I've never posted a diary before but the response to Hugo's death has brought me out of hibernation. When it comes to Hugo Chavez, it appears as if people do not let those pesky things called facts get in the way. I've seen endless comments about economic mismanagement without any statistic or historical analysis to back it up. There's a reason why he won in 13 of the last 14 elections/referendums.
Quoting from an article by Mark Weisbrot in the Guardian.
Since 2004, when the government gained control over the oil industry and the economy had recovered from the devastating, extra-legal attempts to overthrow it (including the 2002 US-backed military coup and oil strike of 2002-2003), poverty has been cut in half and extreme poverty by 70%. And this measures only cash income. Millions have access to healthcare for the first time, and college enrolment has doubled, with free tuition for many students. Inequality has also been considerably reduced. By contrast, the two decades that preceded Chávez amount to one of the worst economic failures in Latin America, with real income per person actually falling by 14% between 1980 and 1998.Indeed the UN released a report that Venezuela now has the third lowest poverty rate in Latin America. According to another UN report Venezuela now has the lowest inequality in Latin America. The Human Development Index meanwhile has increased from 0.656 in 2000 to 0.735 in 2011. Meanwhile inflation while high, has been actually much lower than in the pre-Chavez years. Public debt in 2012 was at 51.3 percent of GDP - lower than US and much of Western Europe. Traditional measures of economic growth - GDP - have also been very strong. Much stronger than Mexico, for example, which is also a significant oil producer and that follows economic orthodoxy very closely(e.g. NAFTA).
And so on and so forth.
But to label the Chavez period as an economic failure is simply not accurate. The poor and working people are doing much better than they were 14 years ago. Unlike here in the good ol' US of A where we got to live through 2 jobless recoveries, rising poverty and inequality, falling median incomes but a soaring stock market.