Even worse, Rather referred to Chávez as “the dictator” – a term that few, if any, political scientists familiar with the country would countenance.
Here is what Jimmy Carter said about Venezuela’s “dictatorship” a few weeks ago: “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”
Carter won a Nobel prize for his work through the election-monitoring Carter Center, which has observed and certified past Venezuelan elections. But because Washington has sought for more than a decade to delegitimise Venezuela’s government, his viewpoint is only rarely reported. His latest comments went unreported in almost all of the US media…
…the living standards of the majority of Venezuelans have dramatically improved under Chávez. Since 2004, when the government gained control over the oil industry and the economy had recovered from the devastating, extra-legal attempts to overthrow it (including the 2002 US-backed military coup and oil strike of 2002-2003), poverty has been cut in half and extreme poverty by 70%. And this measures only cash income. Millions have access to healthcare for the first time, and college enrolment has doubled, with free tuition for many students. Inequality has also been considerably reduced. By contrast, the two decades that preceded Chávez amount to one of the worst economic failures in Latin America, with real income per person actually falling by 14% between 1980 and 1998.
…So it is not just Venezuela that regularly comes under fire from the Washington establishment: all of the left and newly independent governments of South America, including Argentina, Ecuador, and Bolivia are in the crosshairs (although Brazil is considered too big to get the same treatment except from the right). The state department tries to keep its eyes on the prize: Venezuela is sitting on 500bn barrels of oil, and doesn’t respect Washington’s foreign policy. That is what makes it public enemy number one, and gets it the worst media coverage.
…South America’s support is Venezuela’s best guarantee against continuing attempts by Washington – which is still spending millions of dollars within the country in addition to unknown covert funds – to undermine, delegitimise, and destabilise democracy in Venezuela.
Looking through that last linked report it actually claims that we are sending aid to Venezuela
The FY 2012 Economic Support Fund (ESF) request of $5,968.7 million advances U.S. interests by helping countries meet short- and long-term political, economic, and security needs. These needs are addressed through a range of activities, from countering terrorism and extremist ideology
Venezuela ($5 million): These funds will help strengthen and support a Venezuelan civil society that will protect democratic space and seek to serve the interests and needs of the Venezuelan people. Funding will enhance citizens’ access to objective information, facilitate peaceful debate on key issues, provide support to democratic institutions and processes, promote citizen participation, and encourage democratic leadership.