[lbo-talk] Making sense of the crisis in Venezuela

Marv Gandall marvgand2 at gmail.com
Sun Jul 2 17:36:14 PDT 2017

Excellent in depth article on the crisis in Venezuela by sympathetic observer Greg Grandin, writing in the latest London Review of Books.

1. On the achievements and contradictions of the Bolivarian regime: "The social gains of Chavismo at its apex, from around 2005 to Chávez’s final re-election in 2012, were spectacular: greater employment, improved nutrition, increased literacy and life expectancy, more and better housing. But the system of petroleum-funded independent missions created new sources of waste, while at the same time letting the state bureaucracy rot…”

2. On the roots and nature of current crisis: “Today Venezuela is gripped by a crisis of extraordinary proportions, as all that Chávez helped create is collapsing. To understand how Venezuela got to this point – to understand Chávez’s spectacular rise and his country’s equally spectacular breakdown – it helps to know something about where he came from. And it helps to know something about the country’s oil…”

3. On the decisive role and political temper of the barrios: “Maduro may have lost their goodwill, but social gains won in the heyday of Chavismo – schools, food distribution centres, health clinics, daycare – are still functioning, however stressed, in these neighbourhoods, and while their residents may not be actively supporting the government, they aren’t yet ready to overthrow it. Meanwhile Chávez, in death as in life, continues to transcend the polarisation. According to a recent poll, 79 per cent picked him as the best president the country has ever had. A slightly smaller but still large majority say he was Venezuela’s most democratic and efficient leader.”


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