The Role of President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela
Venezuela is a late bloomer in regard to having complete independence and in terms of running its own democratic government. Right now, the Venezuelan people are in the midst of the same debate that has historically plagued countries all over the world; the country is torn between class lines and is another classic example of the haves versus the have-nots. Caracas is the capital and the Andes region is home to two-thirds of the population. Mestizos make up 67% of the population, with 21% descending from white Europeans (primarily Spanish and Portuguese), blacks are 10%, and Amerinds are 2%. Unfortunately, the middle class has declined by as much as 25% since the mid-1980s and roughly one million people have slipped into the lower middle class or poverty (Venezuela Background). Under the stresses of economic decay, government corruption, and increasing poverty, the government structure has struggled through an increased number of political party groups, increased military involvement, and a high turnover rate of political leaders.
The country’s leadership has stemmed from Spanish descendants and those of the ruling class since Venezuela broke away from Spain and became an independent nation in 1830. For the majority of Venezuela’s history, the government has been under the control of the upper and middle class citizens. However, for the first time in its history, Venezuela is under the leadership of a president, Hugo Chavez, who is in favor of immense social reform for the poor. The current state of Venezuela is bitterly divided in an all-out class war, where most of Chavez’s support comes from the poor and the opposition’s support comes from the mid…
…a 183). Having the country in mayhem would serve the U.S. interest of gaining control of Venezuela’s oil market because foreign investors would no longer be a threat. It is unfortunate that the mass media, which serves as the primary means of providing accurate information, has become a political party and somewhat of a force in Venezuela. As a result, the openly biased media has been held responsible for adding to the politicized atmosphere and has been sanctioned by the Chavez government. Still, with all the forces working against him, Chavez has the power to bring Venezuela together. His background and charismatic leadership have won the hearts of the masses, but he must broaden his focus to incorporate fair policies and to create a dialogue with the business community in order to develop Venezuela into both an economically and politically healthy country.