As'ad AbuKhalil points us to this rather eye-boggling -- and revealing -- passage from AP's obituary of Hugo Chavez:
Chavez invested Venezuela's oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world's tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.
My god, to think such evil once walked this earth!
Earlier, AbuKhalil had this take on Chavez's death:
I have never been a fan of Chavez but I am much less of a fan of his enemies and critics in the West or in the East. ... Chavez allowed opposition media (many of which were funded or supported by the US government no doubt) but the New York Times commented (in its most silly obituary of the man) that he compelled opposition media to carry his speeches. Wow. That is something that is not done in the various dictatorships that US supports and cuddles, which don't allow any vestiges of opposition media. Chavez was certainly more democratic in his rule than China, Russia, and all the Arab dictatorships and Central Asian dictatorships that the US supports, funds, and arms. but he was turned in the media as a twin of the North Korean dictator. This comes to show you that the standards of Western governments and media have nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with 1) defiance against US will; 2) with the extent to which [a] regime allows multinational corporations to exploit and steal in a particular nation. Chavez's championing of the poor was certainly offensive to Western governments and media. That we know.
We do indeed. I recall the NY Times' first story on the death (since updated), which told us that Chavez -- elected four times against full-throttled opposition in democratic elections vetted by international observers -- won his power by "tapping into the resentments of his country's poor."
Their "resentments." Obviously, the poor of Venezuela -- a vast majority when Chavez was first elected -- were full of "resentment" at their subjugation at the hands of a monied elite. They didn't feel justified anger at their plight, they were not motivated by common human aspirations to secure a better life for themselves and their children; no, it was only "resentment" at their more deserving masters that drove them to support a man who -- dast one even say it? -- did not worship at the altar of America's imperial greatness. There could no other reason for such uppity behavior.
There were also rich pickings in the NYT's many other bashings of the dead man -- such as William Neuman's declaration that Chavez left behind "a bitterly divided nation in the grip of a political crisis" or Rory Carroll's crocodile-teared lament for "the decay, dysfunction and blight that afflict the economy and every state institution" in Venezuela. One can only say that these New York sages should perhaps take a gander southward toward the Potomac if they want to see political crisis, dysfunction and blight writ far larger -- and deeper and more destructive -- than anything Chavez could have wrought in his country.
Oh well. The incessant denigration of the majority of humankind by rulers and their sniveling sycophants has been going on since the first whips were laid across the backs of slaves building dolmens and gathering flints. Maybe one day our idiotic race will get tired of it.
Or does that sound -- OMG! -- resentful?