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Christine Ockrent

Paris, France

Christine Ockrent is regarded as one of France's most respected broadcasters, the only journalist granted an interview with Saddam Hussein in the middle of the Gulf War. As well as becoming the first woman to anchor and edit the prime time news, Christine has also edited the current affairs journal L'Express, worked as the deputy director-general of France's TF1 channel and presented the country's flagship magazine and program on French and European politics, France-Europe Express. She also anchors a monthly program on international affairs on TV5Monde. Close.

Christine Ockrent

Paris, France

Christine Ockrent is regarded as one of France's most respected broadcasters, the only journalist granted an interview with Saddam Hussein in the middle of the Gulf War. more »

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Chavez Has Won Cuba

Paris, France - Venezuela has already won the game. Does the world care? Not at all....

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All Comments (12)

Tom Miller:

Chavez is far from victory in Venezuela and to think that Cuba has risen from the ashes due to his funding is to ignore the fact that back in 1980 dollars, the Soviet Union was funding Fidel to the tune of $6 billion annually. That money didn't make a dent in Castro's ability to keep his country in a 3rd world status or to prevent the educated and knowledgeable (including his daughter) from leaving Cuba. Chavez's money won't help much either - I bet.

Personally I appreciate democracies and I firmly believe that over time the checks and balances in a democratic system sort out the corruption, ignorance, and errors of one-man politics. Chavez seems to be busy guaranteeing that he and his cronies (already living a Mid-East oil lifestyle in the face of enormous poverty for ordinary Venezuelans) will be in control for his lifetime. Can you imagine living in a country where you will have to hear the same lies and distortions and blaming of another country for your problems for the rest of your life?

It is amusing to me that someone would argue that the U.S. embargo (which is not obligatory for any other country including France) was ineffective in light of the obviously disastrous plight of the Cuban people while denouncing the embargo as a "failed" American policy. Why on earth would any country treat another like a friend when the leader executes or jails his opposition and spends hours and hours on Sundays boring his people with anti-American speeches. I hope Chavez won't be considered a friend of the U.S. either because he isn't. In fact, other than Castro and Admenijad, exactly what world leader is a friend of Chavez?

Does Ms. Ockrent also applaud the new Chavez initiatives to eliminate his journalistic opposition, shut down University autonomy (translate: freedom of expression), and purchase military weapons to defend himself against the American bug-a-boo that doesn't exist? I've lived through Castro and his hot-air and I'm willing to bet that Chavez won't fair any better in spite of the oil.

I bet the educated and enlightened Venezuelans are already buying tickets to the exit - a sort of surreal personal victory for Chavez and Castro I suppose but sadly not for their countries.


Stephen, your comments might have made a lot of sense 50 years ago, before communism was utterly discreted as a viable ideology in the real world.

Bottom line is that the only way Chavez can pull off his antics is that he has a (for now) bottomless pit of money to throw around. His revolution is not built on productivity, or sutainable growth, or making Venezuela the most advanced country in the region. It's built on petrodollars. Nothing else.

This model for "success" cannot be applied to the entire rest of the world that does not happen to have the good fortune to sit on an ocean of oil. All he is doing is temporarily buying his friends and his country's loyalty. Kind of like buying your friends. When the money runs out, or someone else has a better offer, he will find himself curiously alone.

More likely, long before this happens, though, he will have demonstrated himself to be a corrupt dictator who cares little about his people, and more about sustaining his power and keeping his cronies in the hallways of the government.

norman P:

Stephen w-- Your comments make a lot of sense and many of us would like to see an elaboration of the " next stage of society."

Stephen W.:

The article and most, if not all, the comments have been totally unserious. No one seems to be able to think in terms of the heavy-duty obligations of state power.

It would never enter into Chavez' head to intervene in any way into Cuba's politics or political structure! It would never occur to Raul Castro to be concerned about such a ridiculous thing! This is not an endorsement of the two; this is a realistic statement of the political reality facing both nations.

They are extremely dependent on each other for survival. For neither of them is this a matter of personal career interest, per se, although of course that is a factor for any human being. What is at stake is the historic role both societies are trying to play. They are saying it is time for humanity to make another historic jump forward. Like the jump forward from feudalism to capitalism.

All the conditions are long overripe for such a major development. Industrialization and globalization have made human civilization ready to provide for all the needs of the world's citizens. What bars the way? The now antiquated world capitalist system, once "progressive" just like feudalism was, now reactionary, just like feudalism became. Witness as only one fact: 27,000 children starve to death every single day, according to the UN. It was 25,000 three years ago. This is unheard of in human history. The devastation of humanity is accelerating, while the corresponding drain of wealth to the (coporations of) the already rich countries from the already poor countries accelerates.

Of course, none of the previous commenters nor the author will agree with my view. That is not the point. The point is that is how Chavez and Castro see it. To them it is a heavy historic responsibility, not merely to their nations, but to the future of humanity.

I know this is weird. The thinking of the next stage of human society is always weird to the previous one. Think how weird a republic and electoral democracy was to the aristocracy--and their supporters, including many peasants! So I will not, of course, be dismayed at the inevitable chorus of unthinking sneers and jeers that is sure to follow.

My comments are directed to those who wish to think seriously about international politics. It is silly to think in terms of Venezuela "taking over" Cuba! Only people trained in Washington's way of thinking would entertain such a ridiculous idea. If one enjoys such fantasies, it is better to focus on the declared reality of Washington's (not only Bush's--watch the Democrats) goals: takeover of the entire world!


Chavez has won Cuba? What type of a statement is that..Not a articulate one that's for damn sure.Obviously, you are living under a rock, your statement shows no creditability.As much as Fidel and Chavez snuggled and back-patted, as much as they act like dysfunctional father and bratty son, the death of the Dictator of Latin American Communism will probably be the best news Hugo Chavez has gotten since he met his useful anti-Bush idiot dream girl, Cindy Sheehan.Chavez fantasizes about being the larger-than-life leader who can unite even the most stubborn and independent Latin American countries into the United States of Hugo.Another Psychopath power-ravenous megalomaniac who claims even Jesus Christ was a socialist revolutionary.But you forgot to mention one small detail my friend "RAUL CASTRO DOESN'T LIKE HUGO CHAVEZ".Does this mean Chavez will want to oust old Raul Castro and annex Cuba to Venezuela?He might fantasizes a coup d'etat,or may encourage "democratic" heavily tainted elections like the dog-and-pony shows in his country, helping solidify his image as the dictator in sheep's clothing.Even if Raul sits in the presidential palace smoking cigar for a while,Castro's death will signal Chavez's end in cuba.Chavez is brainwashed and paranoid, just like his idol fidel Castro.Hugo Chavez hasn't won anything.

charles donnelly:

Political hacks, historical know-nothings, purporting to educate us on your predigested prejudices. Thanks. Shut up.


To Mr. Cromwell III, you are what we consider in USA the brain filth, arrogant, ugly ignorant american. It is sad that on the 21st Century, you still express yourself in such a nasty, vile ways. Fortunatelly, ignorance is bliss and you still have time to get yourself educated and analyze your thoughts (if you have a brain) before you spurt them out.

Cromwell the III:

I don't think venezuela has won anything yet, but you gotta watch, that Hugo chavez could become a serious threat to the United States though he goes around acting like a childish moron with the same bs of american imperialism that's getting old already, i think the U S should engage cuba and do anything it has to to prevent it from being part of what's becoming a latin anti america axis.There may be no love between cubans and venezuelans which i doutb, but latin americans can unite and stick to each other like no other people i've seen, I've seen it here in the U S, lucky for us they do it as individual inmigrants here but don't do it back home country to country which would be a nightmare for the U S, so i believe the United States mustn't allow latin america to unite for it would become a threat against us. We should do everything to get cuba back in our side.


The fact is, Castro has survived: Eisenhower; Kennedy; Johnson; Nixon; Ford; Carter; Reagan; Bush; Clinton; Bush. Not bad for a has-been. I don't know whether the oppression has kept Castro in power ... it certainly is hard to work around. The Cuban people must deal with Castro themselves.
If the Administration is truly working to undermine Raul Castro, if he's the successor, through a "Cuban Cigar and Sugar Cane Revolution," as with the other "coup d'etats" engineered in Ukraine, Georgia, Beluruss, and Lebanon ... the Cuban people might want to pay attention to what has happened to LEBANON and the LEBANESE people, who were told by the U.S. they were oh, so brave, and oh, so important to the democratic process.
Also, the Palestinians, who conducted one of the most free elections in history, and duly elected their favorite ... Hamas. In these two examples, things going Bush's way had nothing to do with stopping a slaughter by Israeli military power.
Lebanon is shattered; the Palestinians have been blown to pieces.
Cubans should understand full well that the United States has NO military forces available to send into Cuba to stabilize anything. And that therefore, chaos could surely reign if the U.S. backs a coup d'etat.
I don't know if the comments about Chavez's weaknesses are true or not. If so, fine. If not, there will be collusion between Chavez and some of the other South American leaders, and one may also see some interest by Russia or China.
While the Bush Administration may warn those two to not even think about pushing into the American sphere of influence, Iran might come in. Iran might allow greater shipments of oil to Cuba, although that's a long shot, too.
Cuba should be for Cubans. If they throw Raul out, so be it.
If not, we should allow THEM to dictate the future.
That won't happen, of course. Bush must think of 2008, and the election, and how Cuban Americans will vote ... for Jeb Bush, who will annnounce he's running for President ... in 2007.

Luis Mayor:

This lady is a pro Castro journalist and an avowed anti-American. Her toungue in cheek commentary that Chavez won Cuba is unserious at best. Won what? There is no love between Cubans and Venezuelans. Chavez behaviour is that of a moron.
The comments of many of the writers in this piece are devoid of any feeling for the Cubans both here and in Cuba. We Cubans will solve the problems: we have the resolve and the help of the US. Just wait until the beast of Biran castro dies. Let castro die!!


I agree the embargo is useless, with Chavez subsidies going to Cuba. My question is why with the high poverty rate in Venezuela, are the Venezuelan people allowing Chavez to continue sending money overseas to subsidize failed economic regimes like Cuba? Venezuela is a 3rd world country - and Chavez is acting as if he was the leader of a First World country distributing aid all over the world - my only explanation is that he is an authoritarian leader with a great degree of megalomania - charity should start at home...


I doubt Hugo Chavez has won anything. Cuba is not Fidel. While Fidel Castro and his gang of thugs will readily accept any money and orders too, coming from Chavez or China or any other one with a checkbook full of cash, that does not imply that in the event of a crisis the Cubans will resort to Hugo Chavez. I am not saying either that they will be welcoming the Cuban exiles from Florida with open arms either, but put between the two choices, they will go for the later.

Whether Hugo Chavez will be able to sustain a Cuba with Castro's brother in command instead of Fidel. I will doubt he will.

Hugo Chavez has got other problems, he has an election at home, he has some problems with Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and other neighbours in the area. And some of these neighbours are embracing good relations with North America looking for a power balance with Hugo Chavez and Brazil, a country that instead of acting as a leader acts as Venezuela's competition in the region, except without the large checkbook.

There is a new and fresh impulse of liberalism against the irresponsible populism of Chavez and against his intentions to intervene in any country in the area.

Suddenly he has gotten a bit more silence. Because Lula told him to shut up.

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