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Socialist utopia a fading dream

shadiasimpson, shadiasimpson@nationnews.com

Added 22 March 2013

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I WOULD like to comment on the article “Chavez’s Legacy” authored by Dr Tennyson Joseph which appeared in last Tuesday’s DAILY NATION. Dr. Joseph claims that there is “a natural support for a socialist cause that [Hugo] Chavez, [the late president of Venezuela], left behind and that the funeral celebrations for the life of Chavez surpassed any similar celebrations for any communist leader since Lenin’s death”. Dr. Joseph gushes on about the “false euphoric triumph of the death of Marxism in the 1990’s by global capitalism and its attendant ideology of neoliberalism” – whatever that is. He further lists what he calls Chavez’s legacies, in particular that he “used the wealth and power of Venezuela to carve practical trade and institutional structures which could serve as alternatives to hegemonic neoliberal capitalism”. Fine words indeed, however Joseph totally ignores the fact that Chavez’s socialist/communist policies of confiscating wealth and property from the better off in Venezuela and especially the multinational companies and distributing (some of) it to the poorer classes (and his friends and family) were undoubtedly welcomed by the masses but it has done nothing to generate economic activity which could have much more lasting beneficial effects. It’s the classic case of handing out fish rather than providing fishing tackle. Dr Joseph’s socialist/communist utopia dreams have mostly vanished into the dustbin of history with the notable exception of the hard core hold outs: Cuba, in essence a huge prison whose citizens have no freedom, cannot leave that god forsaken country and the dictator Castro family passes ‘ownership’ of the country from one brother to the other like some sort of family heirloom; North Korea, ‘ownership’ now passed to the third generation of Kim Jong Ils/Uns or whatever their names are and instead of being a huge prison many times bigger than Cuba, is an enormous concentration camp, but with nuclear weapons – truly scary. Here is an interesting fact about North Korea – the president of that country is not the current young leader, but his (deceased) grandfather Kim Jong Il, and that’s a fact. The current leader’s father was not the president when he ruled, he was ‘The Dear Leader’ who apparently ruled in conjunction with the deceased president, his father. Of course Dr Joseph’s other socialist/communist dream China seems to be fading somewhat, except that the Government still controls almost all aspects of life including banning not only Google but many words, including democracy.

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