One of the best things about a blog is how readers become correspondents. Here’s Tim:
1) Thank you for Notes! My bookmarks had a giant hole where The Dish used to be. Last week, I happily added “Notes” and it fits like an old shoe.
2) I live in Venezuela. In two weeks there will be elections, where the ruling party (the Chavistas) will get routed. Then, there is a good chance they will not surrender their power. In any case, if you could direct some of The Atlantic’s brainpower and spotlight down here, it’d be appreciated. Venezuela perfectly encapsulates the failure of the left in Latin America, and it’s a huge blow for command economies and socialism in the region. Relevant facts:
- Venezuela is bordering on hyperinflation and its minimum wage is $0.07/hour. You read that right.
- The oil dollars used to subsidize food and housing are now gone; and the government is selling its savings to buy billions of dollars of Russian weapons and jets.
- Crime is outrageous.
- Venezuela is a narco-state:
- Venezuela is ruled by people who attempted a coup d’etat in 1992 and are mentored by Fidel Castro and disciples.
- Venezuela has already declared dictatorial powers for its president, Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela has declared states of emergency in many areas, and given the army the right use violence against protestors.
The reader concludes that there’s a “50 percent chance Venezuela is about to become a military dictatorship.” If you have something to add to the story, especially if you live in Venezuela, drop me an email. Update: Some critical pushback from a reader who’s an academic and self-described socialist:
When you do things like print that email about Venezuela uncritically, with no additional context, with no pushback, and no hint of the class composition of the divide in that country, you’re epitomizing everything wrong with the magazine you write for. Why don’t you check out the work of someone like Greg Grandin and try and restore a semblance of interest in why the Chavez government was often so wildly popular among average (read: not the kind who would ever write in to The Atlantic) Venezuelans?
Yes, the Venezuelan president could be a strongman. But he leaves behind what might be called the most democratic country in the Western Hemisphere.
Two more pieces from Grandin, published this year: