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InvisibleAlex213
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Chavez provides alternative for a decent society
    #5623676 - 05/13/06 04:07 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Chávez is a threat because he offers the alternative of a decent society. Venezuela's president is using oil revenues to liberate the poor - no wonder his enemies want to overthrow him.

I have spent the past three weeks filming in the hillside barrios of Caracas, in streets and breeze-block houses that defy gravity and torrential rain and emerge at night like fireflies in the fog. Caracas is said to be one of the world's toughest cities, yet I have known no fear; the poorest have welcomed my colleagues and me with a warmth characteristic of ordinary Venezuelans but also with the unmistakable confidence of a people who know that change is possible and who, in their everyday lives, are reclaiming noble concepts long emptied of their meaning in the west: "reform", "popular democracy", "equity", "social justice" and, yes, "freedom".

The other night, in a room bare except for a single fluorescent tube, I heard these words spoken by the likes of Ana Lucia Fernandez, aged 86, Celedonia Oviedo, aged 74, and Mavis Mendez, aged 95. A mere 33-year-old, Sonia Alvarez, had come with her two young children. Until about a year ago, none of them could read and write; now they are studying mathematics. For the first time in its modern era, Venezuela has almost 100% literacy.

This achievement is due to a national programme, called Mision Robinson, designed for adults and teenagers previously denied an education because of poverty. Mision Ribas is giving everyone a secondary school education, called a bachillerato. (The names Robinson and Ribas refer to Venezuelan independence leaders from the 19th century.) Named, like much else here, after the great liberator Simon Bolivar, "Bolivarian", or people's, universities have opened, introducing, as one parent told me, "treasures of the mind, history and music and art, we barely knew existed". Under Hugo Chávez, Venezuela is the first major oil producer to use its oil revenue to liberate the poor.

Mavis Mendez has seen, in her 95 years, a parade of governments preside over the theft of tens of billions of dollars in oil spoils, much of it flown to Miami, together with the steepest descent into poverty ever known in Latin America; from 18% in 1980 to 65% in 1995, three years before Chávez was elected. "We didn't matter in a human sense," she said. "We lived and died without real education and running water, and food we couldn't afford. When we fell ill, the weakest died. In the east of the city, where the mansions are, we were invisible, or we were feared. Now I can read and write my name, and so much more; and whatever the rich and their media say, we have planted the seeds of true democracy, and I am full of joy that I have lived to witness it."

Latin American governments often give their regimes a new sense of legitimacy by holding a constituent assembly that drafts a new constitution. When he was elected in 1998, Chávez used this brilliantly to decentralise, to give the impoverished grassroots power they had never known and to begin to dismantle a corrupt political superstructure as a prerequisite to changing the direction of the economy. His setting-up of misions as a means of bypassing saboteurs in the old, corrupt bureaucracy was typical of the extraordinary political and social imagination that is changing Venezuela peacefully. This is his "Bolivarian revolution", which, at this stage, is not dissimilar to the post-war European social democracies.

Chávez, a former army major, was anxious to prove he was not yet another military "strongman". He promised that his every move would be subject to the will of the people. In his first year as president in 1999, he held an unprecedented number of votes: a referendum on whether or not people wanted a new constituent assembly; elections for the assembly; a second referendum ratifying the new constitution - 71% of the people approved each of the 396 articles that gave Mavis and Celedonia and Ana Lucia, and their children and grandchildren, unheard-of freedoms, such as Article 123, which for the first time recognised the human rights of mixed-race and black people, of whom Chávez is one.

Nora Hernandez, a community worker in Petare barrio, took me to her local state-run supermarket, which is funded entirely by oil revenue and where prices are up to half those in the commercial chains. Proudly, she showed me articles of the constitution written on the backs of soap-powder packets. "We can never go back," she said.

From next month, the poorest housewives will get about £120 a month. It is not surprising that Chávez has now won eight elections and referendums in eight years, each time increasing his majority, a world record. He is the most popular head of state in the western hemisphere, probably in the world. That is why he survived, amazingly, a Washington-backed coup in 2002. Mariella and Celedonia and Nora and hundreds of thousands of others came down from the barrios and demanded that the army remain loyal. "The people rescued me," Chávez told me. "They did it with all the media against me, preventing even the basic facts of what had happened. For popular democracy in heroic action, I suggest you need look no further."

The venomous attacks on Chávez, who arrives in London tomorrow, have begun and resemble uncannily those of the privately owned Venezuelan television and press, which called for the elected government to be overthrown. Fact-deprived attacks on Chávez in the Times and the Financial Times this week, each with that peculiar malice reserved for true dissenters from Thatcher's and Blair's one true way, follow a travesty of journalism on Channel 4 News last month, which effectively accused the Venezuelan president of plotting to make nuclear weapons with Iran, an absurd fantasy. The reporter sneered at policies to eradicate poverty and presented Chávez as a sinister buffoon, while Donald Rumsfeld was allowed to liken him to Hitler, unchallenged. In contrast, Tony Blair, a patrician with no equivalent democratic record, having been elected by a fifth of those eligible to vote and having caused the violent death of tens of thousands of Iraqis, is allowed to continue spinning his truly absurd political survival tale.

Chávez is, of course, a threat, especially to the United States. Like the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, who based their revolution on the English co-operative moment, and the moderate Allende in Chile, he offers the threat of an alternative way of developing a decent society: in other words, the threat of a good example in a continent where the majority of humanity has long suffered a Washington-designed peonage. In the US media in the 1980s, the "threat" of tiny Nicaragua was seriously debated until it was crushed. Venezuela is clearly being "softened up" for something similar. A US army publication, Doctrine for Asymmetric War against Venezuela, describes Chávez and the Bolivarian revolution as the "largest threat since the Soviet Union and Communism". When I said to Chávez that the US historically had had its way in Latin America, he replied: "Yes, and my assassination would come as no surprise. But the empire is in trouble, and the people of Venezuela will resist an attack. We ask only for the support of all true democrats."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1773966,00.html


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Alex213]
    #5623826 - 05/13/06 11:20 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Seriously...the guy is a populist loon. Sure, his desire to help the poor is noble. But what about all of his conspiracy theories (America is going to invade Venezuala, etc...)? He is just plain nutty.


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Offlinewilshire
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #5623838 - 05/13/06 11:24 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

it's the guardian. 

:shrug:


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #5624000 - 05/13/06 12:06 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

America is going to invade Venezuala

Stranger things have happened  :laugh:


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: wilshire]
    #5624006 - 05/13/06 12:07 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

it's the guardian.



No, it's John Pilger. One of the guardians harshest critics.

Do you have any thoughts on the content of the article?


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Offlinewilshire
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Alex213]
    #5624079 - 05/13/06 12:22 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

yes, it reads like propaganda, not news. it's very one-sided, like most of the stuff published in that paper.


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Invisiblepsilomonkey
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #5624191 - 05/13/06 12:56 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Populist, yes. Seriously questionable policies, yes. Insane, I don't think so.

But why is it nutty to thing America will attack him, either directly or by proxy? Its not like America does not have form in region.

1954 Guatemala CIA-trained exiles overthrew the socialist government
1961 Cuba CIA-trained exiles invade Cuba
1965 Dominican Republic America invades in installed new government
1983 Grenada 1,900 US Marines invaded and deposed the existing government
1984 Nicaragua CIA secretly mined Nicaraguan harbors
1989-90 Panama US invasion force of 24,000 overthrew President Noriega
1994 Haiti US invasion and occupation


Edited by psilomonkey (05/13/06 01:04 PM)


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: wilshire]
    #5624424 - 05/13/06 02:08 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

yes, it reads like propaganda, not news

Presumably in your opinion it's "news" as long as it attacks Chavez?

Don't you believe putting money into education and cheap food for people is a GOOD thing?


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: psilomonkey]
    #5624575 - 05/13/06 03:03 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

psilomonkey writes:

Quote:

1965 Dominican Republic America invades in installed new government




Several others on your list are equally dubiously-phrased, but I will mention only this one now since I live in the Dominican Republic and am very familiar with the events of 1965. In a nutshell, that claim is sheer unadulterated total and complete BULLSHIT.

Lyndon Johnson did send in US troops to stabilize the country, which had degenerated into pretty much full on civil war after a series of military coup after military coup, the first of which had deposed Juan Bosch, the first democratically elected president of the Dominican Republic.

The presence of US troops allowed seven American countries to organize the second ever democratic election in the country. At that time it was the most scrupulously fair election ever held anywhere in Latin America. Juan Bosch of course ran for re-election, but lost to Joachim Balaguer. The American troops left and never returned.

There is no Dominican alive today over the age of fifty who wouldn't laugh hismself silly at the charge that the Americans "invaded" and "installed" Balaguer's government. Even ardent followers of Juan Bosch (a definitely left-leaning politician) won't make that charge. Bosch lost that election, true, but he would never have had a chance to even run had the Americans not come to the aid of the Dominican people, kicked out the generals, and arranged for new elections.

There are some threads from two or three years ago where I go into this in much more detail, with links to multiple non-partisan reference sources. Hell, at least one of the sources is decidely anti-American, but even he admits there was no "installation" of any government. You can look the threads up if you wish -- I don't feel like bumping them again at this time.



Phred


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Invisiblepsilomonkey
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Phred]
    #5624671 - 05/13/06 03:31 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Phred, my point was nothing to do with the justification for invasion, it was that America is not afraid to act in that region.

I am not American, this does not automatically make me an Anti-American left wing nutjob.

If Chavez turns out to be a tin-pot-Hitler I fully support getting rid of him. Maybe he plans on being a tin-pot-Hitler and thats why he's worried  :wink:


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: psilomonkey]
    #5624779 - 05/13/06 04:03 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

And my point was that these ubiquitous laundry lists of supposedly imperial actions by the US in the Americas often turn out upon even the most cursory inspection to be bullshit. I've seen lists with as many as fifty "incidents" on them. A quick read by even a casual student of history will strike at least three quarters of them off the list, and a bit of actual research will result in more than half the remaining ones being eliminated as well. Someone willing to invest some serious time checking the remaining claims will probably eliminate half of the final cases, too.

I didn't say you are anti-American, I merely pointed out that the list you have apparently accepted as an accurate representation of American actions in the Americas is a bullshit list.

To bring this little side tangent back to Chavez -- Chavez knows full well the chance of the US invading his country is zero.




Phred


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Invisiblepsilomonkey
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Phred]
    #5624842 - 05/13/06 04:25 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Point taken, to be honest I did not read to carefully, and yeah, the terms attributed to the actions are bullshit, but the US did involve itself militarily.

And yes to chances of the US invading in the next few years are zero. But he is thinking on staying 20-25 years, he want to assume a lot of power, that needs people to feel threatened so that they accept him as their protector and savior.

He models himself on Castro, fuck knows why.


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Offlinewilshire
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Alex213]
    #5625040 - 05/13/06 05:32 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

No, it's John Pilger. One of the guardians harshest critics.

john pilger is one of the guardians harshest critics? for what does he criticize it?


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: wilshire]
    #5625064 - 05/13/06 05:39 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Being a right-wing house organ for the Downing Street thugocracy, of course. Sheesh, where have you been?


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: wilshire]
    #5625085 - 05/13/06 05:47 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Heh. Jonathan Pilger is right up there with Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky in the LLL Idiotarian competition. As zap points out, he sees The Guardian as a Right Wing publication. He probably views The Nation and Mother Jones as Right Wing rags, too.



Phred


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Phred]
    #5627495 - 05/14/06 06:16 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Lyndon Johnson did send in US troops to stabilize the country

LOL! Isn't that the excuse they've used for every invasion since the second world war? They're only there to "stabilise" Iraq too right?  :grin:


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Phred]
    #5627496 - 05/14/06 06:19 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Jonathan Pilger is right up there with Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky

In regards of telling the truth he certainly is. You arn't going to learn anything from the useful idiots that you rely on for information like Ralph Peters.

Fisk has forgotten more about the middle east than Ralph Peters will ever know. Fisk was the first guy into Chatila, on his own dodging the roving militias. That's what you call a journalist.


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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Alex213]
    #5628265 - 05/14/06 02:12 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

There's a huge difference between our actions in Iraq and in the DR. While I still do not support our invasion of Iraq, what we did in the DR was very didn't. It was a peacekeeping mission, much along the lines of what we did (or meant to do) for Somalia.

What we did for the DR is what we SHOULD be using our military for; not invading countries will-nilly.


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: wilshire]
    #5631136 - 05/15/06 03:56 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

it's the guardian.


Incidentally before your delusion that the Guardian is "left-wing" gets too entrenched bear in mind that when there were a million people on the streets protesting the invasion of Iraq and tv audiences slow-handclapping Blair off the stage, the Guardian was supporting the government line totally.

Don't think that because it's not as far to the extreme right as the rest of the mainstream media that makes it "left-wing".


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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Alex213]
    #5631451 - 05/15/06 07:54 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Incidentally before your delusion that the Guardian is "left-wing" gets too entrenched bear in mind...




And there we have it, folks. If any of you Psych majors need a textbook example of denial to include in a term paper one day, bookmark the link to that post. No need to look further.





Phred


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Phred]
    #5631463 - 05/15/06 08:12 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

:rolleyes:

I guess as far as you're concerned anything that doesn't agree with Fox news or one of those deranged right-wing blogs you get your information from must be "left-wing". I'm sorry but that isn't the case.

A left-wing newspaper wouldn't have supported Blairs invasion of Iraq. Think about it.


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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Alex213]
    #5631474 - 05/15/06 08:24 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Please name a newspaper you would classify as left-leaning.



Phred


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Phred]
    #5631488 - 05/15/06 08:41 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

The Guardian also fell into line to support Blair's propaganda bullshit about "genocide" in Kosovo.

A left-leaning mainstream newspaper? I'm still looking for one.


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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Alex213]
    #5631601 - 05/15/06 10:03 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Chavez has done some noble things for the poor, but like RandalFlagg said, he's pretty loony, and his rhetoric shows that he's no friend of free speech. The more I learn about him, the more he reminds me of his buddy Castro.


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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Alex213]
    #5631872 - 05/15/06 12:09 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Why is genocide in quotations?


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Redstorm]
    #5632071 - 05/15/06 01:06 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Because there was no genocide.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Alex213]
    #5632326 - 05/15/06 02:17 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Alex213 said:
Because there was no genocide.



Ya, and can you believe those crazy conservatives who think the holocaust actually happened?


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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Alex213]
    #5632367 - 05/15/06 02:34 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

The killings in Darfur are just a civil war, too. The only problem is that one side has weapons and the other doesn't.


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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Redstorm]
    #5632381 - 05/15/06 02:41 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Just compare the respective numbers of casualties in Kosovo and Darfur.

For Kosovo, of course, don't look at the 1999 newspapers, when the media were pressing for intervention. Try to find some figures on casualties from independent sources, compiled after the war, when Camp Bondsteel (google it) had been established and there was nothing to gain anymore. Then tell me if a "genocide" has ever been going on there.

Silversoul, look up the definition for "genocide". Or show me sources for the existence of concentration/extermination camps, gas chambers and the like in Kosovo.


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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Aldous]
    #5632407 - 05/15/06 02:47 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

There doesn't have to be camps or gas chambers for it to be genocide.

Quote:

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1948 and came into effect in January 1951. It defines and outlaws genocide, as a result of campaigning by Raphael Lemkin who had coined the term some years earlier. The total number of states who have ratified the convention is currently 137.

The Convention (in article 2) defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:"

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide_Convention

Also, a genocide doesn't have to be completely successful for it to still be planned genocide.


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InvisibleLuddite
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: psilomonkey]
    #5634045 - 05/15/06 08:09 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

psilomonkey said:
Populist, yes. Seriously questionable policies, yes. Insane, I don't think so.

But why is it nutty to thing America will attack him, either directly or by proxy? Its not like America does not have form in region.

1954 Guatemala CIA-trained exiles overthrew the socialist government
1961 Cuba CIA-trained exiles invade Cuba
1965 Dominican Republic America invades in installed new government
1983 Grenada 1,900 US Marines invaded and deposed the existing government
1984 Nicaragua CIA secretly mined Nicaraguan harbors
1989-90 Panama US invasion force of 24,000 overthrew President Noriega
1994 Haiti US invasion and occupation




2006 Venzeula Chavez invasion and occupation of Venzeula


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Redstorm]
    #5636013 - 05/16/06 02:47 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

There doesn't have to be camps or gas chambers for it to be genocide.

There has to be a lot of bodies tho.

Also, a genocide doesn't have to be completely successful for it to still be planned genocide.

It has to have an existence in the real world outside of a western politicians mind trying to justify an invasion tho.


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Luddite]
    #5636017 - 05/16/06 02:48 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

2006 Venzeula Chavez invasion and occupation of Venzeula


Come again?

Was this "occupation" after he won the 10 elections?


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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Redstorm]
    #5636340 - 05/16/06 05:41 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

Redstorm said:
There doesn't have to be camps or gas chambers for it to be genocide.
[...]
Also, a genocide doesn't have to be completely successful for it to still be planned genocide.


Absolutely, but the intention has to be there. One group arbitrarily killing about 50 members of another group does not suffice to establish such intention. The Racak massacre was the event that triggered the Western response, along with a lot of propaganda. It was the worst single real-life event that led up to it, so you can hardly label that a "genocide". In the first few days of the intervention, there was word of "up to 500,000 people massacred". In the aftermath, it appeared that less than 2,000 (if I remember well) people had been killed throughout the whole series of events (which had been accelerated by the Western intervention).

Still convinced it was a "genocide"? You know, the problem with that word, like with "fascism" and other loaded terms, is that one should use them with measure if they are to keep some impact. When a white racist kills a random black man for racial motives and gets arrested, you could argue that he had the intention of killing all blacks (or at least, as many as possible) and charge him with genocide. But that would just lessen the impact of the concept, and it would be useless when really needed.

But let's get back to Venezuela.


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Re: Chavez provides alternative for a decent society [Re: Aldous]
    #5636903 - 05/16/06 12:04 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

But let's get back to Venezuela.




:thumbup:


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