Hugo Chavez's "Economic Revolution"

Jay Moore research at SPAMneravt.com
Fri Aug 4 06:43:56 MDT 2000


Comrades -- Those of you with  access to the Latin American press and
possibly fuller (and more sympathetic) accounts, what do you make out of
Chavez's economic proposals made in this speech?  Does anyone know if the
speech is available anywhere on the Internet?

best,
jay
http://www.neravt.com/left/

**********

Chavez unveils Venezuela economic plan, asks foes for help
By Alexandra Olson, Associated Press, 8/4/2000


CARACAS - Days after winning a landslide reelection victory, President Hugo
Chavez turned his attention to the slumping economy in a televised speech
sprinkled with conciliatory overtures to political adversaries whom he
called ''counterrevolutionaries'' not long ago.


Chavez asked those who bore the brunt of his harshest criticism during his
first year and a half in office - business leaders, Catholic bishops, and
the media - to help him pull one of the world's top oil exporters out of a
punishing economic crisis.


In a typically lengthy address Wednesday, he announced new social programs
to provide short-term employment and said he would draw up a pension fund
plan within three months to replace Venezuela's bankrupt social security
system.


''The moment has come for unity, diversity and maximum tolerance. Christ met
with everyone - prostitutes, thieves, the rich, the poor,'' Chavez said.


The president's statements drew uncharacteristic approval from business
leaders.


''Dialogue is welcome. We support the president's position and we hope he
maintains it,'' said Vicente Brito, the president of Fedecamaras,
Venezuela's largest business interest group.


A former paratrooper who spent two years in jail for leading a botched coup
in 1992, Chavez has won the trust of Venezuela's poor majority by vowing to
end corruption and spread the country's vast oil wealth more equally. On
Sunday, Venezuelans once again demonstrated their support by electing Chavez
to a fresh six-year term and handing his political coalition a majority of
state governments and congressional seats.


But economists, church leaders and prominent journalists complain that
Chavez's fierce antibusiness rhetoric and friendliness with the leaders of
countries like Libya and Cuba have alienated investors, leading to
Venezuela's first economic contraction during a boom in world oil prices.


Chavez defended his economic record Wednesday, saying that the economy grew
by at least 2 percent in the year's second quarter, an estimate that would
put his government ahead of its year-end goal of stimulating a 2.2 percent
expansion.


He promised that by the year's end Venezuela would have a new pension fund
plan, which would be under state control but allow the participation of
private capital. He did not outline the details of the plan.


Business leaders criticized Chavez last year for halting the previous
government's initiative to privatize Venezuela's social security system,
saying the move was a sign that the leftist president would roll back
privatization efforts in South America's fourth-largest economy.


Chavez usually swiftly dismisses such critics as oligarchs bent on hoarding
the country's riches and keeping the majority of Venezuelans in poverty. But
in Wednesday's speech he called not a single bishop counterrevolutionary,
not a single business leader an oligarch and not a single political opponent
corrupt.


Instead, he interrupted his speech several times to make chummy asides to
bishops and bankers in the audience, a trademark habit he usually reserves
for his most loyal allies.


This story ran on page A08 of the Boston Globe on 8/4/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.







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