Hugo Chavez, RIP

God grant him mercy through Christ our Lord.

By the way, I know that in the precincts of Truly True Faithful Conservative Catholicism[TM] such a prayer marks me out as a damn librul and quite possibly a communist.

Actually though, it’s a prayer that takes seriously such damn librul commie ideas as “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death”, as well as “lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy”.

The real tragedy is that I have to actually say that out loud, ahead of time, in order to fend off the accusers in my comboxes and on FB who think the love of enemies is a sign of weakness and who long experience tells me are waiting to pounce in their profoundly better-than-everybody-else purity. One reader told me she was actually seeing people cheering for his death. It’s one thing not to feel too choked up, particularly if you are a Venezualan who has suffered under him. But to rejoice over someone’s death:

“Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” – Ezekiel 18:23

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/RIP-HUGO-Chavez/218500258290921 AlKp
  • http://Www.SaintLouisAcupuncture.com Dr. Eric

    Requiescat in pace.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    Of course I can pray for him, and should. But since I am not one who has suffered under him, more than that is cheap. Just like forgiving the 9/11 terrorists. Sure. Why not? I didn’t lose anyone. Harder to pray for the person who screwed me over for a promotion, or who bilked my family of our life savings, or harmed my child, or something like that. It’s offering such a prayer to someone who had me in the cross hairs – that’s when the faith hits the pavement. So rest in peace Mr. Chavez. Whatever bad you did didn’t impact me anyway. Now, onto those who’ve really tripped me up in life.

    • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

      An aphorism of LaRochfoucauld (slight paraphrase): There is hardly a man so aware that he knows all of the evil he does every day.

      • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

        That’s the truth. It’s easy to say ‘I forgive Hitler.’ It’s tough to avoid calling that person who screwed me over Raca. Which is probably one of the reasons I should focus more on myself than others, because who knows what I’ve done to others that needs forgiving more than ol’Hugo could ever need from me.

  • http://peace Puck

    It doesn’t mark you as a liberal. Stop buying into the medias definition of liberal and conservative. Chavez was a populist and a nationalist. He knew how to hold power in a poor nation that was subservient to the American empire – an empire that I as a conservative have no love for either.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Chavez was a self-defined socialist.

    • Richard M

      And savage toward the rights of the Church – among many others.

      When you’ve lost even Noam Chomsky, you know the gig is up.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Can you tell me what specifically he has done? Something like the HHS mandate? Closing the churches? What?

        • TMLutas

          Try googling Chavez church conflict and pick a source you trust. There are plenty of hits.

          • Marthe Lépine

            Thanks for the suggestion. I did and found something like this: “Chavez snapped at church leaders earlier this month when they expressed concern about a decision not to renew the license of opposition-sided TV channel RCTV. He pointedly told top Vatican representative Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino: “The state respects the church. The church should respect the state.”
            Urosa and other bishops say they want a respectful dialogue that allows for disagreement.
            Some priests also have been strongly supportive of Chavez. Monsignor Edgar Doria said he thinks Chavez shares Christian principles like social justice and equality, and that the church can be a key “ally” in social programs for the poor.
            Relations with the church have been hostile before, and Chavez once called the church leadership a “tumor.” In the past couple of years, relations have grown somewhat more cordial while both sides appeared to seek a rapprochement.
            Now, Chavez says he hopes to avoid a return to the “times of confrontation.”
            I just cannot see how the above justifies a sentence like “brutal towards the rights of the Church”. Maybe it is just me, but from I have been reading in some “trad” blogs in particular, strong disagreements with the Church seem quite frequent within the US too, between different “factions” of Catholics and the bishop’s conference, and nobody says they are “brutal” – not even “very disrespectful”…

  • Faith-Free

    Is there a sentiment any more disgustingly masochistic than “pray for your enemies”? If they really are your enemies you should want to defeat them, that would be the rational thing to do.

    • Chris M

      Maybe you and captain man-viking the neopagan racial separatist should write a newsletter together. We just heard that exact same sentiment from him, after all.

      • ivan_the_mad

        Funny how certain philosophies tend towards convergence with each other …

    • Bill

      I’ll make sure I pray for you.

    • Stu

      When we all are laying down dead, any worldly disputes cease.

      It’s time to pray for his soul just like I hope people do for me one day.

      • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

        Amen to that. Amen to that.

    • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

      By all means, let’s be rational.

      Start by defining the terms you use, in particular “enemies” and “defeat.”

    • Beadgirl

      He’s dead, Faith-Free. Exactly how should we “defeat” him?

      And, to follow up on Tom K.’s point: what do you mean by defeat? Do you think violence is the only way to defeat someone? What if, instead, you can get him to change his mind — should you still try to defeat him, even though he is no longer your enemy? Do mercy and forgiveness have any role? Do you take a black-and-white view of conflict and disagreement? Do you think the only way to see the world is “us v. them”? And who counts as an enemy — how different does someone have to be, how much do they have to disagree with you, to count as an enemy?

      • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

        My own answer to what “enemies” means in the “pray for your enemies” context is “people who hate you, i.e., work for your harm.” The key point being that “enemy” is not a symmetric relationship; person A can be the enemy of person B without person B being the enemy of person A.
        http://disputations.blogspot.com/2007/03/my-enemys-enemy-in-comments-below-rob.html

        Whether not hating someone who hates you is rational depends on the end you seek and the means available to achieve that end.

        • Beccolina

          I generally take it to mean anyone who irritates me. If they stir unrighteous anger in me, or inspire me to wish them ill, it’s a sure sign I should pray for them.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        When I was in high school there was this clique that didn’t like me for some reason. At first I was unkind to them in return, but Christ’s words about loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate us needled my conscience. So I decided to start being kind to them instead. When I saw them in the hallways I started smiling at them pleasantly rather than scowling. Most of them just turned their heads away, looking uncomfortable, but one of them actually started talking to me. We ended up becoming friends after she stopped hanging out with that clique.

        Was that “masochistic”? Not at all. Masochism means taking pleasure in being abused or mistreated. My choice to be kind to them didn’t cause me to suffer (nor does my choice to pray for the soul of a dead enemy). So I wasn’t even suffering, let alone deriving enjoyment from it. Rather, I *freed* myself from anger and bitterness – and I did experience a sense of freedom when I decided to follow Our Lord’s teaching. Nursing grudges only weighs us down and holds us back. If we choose to withhold forgiveness from others we inflict more suffering on ourselves. Yes, *that* causes suffering. Reveling in grudges and fantasies of revenge is *much* more masochistic than forgiveness.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          Oh, and as far as “defeating the enemy” goes, I think I accomplished that without even trying. They enjoyed getting a certain reaction from me before, so when I stopped reacting that way and started acting kindly toward them I essentially neutralized their “weapons.” They soon stopped bothering me and I even won one over as a friend, so yeah, I’d say they were defeated. Christ’s words may seem counter-intuitive, but there’s more power in them than we realize.

    • Scott W.

      I seem to remember Thrasymacus making a similar argument. I seem to recall a pagan Socrates pwning him.

      • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

        My thought exactly. I do not understand why people who wouldn’t want to go back to pre-modern science seem insistent on going back to pre-Socratic philosophy.

    • Mark Shea

      Thank you for that able demonstration both of cutting edge Bronze Age philosophy, as well as for enriching the already substantial data set which suggests that autism spectrum disorders and corresponding lack of normal human empathy closely correlate with atheism.

  • http://www.patheos.com Amy

    I hope he had the last rites, was able to make a confession and receive the eucharist. Yes, all we can do is pray for his soul. God loves all of us and he wants all of us to be with Him. And if it takes a death bed conversion, more power to God.

    • Marthe Lépine

      Apparently he did. Just scroll down to one of the most recent comments with a link.

  • ivan_the_mad

    May he rest in peace, and may God be merciful to him and to all of us.

    My hope for him has been fanned ever since he sought a meeting with BXVI in Cuba about a year ago, during which he received BXVI’s blessing.

  • Subsistent

    Methinks there is a sense in which it is true to say, “If they really are your enemies you should want to defeat them”. More , I think that if our enemies are in the wrong, we SHOULD hate them: qua our enemies. For to hate something is to wish it to not exist. Thus Pope Paul Paul VI hated war; for he said (at the U.N.), “No more war! War never again!” So it’s perfectly right for me to wish my enemy not to exist — as my enemy. ’Twas Abraham Lincoln who said, “the best way of destroying your enemy is to make of him your friend”; as indeed he himself did with Stanton, an enemy he destroyed by making him a member of his cabinet.

    • Subsistent

      The idea here is actually one traditional in Scholastic semantics: in his book *Formal Logic* (*Petite Logique* in French) the Scholastic logician Jacques Maritain wrote, “for example, the enemies of our native land must be *hated* as such, and *loved* as men.”

      • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

        Yes, “hate them qua our enemies” is basically equivalent to “hate the sin [in the sinner].” And of course there’s Jesus’ instruction, “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” http://newadvent.org/summa/3034.htm#article3

        But that’s not really “hate” or “enemies” in the “you have heard it said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemies’” sense.

  • The Deuce

    No, you’re not a damn librul for praying for the dead man’s eternal soul. That’s the right thing to do.

    Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, is here to show you what a damned (if he does not repent to God before he meets Him) liberal looks like: http://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/hugo-chavez-030513.html

    It will be right to pray for Carter’s soul when he dies too.

    • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

      And your soul? And mine? Do you wish for God’s righteousness or your own self-righteousness?

      Why do you think Our Lord tells us not to judge – because it isn’t polite?

      Now we’re going to have a few moments confusion over the difference between opposing evil and judging human beings.

      • The Deuce

        Yes, my soul and yours.

        I’m not judging Carter in relevant sense. I am not saying “Damn him to hell.”

        What I am doing, however, is judging in the “You shall know them by their fruits” sense, and in the “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” sense.

        I am acknowledging that knowingly praising and supporting monsters who murder and torture thousands or even millions of innocent people is a horrid sin that shows that Christ is not in the person who does it, and that will lead to hell if not repented of.

        Carter is not stupid. He knows that these people have murdered and tortured thousands of innocents. He deliberately ignores that and praises them, and tries to help and support them in any way he can. He’s actively trying to increase the murder, torture, and oppression in this world, because his god is his political ideology.

        • j. blum

          Carter supported Somoza. And the Shah. And the killers of Oscar Romero (ora pro nobis). Are these the torturing monsters you have in mind?

          • David Davies

            Carter supported the Shah? Carter SUPPORTED the SHAH?? I hope I never have an Allie who supports me like that.

        • Subsistent

          Admttedly, that a person bears evil fruit is clear evidence that he is of bad CHARACTER; i.e., that he’s affected with moral VICE; and that MAYBE his soul is in the state of mortal sin. But I submit that our discombobulated psyches (from the effects of “original sin”, catechists say, as well as from bad cultural influences) can be such that even bad character and moral vice don’t signal an interior soul-state of mortal sin conclusively. So it makes perfect sense to me that Vatican II’s constitution *Gaudium et Spes* states (in Section 28) that “[God] forbids us to make judgments about the internal guilt of anyone.” (The Latin: “Deus … nos vetat de interiore cuiusvis culpa iudicare.”)

        • Marthe Lépine

          “murder and torture thousands or even millions of innocent people” This is a serious accusation to make. Can you quote sources or give links that prove that Chavez has in fact murdered and tortured thousands or even millions of innocent people?

          • The Deuce

            It’s not just Chavez (though Chavez was an evil man with the death and misery of thousands on his hands, either directly or indirectly). Carter has spent the past couple of decades or so excusing and promoting every psychopathic dictator he gets an opportunity to do so for.

            • Marthe Lépine

              Any specific example? “Death and misery of thousands on his hands” is still a serious accusation. I could also say that more than a few US presidents have the death and misery of thousands on their hands – if we consider, for example, the unjustified (by the Church standards) war in Iraq, the support to whoever assassinated a democratically elected president in Peru in order to install the dictator Pinochet, some aspects of the VietNam war, etc… And just talking of “misery”, how about the unemployment among Iraq war veterans (I am led to believe that there are about one million of them, so that qualifies on its own as “misery for thousands).

              • TMLutas

                Two points might illuminate. Chavez supported FARC, so part of their death toll is rightly laid at his door. Venezuela has such a bad crime rate that it no longer publishes crime statistics. Chavez’s actions are not irrelevant in this horrible criminal bloodbath. Ultimately, socialism always leads to decline and crisis. Sometimes, like the swedes, the decline and turnaround I peaceful. In the case of Venezuela there is a violent undercurrent that is worse. Fortunately, Venezula has avoided the gulag. That is rather thin praise.

                • Marthe Lépine

                  That does not seem very logical. However, by the same argument, how many dictators have been supported by the US in the past? I can remember a few, such as Pinochet, the Shaw, but I am sure there are more. Would that mean that the US President of the time would have been personally responsible, for example, for Pinochet’s abuses and have the blood and misery of many Chileans on his hands?

                  • David Davies

                    And would you have even cared about the blood and misery Allende’s faction would have inflicted on Chile? They had a civil war and people died. We had one too, which killed over six hundred thousand Americans. Should Lincoln not have waged war against the Confederacy?

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Can you substantiate your allegation? Do you happen to know for a fact that Allende’s faction would inflict more blood and misery on Chile than Pinochet? Please give us a little more factual information.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Sure, people died in a civil war, in which I do not know exactly what Allende’s responsibility was. But afterwards they had a free election and Allende was democratically elected.

              • David Davies

                That was Chile, Marthe. Not Peru.

            • MattyD

              Yeah, Deuce, I have to agree with Marthe on this one. You don’t really sound like you know what you’re talking about. However, you do sound like you’ve heard some very angry soundbites and propaganda that you are eager to repeat.

    • ivan_the_mad

      You might want to reconsider your words here.

    • Marthe Lépine

      You mean that to simply acknowledge that “Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half, and millions received identification documents for the first time allowing them to participate more effectively in their country’s economic and political life. … At the same time, we recognize the divisions created in the drive towards change in Venezuela and the need for national healing. We hope that as Venezuelans mourn the passing of President Chávez and recall his positive legacies — especially the gains made for the poor and vulnerable — the political leaders will move the country forward by building a new consensus that ensures equal opportunities for all Venezuelans to participate in every aspect of national life.”
      is being a ” a damned (if he does not repent to God before he meets Him) liberal”? That Carter should be damned for celebrating what seems to have been good in that particular regime? In that case I myself would prefer to be among the “damned liberals”!

      • David Davies

        Poverty rates cut in half? Says who? We know all about Potemkin Villages and socialist data manipulation Marthe.

        • Marthe Lépine

          And here is a source of the poverty rates cut in half, given by another commenter further down this thread: Center for Economic Policy and Research.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Do you mean that Carter is a socialist who manipulates data? Or that he is too stupid to check his sources? I was actually quoting Mr. Carter’s words. Do you really think that he is dishonest in such a letter?

        • David Davies

          Dishonest? Yes.

  • Richard M

    We should pray for Hugo Chavez, certainly. But less us also pray for his many victims, many of whom remain in prison, including Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni.

    Chavez was a caudillo smart enough to cloak himself in the colors of populism and nationalism, and it was enough to fool many people (fewer and fewer of them Venezuelans). Reading the State Dept. and Human Rights Watch country reports on Venezuela since he took power makes for grim reading.

    But the grace of God is open to all who will receive it, and repent. We can hope that Hugo Chavez did so, and that justice and healing can come to those who suffered under his regime.

    • MattyD

      The vast majority of Venezuelans would disagree with you. And repeatedly did, via their vote. I’d be interested to know how you understand the facts, and their interests, better than they do.

      • David Davies

        So? The vast majority of Germans disagreed with our negative views of Hitler. Truth and virtue are not subject to a majority vote.

        • Marthe Lépine

          Except that Hitler was waging war through Europe, while Chavez so far was only annoying the 1% by trying to get some benefits from the oil exports for the rest of the population… Maybe he would have become a military threat eventually, but for now we do not have any evidence of that, and he is no longer there.

          • David Davies

            Sigh. Marthe, Marthe. Hitler did LOTS of evil before the war broke out in ’39. Now tell me why Chavez was spending all that oil money buying military weapons systems. Trying to address his ‘inequality’ with the U.S.?

            • Marthe Lépine

              OK, I would appreciate a credible link to substantiate those weapons purchases. Also, I have been led to believe, by less political sources, that a lot of that oil money also went to the population, where many people somewhat obtained things like medical care, schools, cinder blocks to build better houses, who previously had very little access to those. IMHO, there are very few government leaders, left or right, who are perfect in everything they do…

            • Marthe Lépine

              And those weapon purchases might actually be legitimate. After all, considering what happened in other oil-producing countries, such as Iraq, Chavez might have assumed that his country needed weapons for its own defense.

    • Marthe Lépine

      As to the State Department, it is very reasonable to assume that their report might just have been “a little” biased… And some other organizations might also have been influenced by the might of the US… If you go to Wikipedia, you will see that there are some doubts about the extent of such human rights abuses. Plus, the US are not completely pure and white on that matter – what about that rendition program when a totally innocent Canadian citizen was sent to the Middle East to be tortured? And what about all the enthusiasm some Republicans have shown for torture?

  • David Davies

    Watching someone pursue political power while clothing himself in the blood of his ‘enemies’ is like watching someone take increasingly large quantities of PCP: One feels sorry for the abuser and worried for all those around him. Self destruction is always a sad thing to see. Did anything Chavez did in his life really help the poor? Or did he exploit legitimate concern for their needs in order to enhance his power? When I heard the news I prayed for God’s Mercy for him. Just as I prayed for Ted Kennedy and Saddam Hussein. All people for whom Jesus suffered and died that they might be saved. Political opponents and fellow sinners.

    • Marthe Lépine

      “Clothing himself in the blood of his ‘enemies’” What actually do you mean? Can you quote at least one or two assassinations that Chavez is responsible for? Open-ended serious accusations are not very impressive coming from the pen of someone who claims to be Catholic…

    • Marthe Lépine

      One more point about “Clothing himself in the blood of his ‘enemies’”: I was looking through the Wikipedia entry on Chavez and found this interesting bit of information about Chavez’ immediate predecessor, some president called Pérez:
      From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Ch%C3%A1vez
      Pérez ordered the violent repression and massacre of protesters known as El Caracazo, which “according to official figures … left a balance of 276 dead, numerous injured, several disappeared and heavy material losses. However, this list was invalidated by the subsequent appearance of mass graves”.
      May I ask now if someone can tell me how much blood of his enemies has Chavez been clothing himself in?

      • David Davies
        • Marthe Lépine

          OK, some if this might be true; but why only blame Chavez and ignore his immediate predecessor, Pérez? (see my earlier comment) From what I could see in Wikipedia, this Mr. Pérez was not pure white either, but few would call him on this since he was more willing to sell off Venezuela’s oil resources for cheap to big oil…

          • David Davies

            Perez is at this point irrelevant. I denounce the crimes of Stalin. Where does that statement imply that I approve the crimes of Lenin? Or the crimes of Nicholas II?

            • Marthe Lépine

              Chavez is most probably not responsible for the crimes of Stalin or Lenin… He was born in 1954! And if you claim to denounce his crimes, general assertions are not sufficient, you should be more specific. I have read the article you linked, and it is not very specific either. It will not do to just affirm that Chavez committed many crimes -or to simply accept the accusations made by a very biased opponent. Please describe actual events.

            • Marthe Lépine

              Actually, he is relevant, since he never incurred blame from the US for what he did, while Chavez, who annoyed big oil by expecting more money for his country from oil extraction, is being condemned for things that may or may not be as bad as Peréz actions. So why condemn one and not the other?

  • Ed Graham

    I’ll pray for him – he needs it (as do we all). I’ll also pray for his country – they deserve better than the thug who just departed.

  • Kirt Higdon

    I have been praying for Chavez. Basically he was a typical Latin populist thug – more or less comparable to Peron or the current Peronist Argentine President Cristina Fernandez. His regime and that of the US shows that it is possible to have normal diplomatic and commercial relations with a country even if the rulers hate each other. I give him credit at least for keeping US military bases out of his country. In a way US-Venezuelan relations are the way international relations should be – tourism, commerce, and diplomacy, but no military alliances or hostility or aid. Now if the evil emperor could only follow the same policy with Iran.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    WE WILL WAIT

    The left hand of the angel rose
    And then there fell eternal snows,
    The right hand of the angel spread
    And with three fingers blessed our bread

    The storm outside, the angel priest
    Blessed the people at the feast,
    Snow and winter blocked the doors,
    Within was peace beyond all wars

    Outside the freezing of despair
    Inside a fragrant summer air
    So great the contrast out and in,
    A sound of lutes, a sound of wind

    Some were those who would not stay
    But pushed their cups and plates away,
    Who would not join the other guests
    Although the table had been blessed

    And when the door had been left wide
    A bitter cold came from outside:
    They may return though it grows late,
    The angel said, so we will wait

    Pavel
    March 5, 2013

  • Marthe Lépine

    I have not had time to read all the comments yet, but since Mark has recently talked about inequality, here is a little nugget from our national media outlet, cbc:
    “But poverty lessened significantly during Chavez’s time in office, and as Bloomberg Business News noted during the election campaign, “Venezuela has the lowest level of inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the United Nations.”
    At the same time, Venezuela’s 1% has been very unhappy…

    • David Davies

      ‘Inequality’ equals ‘poverty’?

      • Marthe Lépine

        If you have read this blog in the past, you might have some understanding of the meaning of inequality, e.g. the gap between the rich and the poor in a country. And in Venezuela, most of the 80% of the population who have brown skin because of descending from Aboriginals were poor, don’t you know? Or are you just playing on words to deflect the discussion?

        • David Davies

          Just honestly trying to understand if you conflate ‘inequality’ with ‘poverty’. We can have all kinds of ‘inequality’ in the world without ‘poverty’. To put it another way, inequality does not entail poverty. And practical historical experience has very clearly demonstrated that attempts to produce ‘equality’ do in fact produce ‘poverty’.

          Poverty is, as Pavel notes below, living on a dollar a day with a poor diet and disease. There are things we can and should do about poverty. A ‘Robin Hood’ strategy of ‘spreading the wealth around’ isn’t one of them. Encouraging economic practices which actually produce more wealth is one of them.

          The two deadly sins of Greed and Envy are at work here. A person who piles up wealth beyond reason has an issue with greed. A person who feels compelled to pull down the ‘rich’ in order to lift up the ‘poor’ has an issue with envy.

          • Marthe Lépine

            But what about what Benedict XVI, after a number of other Popes, had to say about redistribution? And about the State’s responsibility to intervene in such a matter, as mentioned first by Leo XIII, and a few after him?

            • David Davies

              Do you really think that our Popes have approved of theft?

            • Marthe Lépine

              Maybe they have a different definition of theft than you… I know many libertarian-influenced neo-cons claim that taxation if theft, for example… And I know that Pius XII approved of expropriation of properties for redistribution if there were abuses (such as hoarding huge area and keep them unused while other members of the population could have used them for farming). But I am sure you would call this theft. Therefore, once again, you are making undefined accusations…

      • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

        When you’re living on a dollar a day and your kids have worms and your diet is yucca and bananas.

        • Marthe Lépine

          While another part of the population lives in the luxury afforded to them by oil money… Inequality is a word used to describe the monetary difference between the two groups..

          • David Davies

            It also describes the monetary difference between groups which have all the material goods they need and groups which have far more than they need. In which case the ‘inequality’ doesn’t matter, except to the envious.

            • Marthe Lépine

              Not according to Church teaching…

            • Marthe Lépine

              Sure, monetary differences between groups who have all the material goods they need…. But in many countries some groups do not have all the material goods they need: For example they do not have enough food, and live in shelters (in opposition to houses) made of tin and cardboard. It depends on the country. In countries like Venezuela, this describes a large part of the population.

        • TMLutas

          The world is undergoing a tremendous collapse in populations living in that sort of poverty, courtesy of the capitalism that Chavez did his best to block.

          • Marthe Lépine

            Could you please give me a few facts instead of just an opinion? I have been doing some research through my work for Development and Peace in my parish, and what you just said above does not seem very convincing in the light of what I have been reading…

            • David Davies

              The history of the Soviet Union would be a good place for you to begin your education Marthe. Oh, yes! Lenin and Trotsky were going to lift up the common man and their system of ‘spreading the wealth around’ would bring plenty for all the suffering poor of their country. Their good intentions led to a spectacular hell. And the history of Taiwan, Singapore and now China proper would be a good place to follow. Desire for profit produced wealth which improved the lives of everyone in those countries. Capitalism produces wealth. Socialism shares misery.

              • Marthe Lépine

                Wealth for whom? Not for the Chinese workers who finally committed suicide because they were unable to live with the slave pay they were receiving. Followed, according to an article on cbc.ca at the time, by a “generous” raise in the salaries of all the workers in that particular electronics plant that raised the average monthly wage to about $137 a month… And this is just an example.

                • Marthe Lépine

                  I forgot: That so very generous raise in wages was actually an 80% increase related to the former slave-wages…

                  • David Davies

                    The Peoples’ Liberation Army. That’s who gets the money. Which is why I try as hard as I can to avoid buying shoes made in China. I look for India or Brasil.

                    Yeah. Jobs in China don’t pay much. Why do 3rd world peasants take jobs in sweatshops? Because those jobs are an improvement over their prior peasant existence. And even with a whole lot of really crappy jobs and a crony-capitalist economy there are millions of Chinese who now have relatively good lives.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Actually, this is not always the case. Through my work with Development and Peace, it is clear that in many instances in developing countries peasants are chased from lands that they have been living on for generations to make room for activities like mining. Sometimes they are forcefully removed from their lands, such as in certain African countries where entire villages have been burned by whoever wanted to take over the lands. And I understand that the same thing has happened in some parts of China. Obviously, peasants so displaced have to try to survive somehow and are forced to accept slave-wage jobs. (I mention China because of the assertion that “there are millions of Chinese who now have relatively good lives)

              • Marthe Lépine

                Oh, and what about the new wealth of the hundreds of textile workers in Pakistan and Bangladesh who were killed in fires over the last few years, because of a combination of unsafe working conditions and locked exit doors? Of course, once these women were dead, they would no longer be poor…

                • David Davies

                  A worker killed by idiotic industrial practices is dead regardless of the political economy of the country. Dead Chernobyl worker, meet dead Paki textile worker. What has this to do with creating wealth?

                  • Marthe Lépine

                    The wealth being created does not seem to reach the pockets of the workers, just those of the people responsible for the criminally idiotic industrial practices that kill workers.

    • Stu

      The top 1% of Venezuela’s 1% (Hugo Chavez) was happy.

  • Mike

    Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

  • MattyD

    I will also pray for the ideologically blinded Americans who don’t know, and don’t care to know, that Chavez, (despite some real faults) was one of the most beloved leaders in Latin America. Had approval ratings that far outpaced any leader the U.S. has produced in decades, was repeatedly reelected by solid majorities, cut the poverty rate roughly in half (see Center for Economic Policy and Research), and survived at least one right-wing coup attempt because of the popular support he had garnered. I know these things are irrelevant to most Americans, but that doesn’t make them *actually* irrelevant.

    • Marthe Lépine

      Of course, any leader who happens to appeal to the “great unwashed” population has to be a “populist thug”! If my memory is correct, I vaguely recalled Mr. Bush claiming that “getting a majority of votes does not necessarily gives legitimacy to a government”. For some strange reason that I, as a Canadian, cannot understand, it seems that some people in the US think that other countries’ leaders have to receive approval from Washington in order to become “legitimate”.

      • MattyD

        Exactly. Here’s the handy “decoder ring” for seeing through the U.S. propaganda. Nine times out of ten, when the State Dept calls some foreign leader is a “tyrant”, “thug”, etc, you can be sure that this leader has begun actively opposing some key American geo-political interest. E.g. when Duvalier murders thousands of Haitians – students, democracy activists – but blocks the expansion of Cuban socialism, he’s a “reformer” and “valued ally”. But when Aristide kills no one, imprisons no one, but embraces liberation theology and flirts with moderate socialism, he becomes, in the eyes of the U.S. “a psychopath”, “populist thug”, “demagogue” etc. When Pinochet kills, disappears, imprisons tens of thousands, but embraces radically free markets, he’s a “reformer”. But when Chavez’s human rights crimes are less than 1% of Pinochet’s, but he refuses to privatize Venz oil, he’s a “tyrant”. It’s so predictable it becomes almost laughable.

        • Marthe Lépine

          Here is a list of some of Chavez most serious “sins”, glanced from the following: http://www.gregpalast.com/fear-of-chavez-is-fear-of-democracy/

          - Spending his nation’s oil wealth on “social programs” rather than on more drilling platforms to better fill the SUVs of Texas.
          - Calling for keeping South America’s capital in … South America! Oh, no!
          - Telling Exxon it had to pay more than a 1% royalty to his nation on the heavy crude the company extracted
          - And even funding full health care for all Venezuelans. What if that happened in the US?

      • David Davies

        ‘Thug’ usually applies when members of the group described actually beat people up. Hitler’s ‘Brownshirts’ were populist thugs. Members of the Liberal Party in Canada are not thugs. An important difference.

    • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

      So he was beloved. In the 2008 summer Olympics, we were treated to several news segments that showcased Chinese who still love and venerate Mao Zedong. I remember one young lady in front of a giant portrait of the Chairman, explaining how wonderful he was for China. Even though he wasn’t an American leader, he was still not good based on my understanding of how the Catholic faith defines good. Beloved by the masses means nothing at all.

      • TMLutas

        On the bright side, nobody seems to be protesting the recent and unprecedented CCP policy setting document that pointedly omitted Mao thought as worthy of emulation. This would seem to put earlier declarations re Mao in the category of acts of self preservation, not real love.

      • MattyD

        Dave G, true, I am not arguing that merely being “beloved” makes a leader “good” (though it’s more than most American presidents ever accomplished). What I *am* saying is that being widely beloved, and repeatedly re-elected, while also vastly reducing poverty, and vastly expanding education and political access for the poor, and having a human rights record that rivals the U.S. (Abu Ghraib?) means that to call them an “evil tyrant” is fairly idiotic.

        • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

          I don’t know. Most of us have little trouble, for instance, calling the rather naughty Mao a bad fellow. The ability of people to blindly follow even the gravest evil is not confined to the US. And even if it is a problem in the US, doesn’t mean we can’t be right for noticing it in other countries.

  • Arnobius of Sicca
    • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

      Interesting. Like the good old days.

  • TMLutas

    It is not my call whether Chavez gets to Heaven, but if he converts his heart so he is qualified to enter, that would end our conflict with a victory for me. I’ll take the victory and reduce my enemy count. I do not see how this sentiment is in any way liberal or socialist.

    Confusion on this point is a sign of unclear thinking, perhaps insufficient catechesis. I also do not see this as being any less prevalent on the left or the right.

  • RC

    Oh, rats, we’re supposed to pray for our enemies.


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