The former US president George W. Bush called Hugo Chavez of Venezuela a “devil” and allegedly backed his opposition in the subsequent elections, to the point that there were rumours, confirmed by Chavez, that the Americans had hatched a plot to kill him. Reports alleged that organisations like FBI and CIA were all primed up wanting to get rid of Chavez. There were numerous other assassination attempts, ranging from attempts by Gov. Manuel Rosales (his arch rival in domestic polity belonging to Un Nuevo Tiempo) to those by the Columbian secret police. However, all those attempts were foiled by the mercy of his fate, before he eventually died bravely fighting cancer on March 5, 2013.

As his coffin, draped in the national flag, was passed through the streets of Caracas, the very sight of swelling crowds flocking in for the last glimpse of their beloved leader spoke volumes of his popularity and larger-than-life image. And why not! He was a socialist leader who had the guts to take US by its horns and who showed the world, along with Cuba, that sustained progress, development and prosperity are also possible with socialistic ideologies. His Bolivarian Revolution had all the ingredients of a socialist movement, yet it reaped a rich harvest of development and poverty reduction. He nationalized a large set of industries, especially those that were essential for economic and social development. In order to destroy cartelisation and illicit hoarding (that have critically adverse effects on the lower strata of society), Chavez strategically nationalized cement companies, steel plants and supermarkets. He then swiftly nationalized the oil and gas sector, leaving a powerful lobby of petro-oligarchs completely dumfounded. So much so, under the Bolivarian Revolution, he draft ed trade policies that promised cheap oil to poor neighbouring countries – something that can never be expected from the so-called elitist capitalist nations. Unlike the West, he also brought education and health under government control and used it as a catalyst for poverty alleviation. The tangible proof of his success is reflected in the UN Economic Commission for Latin America report stating that the poverty rate in Venezuela was sliced from 48.6 per cent in 2002 to 29.5 per cent in 2011. Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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