how the world sees america

Critical of the U.S. at the Bolivarian University

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CARACAS, Venezuela - At the Bolivarian University of Venezuela, which President Hugo Chavez founded in 2003, the students in Elena Ferrero's English class interview the reporter first.

"Isn't The Washington Post biased against Venezuela?"

"Have you already made up your mind about Chavez?"

"Are you going to write that we're all brainwashed?"

The questions keep coming: Are the FARC terrorists? Who'll win the U.S. elections? I answer as best I can, assuring them I'm a free agent -- not the CIA kind! -- able to write whatever I want.

This satisfies a student named Elvis García, who explains his and his classmates' concern: "America is a threat to Venezuela," he says: overtly, covertly, and through an "international media war to discredit our government."

"The one who writes has the power," he says. That's why Elvis enrolled in the Social Communications course here, which aims to give the right to write back to the people. “We are studying here to protect ourselves, to liberate ourselves from The Empire.”

This is common parlance among students at the Bolivarian University. As the rector of the school, Maria Ejilda Castellano, said in a previous interview: "Traditional universities produce depoliticized professionals who see themselves as using technical skills but do not have any sense of social responsibility. We want to create professionals with a sense of public service."

And yanking off America's yoke is part of that service. The walls are free from the personal for-sale signs or tutoring offers that cover many American message boards. Instead, there are the usual posters praising multiculturalism and promoting school music performances. And then a lot more images of Che Guevara, signs advertising study sessions on combating imperialism, and banners from Hugo Chavez's campaigns. Outside the school, a man with a megaphone warns that the U.S. and Colombia are plotting to infiltrate Venezuela (more on this tomorrow). And as reporter Monte Reel noticed in a previous Washington Post article, a poster in the library shows a mouse caught in a trap, with the stars and stripes painted on its furry back.

The school is laden with implicit and explicit critiques of the U.S. Elvis drives Castellano's point home to the U.S. when he says: "I don't think the average American is an Imperialist who wants to dominate the world, but they aren't taught to think critically....I hope more people like Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore can open American eyes." Again, as Reel notes, the American author with the most books in the library is Moore.

Elvis continues: "In America, only the rich learn." But here everybody can get an education. The school rejects no one. Elvis' father drives a taxi. His mother doesn't work. And his family dwells in one of the brick barrios lining the city. He's lower income, like at least two-thirds of the students here. Without this state-sponsored university, he says, he would never have gotten a higher education and “the chance to undertake a critical analysis of society."

This analysis, Elvis says, and his peers echo, is not just about rebuffing a foreign force, but in "being involved in our society" and developing a sense of dignity. Whether this will make them competitive for jobs is a question other writers have raised and we have yet to see.

But for now Elena is happy. "I am so proud of my students, because they know what they are facing: a threat [from the U.S.]. We are all facing this threat. "

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Comments (60)

Mauricio:

i stumbled over this while i was on facebook. My name's mauricio, i'm 21 years old and i'm graduating of mechanical engineering this year in zulia, venezuela, and i did my internship in pdv, venezuela's main petroleum company.
i agree with some posts: many of you haven't been here to see why he gets elected. before his goverment taxes and interest rates where extremely high, there would be no chance for education for not low class, but EXTREMELY low class; we are talking about worrying if it'll rain while you sleep, and that small plate of copper-zinc alloy that heats as hell in noon will fall over you while you sleep. ever seen children in websites like ninemillion.org and things like that ? yeh, there are some places like that here. people in that class now might not apply to be stockbrokers or rocket scientists, it's true, they might end up working for a goverment organization. BUT IT'S FRIGGIN SOMETHING!!!

anyhow: i disagree with many of the students you'll find in that bolivarian university, since i do not blindy follow chavez by saying he's taking us to the best future we can get. chavez international politics are truly abysmal. calling bush the devil, the brazilian president "imperialist parrot", and not shutting his trap in the spain situation ( though the spaiin king was funny, i believe the only real politician there was spain's Zapatero) basicly, he can't act like a politician. also, theres the overexerted patriotism: many of the social programs are focused in political propaganda rather than the success of em. i specially hate the education ones, since they are trying to solve it by almost making so anyone can graduate by lowering academical requirements for college/high school, instead of first giving people the chance to start a REAL education ( which they have done ) then give the people the tools and the social- economic enviroment for them to face the challenge of the academical requirements....

nevertheless!! before this goverment, the petroleum barrel was sold in 8$, in exchange of comissions from foreign companys to the goverment, comissions no one ever knew where they went. nevertheless!! my father had spent 20 years saving for a car, 1999- chavez was elected, 2000- interest rates went down and so did taxes- 2002- dad got his 2002 lancer and drove that instead of his 78' malibu. i got a pc, internet, english classes... etc . nevertheless!! the telefone company and light were private, and the petroleum company was about to be as well! (proof of that is that they stopped doing lots of manteinnace since they were basiclly selling the company ) nevertheless! the illiteracy went down i'd say 60%-70% ( though the goverment says its 100, like hell i believe it).
the referendum for the new constitution last year? i did vote yes on it. why? because there was one article i loved: "the goverment will sponsor any political parties in economical need for their politcal campaing except those receiving funds from foreign goverments or organizations" this one might not be exactly it, but its a bit of a chance for something else to come up rather than chavez's propaganda and overextered patriotism based socialism, or the foreign-and-company-owner-funded of the opposition. if you gave a goverment with a socialism focused in helping poor rather than screwing up the rich in the name of charity and honesty, that would have a leader that we can actually see him off when he gets on a plane for an international meeting like ONU or any petroleum and energy oriented conference, and i'll take him anytime.
there's a lot o things i'dlove doing in the future, like going to superbowl xlsomething, going to japan,learn german etc. but if a war breaks out because one man is interesed on giving halliburton more oil, and another crazy one talks trash at him in name of human charisty and honesty, i'd say that i'll be pretty screwed :s.
good riddance!

Vic van Meter:

Pancho, true and yet not true. Note that I tried to make sure every time I talked about nationalizing the oil -stream-, I tried to make it apparent that I am talking about the oil flow. This is not nationalized.

Maybe I missed a huge hiccup somewhere, but as early as 2006, Chavez's government was taking over the oil operations of several companies on its soil that were foreign owned (Namely, Total of France and ENI of Italy).

It isn't technically true that the oil flow is completely nationalized, and that is the threat Chavez uses most often. In fact, one of the biggest corporations operating with a finger in Venezuela is American-operated Shell which doles out a pretty hefty sum to extract and then extricate the oil to America. It's a fairly smooth operation, with America being so close that it is cheap to ship there. Chavez knows the world's thirst for oil (particularly that Evil Empire to the north that doesn't seem to care where the black drink comes from) is a fairly inelastic demand, so he can make all the demands he wants. But if he'd truly nationalize the whole operation, there would not be a foreign company operating in the area and Venezuela would be making 100% profit.

Then again, they would also be paying the overhead, maintenance, and technology bills that larger companies like Shell and Chevron eat in hopes of overcoming them with oil sales. That is probably the biggest reason Chavez does not truly nationalize the oil industry. He does make a hefty sum, though.

I am truly sorry if I confused you. Chavez certainly did nationalize the oil PATCHES and the government makes the money from the land use. But they have not nationalized the entire operation, or you would see some REAL uproar. Again, maybe I wasn't entirely clear. I apologize.

pancho:

Vic Van Meter; wow, you know just enough to be dangerous but seem to like to hear yourself talk, a bad combination. Go do some reading before you spout off will ya! Start with 'The Shock Doctrine' by Naomi Klein, and then come back to talk about the history of US interventions, military and economic .
You may think that you "think critically" but if you don't know what you're talking about what difference does it make? News Flash: Venezuela already nationalized its oil, in about 1960!

Vic van Meter:

Of course, I lack the ability to think critically about my government, nor does any American...

HAVE THESE PEOPLE NEVER READ OUR NEWS?!

There is a level of ignorance most Americans sit at that is embarassing, apalling, and unnecessary at this point in social evolution. But there are some real problems in a system where Americans are seen as Bush's loyal lackeys when a good portion of us are calling for his head on a plate.

In a way, I understand the Venezuelans who are becoming annoyed and repulsed by Chavez. They are the same as we who are annoyed and repulsed by Bush. And if these two presidents did not reign coincidentally, we would likely not have all of these issues.

But for the virgins, you are about to receive the cold, heartless touch of hard international politics.

America very rarely attempts a full on coup anymore. It is a very large, very powerful, very philanthropic (if only sarcasm could drip in writing) nation. We tend to affect world policy by using buffer nations and proxy wars. A good case in point is the situation in Iraq and Afgahnistan. Bush's assertations that, "we're fighting them over there so we don't fight them over here" are both incredibly sociopathic and also entirely correct. There it is, politics in black and white. Our foreign occupations are based in oil, or we would not be there. Their main goal is to divert attention in the Middle East back into the Middle East and away from America, making our own border easier to defend since it is easier to attack our military abroad. This is a proxy war, just like South Korea is a proxy nation, just like Israel is a proxy nation...

And just like Colombia is a proxy nation. Your coup probably had little to no provocation from the United States. If you have a problem, it is that America will sell Colombia enough military technology to slag the entirety of Venezuela if it feels that will help its political cause. And Colombia is learning that the support Chavez builds as America's opposition is politically much less powerful than the clout it may receive from America (and NATO). Chavez is not stupid and knows exactly what he is doing. He knows America is circling the wagons and waiting Chavez out. The problem Chavez is having (hence his subsequent tirades now) is that he is literally powerless to stop America. He could nationalize his oil stream, but America already has other suppliers and its public is already wary of the places we import oil from. All Chavez would need is to stop that pipeline that fuels the majority of his economy.

Any talk about America's involvement in the coup is simply ignoring the simple facts of reality. America honestly could care less who knows it is plying its power in the Carribean and rarely anymore is couching its political rhetoric if you pay enough attention. Bush gives out previously damning political evidence simply because everyone knows our nation throws its weight around and hardly bothers to hide the fact from a critical observer. So the evidence of America trying to overthrow Chavez is simply overblown and wrong, because there are a few ground facts that make it completely stupid in the face of political logic (and though Bush is not very smart, Cheney is maliciously cunning). Chavez has not nationalized the oil and it actually runs more consistently (and cheaply) into America than from the Middle East. Chavez's nation is a lot like Cuba in that, after the fear of Communism became a passing joke, it simply did not matter if our Leftist neighbors don't like us. And really, it's a lot like our situation with Russia. There are all kinds of doublespeak, threats, and stirring the public, but nothing seems to ever come to blows. Chavez simply does not sit high enough on the food chain to really think about deposing but does America quite a bit of good as an object lesson of radical leftism to point at.

Trust me, if there was some sort of good reason America would want to depose Chavez, I would consider the sentiment. But there truly is no ground for it. Americans don't trust Chavez or like him any more than they trust or like Bush, so it is hardly politically convenient to destabalize Venezuela further and risk losing the pipeline.

So if you really do think critically, you find the attempted coup of Chavez really does not make sense for the United States. Chavez may be red with fury at the Evil Empire, but America gets what it wants from his country and therefore it would not make sense to cause instability to the region. Now if Chavez shuts off the pipeline and nationalizes the oil industry in his country, THEN you look for a coup from the United States.

Now that that's cleared up, there's the issue of the article, and Amar obviously went for guts first. Obviously, these are some pretty leftist statements here in a university that frowns on the production of a "depoliticized professional" from its social communications majors. Sort of like going to one of the heavily conservative Christian Universities in America to get a degree in early-human anthropology. You cannot assume all Venezuelans to be so audaciously misinformed (which is certainly a generous word to use for anyone who thinks our media isn't trying to rip the rectum out of Bush). But Amar is trying to show us the point of view of someone grown on the idea that America is waiting for the right moment to invade Venezuela.

If Iraq taught the government anything, it is that we are good at blowing things up but building and controlling a nation is simply out of our control. There are too many factors. So as long as that oil pipe is full, there is no reason to risk crashing Venezuela into the ground, what would be the point exactly?

And if America can learn anything from the Leftist situation in Latin America, it is that the people there, though plagued by corrupt officials, really do want democracy and social equality. Those are certainly noble goals. Why we try so hard abroad in the Middle East when our own neighbors could use money for bridges, roads, und so weider is certainly questionable, especially considering that we have a very clear need to cut our oil use down to the barest minimum. Our own neighbors in the Americas are almost left by the wayside even though they tend to be much less virulent than our Islamic opposition. I certainly think they are more important to us, simply because they are the ones who are close. They are the ones who emigrate into our country so regularly (and sometimes illegaly, but that's a subject for another time, I suppose). They are the ones we certainly should be paying attention to.

Venezuela, though, would likely not even be on the radar if Chavez did not tell us how terrible we are every now and then. That's politics for you. The one nation we pay the most attention to and it is to hear some Castro wannabe rant about our nefarious plot to control his country.

Certainly, if we want that, we can always look to Cuba. They seem so much more laid back about it.

Hunky Santa:

And I'd like to know if any of these self-identified "revolutionaries" will be able to due something productive in the real world once they graduate, quit, or are kicked out of the "cocoon" of the "Brainwashing Bolivarian University."

You know, like work.

(pause to think)

Mmm...no.

Edward Thomas:

This interview does not reflect the position of most of the students in Venezuela, only of those studying in so called "bolivarian" universities, which main prerequisite to attend is to support chavez. Most of the curriculuae in those universities deal with political indoctrination. Students graduating from this places will not get much professional recognition in the real world other than in some under chavez government.

jon:

I wonder what would happen in the US if a major news outlet was an active player in an attempt to overthrow the President? Would any of the stations journalists, owners, or management be imprisoned? I wonder what would happen to the military officials involved in such a coup?

I wonder what would happen if the people of the US had the opportunity at the mid-way point in a Presidential term to gather petitions and remove their president? I wonder if our current president would survive such a recall effort due to popular support?

I wonder when my people - of the US - will read news critically and recognize that the first step in a foreign military adventure is constructing the domestic consensus that "we must do something!"?

I wonder when we will recognize that conversations as this one are a simple reflection of the talking points found in news stories in recent years?

I wonder why close to 80% of us believed that Iraq had WMDs? Where did we get that information?

I wonder how many of these empassioned comments Im reading have ever been to Venezuela? I wonder if they've checked out their claims with the realities on the ground?

Do people really understand the issue of freedom of the press in Venezuela? How many understand the dynamics of higher-education and what is avaialable or not for Venezuelans of different class backgrounds?

I wonder when the US public will understand the role of our government in Latin America's history?

I wonder when defenders of democracy will begin to defend a leader democratically elected and popularly supported President... isn't that what we supposedly stand for?

I wonder if it really matters if we like or dislike Hugo Chavez, if he offends or pleases us, or if this is maybe up for the people of Venezuela to determine?

I wonder when we will recognize that we have lots to work on in our own country before needing to once again tell another country how to do things?

I wonder...

jojo:

If America didn't give a cr@p about Venezeula, why did it attempt a coup against the democratically elected Chavez govt? The truth is if you have oil, you're automatically on America's hitlist. America will overthrow your legitimate govt and install corrupt puppets who pump the oil to U.S. oil corporations at below market prices. Just look at Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Hugo Chavez is America's enemy because he doesn't let American companies steal the oil and gives the proceeds back to the poor. The venezuelaens who hate chavez are the corrupt puppets who got used to collaborating with U.S. oil companies to steal the oil revenue and spend it on designer clothes. Too bad. venezeula will never go back to the status quo, and Hugo Chavez will laying the seeds of a great nation....a nation that all venezeuleans can be proud off. Bush will be relegated to the dustbin of history, but Hugo Chavez will still rule...creating one of the greatest countries of the world.

NRGnow:

As noted by others, the vast majority of American's could care less about Chavez and his little oil-exporting country. His bluster is merely self-serving propaganda, for he surely knows that he is actually at the mercy of the evil empire he rails against. Those billions of petrodollars do not fall from the sky and it's much more expensive to ship oil to China than to pipe it to the US. Eventually, the US electorate will realize that we can cut off the money to this corrupt parasite by drilling wells in ANWR and the OCS. Or, if oil is truly a fungible commodity (as so often claimed by market experts), then simply by refusing to buy his oil. Chavistas need to be careful of what they wish for.

Mike:

I wonder if the Post is ever ashamed that they give so many forums for ignorant and hateful anti-Americanism.

This forum is a disgrace.

cando:

To Jojo:

You better check where you are getting your facts from. My advise is to get your money back. Those so-called facts fall apart in light of the slightest evidence.

To Amar and others:
Venezuelans have enjoyed free higher education (university and such) and free health care since the 60's (if my memory serves me correctly). It is NOT a creation of Chavez' government.

The "Universidad Central de Venezuela", amongst other free universities in the country, has always been one of the 'affordable' (as in free) options to those, like me, that had few or no economic resources.

You just have to apply yourself to qualify for a seat in your preferred career option. But it is free education.

There are, of course, private institutions and Universities for those who can afford them but it was never the only choice to them.

ff:

"A state-sponsored school basically is paid for by people who were not consulted about starting this school but have to pay for it in the form of taxes. So basically, the rich and the middle class of his country are paying for these low income youngsters to get an incomplete education. And the youngsters thank chavez and not the rich or middle class taxpayer!! "

No, in this case the schools are funded with oil export revenue (like most everything else in Venezuela). Since roughly 2/3 of Venezuela's oil exports go to the United States, it's the American public that is ultimately paying for these schools (and all the other socialist programs). The reason they thank Chavez is that he actually spends the oil revenues on them, instead of simply pocketting it. On the other hand, dependence on the US market is exactly the reason that Chavez must work so hard at building a cult of paranoia directed at America: Venezuela's economy (and so political stability) is entirely dependent on the United States. Thus, Venezuelan attitudes towards the United States are extremely insecure, and must be placated with a (false) narrative wherein they are empowered.

This is not an uncommon phenomenon the world over nowadays.

Caraqueña with Chávez:

Hey Dude!!!

You are no one to predict no one´s future!!! First of all Elvis is a human being! Second, if it weren´t for Chavez´s policies concerning education, Elvis, like many other young people, would be left out of the educational system imposed by capitalism in the previous governments!!! Third, many of those kids have great potentials and a lot to give to their country!!!And last, what makes you think that "those competitive universities" are the best ones in Venezuela; what they do is promote individualism, selfishness and greed! I´m sure those are the anti-values you were taught in your university!!! That´s the Capitalist, Neo-liberal Brain you have! We are fighting that Dude!!!

Darden Cavalcade:

Amar:

What is the source of the American imperial presence about which the students are most concerned? Is it American ownership of Venuezuelan businesses? Oppressive American cultural presence? Past misdeeds in the region? Unwanted U.S. military presence near their territory?

I've never been to Venezuela although I had Venezuelan friends in college. Of all the citizens from Latin America I met in my college days, I found Venezuelans to be the least angry.

Latina:

Hey westerner!

One who think others are morons is a moron himself/herself!!! Go check in google: U.S. invasions!!! and that´ll tell you all...

Latina:

Hey westerner!

One who think others are morons is a moron himself/herself!!! Go check in google: U.S. invasions!!! and that´ll tell you all...

Quico:

Vohs,

Lets be very clear here about what The Chavez Code does and doesn't do. Gollinger does document a series of contacts between the State Department and a number of opposition politicians and organizations that were later involved in Carmona's coup decree in the months before April 2002. But those contacts weren't even secret: they were widely reported in the Venezuelan media at the time, so there really wasn't any need to do a FOIA request...a Venezuelan newspaper web search would've done nearly as well.

They also document an awareness on the part of the US embassy that a coup was very likely very soon...but again, anybody who was marginally awake and had a TV set on in Caracas in those days could see that: the tension of the political moment was unprecedented, as a result of escalation pursued consciously by both the opposition and the regime. That the fact was reported in diplomatic cables from the embassy back to DC is neither remarkable nor in any way surprising.

What Golinger's Chavez-financed, Chavez-promoted work fails to document is any hint of joint coup planning, or that the coup actually was planned, or that the US had a direct operational role in any of it, or that they even green-lighted it when it started to happen. Just the opposite: the US embassy worked behind the scenes to reconvene the elected National Assembly when the coupsters announced its dissolution - one of many fun facts you'd know if you read my essay on the crisis alongside the chavista propaganda.

By contrast, we have explicit, on the record accounts by Chavez himself admitting that he set out to consciously provoke the April crisis, and went as far as to set up a task force to work to that end. We have eye-witness accounts of the chaos within the military on the night of the coup, demonstrating pretty conclusively that the crisis hadn't really been planned...by the US or anyone else. The balance of evidence, when you actually go through it, is really quite clear.

Anyway, again, I realize the chavista propaganda version has been too skillfully sold and repetitively embedded in the standard narrative of the coup for pesky little things like the actual record to put a dent in it. I do wonder, however, how much you know about Ms. Golinger, her growing status as standardbearer for the Left of the Left of the Left in the chavista establishment, her calls for dissident foreign journalists to be expelled from Venezuela and for dissident Venezuelan journalists to be investigated and prosecuted, her description, just two weeks ago of a dissident cartoonist in Venezuela as a "terrorist" (which, preciously enough, came just a day after Chavez had indignantly called on the Colombian government to stop calling FARC "terrorists") and her longstanding record of cryptoauthoritarian extremism. I suspect the answer is "not much."

Seriously, Google "Untold Story of Venezuela's 2002 April Crisis" and click on the first link. There's a whole other side to this story you'd probably find fascinating if you took the time to go through it...

Tantor:

It's pretty clear that these poor kids are being indoctrinated, not educated. The irony is that they believe, in typical lefty fashion, that anyone who does not agree with their dogma is simply not capable of critical thinking. They're being propandized to think America is their enemy when we couldn't care less and kept our hands off. Meanwhile, remittances from Venezuelans in America form a major part of Venezuelans income.

We hardly need do anything to topple Chavez and his socialist regime. He will topple himself. Already, his brilliant economic management has left the shelves bare at local grocery stores. Given free reign, he will cripple the Venezuelan economy with his crackpot socialist mismanagement.

These poor college kids will eventually discover that they can't make a living spouting socialist propaganda, that they need to actually learn a real trade and be able to think outside the socialist box. They will be woefully unprepared to do so by graduating with a degree in Socialism.

I met two twentysomething Venezuelan women on the metro one night. They were in town training for work in the airlines. They asked me when the US was going to come to Venezuela and kick Chavez out. I told them it was not going to happen, that Venezuela did not pose a threat to the US, that we'd never send the military there. I told them that they'd have to take of their country themselves. America wasn't coming to fix it.

That stunned them. They took it like I was a doctor telling them their cancer was incurable. They just looked at me for about five heartbeats with their mouths open.

Corey:

Fact...the CIA did try to overthrow the Chavez govt. Only the military beat back the coup.

- All evidence of a leading role for the CIA is tenuous at best, and it's not something I would be comfortable calling a fact. It may be true, but it's mainly based in hearsay.

Fact...Bush never won a legitimate election, while Chavez has won fair and free elections three times.


- Now this is just about as non- factual of a claim as you can make. The US election system was the first democratic (and thus "legitimate" as you term it) election system in the world, and has always employed an electoral college whose delegates are beholden to voters. In the 2000 election, Bush won the required amount of delegates without winning the popular election, but that didn't make him illegitimate since electoral colleges are endemic to republics. Now, of course, the 2004 election belies your claim either way, since Bush won by close to 5 million votes.

Fact...Venezuela has greater freedom of press than the US. If a U.S. newspaper or TV station criticized Bush as much as the venezuelean press does, you can be sure it would be shut down the next day.

-Anyone who believes this is incredibly deluded. In fact, readers of the American press might tell you that it sometimes seems as if the American press' job is to criticize the president. If what you were saying is true, then every media outlet in the country would have been shut down by now. Also, I challenge you to find one media outlet that has actually been shutdown by the US government (specifically the Bush administration) because of opposition to the government.

Fact...Chavez is one of the few leaders who has actually used the oil revenue to help the poor. The Bush stimulus package has over $140,000 in new taxcuts for the richest 1% of the nation. The poor get nada, that's right $0 in tax breaks.


-Another patently false and ill informed claim. Chavez is a populist democratically elected dictator on the latin american model, which is to say that he consolidates power through socialist programs that endear him to the poor of the country. It is certainly laudable to help the poor, but doing so through wage redistribution is ultimately harmful to the whole of the populace. Also, the stimulus plan being put through Congress right now includes rebates for people who did not receive any income last year, and is proportional to how much you make. The "poor" do recieve tax breaks, but they pay almost no taxes so the rebate is naturally smaller. Of course, a socialist like Chavez would engage in some type of economically crippling wage levelling so that tax breaks were not in any way proportional to income (and in the USA, the poorer people recieve a proportionally much higher break than the rich do... the top 20% of wage earners are responsible for nearly all of the tax revenue in the US), giving immediate help to the poor, but in net result making everyone poorer.

Fact...Chavez has improved the economy of venezuela, while we in the US are looking at recession thanks to Bush.

-Another ignorant statement. The US economy has gained jobs since Bush became president, the stock market has grown, and a recession is not a depression but a slowing of growth (growth!). Besides, it's tought to blame a recession on Bush, since much of it is due to predatory lending practices. The economy actually boomed between 2002 and 2006.

Fact...if you're white, a high school dropout and had sex with a close relative, you're likely to be a bush supporter.

-So, let me try to understand what you're saying. Bush has only helped the rich, who are his supporters, but if you're a redneck you're a Bush supporter. I guess what you're trying to say is that either high school dropouts have an inordinate ability to do well in business, or that people who inbreed have a genetic predisposition to economic success. Or maybe you're just really confused about what facts are...

Fact...Venezuela has never illegally invaded another country. Bush illegally invaded two countries and trying to invade another.

-Venezuela may not have tried to invade another country, but Chavez did try to overthrow his own country by military coup.

Fact...Chavez has been a better, more successful, and popular leader than Bush


-Again, you're completely missing the definition of "fact." Define better and successfull in logical positivist terms and then you can talk about facts. If you don't, then these are subjective terms.

Hunky Santa:

What can one expect from a man (Chavez) who proudly declared that Bolivia's Evo Morales supplies him with "coca paste" (oops!) every day? His rhetoric is so boring and predictable that it is horribly bloated, much as his physical appearance.

Setting aside the typical crackpot lefty mantra "US bad, rest of world good --- ugh, ugh (chimpanzee sounds)" and the primitive economic policy forced down the throats of the Venezuelans causing record crime, violence, and corruption levels, one can't really blame the poor to support Chavez.

Despite being one of the more modern and relatively civilized democracies in Latin America for decades, Venezuela has always been full of corruption, unemployment, and poverty. When oil prices were in the stratosphere during the 1970s as now, where did the hundreds and billions of dollars end up? Ask former presidents Lusinchi and Caldera, among others.

Therefore, for people who have only known corruption and poverty during the pre-Chavez era, it makes sense to suck up to the demagoguery of a fat populist (no, not Ted Kennedy) who promises free money and promotes class warfare ... and who actually sometimes delivers.

Only until oil prices fall and Chavez's free money dries up will the poor stop supporting Chavez. Thus, poor Bolivar's name will stop being used and abused in vain.

The mob, what many lefties refer to as "the voice of God," is fickle, after all.

Joe S.:

Believing the U.S. tried to overthrow Chavez is delusional. You know what happened in Iraq--do you really believe it would have been any different if the U.S. moved against your country? The U.S. is not all-powerful, and would not have fought a protracted war in South America for political reasons, but its forces would have erased your military.

Soccer Geek:

Maradonna's "Mano de Dios" was in 86

David Vohs:

Quico: sorry mate, but the documents are published and available to anyone. These are docs obtained through a FOIA request, you can see them in the book 'The Chavez Code' by Eva Gollinger.

Quico:

Dang, this thing doesn't allow hyperlinks. Anyway, Google "Untold Story of Venezuela's 2002 April Crisis" and click on the first link. I spent months researching and writing that thing...

Quico:


Vohs:

You seem blissfully unaware of the way you're parrotting a highly questionable chavista meme with your cardboard cutout account of the 2002 coup. The real story is way different. But it does say something about the effectiveness of Chavez's use of Goebbelian repetion that your assertions about US involvement in the coup goes unchallenged. It's a line that's been repeated so often, it's not taken as self evidently true, despite the absence of any convincing evidence for it.

Anyway, I realize it's a lost cause, because this "fact" is too deeply entrenched in the public imagination by now to be rooted out by anything so flimsy as evidence. But it's nonetheless true, so I'll say it: there is explicit, documentary evidence that Hugo Chavez set out to provoke a military confrontation with his opponents in April 2002, but there is only fragmentary, circumstantial and hearsay based elements pointing to any sort of US involvement.

David Vohs:

to Robert; Actually Chavez did go to prison for his coup attempt and took full responsibility for his actions. and to Jeff: would you feel threatened if the Iranian Navy was on an island 40 miles off your coast and had troops in the country next door? Even farmers and street sweepers that I talked to there could recite the history of the 'neo-liberal plan' and US involvement in coups and takeovers in Latin America. Can you? If not then back off quit putting these people down.

Antonio Mitchell:

Amar: I wouldn't pay much attention to what the college students say. Even in the U.S. they tend to be left-leaning until they start working, form a family and realise what are the things that really matter.
99 percent of the youngsters that you saw, beeing offered the opportunity to live in the U.S., would swim there if necessary. No wonder that the hottest news in Venezuela yesterday was the hiring of their player Johan Santana by the N.Y. Mets ¡¡
Our own millionaire/communist/soccer hero Diego Maradona, who has Che Guevara and Fidel Castro tattoed in both arms, just asked our archenemy England for forgiveness for his ''Mano de Dios'' goal against them in Mexico 78. Why? Apparently he wants to secure a job as a coach in one of their teams.

Jeff:

David Vohs: "Oh and by the way, the US did fund and back the short lived coup and the crippling shutdown of their economy, the documents are easily found if you care to look, they are not imagining that the US is a threat to their country."
---------------------------
David: they're not just saying the U.S. is a threat to their country. They are saying we want to invade and take over their country. There's a difference that can't just be glossed over. The U.S. and it's economy also provide a lot of support for the Venezuelan economy and employment that they are not acknowledging. Reality is more complicated than they, or we, usually acknowledge.

Jeff:

Rick Jones: "Zionist invasion and occupation of Palestine"
-------------------
Gee, Mr. Jones, this is a serious spin on the truth. In 1967, Israel was surrounded on all sides by armies building up for an obvious invasion. So, although I'm not a Zionist, I have to take issue with your slant on the facts. Any country would have taken military action in those circumstances to protect itself from impending invasion.

As for the comments from the students in Venezuela, they reflect an obvious ignorance of the U.S. and its people, and a willingness to fit reality into their predisposed worldview- without attention to the much more complicated facts. I agree with the other posters that the promotion of the myth of being under constant attack from a powerful foe, like the U.S., is a typical ploy of dictators to gain and keep the alliegance of the population. The willingness of the educated elite to swallow propaganda is very disheartening, but common - even in the U.S.

Fate:

spiderman2 wrote: "Democrats are left leaning and these are the kind of garbage that they produce around the world. They want to portray Bush as evil thru lying, now they get a populace who not only hate Bush but the whole of America. Nice work, Michael."

A classic example of blaming the messenger (Michael Moore) rather than the evil he exposes (Bush policy). Or maybe you think those WMD will be found one day and vindicate Bush?

pappy:

"I answer as best I can, assuring them I'm a free agent -- not the CIA kind! -- able to write whatever I want."

Not a very good answer, Amar. You should have said " I am able to write whatever I want as long as it generates value for my employers, thus providing income for me." You missed a great oppertunity to explain basic capatalism to a bunch of navel gazing socialist. But who knows? Maybe these students will guide the first country in history to be a successfull socialist nation.

Russ:

I wonder how many posting comments have any spent time in Venezuela, Latin America or outside of this country. Personally, my business has involved travel to the region for more than a decade and I have a great love for the people of Latin American just as I have a great love of the US. However, we in the US must stop looking at the world though narrow lenses. There is no doubt that Chavez has become an elected dictator. One of the most agregious things he has done, among a long list, is suppress and restrict freedom of the press and the media.

Many of the comments posted here seem to reflect either arrogance, ignorance or naivety on the part of many - but either way it's a lack of respect for others that comes through. The admistration in the US has severely failed to reach out diplomatically to build better relationships during the last seven years. Venezuela's poor deserved more than they had -- this was Chavez' great appeal and what first got him elected a decade ago. It's a beyond a pity that Chavez has altered the constitution, exploited oil revenues and done everything in his power to foil democracy and limit the freedom of speech and thought of his own people. All we can hope is that the people of Venezuela continue to thwart Chavez' efforts to allow him to remain in power for decades to come. Even the students at Bolivarian U. should understand that absolute power should never be concentrated in the hands of one person for more than a short time. Meanwhile, it's good to see a journalist for the Washington Post visit and reach out to those students in Venezuela.

Robert:

David Vohs:

"To Too Easy, FYI, the opposition STILL dominates the media there, and the station that lost its licence didn't just speak against the president like the NY Times, they had the Coup Plotters on the air as they were OVERTHROWING THE GOVERNMENT. They took an active part! You can watch it on TV if you care to find out the facts. Chavez wisely refrained from punishing the participants, except people who committed murder, for his entire first term but was told by the people who re-elected him that enough was enough and the station's licence was not renewed. In the USA and most countries in the world the people concerned would be in prison!"

=========================

Of course in the U.S. and most countries in the world Chavez himself would still be in prison, or would have been executed years ago for trying to overthrow the democratically elected government. Seeing the result of such leniency reinforces my belief in the efficacy of executing or imprisoning for life those who attempt military coups.

Dude:

These Bolivarian students will not get qualified jobs, unlike the ones from the other, very competeive, universities. The government will have to hire these kids. Elvis will in the end, take over his Dad's job. The difference is that he will be a college-educaed taxi-driver, as the foto of Chavez dangles from his rearview mirror.

Westerner:

It is not surprising that a university founded by chavez have morons for students. They just spit out the same crap that they hear. It doesn't occur to them to question the idea that America is a threat to venezuela (for most Americans, venezuela doesn't even register except as a country with a crazy leader) -- so much for undertaking "a critical analysis of society". One "student" cites Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore as critical thinkers?! OH MY GOD! I wonder if those students ever read at least anything by Hayek to get a different perspective. As for the claim that poor students get a chance to learn in venezuela by attending this state-sponsored school, well who did this guy think was paying for his education? There are professors, maintenance staff, librarians, administrators, and other people who have to be paid to run that school, did he think they were volunteers? A state-sponsored school basically is paid for by people who were not consulted about starting this school but have to pay for it in the form of taxes. So basically, the rich and the middle class of his country are paying for these low income youngsters to get an incomplete education. And the youngsters thank chavez and not the rich or middle class taxpayer!! Well, I guess I shouldn't be so surprised. Judging by the posters, it's a school where they consider a mass murderer like Che to be a hero. It figures.

kyle samuels:

Chavez is a concern to U.S.A because of the amount of oil, and heavy oil in the country. I believe that is why they worry about us. True or not, many in the world believe U.S. al la Bush, invaded Iraq for its oil.

This not irrational fear is no doubt used by Chavez, like so many politicians here, to stoke the fire of patriotism. This is common through out the world. Where ever I have traveled people seem to believe we are targeting their Country. Bush policies have heighten those fears.

This is why the President we chose is so important; we can't fight the whole world. Thus appearance (soft power) is as important as military (hard power) if we want to survive and prosper. The Chinese and the Europeans are doing this, and we as a result are quickly loosing our stance in the world.

Obama, more than anyone else, give America this credibility like no other Candidate can. If Obama doesn't win the Democratic nomination, McCain will win, Hillary's negatives are too high. We will not suffer under McCain. But he, being a white man, can not provide us the political cover Obama can.

To all of you, we are in this together. It's our world, live or die, we all go down in the same ship. Good luck.

David Vohs:

To Too Easy, FYI, the opposition STILL dominates the media there, and the station that lost its licence didn't just speak against the president like the NY Times, they had the Coup Plotters on the air as they were OVERTHROWING THE GOVERNMENT. They took an active part! You can watch it on TV if you care to find out the facts. Chavez wisely refrained from punishing the participants, except people who committed murder, for his entire first term but was told by the people who re-elected him that enough was enough and the station's licence was not renewed. In the USA and most countries in the world the people concerned would be in prison!

David Vohs:

Whew, seems like people get more opinionated the more ignorant they are! Go to Venezuela, as I have, and interview people, as Amar is doing, and you will see that these are regular folks trying to improve their lives. Wouldn't you? I met people in their 40's taking surveying classes so that they can work on measuring their neighborhoods that cling to the hillsides around Caracas. They hope that eventually they can gain title to their homes and develop the infrastructure that they need to make life better.
I met 3 grandmothers who were learning to read and write, going to school with their grandkids and proud as can be! I went to a newly built elementary school, one of thousands built by the Chavez government, that was the pride and joy of the neighborhood, little kids getting a chance at an education, many for the first time.
Forget what you think you know about Chavez the socialist dictator. People there kept telling me that they would stay with Chavez as long as he stayed with the people and kept doing what they wanted, the last referendum seems to bear this out. We in the USA have all of the advantages of the social programs of the past, public schools, unemployment insurance, social security, who are we to tell anyone else how to run their country?
Oh and by the way, the US did fund and back the short lived coup and the crippling shutdown of their economy, the documents are easily found if you care to look, they are not imagining that the US is a threat to their country.

Too easy:

To Jojo....

Fact...the US is going through, at worst, a brief recession and then recover as usual, while Venezuela is now dealing with the large problem of inflation going through the roof

Fact...freedom of the press is a lie in Venezuela in comparison. You think he shut down the opposition television station for reasons other than political? If Bush could do the same, then this paper, the NY Times, and dozens of other major papers (not to mention small papers and websites) would have been shut down

Fact...If you are poor, Venezuelan, and never received a decent education, you're probably as likely to support Hugo Chavez as an American would be to support Bush

Fact..the standard of living for the average American (and I mean median income, not average) is MUCH higher than in Venezuela. Go figure.

Fact...Bush did win 2004 legitimately, and while I voted the other way, I accept his victory. Mr. Chavez, on the other hand, does not worry about using state owned radio stations and local thug groups to get out the vote in his favor. You thing Bush would be able to get on NBC every week for political rantings, even if he wanted to?

Fact...Last I checked, Afghanistan war was more than justified. Even so, that leaves the one unjustified war, which I agree with you (kind of) on, but nonetheless, the difference is that its not about setting up a miniature petrol state, otherwise we just would have put in our own authoritarian government. One of the biggest problems has been the dysfunction of the Iraqi democracy, and we're trying to let them sort things out for themselves.

Fact...Venezuela is just as likely to use its power for its advantage. Check what he has said (and most likely done as well) about/to Colombia.

Fact..the US holds almost no grudge with Venezuela, and 90% of American's honestly don't give a crap who or how you run your country. I do, but let's be honest here, most don't. If you think there is some plot of the US, together with the old United Fruit Company, to take over Venezuela, well then go ahead, but the asylum costs $40 a day. When Chavez wants to stop ranting and and making up things in order to incite hatred and animosity (see: Plan Balboa) and decides to join the real world, then I will more than gladly welcome him. At least we call out our politicians for the mistakes they make.

Andy:

I agree with Doglet. The antithesis of critical thinking is going around spouting off rank stereotypes about one's perceived enemy. It's very easy to convince yourself of the righteousness of your cause when you caricature the opposition. Only the rich are educated? College graduates are apolitical and bereft of social responsibility? What are these people smoking?

(P.s. JoJo, many of your "facts" are demonstrably false. Or irrelevant. Or both. I understand what you're trying to say, I think, but it would make more sense if you talked about why Chavez shouldn't be dismissed as a paranoid, power-hungry crackpot, rather than compare him with Bush, a president whom most of us would agree has been terrible. So Bush is lousy - so what?)

Doglet:

It is true that the U.S is quite overbearing in its foreign policy and it is true that Bush displayed blatant hypocrisy when there was an attempted coup against Chavez, who tiresome as his is, was legally elected without the help of the highest court. There is something disturbing though, in those students whose good country/bad country world view makes them vulnerable to Chavez's and at one time Fidel's, technique of the Perpetual National Crisis of the Imminent Invasion. That technique is why Cubans find Chavez so disturbing and why these students will be such willing cogs.

rk-texas:

You got to admit the kid is passionate-- which beats most of or kids attitudes by a mile. If we do not get passionate about making america a decent place for middle income and the poor or we are going to be end being a lil' Venezuela ourselves. Rich and poor and nothing between. Right now if you looked down from space you'd see America and say -Look-there's a chinese economic satelite being invaded by neighbors from the south and oriental immigrants from the country to north. Barack ain't got the experience we need & Romney or McCain don't care. Hillary may be able to help but is not electable. I kinda get the feeling we are screwed.

Stunned:

That there are people in the world who actually believe the United States government was responsible for the slaughter on 9/11 says it all. Chavez and the lunacy he spouts would be comical if not for the fools who buy into it.

jojo:

Fact...the CIA did try to overthrow the Chavez govt. Only the military beat back the coup.

Fact...Bush never won a legitimate election, while Chavez has won fair and free elections three times.

Fact...Venezuela has greater freedom of press than the US. If a U.S. newspaper or TV station criticized Bush as much as the venezuelean press does, you can be sure it would be shut down the next day.

Fact...Chavez is one of the few leaders who has actually used the oil revenue to help the poor. The Bush stimulus package has over $140,000 in new taxcuts for the richest 1% of the nation. The poor get nada, that's right $0 in tax breaks.

Fact...Chavez has improved the economy of venezuela, while we in the US are looking at recession thanks to Bush.

Fact...if you're white, a high school dropout and had sex with a close relative, you're likely to be a bush supporter.

Fact...Venezuela has never illegally invaded another country. Bush illegally invaded two countries and trying to invade another.

Fact...Chavez has been a better, more successful, and popular leader than Bush.

Kuros:

As an American who has been abroad, nothing has become more clear to me: Americans are not the only ones in the world who are ignorant.

But it is rare that a majority of Americans speak from the same prejudice, which is more than I can say for the narrative that people from country A has for country B.

Let everyone speak against the country America (Note: I am not against those who speak against our government's policies alone). They'll drown themselves out with their own wailing.

spiderman2:

When idiots like Michael Moore is being heard abroad and even locally, it produces more idiots like him.

Oh, did I hear Michael Moore is a Democrat?

Democrats are left leaning and these are the kind of garbage that they produce around the world. They want to portray Bush as evil thru lying, now they get a populace who not only hate Bush but the whole of America.

Nice work, Michael.

Andy:

"For my money, there's no better way to discredit chavismo than to just let the international bolivarian cheerleading squad rant. Nothing I could write could be a more biting indictment than the "defenses" these folks put forward." Well said!!

Amar, did you point out to these revolutionaries that nobody in the US actually gives a crap about Venezuela one way or the other? I'd love to hear their take on the fact that in any given week, mainstream American media might devote maybe 0.1% of its time to their country, if that. Have any of them ever been here, or have any family here? Do they have any firsthand knowledge about the US, or is it all filtered through their critical thinking? Thanks.

Dave:

This is incredible. Reading these comments, you are all so quick to annoint yourselves above the poor Venezuelans, how many of you have actually been there? I haven't but I have been to Cuba who you generally treat appallingly as well. The poeple understand their restrictions and don't like them but they also don't want to be Americans. They genuinely like their leaders and are proud of their country. Elvis is correct, your aptitude for critical thinking is missing. These people just like you have a strong national pride, except yours is allowed to be exulted in patriotic displays while theirs are apparently "delusions"!

the good you do doesn't go unnoticed, it's just sad that the bad you do exists at all.

What do you call the SOU address last night other than an exercise in mass propoganda, did Bush really tell the truth or his vision of how it is?

"Create an external threat and remind them of it daily", can anyone say Osama?

How can anyone in America accuse another world leader of being war-mongering outside of some African nations, please take a look at yourselves before you start sprouting this holier-than-thou nonsense.

Caraqueño:

I'm always amazed by the kinds of people that pop up in gringo comments threads about Chávez. Seems like every crackpot neo-trotskyite, every sandals-and-beard campus revolutionary wannabe, every armchair crypto-totalitarian fellow-traveller, every last fringy lefty nutter who ever crept out of his paleocommie fantasyscape and onto the internet comes rushing in to comment whenever somebody mentions Chávez online.

Seriously, read back over some of the comments here: who are all these weird people? Don't they have laws in the US to keep them properly medicated and supervised?

For my money, there's no better way to discredit chavismo than to just let the international bolivarian cheerleading squad rant. Nothing I could write could be a more biting indictment than the "defenses" these folks put forward.

Poor Venezuelans, we can't cope with the level of sheer ranting lunacy our president's antics seem to excite. It's really too much for one people to bear.

Chavismo...it's not an ideology: it's a mental condition.

GARY :

ONE THING FOR CERTAIN,WHEN THE CRAP HITS THE FAN AND IT COMES FROM VENEZUELA,HUGO IS THE FIRST ONE GONE.

Jack S:

It bothers me that Chavez is trending towards limiting the free press, expropriating property for his personal use and shutting down peaceful opposition.

It bothers me more that the US government has been limiting the free press and shutting down peaceful opposition.

The fact that he uses the US as the boogie man just as Castro has done is proof that what Castro has done can be emulated.

We should not make the mistake that the US made with Cuba and not deal with them. We should trade, trade, trade with Venezuela, have all the personal, press, cultural and academic exchanges that we possibly can have. Only by open person-to-person dialog can we prove that while far from perfect, the US is not as bad as Chavez says.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Bush Thumbs Nose at Congress

By Dan Froomkin

It's about as basic as it gets: Congress has the power of the purse. And Section 1222 of the massive defense appropriation bill enacted this week asserts that power. It reads, in its entirety:

"No funds appropriated pursuant to an authorization of appropriations in this Act may be obligated or expended for a purpose as follows:

"(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.

"(2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq."

But in another of his controversial " signing statements," President Bush on Tuesday asserted that Section 1222 -- along with three other sections of the bill -- "purport to impose requirements that could inhibit the President's ability to carry out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, to supervise the executive branch, and to execute his authority as Commander in Chief."

Therefore, he wrote: "The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President."

The overall message to Congress was clear: I'm not bound by your laws.

[BTW, if you think that this is off topic you are wrong. Our invasion and occupation of Iraq is closely related to our support for the Zionist invasion and occupation of Palestine, and the Venezuelan quest "to protect ourselves, to liberate ourselves from The Empire.”]

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Bush Thumbs Nose at Congress

By Dan Froomkin

It's about as basic as it gets: Congress has the power of the purse. And Section 1222 of the massive defense appropriation bill enacted this week asserts that power. It reads, in its entirety:

"No funds appropriated pursuant to an authorization of appropriations in this Act may be obligated or expended for a purpose as follows:

"(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.

"(2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq."

But in another of his controversial " signing statements," President Bush on Tuesday asserted that Section 1222 -- along with three other sections of the bill -- "purport to impose requirements that could inhibit the President's ability to carry out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, to supervise the executive branch, and to execute his authority as Commander in Chief."

Therefore, he wrote: "The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President."

The overall message to Congress was clear: I'm not bound by your laws.

[BTW, if you think that this is off topic you are wrong. Our invasion and occupation of Iraq is closely related to our support for the Zionist invasion and occupation of Palestine, and the Venezuelan quest "to protect ourselves, to liberate ourselves from The Empire.”]

eaern "Education" sooooo USELESS!!!: :

....And I woke up one day to find that the NEW truths of the world are only a figment of my imagination. How could a human being in this day and age live like this. I went to an internet cafe and saw a young girl form a village near me chatting with a guy from the west. I went back to my place feeling so sorry about how pathetic I was.Even my baby sister is chatting with her boyfriend with her handy..wow!!! how could this be...how could I think of such thing about westerners and western universities.

Moslems are killed because they stay out of western life and technology. they rap their heads with rags.they don't go to bars and cafes. what would they do with all western information, including medical, climatic, scientific etc, data...etc

So I brian washed my self back to my former state and invited my baby sister and her boyfriend over some drinks.to hell with religion and all people form the dark age. from that time on I decided to be a sycophant to the west. I don't what others call, an infidel , a hypocrat... I'm serving a nobel cause!!!!

Tom Wallach:

I have to agree. They are manipulating the fact in Venezuela there truly is no way to get a higher education outside of the state-sponsored political factories to generate a new generation of "socialists" complete with buzzwords and a false imperial threat.

It is sad to note that prior to Chavez, Venezuela was a modernizing country on the way to at least a moderately respectable institutionalized democracy. The Middle Class, that all-important purveyor of oversight, civil rights, and civic responsibility, has been dismantled in favor of the poor. The rich have suffered too, but they are still rich. While the lot of the poor has improved, the middle class has been dismantled, leaving a rich opposition, and a moderately poor brainwashed horde, who lacks the wherewithal and time to discover how Chavez has raped their nation's future in the name of anti-imperialism. (and of course, himself. Its no surprise his followers are called Chavistas, the man has a complex.)

Now he is busy creating the institutions of political control, such as this university, and it is upsetting to watch.

eaern "Education" sooooo USELESS!!!:

After September 11 2001, when American War Criminals killed thousands of their own pople in New York so that they could blame and then kill Muslims, my world also changed. I decided to BRAINWASH myself and clean myself of all the LIES, DECEPTIONS, THe FAKE HISTORY OF THE WEST and verything that I learned at western universities. If wesern leaders can commit horrendous crimes and LIE about them and if the populations of these lands accept these LIES and CRIMES, what good can you learn from such pathetic peoples, I querried myself.

My answer has been to DISTRUST and DISBELIEVE ALL western information, including medical, climatic, scientific etc, data. EVEything I learned, I discoverd after SEptember 11 2001, was useless and A LIE and my duty to myself is to FREE myself and cleans myself of the tons of LIES which almost damaged my life.

The process of brainwashing myself of ALL western programming that was imposed one me by western univrsity continues apace and my eyes are opening to NEW truths of the world!!!!

Fate:

Hunky is correct. When you consider all the American authors who have written about democracy and freedom, to have Michael Moore as the major author shows the school is not teaching with any balance. I like Moore, but I would be just as appauled if Rush Limbaugh were the main author.

As any potential dictator knows, in order to solidify support from the populace you need to start with the young, create an external threat and remind them of it daily, make them feel part of the new society, then wait 10 years before grabbing absolute power. Chavez got greedy and didn't wait and lost his election for more power to a smart populace, but I expect he'll lick his wounds and try again in 5 years when these comrades are able to vote.

Michael O.:

So the answer to the question "Are you going to write that we're all brainwashed?" is: What choice do I have? You are brainwashed. These students and their teachers are so proud that "everyone can get an education", when in fact what they are getting is not education but propaganda.

Allegedly Chavez's greatest support comes from the poorest people, so naturally he has a vested intrerest in having as many of them as possible in Venezuela. Filling their brains with all sorts of fluff about some "imperialistic threat" ensures not only their support of his war-mongering ideology, but also their graduating with no marketable skills, thus perpetuating their dependence on his welfare policies. Brilliant.

Wanderer:

So only the rich learn? Who says? Why doesn't he know that the US college system has grants for low-income students. And do they even know how much foreign aid -- in food, building wells, etc. -- comes from America? Yes, we've made major mistakes in dealing with various countries. But we've also done a lot of good and that seems to go unnoticed.

Hunky Santa:

What is Lenin purported to have said? Ah, yes. "Useful idiots."

This Bolivarian university is rampant with them. What else can be expected of "learning" centers that reminds those from the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, or Pol Pot's Cambodia?

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