In Latin America, left vs left
- Spot-fixing: Petition in SC seeks stay on IPL matches, seeks SIT probe
- India, China call for end to incursion issue, sign 8 deals to boost ties
- Sanjay Dutt spends restless nights as officials yet to decide on his jail
- Aarushi murder case: Rajesh Talwar claims he was asleep when killings took place
- Railgate: BJP protests against CBI DIG for shielding Pawan Bansal
Hugo Chavez has passed away, leaving Venezuela facing an uncertain future and potential for sharper division as both his movement and his opposition bid for ascendancy. Chavez dominated state and society — a sharply polarising figure producing intense disputes about both him and his governing project. Even in death, he has left a legacy of disagreement. For example, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva eulogised him as an unparalleled champion of the poor. Tariq Ali dismissed any criticism of Chavez as stemming from corrupt elites in the grip of Washington. Yet The Guardian's Rory Carroll critiqued Chavez as an incompetent manager. He spoke of the country's collapsing infrastructure, a formal economy disappearing into nothingness, rampant corruption around the myriad programmes to dispense the country's only source of revenue: oil exports.
The two versions of Chavez will probably never be reconciled. Looking at it from a critical distance, it is hard to understand how anybody can excuse him for the economic mess that Venezuela has become or deny that he centralised power and limited the capacity of the opposition to compete openly. At the same time, it is also true that Chavez's angry politics of polarisation targeted another obvious problem afflicting Latin America: the gross disparities in wealth, income and political rights across the region. These two sides of Chavez, the voice of the disadvantaged and the feckless manager of the country's political economy, capture the fundamental dilemma of the region: do you work to improve social, economic and political conditions from within the system, or do you break it to attack the root causes of injustice?
This fundamental choice has expressed itself over the 15-odd years since Chavez first won office. By 2009, leftist governments governed over 60 per cent of Latin Americans, but this was not a monolithic trend. Two distinct tendencies appeared to be taking hold. Observers and scholars used different criteria to distinguish between these "two lefts". They all boiled down, however, to a more radical left, exemplified by Venezuela, but including at least Bolivia, Ecuador and increasingly Argentina, and a more moderate left, exemplified by Brazil, but including at least Chile and Uruguay.
- Former Ranji player among 3 more held
- Rajasthan Royals to file FIR against tainted trio
- If found guilty, BCCI to ask ICC to erase Sreesanth records
- Top cops among 42 named in death of blast accused
- Manmohan-Li talks: PM takes tough line on incursion issue
- Security forces blame Maoists, villagers say CoBRA man was killed in 'friendly fire'