WBEZ | Chavez http://www.wbez.org/tags/chavez Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Protests continue in Venezuela http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-02-24/protests-continue-venezuela-109757 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/(AP PhotoRodrigo Abd)_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Opposition forces took to the streets again today in Venezuela.Reuters reports that at least 12 people have died in violence related to the ongoing protests. We&#39;ll take a look at what&#39;s behind the recent unrest.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-protests-continue-in-venezuela/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-protests-continue-in-venezuela.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-protests-continue-in-venezuela" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Protests continue in Venezuela" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 11:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-02-24/protests-continue-venezuela-109757 Venezuela's incredibly sad elections http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/venezuelas-incredibly-sad-elections-106636 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7208_AP13040406993-scr_0.jpg" title="This is likely Henrique Capriles' last shot at being president of Venezuela (AP)" />Henrique Capriles&rsquo; suicide mission will likely come to an end Sunday, when Venezuelans go to the polls and elect Nicolás Maduro, Hugo Chávez&rsquo;s handpicked successor, in a nasty, rigged campaign. If Capriles should somehow win -- an improbability by almost any measure -- it is, frankly, unlikely the Maduro forces don&rsquo;t have a Plan B to hold on to power, such as an appeal to the Venezuelan Supreme Court -- handpicked by Chávez and a vital player in these last few months in the drama of Chávez&rsquo;s death, Maduro&rsquo;s presidential succession and the laying out of the campaign frame work.<br /><br />The brief 30-day campaign has favored Maduro not simply because of his association with Chávez and because Chávez&rsquo;s last public words were an endorsement of him as heir -- though this alone is a mighty reason for many Venezuelans to support him.<br /><br />Maduro&rsquo;s incumbency, however controversial, has&nbsp; meant the full weight and credit of the Venezuelan government media machine going all out, blacking out Capriles (who&rsquo;s been reduced to campaigning on one TV station and social media while Maduro campaigns on 7 channels whenever he wants and travels on the government&#39;s dime) and constant attacks of the dirtiest kind. So far, Maduro has strongly implied Capriles is gay and outright called him an &ldquo;heir to Hitler,&rdquo; a particularly ironic and stinging barb considering Capriles&rsquo; grandparents were Holocaust survivors. On the final day, Maduro warned that anyone who didn&#39;t vote for him would awaken a 100 year-old curse.<br /><br />If anything makes the probable defeat of Capriles particularly sad is that his style of campaigning -- trying desperately to combat the irrational insults with reason, trying desperately to remain above the fray and maintain a respectful and dignified stance -- will be deemed futile and Maduro&rsquo;s mocking no-holds barred denigrating will be declared effective. The campaign has been grueling, depressing, a hate fest.<br /><br />Sadder perhaps is that Capriles, the only candidate to unite the opposition, will likely end his presidential ambitions with this campaign. At 40, he&rsquo;s certainly young enough to try again, but he may have spent all his electoral currency in these last two elections (he came within 8 points of Chávez in October, the closest anyone had ever gotten). After this, the next presidential elections are in 2019.<br /><br />Saddest of all is that Maduro winning won&rsquo;t modernize the Venezuelan economy, which -- no matter what anyone thinks of the Bolivarian Revolution -- is sputtering (the national currency recently suffered a 32 percent devaluation and inflation is at 26 percent). Nor will Maduro, whose campaign made attacking the U.S. an integral theme, move to open up the economy or to invite in outside investors. (especially the many Venezuelans who&rsquo;ve taken their investments out of the country).</p><p>Venezuela&rsquo;s annual oil production has declined by 25 percent since 1999, when Chávez took office, and oil exports have dropped by nearly a half in that time. Consider what that means to a country that <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/09/world/americas/venezuelas-role-as-oil-power-diminished.html?_r=0">depends on oil</a> for 95 percent of its exports and 45 percent of its revenues. Consider too that Venezuela depends on the U.S., its sworn enemy, to buy as much as 40 percent of its oil, in cash, in order to stay afloat.</p><p>Nor will Maduro make the kinds of structural changes countries such as <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/world/americas/01peru.html?_r=0">Brazil, Mexico and Peru</a> have made with an eye toward the long-term. Venezuela&#39;s <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324000704578386771059515346.html">budget deficit</a> reached 12 percent last year, an astounding figure considering its riches. In fact, though Venezuela has one of the largest crude reserves in the world, it still needs to import gasoline (which it sells at a subsidized price of about a nickel a gallon). Does that make sense to anyone?<br /><br />But Maduro, whose primary goal seems to be to hold on to power, will continue to depend on oil exports to pay for the more than 70 percent of consumer goods Venezuela imports. In other words, Maduro will continue on the road to making Venezuela a one-trick pony with its oil monies, depending entirely on the price and power of oil to pay, first and foremost, for the ever growing domestic subsidies that Venezuela has taken on in the last 14 years.<br /><br />But his first task -- or that of Capriles, on the very off chance he wins and gets to keep the win -- will be to reconcile the country, now dramatically and bitterly divided. There is a tidal wave of resentment waiting to hit no matter who wins. And there is an economic deluge coming, no matter who the president turns out to be.<br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 14 Apr 2013 05:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/venezuelas-incredibly-sad-elections-106636 Worldview 1.7.13 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-01-07/worldview-1713-104740 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Hagel final.jpg" alt="" /><p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-2014-withdrawal-of-troops-in-afghanistan.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-2014-withdrawal-of-troops-in-afghanistan" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: 2014 withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan, Update on President Hugo Chavez condition and the President..." on Storify</a>]<h1>Worldview: 2014 withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan, Update on President Hugo Chavez condition and the President's...</h1><h2>The New York Times reports US may keep as many as 20,000 troops in Afghanistan following 2014 withdrawal. Venezuelan officials say Pres. Hugo Chavez is suffering from a “severe lung infection.&quot; Pres. Obama expected to announce plans to nominate former senator Check Hagel to be Sec. of Defense.</h2><p>Storified by <a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ"></a>&middot; Mon, Jan 07 2013 10:07:15</p><div>Mediaite</div><div>Citing sources close to Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan,<i>The New York Times&nbsp;</i>reports that the US may keep as many as 20,000 troops in Afghanistan following the 2014 withdrawal. Troop levels, military equipment and peace talks are among the expected topics to be addressed during Pres. Hamid Karzai’s visit to the U.S. next week. Adnan Gopal with the New America Foundation previews the visit. In light of his December surgery to treat cancer Pres. Hugo Chavez has a lung infection. Rumors are swirling about Chavez’s health, as the swearing-in ceremony for his fourth term in office approaches. Javier Corrales, who co-authored a book about Chavez, explains the country’s political machinations and potential split within the governing leftist party. If the Secretary of Defense nomination of former senator Check Hagel is confirmed, it would add a well-known Republican to Obama’s cabinet. Many Republicans have voiced uncertainty about the choice.&nbsp; Steve Clemons, Washington editor-at-large for&nbsp;<i>The Atlantic</i>,&nbsp; explains why Hagel is such a controversial pick.</div><div>Senate votes to accelerate troop withdrawal from Afghanistan ...Nov 29, 2012 ... A platoon sergeant of the U.S. Army soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, looks at comrades during a joint...</div><div>Hugo Chavez remains hospitalized in Cuba as Venezuelan ...15 hours ago ... It appears president may not return before Thursday&amp;#39;s slated swearing-in.</div><div>Obama to nominate Hagel for Defense, Brennan for CIA - The ...42 minutes ago ... President Obama on Monday will nominate former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense and counterterro...</div></noscript></p> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 10:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-01-07/worldview-1713-104740