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Manuel Rosales: "the world has given Hugo Chavez a democratic whipping"

By Aleksander Boyd

Caracas 16.10.06 | Imagine abject poverty. Imagine people scavenging for food on stinking rubbish piles. Now try and imagine a very poor person in such a setting saying "and to top it all off he is losing the UN vote to Guatemala..." Such is the surreality of this country. Hugo Chavez lost the vote today, and as Manuel Rosales aptly said moments ago in Montalban (west Caracas) Venezuela did not lose anything, rather it was Hugo Chavez who received today a democratic whipping in spite of having wasted millions in lobbying and outright vote-buying.

The images above were taken today in La Vega, a densely populated barrio located in west Caracas. A bed turned upside down serves as a wall in the improvised rancho where the black woman seen scavenging for food lives. As seen her rancho is right next to a pile of rubbish. And yet deranged Hugo Chavez sees fit to devote his time to 'lead' international revolutions. And yet the galloping megalomaniac gives Venezuelan resources to other countries when his own countrymen/women live in subhuman conditions right here in Caracas. Manuel Rosales is right in referring to Chavez as "el tipo ese" or that fella, for La Vega is not the only place where one can see this. Barrios around the whole country are in similar situation. Worse still in small cities in the interior, to where misiones' monies never make it, poor people don't even have piles of rubbish to scavenge from.

Of course a visit to a Caracas barrio always comes seasoned with the presence of quick action chavista groups that refuse other political forces to walk around what they consider their turf. Los guerreros de La Vega -La Vega warriors- made their appearance at today's rally. As far as I know there were no violent incidents apart from the common obscenities that both groups shout at each other. However the shocking aspect of it all was comments from residents of La Vega, some of whom have realised how hypocritical the official stance is. To them it's increasingly difficult to reconcile the behaviour of Chavez with the horrendous misery that surrounds them. No one living in La Vega can miss the scene depicted above for those ranchos are located in Calle Real, which is the main street.

Quite frankly I find rather difficult to figure out why some Venezuelans support Chavez. Ignorance and emotions play an important role in this drama. A recurrent answer from them is that Chavez treats them with respect and has devolved dignity to the disenfranchised. However not even the most radical chavista would define the abode and life of the black woman as dignified. To see Venezuelans living in such conditions after nearly 8 years of a Chavez rule that has been blessed with the highest ever oil windfall is the best example of the enormous failure of his administration. Today the international community whipped Hugo Chavez. On 3 December Venezuelans will do the same.

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