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Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan President, Dead at 58

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's fiery and controversial socialist president who came to power on wave of popular sentiment and befriended some of the world's most nefarious dictators, has died at the age of 58, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said today.

Chavev had been fighting cancer, recently seeking treatment at a clinic in Cuba.

A self-described champion of the poor who first tried to overturn Venezuela's powerful elites in a failed 1992 coup, Chavez was democratically elected in 1999, with huge support from the country's poor.

During his time in office, he became one of Latin America's most well-known and polarizing figures. A constant thorn in the side of the United States, he commanded headlines in newspapers around the world. A populist who suppressed free speech, he remained immensely popular among his country's poor.

From the time he won election in 1999, Chavez held onto power through tightly controlling the media and through a series of populist elections and referenda, including one that allowed him to seek a limitless number of terms.

Chavez, whose public appearances diminished in months received his first surgery and chemotherapy treatment for cancer in Cuba in 2011.

He returned to Cuba, a guest of that country's ailing socialist leader Fidel Castro, for treatment and surgery in February 2012.

Chavez announced on Dec. 8 on state television that he would travel back to Cuba to undergo surgery since his pelvic cancer had "returned."

Despite his ailing health, Chavez was reelected last year.

Chavez was born in 1954 in the town of Sabenta, Venezuela. Both his parents were schoolteachers. A military academy graduate and a decorated paratrooper, in the 1980s he and a group of officers founded an underground socialist organization named for the 19th century South American revolutionary Simon Bolivar.

Full Coverage: Hugo Chavez

In 1992 that group, the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement, led a failed coup that ended with 18 people killed and Chavez imprisoned.

Chavez spent two years in prison before receiving a pardon. After leaving prison, he rebranded his movement into a populist party called the Movement of the Fifth Republic and replaced his military uniform with business attire, or oftentimes a red shirt or red track suit.

Venezuela has one of the longest democratic traditions in Latin America, but by the early 1990s many of the country's working and middle class people were disenchanted with the country's two primary political parties, both of which suffered from endemic corruption.

Chavez, an icon from his prison days, promised to rid the country of corruption and pledged to divert revenue from the country's ample oil sales to projects aimed at helping the poor, including improved education and health care. Unemployment and poverty, however, remain high despite the country's oil wealth.

Always the firebrand, Chavez created a series of bogeymen on which the Venezuelan people could pin their frustrations, firing jabs at traditional spheres of power and influence, including the oil companies, the Catholic Church and the United States.

In a public address he once said of oil executives that they live in "luxury chalets where they perform orgies, drinking whisky."

He accused the church hierarchy of ignoring the plight of the poor, claiming Jesus would have been a socialist and priests "do not walk in ... the path of Christ."

by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Replies (51-52):
by Platinum Member on Mar. 6, 2013 at 2:39 PM
I understand your point (believe it or not) I should've stated the "general you"

I understand that the US (CIA) involvement in Latin America has a long and very distasteful history. For example the Guatemala Civil War the US knew of the Guatemala military abuses ... They also new of Cuba's involvement of such abuses too, and Cuba and Nicaragua direct link to such abuses ... Knowing and allowing is a bit different than direct involvement. 200k people died because of Cold War drama. It's sad, but to even show the situation of the Guatemala of that time would show only an indirect linkage to the CIA. The human right violations of that civil war would have still taken place without US involvement (not justify it here)

If the CIA wanted Chavez dead ... What would be the purpose of him taking two years to die, and have an election in between that time? There too many unreasonable and unanswered questions as to the reason and to the motivation of the CIA to be in any way linked to his murder.

Besides, to say Obama is a puppet is a bit of a knock

Quoting krysstizzle:

Thanks for the clarifictation. 

I think, however, that you're attributing meanings to my words that I didn't say or imply, particularly the highlighted part. What I have said, repeatedly, is that the US has repeatedly intervened in Latin American politics in ways that certainly were insidious. There's no need to make far-fetched claims, just the cold, hard facts are enough to make that very clear. (For one example, the US' role in the Guatemalan genocide during the 80s and 90s). 

How is any of this an attack on Obama? Imo, Obama is just a puppet in the game like any other high ranking official paid by extensive and powerful corporate interests. 

Quoting Donna6503:

Your last paragraph is basically my point.

On MK Ultra, my basic premise is a eugenics program is a secret ... To make the claim that the program was a means for a new world government run by mutants is a conspiracy theory.

Still, I think there are far more motivated players that would want to kill Chavez than the CIA.

My orginal premise, that it wouldn't take long for someone to claim he was murdered by the CIA is correct.

To me it is just an attack on Obama and it's an unjust attack.

Quoting krysstizzle:

That's quite the leap. I did not mean that because the CIA carried out MK Ultra, then the only logical conclusion is that they murdered Chavez. In fact, I pointedly stated that I honestly have not view on Chavez' death either way. I think it's possible, I'm not convinced it probable. 

The CIA, government sanctioned 'contractors', and other entities have carried out incredibly shady dealings in Latin America for the last century. That is verifiable and completely accurate. 

To assume that they just suddenly stopped interfering is ludicrous, imo. I think it is incredibly likely that 20 years from now, de-classified documents are going to show that there are quite a few things going on that we don't know about. Although, it does seem to have been shifting from direct government involvement (CIA, etc.) to independent contractors for the government. 

I'm really not sure what point you're trying to get across. If you're point is only that the federal government had nothing to do with Chavez' death, I mostly agree with you (but still allow room for the faint possibility otherwise). 

Quoting Donna6503:

MK Ultra is over 60 years old. Chavez has been dead for a day. To say that the CIA committed his death base on an activity that started 60 years ago ... Can only be based on a conspiracy theory.

Two, UK Ultra was a secret ... Yes governments have secrets that's isn't a conspiracy .... But, your insistence that this death was cause by the CIA is a conspiracy theory and should be treated as such.

Quoting krysstizzle:

What do you mean? MK Ultra isn't a conspiracy theory. 

Quoting Donna6503:

You're getting into tin foil hats stuff .. Conspiracy Theories are more of a belief than anything ... If you believe in such things fine ... I mean we can talk about this death being done by alien bigfoots; you'll have just about the same amount of evidence to support such a claim as with this was done by the CIA

Quoting krysstizzle:

*shrug* I'd be more surprised if we knew everything both CIA and other unnamed entities were up to. The public didn't know about the MK Ultra project until 20 years after it began. 

Regardless, I take everything the US media and US government says with many, many grains of salt, especially regarding Latin America. 

Quoting Donna6503:

Hmm true, but can you find evidence of CIA involvement in So America in the last six years? No, not really ... Yet, I can find Chavez heavily involved in Honduras, Panama, Columbia, and countries in the area .. Their support of FARC is well known.

To me, I don't need to go far in my thinking that Iran will make up a lie for political reasoning and motive. Yet, for me to believe that the CIA did this act, would go far beyond basic reasoning to come to that conclusion.

Quoting krysstizzle:

I'm not necessarily supporting that point. I, frankly, have no idea whether his death was caused by something other than cancer or not. I'm simply pointing out that the U.S. has a long and crappy history in Latin America and that assassination in this case wouldn't surprise me in the least. 

Regardless of how incompetent the CIA may or may not be, the US government and their interventions in Latin America has caused a lot of heartache, death, misery, and destruction south of our borders. That's no small thing. 

Quoting Donna6503:

In the famous book, "The Tragedy of American Diplomacy," by William Appleman Williams, is a famous book and book quoted by the late Howard Zinn and others ... points more towards the incompetents of the CIA actions, than any of it success.

I'm sure we can go back and forth with stories regarding the failures of the CIA.

My point being, Chavez had more enemies than just America ... There are other countries that have more of a need to kill Chavez ( like the Saudis) than the US.

Chavez went to Cuba for medical treatment, if you're going to support the position that this death wasn't by natural causes ... You will need more evidence than just Alex Jones conspiracy theories about the CIA, also, you can easlily dismiss all the players that would be involved in his death.

Quoting krysstizzle:

For some of the crap the CIA has done, they deserve to be denigrated.

Looking at the history of us interventions in other countries, particularly latin america, paints a pretty clear picture.

Quoting Donna6503:

Quoting a famous and well known anti-Semite; Doesn't help anyone, let alone your cause in denigrating America in a falsehood.


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by Member on Mar. 6, 2013 at 6:26 PM

If they are looking for another dictator, they can have ours;)

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