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Friday, April 09, 2004

Learning Venezuela
First day of talks here in Caracas is complete. We heard from a couple of professors--one an expert on the overall history of modern Venezuela, the other an expert on the oil industry. Some interesting facts:
  • The society here is very polarized. The majority of the people, who are poor, support Hugo Chavez and think heīs doing great things. The middle and upper classes think heīs a murderer whoīs destroying Venezuela. The two sides rarely talk or try to compromise. Some middle-class families and neighborhoods are bitterly divided.
  • Chavezīs speech are frequently extremely derogatory of the upper classes; the first professor who spoke said that she supports Chavez for the most part, but canīt stand to listen to his insults for more than ten minutes.
  • Gasoline costs 17 cents per gallon here.

Mas tarde.

For some very scary insights from Iraq, be sure to read Juan Cole regularly.