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The Nebulous Legacy and Wealth of Hugo Chávez

The Nebulous Legacy and Wealth of Hugo Chávez

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The Nebulous Heritage and Wealth of Hugo Chávez
The Nebulous Heritage and Wealth of Hugo Chávez

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Published by: Jerry E. Brewer, Sr. on Mar 20, 2013
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03/20/2013

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The Nebulous Heritage of Hugo Chávez
Written by Jerry Brewer 
T
he death of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez Frias, 58, was announced on
state television on March 5, 2013 in Caracas by Vice President Nicolas Maduro. After areported two year battle with what had been described as an aggressive pelvic cancer,the head
of Venezuela's presidential guard stated that Mr. Chávez died “from a massiveheart attack”. Many throughout the world were quick to proclaim the irony of Mr. Chávez
dying on the same date as Joseph Stalin, the de facto socialist leader of the former Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. Stalin, a powerful Communist
leader in the early years of the Soviet Union, was known as a ruthless dictator “whoterrorized the population and sent many people to prisons and labor camps”.
 Historians have claimed that Stalin was poisoned with warfarin, a tasteless and
colorless blood thinner often used as a rat killer. After Mr. Chávez’s death, Vice
President Maduro made claims that Mr. Chávez was poisoned "by dark forces thatwanted him out of the way". Mr. Maduro had also made said allegation five hours before
Mr. Chávez’s death on March 5.
 
Taking from a page of his hero and mentor, former Cuban President Fidel Castro’s
frequent repertoire of being targeted for assassination by the US, Mr. Chávez madesimilar claims on more than one occasion. In 2011, he accused the US of poisoning
 
other Latin American leaders with cancer. And in 2005, Mr. Chávez announced that if 
the US succeeded in assassinating him, “the name of the person responsible is GeorgeBush”.
 Mr. Chávez frequently took to the media airwaves to say that the US was planning to
invade Venezuela. This might explain the seemingly reckless expenditures of “morethan US$15 billion for military arms and equipment,” that included fighter aircraft,
helicopters, and over 100,000 Russian Kalashnikov assault rifles. Mass outlays that hurtthe Venezuelan economy immeasurably.In death, the world media is starting to question the acquired wealth of Hugo Chávezand his family, especially since the nation has not been seeing the benefits of its oncevast oil wealth and revenues. An estimate of at least US$1.8 billion has been attributedto Mr. Chávez during his presidency -- with current reports far exceeding thosenumbers.The true results of Mr. Chávez's leftist rule until death (1999-2013) have been some of the most devastating in Venezuela's history, with the poor continuing to live below thepoverty line, in squalor, unsafe homes, with little food and rolling blackouts of electricity,among other issues that plague the poor. The facts are clear. A critical issue that Mr.Chávez refused to discuss, even during elections with political opponents let alone withthe people of Venezuela, is the amount of money coming into the country versus themassive debt that became the highest in the nation's history during his rule. Billions of bolivars and US dollars have been squandered, as well as the disbursing of significantamounts of money to other leftist leaders in exchange for promises of political loyaltyand support. A major concern for a once proud Venezuelan homeland was Mr. Chávez having takenup the banner of Fidel Castro as his own, along with Cuba's failed revolution of atrocities, human rights abuses and shameful misery. Mr. Chávez called his statetakeover of 
Venezuela’s dominate oil and natural gas company, Petroleos de
Venezuela (PDVSA), as one of his revolution's greatest successes. As Mr. Chávez tookoffice in 1999, debt rose more than 10-fold -- since 2006 to more than US$34 billion.Petrodollars fueled M
r. Chávez’s socialist spending with massive amounts of 
Venezuelan earned wealth unaccounted for. Oil and petroleum products had onceaccounted for about 95 percent of Venezuela's exports and contributed more than athird of its GDP. PDVSA was once considered one of the most efficient run oilcompanies in the Americas. Inefficiency and incompetence under Mr. Chávez's rule isnow frequently reported.Gustavo Coronel, a former member of the Board of Directors of PDVSA (1976
 –
79) andpresident of Agrupacion Pro Calidad de Vida, was also the Venezuelan representativeto Transparency International (1996
 –
2000). Subsequently, Mr. Coronel wrote of thecorruption, abuse, and mismanagement of Mr. Chávez in a CATO Institute report of November 27, 2006. Mr. Coronel report
ed, “The windfall of oil revenues has
encouraged the rise in corruption. In the approximately eight years Chávez has been in

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