Medea Benjamin on Chavez' Victory
From Common Dreams:
Infuriated by their loss of power, the elite have used their control over the media to blast Chavez for destroying the economy, cozying up to Fidel Castro, antagonizing the US government, expropriating private property, and governing through dictatorial rule.Medea Benjamin was the woman hauled out of the Democratic Convention for breaking up the spirit of the bloodfest by holding up an antiwar sign during Teresa Heinz Ketchup's speech. She is a cofounder of Global Exchange, the wonderful organization which arranged the trips I took to Chiapas and Venezuela.
They also accuse Chavez of using the social programs that have so improved the lives of the poor as a way to gain voters. In this, the opposition is right: providing people with free health care, education, small business loans and job training is certainly a good way to win the hearts and minds of the people.
Sunday’s overwhelming victory for Chavez has given him an even stronger mandate for his "revolution for the poor." It should also give George Bush and John Kerry reason to rethink their attitude towards Hugo Chavez. Rather than demonizing him as a new Fidel Castro and stoking the opposition, US leaders should embrace Venezuela’s social transformation and the way it is empowering people like Olivia Delfino.