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Hugo Chavez's visit to New York: From hellhole to the Big Apple

By Veneconomy

14.09.05 | For President Chávez it is another dream come true: His grand entrance in New York, acclaimed by the left, Afro-Americans, intellectuals and scholars. Another feat of the government’s propaganda apparatus, busy whitewashing and camouflaging the true situation in Venezuela.

Those who will be hailing the country’s leader remind one of their peers of the past, who extolled the wonders that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin had wrought for their people in the 1930s. It is always the same people, the ones who believe in and allow themselves to be blinded by preconceived ideas, propaganda and political proselytizing that are a far cry from the daily lives of those who must suffer in the flesh the abuses and illegalities of the autocrat of the year.

None of the people applauding Chávez will stop to ponder why the 2005 Human Development Index, published by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, reports that Venezuela has dropped to 75th place, from 68th where it stood last year. Neither do they care that, under the Chávez administration, the country has slipped down seven points in the UNDP Index due to loss of income, a drop in life expectancy to 72.9 years (eight months less) and, furthermore, a literacy rate that descended to 93% in 2003, a drop of one tenth in comparison with 2002.

Nor, undoubtedly, will they stop to wonder why Venezuela has gone six steps downhill in the Economic Freedom Report prepared every year by the Cato and Fraser institutes, to spot 124 among the 127 countries studied. This means that, under Chávez, Venezuela now ranks alongside Zimbabwe, Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of Congo in areas such as legal structure, protection of property rights, access to sound sources of funding, international trade and laws and regulations. Plus, our country lags far behind Chile and Costa Rica, who share 20th place.

And while, in New York, Hugo Chávez is the hero of the American left, in Venezuela the blinders are beginning to fall off for many of the people, small producers and businessmen. They now know that neither economic well-being, private property or freedoms are possible with the revolution.

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