In late 2007, President Chavez further boosted Venezuela’s liberation by disconnecting ties with the World Bank and the IMF, with the belief that Venezuela no longer required organizations that were controlled by Washington (Dominguez, 2012). This gave Chavez more control of the government entities that regulated money expenditures and allowed him to have the freedom to make any decision he saw fit. Eventually, the wealthy class of Venezuela started questioning the amount of power Chavez had and the amount of changes he was making with the Venezuelan constitution.
The wealthy would eventually form an organization and hire high ranking military officers in order to overthrow the government and force Chavez out of his control. This movement continued for months and it stole the lives of countless of Venezuelans. In return, the attempt to remove Chavez from his power was accomplish. Chavez was arrested and forced to resign, therefore the opposition against Chavez decided to make a public statement in television. Showing the new cabinet who would be in charge of the country. Unfortunately, it only lasted a couple of days because Chavez and his loyal followers were able to gain back control of the capital.
As time went by, many attempts were made to remove Chavez from his position, but this attempts continuously failed due to the help Chavez was getting from his loyal followers. When it came to the government of Chavez the people of Venezuela were split, many wanted him out and removed from all of his power. However, it was incredibly difficult for the Anti-Chavistas as to accomplish that. Since, the majority of individuals that held an essential position in the government were all for the most part loyal followers of Chavez and his beliefs. Chavez had been able to divide the population in a brutal way. All societies have natural differences, but Chavez was able to explode those differences among statuses and used in his favor. Treating his adversaries like enemies, from the beginning he made it his policy to polarize the country.
As time went by, Chavez life would be taken by cancer and in his last speech he would choose his successor, Nicolas Maduro. Eventually, oil prices decreased significantly and Chavez successor, Nicolas Maduro fell to repair the errors that were made by Chavez in his term (McCarthy, 2017). Venezuela rapidly fell into an economic crisis and hyperinflation made it nearly impossible for Venezuelans to afford medication and food. Venezuela caught the world’s attention in 2017, the difference this time was the reason it had caught the world’s attention. It was not the government structure or their petroleum wealth.
This time it was the months of anti-regime protest, in which many died. In 2018, empty supermarket shelves and looting show how the economy is still in crisis. Many Venezuelans cannot get their money out of the bank and even if they were able to it would not provide them with any help. Since Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar, lost more than 90% of its value in one year (Stuenkel, 2013). This crisis is the consequence of Hugo Chavez decisions, years of government mismanagement and widespread corruption have crippled the economy. Now more than half of the population of Venezuela has immigrated to neighbor countries searching for a new life.
The philosophical approach of the utilitarian theory states that we should resolve problems by bringing the greatest good to the highest number of people (Jennings, 2018). The Venezuelan politics had become too sophisticated for its own good. They loved to discuss concepts like macroeconomic equilibrium. They loved to discuss modernity and technology. When 80% of the population was living in what we call moderate poverty and critical poverty. Hugo Chavez was able to change the lives of the majority of Venezuelan’s while still remaining within the bounds of democracy (Grier, 2016).He won numerous elections that even the US government at times recognized as legitimate.
His government slashed poverty in half. It brought thousands of Cuban doctors into poor slums to provide free, 24h-hour -a-day basic medical care. It also launched a massive free education program, virtually wiping out illiteracy and giving maids a shot at a high school diploma and others at a college degree (Dominguez, 2012). Despite “one- man rule” allegations, Chavez – while no doubt a strong -armed, charismatic leader- also spawned a massive grassroots renaissance among millions of poor Venezuelans. They now participate in community groups that do everything from running soup kitchens to installing public water systems. Chavez, for the first time in Venezuela’s history, fully redirected the country’s vast oil wealth to the impoverished majority.
For decades that wealth was controlled by a tiny, fabulously rich elite-an oligarchy- that lived in gated mansions and jetted off to Europe while the majority subsisted in tin shacks. He was able to use his power and popularity to change the tradition that Venezuela had, political parties do not touch the oil company. Due to that tradition and many others the poor struggled to eat, while the rich raped and pillaged the oil wealth. In short, Chavez was the poor people’s president and he was a symbol to millions of other people around the world who saw him as a beacon of hope. Chavez lived up to his promises in many ways. Even the left (anti-Chavez) admired many of his successes.
One former member of Chavez cabinet told my uncle that Chavez was the most Venezuelan liked person that he had ever met. He said that Chavez was chaotic, this incredibly organized, and talkative man. Venezuelans, especially in the barrios, saw Chavez and they saw themselves reflected in him, as if they were looking into a mirror. This just comes to show, how Chavez was all about his people and to bring the best possible things for the greatest amount of people. He was an impressive fella at a very young age. He nurtured the idealistic philosophies of fairness just like his motivation, Simon Bolivar. Hugo Chavez would developed to be the commander of the people and for the people.
The philosophical approach known as the ethical egoism theory holds that we all act in our own self-interest; this view grips that everything is determined by self-interest (Jennings, 2018). Chavez selfish decisions have put Venezuela in a critical economic situation. Today, Venezuela’s democratic institutes and its economy are a disaster. Venezuela currently has a record high inflation rate, placing them in first place in the world. This is making food and medicine inaccessible to most Venezuelans. Over the past four years its GDP has fallen over 30%, which is worse than the one seen throughout the great depression in the United States (Faria, 2008). The nation’s murder percentage has made it one of the most threatening countries in the world.
These conditions have created a huge protest against the current president, Nicolas Maduro. It is reasonable to see why the country has gathered together to protest, since the country has become significantly worse since the election of Chavez Successor. However, Nicolas Maduro would not be in this situation right now if it was not for the decisions made by Chavez. No president would have been able to scale back the economy of Venezuela in time to protect the nation from the price levels of the petroleum market. Hugo Chavez wanted to become a celebrity and gain power. He used the poor and the middle-class people of Venezuela to do that. Exploding their darkest feelings in order to create a change in the way Venezuela was ran. A change that would provide Chavez with the biggest advantage, allowing him to have power over all of Venezuela.
Manipulating the weaknesses of others and using the different class statuses against the elite who ran the nation. In no time, Chavez was able to divide a whole nation and collide the economy of the country. While Hugo Chavez is resting in peace, the people of Venezuela is starving, dying and searching for a way out in order to live. All due to the selfishness of the decisions being made under his term. Venezuela is currently in chaos and there is no sign of change in the near future. Furthermore, Chavez left the nation under his successor Nicolas Maduro, a bus driver. Who is been able to make everything even worse for the people of Venezuela. No Venezuelan that opposes him has the ability to purchase water, toilet paper or any basic need in order to survive. The country has shifted into a dictatorship in which the doors are closed, and no Venezuelan is allowed to leave the country anymore.
My opinion of Hugo Chavez has significantly changed after the research I have conducted throughout these weeks. At first, I used to think of Chavez as a liar and a human being capable controlling people in order to achieve his desires. Whether these desires were good for the people or not. As a Colombian born and raised, Hugo Chavez is a character that I have hear about my entire life. Since Venezuela in our brother country, we care for their economy and its people. In fact, part of my family is from Venezuela because many Colombians migrate to Venezuela in search of something different. My view on Chavez has always been the same as my family, since all the information and knowledge I had of him came from them. Since, they despite him you can imagine how there would be no possible way of me liking him. Of course, they had nothing good to say about him. After the research I have conducted on him I can sympathize in some levels with him and the decisions he took during the moments he was in.
I myself come from a low-income hardworking family like him as well. Where each day you woke up, you did not know if there was enough food for the whole family or enough money to pay for the water bill that was due last month. All my childhood living in stress each day, thinking of bills and if there was enough for everyone. Something, a kid should not have to worry about and to look back and know that I had friends that were in worst financial situations than mine. No one cared, no one tried to change the inequality of the style of life we were in and not once any president had a significant impact on my people or those that were in extreme poverty.
So yes, I can see why he would preach about equality and justice for all. I want to believe his intentions were always for the good of his people but perhaps with his background it was not the best for the economy to have him hold a position so important as the presidency is. To me it seems he had an emotional personality, he would take actions with his feelings without thinking of the actual consequences that they could bring in the near future. But no president in the past or in any other country had been able to do what he did for the poor. He cared, he knew what that feeling was like, he knew how in that situation you have no voice. You are just in the shadows prolonging the expected. Now the whole country is in misery, many Venezuelans cry every day and starve to death. But to think that, now they are feeling what the vast majority of the nation was feeling for years and nothing was done to help them is ironic.
Maybe it was the way I was raise, but it is extremely hard for me to enjoy something or have a lot of one thing when I know someone is in pain or someone is needing with urge something that I have a lot of. Chavez Shifted the Economy of Venezuela tremendously, he gave the poor the chance to see how living a different life was. How it felt to wake up in a bed, in a house with a fridge full of food and the ability to go to school and make something bigger for yourself. He did all of this at the cost of the nation and its economy. And somehow, I still can get rid of the feeling that I sympathize with him and his decisions. Perhaps, now that all Venezuela is going through this crisis, the mentality of all Venezuelans will change. Everyone will move up together to a better life, not just the few. Unfortunately, Chavez died before he was able to truly see how his mistakes led Venezuela to misery. It would have been interesting to see how he would have handled the situation in which Nicolas Maduro is in. I want to believe he was an actual advocator of equality and a president for the people.
Venezuela’s history has shown how they come back from different economic crisis. However, this time it is completely different for this great nation. Never before has the world seen an economy collapsed like this, such rapid inflation. Forcing the majority of the population to leave their land in order to survive the situation in which their country is in. This crisis would be something that no Venezuelan would ever forget, the actions we take today can have a significant impact on us tomorrow. In order, to make the same mistakes we must learn from our history.
Venezuela has a long way to go, if the country is to rise in the near future they must work together to bring down its dictatorship Nicolas Maduro. As for Hugo Chavez, he will live in the memory of many Venezuelans as the only president that has ever cared for the poor. A president that was able to bring a change into a country full of years of traditions that made the rich richer and the poor poorer. For others, he will live in their memory as the authoritarian soldier that rose from nothing to bring down a whole country with his obsession of equality. His hate for the wealthy made him divide a nation that was once together.