Written by Alan Furth…
Speaking at the United Nations in 2006, Hugo Chávez excoriated ex- US President George W. Bush as “the devil.” Chávez waved a copy of Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance, catapulting the book onto Amazon’s best-seller list.
For his part, Chomsky has repeatedly stated that Chávez ushered a revolutionary break with Venezuela’s political past, especially regarding the social policies of the state toward the poor, echoing the foundational Chavista discourse of “Bolivarian revolution.”
In an interview with Spanish newspaper Diagonal in March 2006, Chomsky declared that “for the first time, the country is using … energy resources for its development … in construction, health …” Likewise, in a 2005 op-ed for Mexico’s La Jornada, he wrote “it is only now with President Chávez … [that] medicine has become something real for a majority of the poor.”
Last month, speaking to Venezuelan economist Miguel Ángel Santos, Chomsky repeated his point: “For many years Venezuela was dominated by elites that … harvested all the benefits from the oil bonanzas while marginalizing the poor … Chávez came up against that …”
Regrettably, Chomsky ignores basic facts of Venezuelan contemporary history. There is nothing revolutionary about the Chavista welfare state.