Venezuela under Hugo Chavez’ rule has seen unemployment drop from 15% to 8%, infant mortality drop from 20 per 1000 to 13, extreme poverty drop from 23% to 9% (The Guardian 10/4/12]. That paints an extraordinary picture of rising fairness for those most in need of government help. Given the resistance of the Venezuelan rich and the U.S., this is an extraordinary achievement.
It is of course also a huge embarrassment to all conservative regimes in the Hemisphere (including the two-party conservative rule in Washington) that pretend social justice is just a little bit too expensive for us all to afford right now. If Venezuela can afford it, so can we. But we instead concentrate on protecting the rich: no wonder corporate America and its political servants find Chavez irritating. Chavez should be helped to do better, not castigated for showing the way. Those who oppose him of course ignore his achievements…it is hard for an elitist to explain opposition to dramatic cuts in infant mortality