Hugo Chavez Lacks A Pragmatic Will
Confrontational President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez was unfortunately re-elected this weekend. Rather than being a true reformer for the social and economic inequity in Venezuela, Chavez is likely to maintain the economic status quo where the poor will not fare much better than they have in the past two terms of this leader who is increasingly becoming a new Fidel Castro. Like Castro, little economic gain among the poor comes from this confrontational form of leftism that solves little of the domestic problems at home of poverty and social inequity, but instead relies on blaming the U.S. at every turn.
Leftist governments like the Chinese and Vietnamese Communists are pragmatic by comparison. Cooperation with the U.S. has resulted in large and expanding trade that has dramaticly improved the economy of both states. By comparison , Castro's Cuba has lost out on a huge possible tourist trade with the U.S., and Chavez threatens the status of the state -run Citgo Oil to operate in the U.S. South American leftists don't seem to realize that Asian Communists are still Communists, but want respect in the world community, and want decent relations with large economic markets such as the U.S. to sell goods to improve their own standard of living. The Chinese and Vietnamese Communist Parties have reaped respect for the improving living conditions in their lands. But some like Hugo Chavez promise economic improvement that just never seems to come.
Castro's brother, Raul seems to be opening the door a little bit to better relations with Cuba, although the Bush Administration is unlikely to effectively act on this like President Nixon who sought to open up previously hostile and secretative China to the world. Chavez should look to these Asian examples of leftist governments that are pragmatic and take a clue. With the immense oil wealth of his nation, a product that the U.S. needs, Chavez is missing a major opportunity to improve his nation by better cooperation with the U.S.