Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Venezuelan XXIst Century Socialism


Hugo Chavez has been in power since 1999. When he was first elected president, the price of oil was around $20 a barrel. Since 2001, it has tripled to more than $60 a barrel.

This has allowed Chávez to spend billions of dollars to keep Cuba's economy afloat and to buy politicians in Central and South America that are willing to participate in his "anti-imperialist" crusade, in exchange for Venezuela's petrodollars. He has also spent billions of dollars buying arms from Russia, Spain and other countries. In 2005, Chavez spent $2.17 billion to acquire Russian assault rifles and helicopters, Spanish transport aircraft and missile-capable corvettes, and Brazilian turboprop light attack aircraft. That figure increased in 2006.

But has the oil bonanza benefited Venezuela's poor? Judge for yourself.

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