there certainly is a cuban bent to the political promotion that goes on around venezuela - substitute castro and guevara for chavez - he's plastered everywhere. at least there doesn't seem to be the same reluctance to openly criticise him - one guy i met in santa fe
couldn't wait to tell me how he thought of chavez as a dog. although he also pointed at everyone who passed and said in english 'he's crazy'
so maybe he wasn't the most reliable judge of character.
i've spoken to people who are very much in favour of him. one guy recommended i check out the documentary the revolution will not be televised
which recounts the failed coup in 2002. i watched it and understood why he wanted me to. it's an illuminating account - albeit with a pro-chavez bias (after watching i looked it up on wikipedia
and read about reported inaccuracies in the piece). the pro-chavez guy was adamant that this documentary shows how the opposition will behave if chavez doesn't get re-elected this year, an argument that reminded me of the pigs in animal farm
repeating the mantra surely, comrades, you do not want jones back?
. in other words, it was worse before... it could be worse again... so quit complaining.
in general i've spoken to more people who are against chavez, but that isn't a fair representation of national support. in general i've spoken to more people who can speak english therefore people who are richer and more educated. it's the poorer population who have a stronger support for chavez. while some would argue that chavez is good for the poor and bad for the rich, it can't be that simple. i mean it's fun to laugh at american imperialism
but i can't understand how making gasoline cheaper than drinking water
is really what the poor want or need.
reading this back it's sounding pretty anti-chavez, that's not really my intention, i'm only a traveller in this country so i can't really judge what it's like to live here under chavez - or indeed any other regime. as a traveller i have noticed that venezuela is not as free or easy as the other south american countries i've visited, so i believe changes need to be made. i also believe polarising the public so that they're either with chavez or against him is far from helpful. whatever the outcome, i'll watch the election with interest in october.
here's a larger version