Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

Compare Venezuelan President Chavez with US President Obama

Hugo Chavez was busy handing out laptop computers to second graders at a school in Caracas. After that, the Venezuelan president rushed off to a food distribution plant which is providing $110 million in prepared meals for Venezuela’s poor. Finally, he ended his afternoon by making an appearance at one of the many construction sites where new homes are being built for the victims of January’s massive floods. It’s all in day’s work for Hugo Chavez.

Last week, Chavez announced that his government would spend another $700 million to fight homelessness and build another 40,000 houses. The president has stepped up his efforts since floods ravaged the country earlier in the year leaving tens of thousands without shelter. Chavez is determined not to make the same mistakes George Bush following Katrina, when disaster victims were left to fend for themselves forcing a third of the New Orleans population to flee to other parts of the country to find refuge.

While Obama has turned out to be the most disappointing president in the last century, Chavez continues to impress with his resolve to improve the lives of ordinary working people. For example, in just 12 years, Chavez has created a thriving national public health care system with 533 diagnostic centers and medical facilities spread throughout the capital. Health care is free and there have been over 55 million medical consultations since Chavez launched the Misión Barrio Adentro program. Compare that to Obama’s wretched cash-giveaway to the giant US HMO’s which he has tried to promote as universal health care.

Chavez has also led the way to greater political engagement and activism by establishing over 30,000 communal councils and 236 communes, all focused on entering more people into the political process and empowering them to bring about change. In the US, grassroots organizations are routinely shrugged off by party leaders who take their marching orders from deep-pocket elites who control both parties.

And what effect has Chavez had on the Venezuelan economy? Chavez has slashed the poverty rate in half, lowered unemployment from 15% in 1999 to 7% today, and shrunk inequality to the lowest level in Latin America. In Venezuela people are getting healthier and living longer. They’re better paid and more politically engaged. “84% of Venezuelans say that they are satisfied with life, which is the second highest level in Latin America.” And Chavez is strengthening social security and retirement programs.

In contrast, Barack Obama has done nothing for the poor, the homeless, ordinary workers, or the middle class. Zilch. He’s been a dead-loss for everyone except the richest of the rich. Maybe we should swap him for Chavez?

[Excerpt of article by Mike Whitney]

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