2 February 1999 — 21st century socialist Hugo Chavez begins his first presidential term in Venezuela

February 04, 2019

On 2 February 1999, socialist dictator and supreme kleptocrat, Hugo Chavez, was sworn in for his first of four terms (and 14 years) as President of Venezuela after his electoral victory on 6 December 1998. (His last term as president was only two months long, from 10 January 2013, due to his failing health and ultimate death – “officially announced” as 5 March 2013.)

As with all socialist leaders, when they get power, they transform their countries into tyrannical, socialist hell-holes of repression and poverty – economic basket-cases (with famines, hyper-inflation and chaos), kleptocracies, Stasi-like societies (tightly upholding their own forms of political correctness), political incarcerations and global crime/murder capitals. Chavez, with the help of his hand-picked successor and current President, Nicolas Maduro, are no different. In fact, they get a “gold star” for socialistic dystopianism, as Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world (and that’s in absolute terms, not just per capita) yet has been plunged into a cesspit of despair and misery today – a descent faster and starker than any other country so far this century.

Admittedly, most of the damage has crystallised under the reign of Chavez’s anointed successor, Maduro – particularly since world oil prices fell from their elevated heights over the decade to mid-2014. But the current economic and social calamities today would have emerged even if Chavez had remained in power.

The seeds of doom were planted throughout the multiple presidential terms of Chavez, with his nationalising of the oil industry, then siphoning off “his family’s share” of the revenues (standard fare for such “men of the people”), and keeping key groups in the populace on-side with lavish handouts from an oil price/mining boom that simply had to last forever.

In early 2007, many intellectuals and establishment elites, including in Australia, were praising the (then eight year) socialistic reign of President Chavez and instructing Western world countries (including their own) to adopt Venezuelan-style socialism at home. Even then new Australian Labor leaders (ie Kevin Rudd), with wordy tomes, were embracing the pre-GFC socialist zeitgeist emerging globally with Chavez as its poster child.

Whilst some (eg Warren Mundine, although without reference to their 2007 advocacy) have walked back their position on Chavez and socialism since (subscription required), most others have not. It would appear these finger-waggers have simply moved on after time has proven them so embarrassingly wrong and naïve, yet again.

Mark/commiserate this day when former Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, came to power and introduced “21st century socialism” to his country – not materially different to 20th century socialism, as the world found out – by:

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