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tv   [untitled]    March 8, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm EST

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hello and welcome to crossfire for all things are considered i'm peter lavelle. dictator cordially popular and democratic leader of the people what is his legacy did he leave venezuela and his people better off why did washington demonize him so and will the chavez revolution outlived its founder. cross-talk the chavez legacy i'm joined by george took a real mar in philadelphia he's an assistant professor of political science at drexel university and author of the upcoming book we created chavez in london we have alec boyd he is a venezuelan blogger and civil and political rights activist and in washington we cross to alex mayne he is an international policy analyst at the center for economic and policy research right gentlemen cross-talk rules and effect i mean you can jump in anytime you want and i very much encourage it george what is his legacy
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. well i think frankly each other's legacy is twofold domestically speaking the first is the vast improvement in the social welfare of everyday venezuelans the massive decline in poverty the near eradication of extreme poverty and the provision of free health care free education to the poorest of venezuelans for the first time on the political side which i actually think is more important the legacy is one of increased popular participation in direct and participatory democracy in the every day runnings of the state in this was something that is far from complete in venezuela and it remains the task of the forthcoming government but it's really this element of the child his legacy which is which has allowed venezuelans to participate in engage in political life in that country that is really going to live travis himself in london you want to jump in that's the point of the program go ahead yeah yeah i would i would i would love to i think george has made it quite interesting remark when he says the charge is for
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the first time provided health and education for the poor people when in fact our constitution mandates the provision of health and education for everybody since at least eighteen seventy one so perhaps george would like to explain to our view is why does he say the child is for the first time provided such services to the poor . george go ahead. well you know perfectly well i believe. that i know there isn't is one thing and the actual concrete provision yes of course i do in the concrete provision of things in reality is very different from what's written in the constitution and so and you know perfectly well that sixty percent of venezuelans were in poverty up to very extraordinarily extreme poverty even in the nine hundred seventy one nine hundred eighty s. that new liberal reform was a devastating devastating impact on the health and education of the poorest venezuelans and so it's slightly ridiculous to say that there was free healthcare and universal access to health care in seventy one there's always there's always been free on health care and education in venezuela is not
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a right to be childless ok i want to jump in we have to hear from him go ahead alex . yeah i mean i can just complement what georgia said which is absolutely you have constitutional provisions that are one thing and then you have the reality which is another and the reality is that when chavez came into power you had a great number of poor people millions of poor people in the country who were essentially disenfranchised second rate citizens really so not only were they not receiving health care or access to higher education but also many of them didn't vote they didn't participate in the political system they weren't truly licensing then under this is german because you're there i mean and i think you're there i don't think i had i don't i don't think yeah i don't think that's born in the facts actually chavez did do a great deal for the poor but to state that for the first time he allowed the
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poor to deceive health and education is totally inaccurate and that's the point that i'm trying to make he did carry out a great deal of poverty alleviation measures with barrier enter he did spread a hell of a lot of money because of the fact of the great is income that the country received since he got to power in one thousand nine hundred nine but to actually state that because of him the poor for the first time in our history have access to education or health you know what accounts for the you know what what accounts for then george i mean other than chavez. well i mean the point is not that it's only each of us that has done this and actually i would i would want to i would hope to drive that point home it's not that chavez is sort of the savior of the venezuelan people no the venezuelan people have saved themselves for decades they've been organizing and beginning with the guerrilla struggle and generating a whole series of social movements in the one nine hundred seventy s.
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and eighty's it was actually these movements that then drove chavez the power to this is really not about chavez himself coming into power and you know and saving the people because this constitution the one thousand nine hundred nine constitution was not was not written by chavez himself was not the sole creation of chavez well it was sent to madiba of one hundred to one man or of one hundred twenty nine of their representatives in the constituent in the. yet constituent assembly would representatives of challenge or aligned with charges so it was largely basically written they were elected by the sea portis. i feel that they were elected by the people they were in popular election by the people alex jump in yes no well well absolutely that's right i mean whether they were aligned with chavez or not i don't think is the point these were democratic elections that elected all of the assembly members the constituent assembly. you know and they had a mandate of the people and they reported back to the people and there was
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a period of consultation of all sorts of sectors of society when that constitution was being drafted and then something quite unprecedented in the region probably more world in terms of drafting constitutions and that constitution was submitted to a popular referendum something that's also very rare in the history of the world history in constitutional history so i think you know often you read in the media that you know conscious chad has created this constitution that he forced this constitution on the venezuelan people and nothing could be further further from the truth. i was like it was a democrat and i think it whoa well. there's a few there's a few issues here no one can deny the charges one democratic elections in one thousand nine hundred eight on the back of huge discontent in our country about the duopoly of the on the more practical end could pay for the previous forty years who have basically squandered a hell of
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a lot of money but then chalice came on one thousand nine hundred eight with the process with the promise of reforming re founding the state that was not. established in any of our legislation in any of our constitutional precepts so he said basically or he or he came to with the promise that in order for him to carry out the changes that he needed he had to change the constitution which effectively ended up with a national constituent assembly and a further referendum that alex was referring to so that first election of his in one thousand nine hundred ninety eight was indeed democratic and it was indeed approved by the people on the back of the huge support that he'd had that he had at one time but the changes that came afterwards are far from democratic in my opinion george does it really work. well it's got what only one thing it says that you
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disagree while going to go ahead. well i mean i don't really know what alec is talking about in terms of the decline of democracy following those elections in the one nine hundred ninety eight and then the following elections in which the constitution was approved. in one thousand nine hundred nine when you've had all the other fourteen elections that have been judged free and fair internationally transparent. the last of course was last night and syria in november and i started a little known central regional elections ok please explain his nonsense they have been they have been judged free and fair by whom by jimmy carter by chavis is friends by the current law last time that does not matter machines but i'm not the last that i'm that of a smart national because we're independently audited when was the last time that our nationality you had first seen was a harder as i don't know if you have you ever have you ever seen the carter
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center's project professionalism in terms of. neutrality yes so i have to have someone i have seen tested i have as you have their own projections of the results are sen as a matter of fact i remember very clearly for how decisive the going as well as after the referendum in two thousand and four when jimmy carter was sitting next to secretary general of the oil sort of area assuring all of us in venezuela that they had witnessed the count in the top of lies nation room at the see any when as a matter of fact no one was allowed into the totalization room of the sienese so jimmy carter was obviously lying that day and he subsequent reports were obviously useless and so that i see in the organization of american the same thing as it was a minute i'm going to say what i provided what they were although i read all the international record and you know when your child rejected your issues in venice george go ahead george go ahead. i was just going to say we're what we're
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witnessing here is a profoundly conspiratorial fringe of the venezuelan right wing that does not even actually pertain to much oh yeah business with an opposition officially the venezuelan but the other hand we have two thousand and. ten has it was the religion of the like a member of the academics for chavis in america is that what you're trying to say george that my view is not valid because i think that your eyes may have good security theorist i'm saying your view is not valid because i would agree with your view or not valid because it's ridiculous and i'm one with god of course you will agree alex of course you will agree you are a form of the venezuelan government of course you will agree. so will george well then but not only would i do really but your this venezuelan opposition also agrees they've been participating in the last few elections encouraging everyone to participate and discounting claims of fraud that's come from the caprio campaign
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itself to explain that. ok but i don't have to explain this it really really is you can definitely contents of a computer to sion on like you alex i am completely independent so i don't have to talk anyone's line i am a venice well and blogger and i am independent and i don't derive my salary either from the venezuelan government as you once did or from seed p.r. which is closely aligned with the venezuelan government so i am the master of my opinions and i don't have to toe the line of them to be cooked up really as whatever he said with regards to fraud being there in venezuela or not i don't i don't have to agree with actually i disagree. about economy a lot will have to go to a break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion a good challenge stage without. the old.
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don't tell me. which.
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driving lessons some emergency vehicles. welcome back to cross talk were all things considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing the legacy of chop. insurance and why did the united states so demonize chavez i mean we'll explain and he was a funny guy it was a lot of antics there but he didn't threaten the united states that's actually an interesting phenomenon both domestically within venezuela and also internationally namely the fact that before chavez had actually even done anything to powerfully
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antagonize the venezuelan elites before he had taken away the economic power for example there was a fierce counter revolution without a revolution as it's been called in this happened as well internationally namely the fact that chavez had not cut off oil to the united states he had not threatened u.s. interests in a particular way actually we can mark the deterioration of relations which of is especially from september eleventh and the beginning of the afghan war afterwards charges was critical of the initial u.s. intervention and innocent innocent children who were being killed and it was really from that moment on that you saw an increasing aggression from the united states towards a child with culminating of course with his overthrow with the cooperation of the united states in april two thousand and two i once when you come out on this because again he didn't threaten the united states is not if i can i'd say it's imports of a lot of oil. no that's right well he didn't directly threaten the united states but i think he was seen as very threatening to the agenda of the united states in
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latin america as george was pointing out earlier new liberalism has spread throughout the region the liberalism being of course the reduction of the state to its most minimum and you know privatization of all sorts of social services. the lowering of trade tariffs so on and so forth just to profit really international corporations international financial entities and so on this had a devastating effect on latin america the rate of poverty went up the rate of inequality when up throughout the region particularly in venezuela and then as well there was a big anti in the old rule. protest really that resulted in the end in a massacre of thousands of people perpetrated by the venezuelan government so a resistance was beginning to emerge but it was really just in the streets and
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chavez when he came into power he gave voice to this resistance and he actively actually fought the neo liberal agenda he started to roll back these reforms and to bring the state back into the picture in terms of bringing basic social services health care and education and so on to the people and so this was an example of course that the u.s. was very much opposed to they didn't want to see it spread so they were very intent in getting rid of this government they supported a coup in april of two thousand and two against chavez and. fortunately that coup unraveled quickly there were divisions within the military and also many of them as one people came into the street and called for chavis returned he came back within forty eight hours and then following that. other left leaning governments governments you know very much against the neo liberal agenda
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also emerged throughout latin america and today the map of latin america is very different politically it's a very different place georgy think that's because of chavez in many ways. i mean it's it's undeniable that chavez has played a powerful role in this but in reality electoral first of his morning expression of these revolutionary movements and sort of a point of coalescence and condensation of these popular demands because the reality is as i said they preceded this and one of the primary aspects of this was as alex has mentioned opposition to new liberalism but even before that in venezuela there was a struggle over what democracy meant since one hundred fifty eight the you know venezuela was under what had been understood as a very exceptional and stable form of democracy and yet what this was was a very buffered form of representative democracy in which the people really had very little say it was a two party system that institutionalized all popular dissent and so what you had
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was a gradual increase of dissent and the inability to express that within a political system so one of the fundamental aspects of what exploded in the late one nine hundred eighty s. and early one nine hundred ninety s. and what led to charges coming to power was the demand for a different kind of democracy and i think this is where you get into some of the you know some of the difficulties that our previous guest had been discussing with the new constitution because what you have is really a contradiction in a conflict between two forms of democracy and occasionally you takes it takes some kind of bully pulpit in the figure of chavez to break down the barriers of an old existing form and to allow the new sort of more participatory form to break through and that's that's really what has led to this sort of almost paradoxical relationship between chavez in the social movements in which he seems like an authoritarian to many outside of venezuela and yet what he's doing is to it in facilitate for the most part profoundly democratic developments within the country alex you think the revolution will continue with his passage. solid enough
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foundation so. undeniably there's a very solid foundation now it's been for the next the next guy's going to get the rational i want in washington the next i'll get the wrath of washington as well. well most likely but you know washington does have to come to terms with the new reality in latin america it's no longer the reality of the late ninety's when you know going as well it was an outlier it's now a region that's changed completely i mean south america most of the governments there were very close to the venezuelan government even the right wing governments were it's very interesting to see the sort of mage is the eulogies of chavis is legacy that are coming from all over the place in latin america i mean today of course there was a beautiful op ed in the new york times written by the silver the former president
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of brazil but you also have eulogies that are coming from the right wing governments of chile and the columbia they recognize this is legacy not only at home in venezuela but in terms of transforming the region in terms of being a leader who has fought effectively for regional integration and and so now it's a much more independent place than it was some ten years ago george he think the u.s. will try to turn back the clock i mean chavez may has made an impact. certainly it would be very difficult for them to turn back the clock but the same time the u.s. government has not done much to change relationships with with venezuela you know you could have said in two thousand and eight when obama into power that you could have expected some kind of improvement in relations and certainly that didn't happen because the continuing orientation especially with someone like hillary clinton as secretary of state that the orientation was toward getting rid of chavez as quickly as possible and any strategy really was was open and the reality was
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only that the strategy had failed in the past and so the strategy now under obama has been to fund actually with increasingly large amounts of money the venezuelan opposition to fund them openly and to hope that they would defeat this in an election which they still could not manage to do despite the money flowing in from washington and so no i'm sure that that's the obama administration's continuing orientation is that now with child is gone we can we can deal with this question electorally but until that until the u.s. government recognizes the ability of the venice where the people to govern themselves and to decide on their own leaders to develop their own form of democracy into practice it and to not you know to not impose a specific form of democracy and certainly not to impose economic you know economic demands on venice with and that are unjust until that happens is really no way for these relations to improve you know alex in the world love chavez ok is it because
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he stood up to the united states. yeah and i'm glad you mentioned that because yes the world loves chavez but you get the impression in the us and certainly looking at the us media. venezuela that he was a very isolated crazy ranting sort of befooled like figure and and of course he's been reduced to this caricature in the media here but i think throughout the world the messages got through he defied the u.s. very openly he defied them their foreign policy he after nine eleven said you cannot fight terrorism with terrorism when afghanistan was bombed that i was a very courageous and extremely isolated thing but he's created a political space for people to. contest u.s. the u.s. had germany throughout the world and you know u.s. foreign policy goals in particular u.s.
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intervention and the fact that he's stood up a bit of a david to a goliath yeah and survives whether all this time despite so many temps from the u.s. to destabilize that government it's really quite heroic well georgian alex you have a very diverse opinions from the mainstream and what is the mainstream telling americans about chavez and his passage a good thing george. i mean that the response in the mainstream media i admit to possibly being naive and maybe expecting something a little more balanced than what was received but the response from the mainstream media has been astounding it has been revolt thing in many ways it ranges from outright celebrations as not only from the media but also from from members of congress in the united states to do this sort of liberal line which is essentially chavez was crazy and here's you know here's here's some here some crying
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venezuelans in we're going to interpret this as something that we want to you know as we want to see it for example i saw that rory carroll who wrote some astoundingly ridiculous things in the guardian was tweeting today about how about how venezuelans at the procession today in caracas were professing professing a faith in religious resurrection when there were things others lives forever one of the other that would benefit one of the things that the struggle to continue will go on without him and that they are all charges but it's this is this is the sort of willful misinterpretation that is prevalent in the mainstream media these days alex is it was it was just as a revolutionary last thirty seconds. oh deniable yes in the tradition of the great revolutionaries of latin america someone will leave our jose marti che guevara he's going to be greatly missed but is example is really stronger than ever i think he really lives in the hearts of
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many latin americans that seek much more profound change throughout the region thank you very much chairman of run out of time many thanks to my guests today in philadelphia london and in washington and thanks to our viewers for watching us here at r.t. see you next time and remember cross talk world. the world. is a. little . a little worse for the little things. the white house or the. radio guy and. i want. to give you never seen anything like this i'm told.
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sometimes you see a story. you think you understand it and then. you hear see. and realize everything is. welcome to the big picture. mission and free cretaceous three. court judges three. three. three. three. three blog video for your media project a free media. one hundred thirty three.


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