Attempt to heal a bleeding continent

Eirik Vold: Hugo Chávez. The Revenue Manifest. Norway

The Hugo Chávez Revenge
Forfatter: Eirik Vold
Forlag: Manifest (Norge)
Eirik Vold's book about Hugo Chávez's life and the story of the Latin American liberation struggle is very readable.


NRK Nestor Arnt Stefansen has summarized Venezuela's history as follows: "A deep and systematic injustice, in which the colonial lords and their descendants have lived in abundance, while the vast majority have been exploited and depleted." Eirik Vold takes us to a personal meeting with it the deceased president and his fight against this injustice in the book Hugo Chávez. Revenge.

Wikileaks and the President himself. The CIA's new chief Michael Pompeo recently called Wikileaks "a hostile intelligence organization working with dictators". Pompeo came with uncovered threats, threats no one dare take lightly. Just two months ago, Pompeo visited Riyadh to award the CIA's George Tenet Prize for Counterterrorism to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef. Prize to the Democratic Lighthouse Saudi Arabia!

Wikileaks has provided Eirik Vold with plenty of material for the book about Venezuela's former president. "I could compare what diplomats report home in secret with what they say publicly and what they take seriously. There is a lot of juggling, and Wikileaks provides important facts. The US feared Chávez more than they would admit, ”the author says.

It is not often that Norwegian academic books are translated to reach readers outside Norway. Hugo Chávez. revenge is one of the exceptions. Violence builds its story through two acquaintances: Omaira, the enterprising single mother from the slums of Caracas, and small business owner Antonio from the middle class. The first is a supporter, the second a critic of Chávez. The president himself naturally forms the main line of the story. But Violence enriches it with short, supplementary deep dives in everything from personal experiences to the World Bank's role in free trade in development. He writes about election campaigns and referendums, about foreign threats and interventions. Violence depicts the continent in a historical context. The author's quest for a personal interview with Chávez has its own dramaturgy and culminates in a three-hour, 18-page conversation that took place during a unique flight with a time-generous president.

Democrat, not dictator. Norwegian right-hand side with Civita in the lead has not let the chance to criticize Violence. To them, Chávez is a dictator. Chávez, who repeatedly won democratic elections, and even respected those who did not go his way, won 17 referendums – 5 of which were national elections – in 13 years. Violence describes how the president himself introduced the right to demand a referendum at the halfway point of the election period. That he was allowed to remove the restriction of re-election to the leadership position is no more undemocratic than the Norwegian system, where Erna Solberg can be re-elected into eternity – if Norwegian women and men want. In other words, not very dictatorial. Jimmy Carter's election observers then gave Hugo Chávez good grades. Stefansen probably hits the nail on the head: "Civita cries crocodile tears for her rich friends in Venezuela."

The homes, universities and health centers were not gifts to the people, Chávez said: They have always belonged to them, but have been robbed of them by corrupt leadership and greedy companies.

Minervas Marsteinstrede, in turn, recommends readers Commanding (2013) by The Guardian journalist Rory Carroll, an English word equilibrium ultimate. But in addition to the criticism, Carroll also praised Chávez for speaking of the poor as "the majority who deserve a seat at the table", as "people who do not have to apologize for being poor". "[Chávez] was one who struck down the rich who shopped in Miami with their petrodollars and ignored the poor shelters on the mountainside. He told rich people that their privileges were obscene. And he was right, "Carroll wrote. Chávez wanted to stop the "bleeding" from the treasury, but many warned him of the danger of being taken by days like Iran's Mossadegh, Chile's Allende and many more. Oil is not sanctioned unpunished by the United States and the CIA.

Vulnerable projects. Violence describes the president's many missions – increased housing construction and education for the poor, 23 new universities, slum music schools, food subsidies and health centers. Everything was pedagogically linked directly to the huge sums of money Chávez raised from oil sales. In this way, people could see for themselves what the increased taxation of the oil companies went to. It was good public information to show what the predecessors had stolen. Missions are not gifts to the people, Chávez said: They have always belonged to them, but have been robbed of them by corrupt leadership and greedy companies.

But with expensive missions social projects remained vulnerable to oil price fluctuations. At the end of Chávez's reign, oil accounted for 96 percent of export earnings. Then a dramatic fall means disaster. The corresponding figure for Norway is 37 percent (2016), values ​​that we could afford to save most of. Still: Shouldn't it mean that the percentage of poor people in Venezuela fell from 50 to 30 percent below Chávez, according to World Bank figures?

"The hatred of the middle and upper classes against the poor runs deep in Venezuela," says Vold. This makes it easier to live with and explain away the deep economic differences. The crime in the slum makes it even easier to condemn the underclass. Chávez did not succeed in reducing the murder rate, which has been at the top of the world for many decades.

Violence itself experienced robbery and assault. He rents rooms in the slums and gets close to different social classes. His reports are based on the more participatory observation of many anthropologists.

Faceted. One gains confidence in the narrator Vold. He does not fail to criticize Hugo Chávez for failing to pursue economic policies and for violence and corruption. He tells of students who believe that the right to education means the right to get a university degree without studying seriously. But he also does not conceal that he is captivated by the charismatic president and his undisputed social commitment, many and long hours at work, intense and warm contact with the people he met. "He gave you the feeling of being seen," says Vold. The story of the little boy on the side of the road who takes a half-chewed biscuit out of his mouth is enjoyable: The boy hands it to the president who does not hesitate to put it in his own. No wonder Chávez had a 90 percent support at best.

The boy hands the half-chewed biscuit to President Chávez who does not hesitate to put it in his own mouth.

Then Chávez was also criticized by his friend Fidel Castro for being careless. Castro, who reportedly survived 638 CIA assassination attempts under all Eisenhower US presidents. The official Church committee confirms eight attempted assaults only during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

For decades, Eduardo Galeanos Latin America's open veins has been the authoritative gateway to knowledge of Latin American history. Eirik Volds Hugo Chávez. revenge is a literary contribution in the spirit of Galeano. His observations about the late Venezuelan leader and his life of good and evil – interwoven throughout the continent's long liberation struggle – are simply believers. It also doesn't matter that the book is easy to read and entertaining. Hugo Chávez. The revenge deserves to be read by many.

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