Lehrer, and of course New York Times, are taking the U.S. State Dept. position, which has long been associated with military coups in Latin America and loves democracy only in countries which follow the U.S. neo-liberal line?

If we in the U.S. are all that interested in freedom and democracy in an oil state on which we're reliant, why not foment revolution and violent protest in Saudi Arabia?

So, thank Brian and that other source of the Rights of Man, the AP. Here we go again. Strange, isn't it, how we never learn?

Feb. 28 2014 10:47 AM

How can callers and critics say that cutting the poverty rate in half is nothing?

Oh, because they're part of the wealthier class which could afford to move to the US and complain.

Feb. 28 2014 10:46 AM
fuva from harlemworld

The oligarchs create extreme economic divide and widespread poverty.
Extreme, zero sum game politics result.
An anti-oligarch party emerges, which the poor masses enthusiastically support, for sheer survival.
That anti-oligarch party then exploits the desperation of the masses, for the party's own pathetic gain.
Is America on this slippery slope?

Feb. 28 2014 10:45 AM

Quick get out the guillotines!!

Feb. 28 2014 10:44 AM
john from office

Mark, Putin is about to show how open the "RT" world is. What happened in your childhood that you need to have a daddy, like stalin, Putin, Castro, Mao, Chavez?

Seems like Maduro does not measure up.

Feb. 28 2014 10:44 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Maduro and Chavez before him, basically bribed poor people for 10 years, without growing any kind of economy - from the top or the bottom.

Feb. 28 2014 10:42 AM
Alexia Cohen from Brooklyn, NY

I am so glad WNYC is finally giving this issue some air time. Freedom of speech and news channels are completely restricted in our country by the government. We can only rely on Twitter and the internet to get true information of whats going on. We need the international community to turn to this issue.

Feb. 28 2014 10:39 AM

Are the elections free?
This segment really doesn't sound balanced.
Seems like sour grapes from the elites

Feb. 28 2014 10:39 AM

I was doing laundry the other day (the only time i see tv) and instead of the usual inane talkshows they usually play there was a different attendant who had RT channel on instead and they showed the pro-government rallies in Venezuela which completely dwarfed the small but violent CIA funded "protests". Thinking the Venezuelan people are going to let their government be destroyed is an imperialist fantasy.

Feb. 28 2014 10:37 AM
John from office

Will Oliver Stone speak out and defend his friends??

Will "the people of Venezuela" still provide the free heating oil??

Where are Harry Belifonte and Danny Glover ! Why are they not there defending the revolution??

Feb. 28 2014 10:30 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Credit to Chavez for standing up to Bush and Condelezza Rice's - CIA inspired coup attempt but his "Bolivarian Revolution" has been an economic & democratic disaster ever since.

Before Chavez, Venezuela was a kleptocratic oil rich country with banana republic style corruption, now it's just the latter.

Milk and other staple shortages, intimidation of the press and political opponents, a dilapidated oil industry, sky high crime and a "leader" in Maduro with about as much charisma as an old pair of shoes.

Feb. 28 2014 10:21 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

They are protesting "Chavismo" now ... and we will be protesting "Obamanation" and "DeBlasismo" in a few years.

We could learn from Chavez's lesson of failed "class warfare socialism" now and save ourselves a lot of heartache.

Feb. 28 2014 09:16 AM

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