Had an interesting lunch today with some family friends who live in Venezuela. The woman is probably in her late 70s early 80s, the husband 14 years older. Both Jewish, she was educated in communist Poland and, through indoctrination, considered herself to have communist tendencies, up until very recently. They've lived in Venezuela for many years now, and today she admitted that she actually voted for Chavez, the first go round. Although they are a very wealthy family, she believed what she now considers to have been Chavez propaganda. Totally disillusioned with him, she told me about all the corruption in the Chavez government. Her son actually worked in the Chavez government. Not sure he still does, though.
Besides the rampant poverty and crime, with kidnappings in vogue, the only thing she credits him with is his literacy campaign. All the other promises have remained just that. She told me that Chavez has access to all the money he wants because he virtually owns the banks, factor in his palace, and you have one very wealthy man. His cronies and all those who pander to him are also well taken care of. And then you have all the money he gives away to other countries, which she considers more propaganda.
With all the crime and corruption, Chavez goes out of his way to protect those who support him. Those from the opposition, are dealt a very heavy blow. I didn't have a chance to pump her for more information, but hopefully I will, next time.
She did say that it is miserable in Venezuela these days, thanks to Chavez!