Hugo Chavez, in fact, is a self-proclaimed social democrat charting his own independent course toward progressive “21st century socialism” along the lines Latin American expert James Petras calls the “pragmatic left” in contrast to the more “radical left” of Colombia’s FARC guerrillas; elements of “teachers and peasant-indigenous movements in Oaxaca, Guerrero and Chiapas in Mexico;” many “small Marxist groups in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and elsewhere;”
and Venezuela’s “peasant and barrio movements,” among others. Other Latin American leaders Petras calls “pragmatic” leftists include Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Cuba’s Castro and many “large electoral parties and major peasant and trade unions in Central and South America” including Mexico’s PRD party, El Salvador’s FMLN, Chile’s Communist Party, “the majority in Peruvian (Ollanta) Humala’s parliamentary party;” and others including “the great majority of left Latin American intellectuals.”
Unlike what the Wall Street Journal and rest of the US corporate media report or imply, Chavez and others on the “pragmatic left” aren’t aiming to destroy capitalism, just tame it. They also plan no wholesale renunciation of accumulated IMF, World Bank and other international lending agency debt, only calling for it to be on more equitable terms; restructuring it to make their nations’ debt burden fair; and aiming to become free from its repressive yoke as Venezuela did paying it off completely with Chavez announcing May 1 his country is pulling out of the IMF and World Bank, formally breaking free from the kind of debt slavery these institutions impose on countries they lend to guaranteeing their people continued impoverishment.
It’s an important move that may encourage other countries to follow as Ecuador’s President Raphael Correa already did ousting the country’s World Bank representative saying “we will not stand for extortion by this international bureaucracy.” Look for more IMF-World Bank resentment to surface ahead as Chavez’s and Correa’s courage may embolden other leaders to move in the same direction or at least begin by openly voicing public discontent as a first step to possible policy change to follow.
Hugo Chavez offers them a new choice having announced in March he intends creating a Bank of the South social democratic alternative to the repressive neoliberal Washington Consensus IMF-World Bank model.
So far Bolivia and Argentina have agreed to be part of it with Chavez hoping other Latin countries will join as well by contributing 10% of their capital reserves for this enterprise he hopes will be operating by summer.
Additional parts of Chavez’s plan involve forging stronger ties to other oil importing nations like China to reduce Venezuela’s dependency on a hostile US. He also announced April 29 the nation hopes to gradually sell its seven US-based Citgo refineries replacing them with a new Latin American-based network in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Dominica.
It’s part of his plan to provide the region a stable oil supply and 100% of the energy needs for Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) members and ..read more