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Hugo Chavez's Broken Promises

Chavez ImageRecently, London's Ken Livingstone played host to Venezuela's strong-man president, Hugo Chavez. It was a star-studded gala event remeniscent of a Golden Globes ceremony, celebrating one of the world's most energetic and virulent purveyors of anti-American venom. That made him an instant European elite crowd pleaser. And so, Red Carpet did he receive.

As David Paulin effectively illustrates in Hugo’s Broken Promises, his anti-American vitriol surely must be the sole draw that spellbinds the world's Socialist Left like 'Red Ken and Company', because his record - by socialist standards - is not simply abyssmal, it has brought more harm to the people of Venezuela than help.

The left’s romance with the Chavez is like many imperfect romances: messy details about a person’s true nature are easily overlooked. The left blithely ignores Chavez’s three colossal failures: Poverty, crime, and corruption have worsened considerably on his watch.

David continues in relative depth, detailing the pre- and post-Chavez conditions of each category, effectively removing the illusion of Chavez's Venezuelan socialist utopia.

In respect to corruption, Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International recently ranked Venezuela a lowly 130 out of 159 countries in its annual survey of perceptions of corruption. This put it below countries such as Russia, Niger, and Sierra Leone.

Venezuela “was one of a dozen countries where more than half of respondents said this (corruption) had 'greatly' increased,” noted The Economist.

That Venezuela’s corruption deepened is ironic. Chávez evoked his outrage over corruption when justifying his coup against President Carlos Andres Perez.

Liberally supported by informative links, David Paulin's effort is well written. Ken Livingstone himself would have a hard time navigating Hugo’s broken promises, each laid by a man whom Livingstone champions as "rescued from an illegal military coup by mass popular resistance."