Hugo Chavez is more than what he presents to the world in any one election.
The New York Times is more than what it presents to the world on any one day.
Leftist is a label that conjures up many things.
And yet I've used it for both of them today in my post.
Though it's easy to throw out terms like this in shallow discussion, take a look at what the Opinion Page of the NY Times states about Mr. Chavez's record:
"Since the Chávez government got control over the national oil industry, poverty has been cut by half, and extreme poverty by 70 percent. College enrollment has more than doubled, millions of people have access to health care for the first time and the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled."
It's all money pouring into social welfare programs.
And the Times treats it like it's a net result from simply a popular vote - from people enjoying and supporting Chavez, from him feeding and clothing them, from the President "giving" them college and thus watching them as they stand up for him in a relatively easy election. End of story?
It goes on:
"So it should not be surprising that most Venezuelans would reelect a president who has improved their living standards. That’s what has happened with all of the leftist governments that now govern most of South America. This is despite the fact that they, like Chávez, have most of their countries’ media against them, and their opposition has most of the wealth and income of their respective countries.
The list includes Rafael Correa, who was reelected president of Ecuador by a wide margin in 2009; the enormously popular Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, who was reelected in 2006 and then successfully campaigned for his former chief of staff, now President Dilma Rousseff, in 2010; Evo Morales, Bolvia’s first indigenous president, who was reelected in 2009; José Mujica, who succeeded his predecessor from the same political alliance in Uruguay — the Frente Amplio — in 2009; Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who succeeded her husband, the late Néstor Kirchner, winning the 2011 Argentine presidential election by a solid margin"
The bottom line is that Latin America is becoming less and less concerned about the US's financai impact on it and more and more enamored by radicalism.
The very things Castro and Che attempted to do by armed revolt may well be happening by "free" gifts to the electorate and combined energies to stand against "the Americans", by embracing Iran and by supporting other radical socialist leaders. Even inviting them in from radical Islamic countries.
South America is named that because it resides, soil to soil, next to North America - it is only a land bridge away from the United States of America - a land bridge with no strong border.
When leftist policies fail, as they certainly will due to the gravity of economic truths, all those who lived a good life under such a leftist program may well look north-ward and want more - one way or the other.
More on the NY Times Opinion page here.