Hugo Chavez

European Politicians Praise Venezuela's "Social Development" and Chavez's "Will to Fight for Justice"


Credit: ¡Que comunismo!/flickr

The president of the European Commission and the president of the European Council have praised Hugo Chavez for Venezuela's social development.

In a joint message to Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro both Jose Manuel Barroso and and Herman Van Rompuy said:

Venezuela has stood out for its social development and for its contribution to South America's regional integration

Barroso and Rompuy were not the only European politicians to express their admiration for Chavez. Socialist French president Francois Hollande praised Chavez's "undeniable will to fight for justice and development," while German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called Chavez's death "a heavy blow." 

Venezuelans have taken to the streets to mourn Chavez while Venezuelans living in the U.S. have cheered his death in the hope that reform might now be possible.

Of course cringe-worthy statements like those issued by European politicians are not only coming from across the Atlantic. As Nick mentioned yesterday, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) was quick to offer his own thoughts on Chavez:

President Chavez was a controversial leader. But at his core he was a man who came from very little and used his unique talents and gifts to try to lift up the people and the communities that reflected his impoverished roots. 

It is interesting that Barroso and Rompuy decided to praise Venezuela's "social development," especially when one reflects on the fact that Venezuela is the one of the most violent countries in South America despite not waging the war on drugs that Mexico is fighting, and that Chavez was no fan of free speech. Venezuelan government officials assumed during Chavez's presidency that inequality was fueling violence in Venezuela. However, despite managing to make Venezuela a more equal country (which is presumably one of the social developments Barroso and Rompuy were referring to) the crime rate increased. Al Jazeera spoke to a professor of criminology about Venezuela's crime rate back in October 2012:

"The Venezuelan numbers are surprising," Andromachi Tseloni, professor of criminology at Nottingham Trent University in the UK, told Al Jazeera. "Inequality is [normally] highly correlated to murder rates. I haven't seen another country where inequality has dropped sharply and homicides have risen sharply."

Venezuela is now described as "upper middle income" by the World Bank, but it has a far worse murder rate than Haiti -the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

More from Reason on Chavez here.

NEXT: Hugo Chavez Funeral Procession Begins in Caracas

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  1. TEAM politics make people stupider than dirt. And morals? Forget that. Well, we all knew politicians were scum, so there’s no surprises here.

    1. He said the right things and murdered the right people, so he was an OK guy.

      1. ” Nothing wrong with shooting as long as the right people get shot!”

    2. Of course the Venezuelan people are mourning this man. They love socialism. Just like their cousins in the US. This “Jose Serrano” was elected by Hispanics in New York. Expect to see more like him as this nation gives more and more of itself away.

      1. Shut the fuck up, Golden Pegboy.

        1. It is amazing the level of hatred whenever someone notices that the nation is been replaced. Hispanics have gone from less than 1% to 17% in fifty years, and we’re just supposed to ignore it. Ignore the replacement of English with Sapnish, ignore the replacement of names American like Smith, Murphy, Stuart, and Goldberg with names like Rodriguez and Serrano. And when you can criticize the Serranos of the world you can’t even ask who elected them.

          1. ignore the replacement of names American like Smith, Murphy, Stuart, and Goldberg with names like Rodriguez and Serrano

            I appreciate good trolling sometimes.

            1. Themz furrin’ names!

          2. Smith – English
            Murphy – Irish
            Stuart – Scottish
            Goldberg – German

            What do they have in common – immigrants maybe?

            1. Yes, immigrants who learned English and assimilated, back in the day when the country was far less populated, government was small and regulation was not restrictive, industry was growing rapidly, much labor was needed for infrastructure construction and there was no welfare state.

              Those immigrants.

          3. Ignore the replacement of English with Sapnish [sic]

            Let’s also ignore the fact that by the third generation,almost 100 percent of Hispanics speak English as their first (and usually only) language. This trend matches every other non-English speaking immigrant group in the history of the United States.

            Besides, as a linguist, what the fuck do I care about having to learn another language? Do you realize that bilingualism makes the brain more efficient at certain tasks, don’t you?

            The fact that you are hooting and hollering about other people speaking a language that you are stupid to learn is so amusing to me.

            Please continue, Pegboy.

            1. *too stupid to learn

            2. +1, from another linguist. Whose great grandfather’s name was Yashinowski.

              1. Thanks, Geoff.

                Since Hit ‘n Run gets all pissy when people use certain non-English alphabetical characters…I’ll link to this instead.

            3. Third generation, eh? My Norwegian grandparents managed to learn to read and write English on their own (with the help of their kids “immersed” in English at a one room schoolhouse in Sven’s Armpit, North Dakota during the depression).

              Why does it take 3 generations for native Spanish speakers to become fully literate in English?

          4. Ignore the replacement of English with Sapnish

            The fuck is ‘Sapnish’? Is that some stupid golden-boy-shower slur for people with hispanic names?

            1. I think that is the Entish language.

          5. ignore the replacement of names American like Smith (British), Murphy (Irish), Stuart (French), and Goldberg (Jewish)…

          6. Can’t we just hate all New Yorkers equally without being racist about it?

            Who elects the Ted Cruzs and Marco Rubios of the world, anyway?

          7. I like tacos.

            Wait why should we like English over Spanish again?

            Why should I care if 70 years from now when I am dead the majority of Americans will be speaking Spanish rather then English?

            I will admit I like English more then Spanish because I know how to speak and write in English….but that is not a rational reason to not let people choose Spanish over English over the next 100 years.

            1. Because English is special; it’s the language of Jesus.

              Indeed, all children must be instructed in English, and by that I mean the true English of mighty Hrothgar son of Halfdan.

              HW?T, we Gar-Dena in geardagum,
              ?eodcyninga ?rym gefrunon,
              hu ?a ??elingas ellen fremedon!

              1. +1 Grendel

          8. You know too much about our plans for cultural domination. It’s a pity you couldn’t just keep it to yourself. Now you’ll have to eliminated like all the other patriotic Americans who got in our way.

        2. Hehe. You said Pegboy.

      2. I wonder who this could be?

        1. What was that one…Slappy?

          1. I never had much contact with that guy, but I’m not sure if Merkin/Pat/etc. is the same guy. Slappy talked about that, what, A3P? all the time. This guy is in the same vein, but his posts run a bit different. So I’m willing to believe he’s a different loser.

            1. “Slappy” was him trying to play along and slip in a few White Power mentions every now and then, this is just the same entity in a full-on post-registration kamikaze attack with yet another handle that will be banned in short order.

            2. It almost makes me miss the days of HERCULES TRIATHLON SAVINEN

  2. Socialist French president Francois Hollande praised Chavez’s “undeniable will to fight for justice and development,”…

    Also, his undeniable will to imprison, torture and murder his political opponents was legendary. His fight for, and subsequent seizure of, private property was celebrated.

    Fuck this socialist French douchebag and fuck Chavez.

    1. More on Hollande’s praise for a dictator:

      The late president expressed, while his temperament and the positions he took were not shared by everyone, an undeniable wish to fight for justice and development,” the statement continued.

      “I am sure that Venezuela will overcome this test of its democracy and stability,” Hollande concluded.

      Democracy? Does anyone remember that Chavez led a failed military coup in 1992?

      1. You know who ELSE led a failed military coup before being elected by popular vote on a “socialist” platform?

        1. Mr. Hilter?


    So the guy who created Bretton Woods was a Soviet spy. But remember, the John Birch Society was just paranoid and delusional. And so was Joe McCarthy.

    1. Heavens forfend!

      Next, you’ll be telling me that Grover Norquist is a crypto-Islamist!

        1. No he’s a crypto-Islizmist?

          1. Hissssss…..

            1. Great, now I am going to have flashbacks to the original “V” series all day.

    2. Hell, British intelligence was lousy with Soviet spies.

  4. Because shutting down newspapers critical of the regime is Democratic, because Chavez won his election fair and square.

    1. Trust democracy.

      1. The people should have a voice, as long as they use it for justice!!

        1. Don’t chemtrail me, bro.

        2. For great justice, take off every Zig!

    2. I brought up Hungary’s Viktor Orban and his attempt to shut down an opposition radio station and how the Chattering Class’s view of Orban is 180 degrees away from their view of Chavez. The only response I got (so far) was cognitive dissonance.

  5. Chavez killed fewer people than Stalin or Mao, or the Kim’s or Castro or Ho. Communism’s like a dangerous virus in that it seemingly evolves over time to be less lethal to the host.

  6. Looking at the numbers (and, yes, they might be lying to some degree), since Chavez became president the poverty rates have declined considerably. He was just reelected by a notable margin, greater than the margin of ballot stuffing. He was popular among the low income and the poor, who liked that he was diverting some oil income to the masses, and that he was poking the higher-income class in the collective eye. A demothug, yes, but he was pandering to the lower classes who had been left out of the crony-capitalist looting that had gone on before his demagogic ascendancy.

    1. Don’t cry for me, Venezuela….

      1. “Look, the fact is that maybe 2% of the population can run a successful business.”

        Amen to that. Even more critical are the scientists and engineers. The problem is that not everybody is intelligent enough to be a scientist or engineer, but everybody expects to live like one. A market is only as good as the ecological and human resources that are put into it

        1. Threading fail. Also, I think you forgot to change out of your trolling name.

          1. Idea fail as well. To state that scientists and engineers are more critical to an economy than entrepreneurs is ludicrous. Not that being an entrepreneur is exclusive to any profession, but if not for free enterprise, who would hire all of those STEM-heads?

            1. Maybe we should, I don’t know, let the market decide what professions are most valuable? But no, Golden Girl here is convinced only the government can manage labor markets, or else we’ll be overcome by low-skilled workers and all we’ll have is a country of McDonalds’!

              1. That’s crazy talk! Don’t you know the governmental and economic system advocated by libertarianism is technocracy?

            2. ALL jobs and professions are important to have a well functioning economy/society. The difference is merely in compensation. It is obviously important to have entrepreneurs who hire STEMs to realize their vision. It is also important that someone cleans the toilet, or changes the motor oil, or sells produce.

              1. ALL jobs and professions are important to have a well functioning economy/society.

                That’s over-egging the pudding. Society could manage quite well without most “public servants”.

                1. Ok, all jobs and professions we would willingly pay for are important to having a well functioning economy/society. Even, uh, this guy. I guess?

                  1. That’s hilarious.

                    There is something to that, though. Extended eye contact causes the pituitary gland to produce oxytocin, which, in turn, induces a pleasurable emotional state.

                    Normal people get their oxytocin fix by gazing into the eyes of their lovers or their young children; judging by his audience of 50-year old cat ladies, they have no where else to turn.

                  2. Yep. Even that guy.

                    1. Hey, if they feel they get something out of it and want to give him money, more power to them (and him). Just don’t expect me to pay someone for staring at me, unless it’s a really hot chick.

            3. To state that scientists and engineers are more critical to an economy than entrepreneurs is ludicrous.

              We are talking about a guy that previously decried Mexico as overpopulated. Ludicrous troll is ludicrous.

    2. Except Chile has had much better economic growth, no loss of civil liberties, and they have a much much safer country. Venezuela has ruined itself, because the people who emigrated were the ones who make the country work.

      Look, the fact is that maybe 2% of the population can run a successful business. The rest can work hard, cash their paychecks, and live a good life. But Chavez’s regime has chased away a healthy portion of that 2%.

      He made the poor better off, but it was temporary. He basically feasted off the seed corn. Oil revenues are bad in the long run, because it means the government has no incentive to grow a productive economy. Venezuela is going to end up like Saudi Arabia: an elite living in luxury governing a seething resentful mass kept in check by a well funded security apparatus.

      1. And don’t forget how badly Chavez ruined the Oil industry in Venezuela. Data show Venezuela produces around 2.2 million barrels of crude oil per day, down from almost 3.5 million when Chavez took office in 1999.

        Oil was trading for like $10 a barrel when Chavez took over. So even with a no-brainer source of income he still managed to fuck it up.

        1. They can’t even produce enough oil allowed by their OPEC quota. Iran is the other country like that…

          Iran and Venezuela used to always vote to lower OPEC quotas across the board because, due to gross mismanagement, they couldn’t make their quotas!

          Which is another way of saying that even people who think Venezuela’s oil industry should have been nationalized, Chavez was obviously mismanaging the oil industry so badly–that they could have been making a lot more oil money to spread around without his meddling.

          Central planning is bad enough by itself. It’s even worse when it’s done so poorly.

          1. needz moar Top Men?

      2. Except Chile has had much better economic growth, no loss of civil liberties…

        There was that military government between 1974 and 1989. Civil liberties were restricted. There is no getting around that fact.

        But your basic point is correct: Chile managed to establish a healthy respect for property rights, economic facts-of-life and entrepreneurship, all of which led to economic growth and improvements in living conditions for all.

        1. I meant over the same time period. While Chavez was nationalizing things “for the people”, Chile was quietly allowing people to do as they pleased. I have no idea who’s “in charge” of Chile. Which is a good thing.

          1. Last I read, one of the big problems they were having in Chile was figuring out how to deal with all the people who, sadly, decided to stay in the government social security system.

            They’re basically trapped now. They were afraid if they gave people who decided to stay in the opportunity to get out again, they’ve now wised up to the point that there wouldn’t be anyone left paying into the system.

            Can you imagine what a wonderful world it would be if we had a problem like that here in the U.S.? If they gave each of us the opportunity to opt out of social security–and the only people who had to suffer paying into the system were the people who weren’t smart enough to leave?

        2. I wonder how much lefty love Pinochet would have gotten if he had branded himself as a “Socialist”

        3. Prior to 1974, Chile was run by an insane, communist dictator whose evil supporters would throw acid into the faces of rich people. Not exactly a civil-liberties paradise.

    3. Chavez became president the poverty rates have declined considerably.


      1. I don’t have the link, but I’ve seen those stats before.

        Like I said, given their huge oil reserves, the price spike in oil during Chavez’ term, and Venezuela’s relatively small population, I find that outcome reasonable enough.

        Whether they would have done even better under a capitalist is another question entirely.

        Whether they would have done better under a smarter socialist is another question, too. It’s hard to screw up selling oil–although, like I said, they can’t even produce their OPEC quota!

        Imagine. They always vote against raising everybody’s OPEC quota–because they can’t meet their own quota as it is anyway! If the poor would have gotten all that lost revenue, then they should be furious at Chavez for screwing up something that should be as easy as pumping it out of the ground.

  7. Dear first-world bootlickers who praise third-world thugs:

    Give yourselves what you say you want. Emigrate to the countries ruled by said thugs.

    Oh, that’s right. Suffering under your utopian vision is other people’s responsibility.

    1. It’s hilarious that the exact same people who tell us to move to Somalia every other day will be absolutely outraged at this suggestion.

  8. “I haven’t seen another country where inequality has dropped sharply and homicides have risen sharply.”

    Oil money surely accounts for a nice chunk of that.

    If you nationalize the oil industry just before oil hits $150 a barrel, you can spread a lot of oil money around–without having to bother generating the sort of economic development that would necessitate people abandoning criminal behavior.

    1. Also, with all the price controls, the black markets were probably heavily active, which would help explain the murder rate.

      1. Good point.

      2. That helps a lot.

        Even if you just stack the judiciary with Chavistas, you’ve made it so political ties can be more important than whether you’re guilty or innocent.

        And Chavez took an active role in politicizing the judiciary.…..=126304030

        If the courts and police all disappeared tomorrow, I wouldn’t hurt a fly, but a lot of people would! And for Chavistas, once Chavez started pressuring the judges, I think the courts and the police may very well have disappeared as far as politically connected groups of people were concerned.

        Meanwhile, Chavez has all that oil money to spread around–that’s gotta be skewing the data. Countries without all that oil revenue can’t paper over problems like that with tons of oil revenue.

  9. Incidentally, I’m surprised we haven’t seen more calls from the left to nationalize the energy industries here in the U.S.

    It’s probably an excellent argument in favor of letting corporations make all the campaign donations they want. If it wasn’t for corporations writing free speech checks…

    The Democrats might nationalize the the coal, oil, and natural gas industries in the U.S., throw a bone to the unions, finance all sorts of social programs with the proceeds, and save the polar bears–all in one go.

    1. I think Harris County, Texas would launch a no-shit rebellion if that happened.

      1. I’d like to think so.

        But it’s been done elsewhere. Hell, even Norway, …

        Anyway, I’d like to think it would fail miserably–point is, though, that if the left here in the U.S. started advocating for nationalization, I think it would galvanize a number of the Democrats’ biggest constituencies. Having a problem keeping California’s environmentalists and West Virginia and Kentucky’s unionized coal miners in the same coalition?

        Well have I got an issue for you!

    2. I’m sure that the legislation is already written, and waiting for one more ecological disaster to be voted on and signed.

      Of course once the industry is nationalized, it will become immune from criminal charges or other incentives to prevent disasters which will then become more and more common.

      1. You never want a serious crisis go to waste.

    3. Incidentally, I’m surprised we haven’t seen more calls from the left to nationalize the energy industries here in the U.S.

      What do you think the “Smart grid” and “cap and trade” are?

    4. What we have for generation and transmission is good old fashioned fascist central planning.

      If the Feds nationalized the whole thing, they would have to take the blame for price increases and service failures. Why would they do that when they can flog the power companies instead?

      1. Exporters of energy typically charge less than market rate locally. Everywhere except for Iran, which is pathetic in terms of infrastructure, that Iranian citizens pay more for gasoline than the world market price.

        We wouldn’t be exporting much oil, but we’ll be exporting natural gas. It’s the rest of the world that would have to deal with the price increases–for the most part–on natural gas. …unless they really started running things for the benefit of the unions and then environmentalists.

        Also, they’re sticking us with higher healthcare prices now–and a lot of people still think ObamaCare is a great idea.

  10. PSU? I had no idea Chavez was a Penn State fan. Now I despise him even more.

    1. Sean Penn is a fan of Chavez, Chavez is a fan of Penn State…. Coincidence?

      1. If you’re not a fan of Chavez and live in Venezuela, you end up in the State Penn. And the coincidences accumulate

        1. Sandusky likes to fuck little boys, Chavez and Penn…

          Hey! It’s coincidences all the way down.

  11. Ya know, the picture looks like the one of Sebelius in front of the anointed one.

  12. Fortunately, Chavez is too ugly to make a good profile to put on a t-shirt. So we shouldn’t have to worry about hipsters wearing Chavez T-shirts in the future.

    1. They’ll think of something.

      1. A hoodie that when put up makes your cheeks look horrible scarred by acne.

        1. Dammit, I cannot type.

          A hoodie that when you put it up makes your cheeks look horribly scarred by acne.

          1. Acne or syphilis?

            1. Good question. In later photos it looks like he got so fat the pressure re-inflated his facial craters.

          2. Top or bottom?

        2. A hoodie that when put up makes your cheeks look horrible scarred by acne.

          Dear God, we must kill this devil spawn of Bill Belichick and Norv Turner immediately.

        3. Little necklaces with tiny busts of Chavez’s head, sort of like those Chinese Buddahs.

  13. Well Chavez did love the poor. Not in the sense of compassion or whatever, but he did seem to appreciate how cheaply they could be bought off.

    1. And he loved them so much, that he made more of them.

      1. But not enough to be poor himself. His net worth is estimated to be between 1 and 2 Billion dollars. His family and cronies skimmed many billions more out of the economy.

        Being a man of the people is damn lucrative.

    2. He loved the poor in the way that DSK loves women.

  14. This is pertty good one-liner on Chavez I read in National Review (published before his death was announced):

    “In a delicate operation, Hugo Chavez was removed from a cancerous tumor.”


    Hugo Ch?vez may have been oppressive, but at least he wasn’t a lapdog for Washington like so many other heads of state. The world would be a much more free and decentralized place with more anti-imperialist “rogue” nations.

    1. Sure. Maybe these Socialist Republics could form a union. That would make the world much freer.

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