$8.8 billion dollars is how much money Hugo Chavez wants to dole out on foreign aid in Latin America. That is twice the amount of Guyana’s entire GDP (Venezuela’s neighbor to the east). Furthermore, Chavez is reveling in his one-up-manship about the fact that U.S foreign aid in the region is only $3 billion according to the last figures from 2005. Chavez’s swaggering egotism is seemingly going to have tangible results if he actually does what he says he is going to do.
So the soon-to-be president for life (as soon as he gets his rubber stamp national assembly to change the constitution he, in fact, wrote), is trying even harder to buy support from other Latin American countries. He seems unstoppable. Now that Venezuela is under control, he’s now turning his sights on the rest of Latin America. An opposition force from within the countries needs to challenge Chavez and correct these dangerous tactics used by the new caudillo.
In an op-ed in the Miami Herald (How to derail Chavez power grab), Andres Oppenheimer recently wrote a plan to resurrect the now defunct opposition in Venezuela.
Public opinion polls show that Chávez’s escalating narcissism-Leninism is beginning to irk some of his own supporters. … My conclusion: Chávez may have become his own worst enemy. His latest bid to become a lifetime tropical emperor may provide an opportunity for his political adversaries to regroup and — like judo fighters — use his offensive impetus against him.
His hypothesis is that there is a desire for an opposition in Venezuela, but no one has stepped up to bat. First, the coup of Chavez tarnished their image, and then sitting out an election in protest further eroded their power in government. Yet, with all the money being spent abroad, the average Venezuelan isn’t seeing the benefits of the social justice Chavez espouses.
Here’s a little anecdote that goes to show that Venezuelans aren’t going to take his freewhiling spending sprees abroad forvever:
While Venezuelan asphalt paves streets in Bolivia’s capital, a sign recently protruded from one of Caracas’ potholes reading: “Why for Bolivia yes and for me no?”