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Dueling headlines, ‘Hugo Chavez helped the poor’ edition

By Doug Powers  •  March 16, 2013 01:07 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Exhibit A, a headline from shortly after the announcement of the death of Hugo Chavez:


That was around the time NY Rep. Serrano tweeted that Chavez was “committed to empowering the powerless.”

Based on what Carter and Serrano said, you’d think that Chavez created a socialist utopia where poverty had been virtually eliminated, Sean Penn spent his days in Caracas handing out free “I-heart-Hugo” candies and the worst human rights offense that ever occurred in the country was a mandatory national viewing of I Am Sam.

Which brings us to Exhibit B: Yesterday’s headline from the Washington Post:


But in an empowered sorta way!

From the story about the leader who was praised as empowering the poor:

This tense, relentlessly gray capital embodies many of Venezuela’s problems, with crumbling apartment towers and food lines often sharing the same sidewalk with cheering crowds eager to greet their departed Comandante.

“More than anything, the government continues fighting with everyone, and does everything badly,” said Francisco Olivero, a 54-year-old carpenter who lives with his wife and five children in the poor neighborhood of Catia, just blocks from the funeral route.

Like many Venezuelans, Olivero said wartime-levels of street violence all over the city were his top worry.

“They kill people here every day,” he said. “I’ve lost friends, relatives.”

When Serrano, Carter and others praise Chavez for allegedly empowering the impoverished, their admiration probably isn’t based on Hugo’s success in helping the poor improve their economic station, but rather his ability to successfully convince so many of them not to blame him for it:

“You can’t find anything,” said 27-year-old lawyer Anglys Bericote, who rode a bus for four hours from the town of Cajigal to view the funeral cortege. Wearing a heart-shaped “I am Chavez” pin, she said she was taking the opportunity to also stock up on basic goods. People in her town have even had to go without toothpaste and toilet paper, she said.

“It’s all the plan of the private businesses,” she said, repeating the government’s line of attack. “They want to hold onto everything so that it riles up people.”

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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