Guest column: Public misinformed on Chavez, Venezuela

The public opinion on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is quite disturbing. Chavez was never†an elected leader; he took office†as part of a coup. Yes, he†was elected later but not initially. The elections he†won were not fair elections and†do not reflect the desires of the people. I was there for the referendum vote†and the ensuing election to†try and remove Chavez; the election was overseen†by none other than†our own†disgrace, The Carter Foundation (a foundation run by Jimmy Carter).

People that wanted to vote could not, and those who wanted to vote had to camp out in line†for three days. Remarkably, the turnout was very low. Only those who could afford to miss three days of work could vote.

The people who voted are the people with their hand in Chavez’s cookie jar; of course they’re not going to vote to have their fingers smashed.

Chavez doesn’t have the support of the majority at all. He is only in power because he has changed the constitution to avoid representation of the people. I don’t know where people find statistics saying that 70 percent support him; that number is simply inaccurate.

Also, people seem to believe the U.S. has mass amounts of property in Venezuela, but in actuality, there is very little property†owned by U.S. citizens or companies†in Venezuela.

Yes,†U.S. companies†carry on drilling operations there, but very little property is or ever was owned by†U.S.†citizens or companies; but the British, Chinese and Portuguese maintain the majority of foreign ownership.

The assessment of the rest of the world and their relationship with Venezuela is almost comical. There are two world leaders that†get along with Chavez – Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Cuba’s Fidel Castro. The rest of the world is fearful of Chavez’s desire for power.

Spain particularly has a tiff with him. Spain sold Venezuela some military supplies, and Venezuela immediately sold them to Iran. Most of Europe†is still very upset over this.

If you think†the world likes†Venezuela, you should get out more. The liberal icon, Europe, worries about Venezuela and the dictatorial system being created there. In turn, Chavez is on a path to be the next Castro, shunned by the†world.

The Venezuelan economy has gone down rapidly†ever since the day he took†power. Talk that†poverty has decreased is not true.

I understand how people can be deceived though. Over the past†eight years, the inflation rate has been outrageous, while maintaining†the same poverty level income. The lower class income might have gone up, but inflation has made their money†worth†one-twelfth of what it was eight years ago – this reflects false†statistics.

Chavez†has fooled many with the false control on the value of the Euro and dollar. The†Bolivar isn’t worth half of what Chavez sets the rate at. Just in the past five years†they have discontinued†the five and†ten Bolivar increments because they’re not worth anything anymore. The false price of a dollar is 2,150 Bolivares; the actual value is around 6,000 Bolivares.

Salaries cannot keep up with such horrible†economy, and Chavez is handing out houses†for people who cannot afford to pay for their water and electricity bills, putting them in debt and forcing them to steal these essential commodities.†

All in all, I strongly urge people to read more on Venezuelan politics. Venezuela remains corrupt with†high crime rates and a crashing economy.

Not all problems in Venezuela are a result of†Chavez, but he isn’t†solving any problems, he’s only†making them worse. I have a great love for the country and people of Venezuela, and†I just hate to see†such a paradise†smashed under a dictator’s thumb.†

Gilthorpe, a first-year law student, can be reached via [email protected].

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