Up | March 10, 2013
>> prominence as leader of a failed coup in 1992 1k3 he's allowed to address the nation as a kind of bargaining that doesn't go forward. we'll call this off but you get to say your peace. and he addresses the nation in a moment that would make him famous and sort of announce him to venezuelans. take a look.
>> incredibly brassy move to be busted about to do a coup to say our state of objectives we're not achieved in the capital city when you're about to be put in prison. this is the beginning of this -- of him as this figure in venezuelan politics.
>> i think what you're saying about the culture -- what you were saying about the culture of his long speeches, the mass rallies, the big placards, there's very much a cult of this figure of hugo chavez . and i think that this goes along with this concentration of the power in the fug of the executive, which is something else. he really did expand the power of that particular office, more than had existed previously. i think what makes the presidency of hugo chavez sort of interesting and conflicting in a way is that at the same time he did this, he was using these mechanisms electoral democracy . he stood at a recall referendum. he reformed the constitution. sought to bring about that change in the constitution. and so there were all of these ways which through the electoral sphere he was seeking to bring about change.
>> he was also doing things like -- allied judges were striking leaders off candidate lists. you know, there was a degree to which the deck was a bit stacked in those elections opponents argue, right?
>> i'm not going to defend those things he did. i'm going to say that at the same time he was doing those things, he was also opening spaces at the grassroots. and i think what greg had said earlier about social movements , and it's not just that it was social movements that suspected him. it was a heterogeneous range of movements that went from vast 200 to 300 community radio stations that sprung up, roots that go back to the 1970s and not all i've had as chavez supporters.
>> i'll go to a member of chavez united socialist party joining us live from caracas. thank you for joining us. i think the question is can --
>> good morning.
>> can chavismo and what people are talking about outlive chavez .
>> i think we lost him, actually. do we have him? all right. are you there with us?
>> i'm here.
>> i'm sorry. the question is whether chavismo can outlive chavez .
>> it went out.
>> we have a technical question so i'll throw it out to you. whether the institutions that have been built are strong enough to have something beyond the cult of personality when that personality is now no longer.
>> this gets back to your original question, was he a democrat, where does he lie within that line. i think the standards of what we understand by liberal democracy , we might say for all the reasons you've mentioned, that that record is suspect. on the other hand, i think what was at stake in venezuela was a definition of what democracy can or should be. in this context the social movements that sprung up and also that had existed as sujatha mentioned before, when you talk to folks in those movements, those are the ones with the sharpest criticism of the government. actually, you find in those movements. people who talk about corruption at the state level. people talk about inefficiencies in terms of social programs, people who talk about the need to go beyond the -- sort of the figure of the leader, et cetera , et cetera . but they also had a very similar botic relationship with chavez , those who came before and represented the opposition they had an opportunity to experiment with local governance and movements.
>> the thing that facilitated this -- when you read accounts of chavez , i was saying this before on the air, even neutral accounts, when you read even supposed neutral little, thereaccounts, th e fact he used revenue of oil for those that supported education and health care , like that was cheating. his popularity was somehow not on the up and up because part of it was just the basic function of redistributing oil revenue to the poor. that strikings me as what a government should do.
>> as norwegians and do --
>> and alaskans.
>> sovereign wealth funds and so on. incidentally, everyone goes on about chavez here. no one is looking at socialism -- there's something special about this. it is that bluster, it is that anti-americanism or is it? i would say this about the oil. the economists had an interesting chart and something i noticed and economists pointed out for the past four or five years is this isn't a sustainable model for venezuela . that's the problem. oil revenue should trickle down to the people in slums or that aren't wealthy. the interesting thing is when chavez came to power, oil was $10 a barrel. in 2008 it came up to $140 a barrel. i mean, where is the parallel economy outside of oil. well, there really isn't one. venezuela even imports oil sometimes, too.
>> and also has --
>> production has dropped off significantly. et cetera , et cetera .
>> i want to pivot to economic management because there's a whole bunch of economic ills, which plague every country. there's inflation and high budget deficit which is particularly high, and an economy that isn't reliant on oil. i want to talk about economic management after