Friday, March 1, 2013

More Anti-Chavez Deception

 A highly misleading anti-Chavez article was recently published in the Guardian, which I otherwise normally like.  The following snippet is representative of its deceptiveness:

Chávez's sustained electoral success is remarkable because he managed to achieve it despite a dismal economic and social performance. Since 1999, the year he took over the presidency,Venezuela has had the lowest average GDP per capita growth rate and the highest inflation of any Latin American country except Haiti. It has also seen a fivefold increase in assassinations to arguably the highest murder rate in the world.

To begin, GDP per capita annual growth under Chavez has increased, and at a faster rate (you can verify this for yourself by downloading World Bank data). How it compares to other LA countries at a given point in time is irrelevant, unless all countries began at the same level of development (which they didn't - Chavez is not to blame for the poor economy he inherited when he assumed the presidency). What matters is that he presided over positive changes in his own country. It's also curious that the author didn't mention such things as demonstrable reductions in poverty, malnutrition, and infant mortality, which are far more important to the people than GDP. None of this is to say that Chavez is necessarily responsible for these positive outcomes, but one certainly would have a tough time proving that such conditions somehow worsened under him. What I find most fascinating is that the article the author links to in order to prove that there has been a "five-fold increase in assassinations" says absolutely nothing of the sort. On the contrary, it says that "political assassination is rare". Either the author made an honest mistake or he is deliberately insulting the reader's intelligence.