No Ordinary President: Hugo Chavez

2010, Politics  -   37 Comments
Ratings: 6.00/10 from 22 users.

This is a compilation of three short documentaries about the former President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.

In the early days of his presidency, Chavez was attracting increased hostility from the Venezuelan middle and upper class and from Washington, who called for liberty and democracy instead of communism.

Hugo Chavez was the outspoken champion of Venezuela and the savior of the poor. But can his socialist revolution last?

The poor saw Chavez as a saint and everywhere he went red-shirted 'Chavistas followed. But his popularity always depended upon healthy capitalism. 'High oil prices allowed Chavez to mask the fact that he destroyed the economy' says one economist.

As the energy crisis in Venezuela deepened, opponents of Hugo Chavez' were becoming more vocal. The landslide popular support Chavez enjoyed was wavering as the electricity grid flickered between daily blackouts.

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37 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Michael

    Since the country has many more poor than rich, it seems to me he did what was mainly correct. The rich are now helping to destroy the country, by making it virtually impossible to buy food, although THEY do not have a problem. The military has even caught them selling food meant for their own people across the border in Colombia.

  2. bluetortilla

    Terrible documentary.
    However, to paraphrase: 'The real terror is the poor who starve every day.'
    I've always liked Chavez, though I completely distrust politicians and power. But everyone can use a great populist now and then, and Chavez was that. He was also the real deal- a leader whose actions were in line with his heart. If his regime committed great atrocities, I haven't heard of it. The worst thing I heard was that 'he's a friend of Castro.' I have affection for anyone in power who can get away with giving the U.S. the big middle finger.
    By the way, who was that prune faced American ambassador? lol!

  3. Mic Medeiros

    There are two sides to a debate. One that stands for freedom who doesn't trust mainstream statistics and ideology. Then there is the other side who claim they stand for freedom but believe everything or much of what is told to them by the people in power who are the evil doers. Which one do you prefer? I don't know much about Chavez however I do know that this documentary clearly contradicts another documentary about Chavez. I noticed some clips in this documentary were used as after the coup but appeared before the coup in another documentary. I wonder which documentary is telling the truth.

    I can say this about Chavez, he decided to (not) penalize the perps who started the coup against him and that has to say something about him because that doesn't happen in the US everybody gets screwed.

  4. skristense

    The living standards of the average citizen fell by 40%. I know people from there that left to come to USA because there is now future. Unemployment is up. (the economist; pocket world in figures1990 to present.)

    Let me guess. Someone with your self loathing always believes what is told to her by a liberal socialists documentary? If i am wrong please tell what is your source.?

    let me guess, CHE is a hero of yours even thou he killed thousands of political prisoners just because they were from another political party?

    1. bluetortilla

      And the opposition would have behaved better?

      How many tens of thousands has the U.S. killed in the last ten years. How many more indirectly through their economic bullying?

  5. Alv V

    The fact that Chavez was disliked by the US, should point out clearly that there was something likeable about him.

    1. skristense

      The USA is the greatest and best country in the world?People from countries all over the earth immigrate here? Does any one immigrate to Chavez's country or Cuba (your other favorite country)?. NO. Maybe you should be a Michael (Moron) Moore groupie since you are uneducated and easily lead?

    2. mr.noname

      You can say whatever you want but Michael Moore is far from moronic. He tells the truth! If you think he is lying please look around you and more in depth. I'm sure someone as "educated" as you can't be that easily fooled. Be skeptical towards your government! They've done nothing to gain your trust

    3. Rodney Bresch

      Many immigrate here, as a result of how bad of a state, the US left their country in. There's quite an extensive list of countries, that the US has wreaked havoc on in the past century.

    4. bluetortilla

      That's one of the funniest succinct comments I've read in a while! :D

  6. malcolm urlich

    c'mon he benefited the poor not the elite like most politicians do world wide today!

    1. skristense

      Their GDP fell 40% over his reign. Let me guess, you are an upper middle class white unemployed liberal with a degree in political science of a person of color who uses the government to get more consumption from some one else's taxes. Ignorant and arrogent all in one comment. I notice you have not lived in Chavez's country for a significant time. And why are people leaving Venezuela for other countries in the west. I met a lot of Venezauela immigrants in graduate school. From what they say yourare ignorant, and like all liberals, easily lead. Michael Moron's film Sicko is probably your favorite movie ? even though if has out right lies about the medical profession. My wife is Doctor and many of friends, especially specialists, are considering leaving the profession because of travesty of OBAMA CARE. Go ahead and swear at me. It is the usual argument from Liberals such as your self.
      Saturday cartoons are on, you would not want to miss any show that challenges your intellect

    2. mr.noname

      You act like people don't leave America for other countries. If its so great here why don't all it citizens stay?? Several citizens leave to places with UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE! France, Germany, Denmark, hell even Canada! The U.S. is not the greatest place to live. Is not even top 5 or 10 amongst countries if you wanna compare literacy rates, living standards, healthcare, education, equality, employment rates, the list goes on. The U.S. however is a world leader in defense spending (war), prison population (mostly minorities), and pollution (killing the only home for us all, Earth). But, I'm sure Chavez's laws and regulations are much worse! Well, back to watching cartoons, and after that I think I'll watch Michael Morons (Moore's) film, Sicko, I love that movie!!:) Peace out!

  7. Master Rick Grady

    Thank you for your keen insight and cleverness, your bravery has made the world a safer place. Its always a pleasure too meet someone who has personal power and knows how to use it. I would like to meet you when I come to your continent, I will know you by your handshake,liberators have power. Thanks sincerely on behalf of the free world. Master Rick Grady Residential Satient Being of the planet.

  8. John C. Randolph

    He didn't deserve to die from cancer. He deserved to die from lethal injection as punishment for the murders he instigated.

  9. Milosc

    I just read Venezuela's poverty rate dropped from 48 to 29% in the last 9 years.This is bad.. for who? The hacks who made this manipulative propaganda piece?

    The earth will be free. Embrace this, or drown in hubris and greed. Able will finally be rid of Cain

    1. miguel_gomez

      The question is: How are the poor living in Venezuela compared to Chile or Hong Kong? How are they able to start their own businesses? You don't see the poor beating on pots and pans on their windows in those two countries. Having been in all three countries, I'll tell you that Hugo Chavez moved the goal posts to redefine "poverty."

    2. miguel_gomez

      Also, there was a commenter here who says that this is a smear. I actually agree! On that, we can see eye-to-eye. Chavez wasn't AS BAD as this documentary wanted him to seem. He did believe what he was doing is right and despite his misguidance, I see little evidence for any strong link with Al Qaeda. And I don't really mind the fact he was friends with Castro. What I mind is results from his government, and they were overplayed by his supporters.

    3. skristense

      You are wrong, my source 'The Economist'and'Pocket World in Figures.' The GDP for Chavez has fallen, for the citizens because all the oil revenues go to Chavez.

  10. ADreamer

    wanted to warn all that this doc seems quite a bit of a smear, but then saw wald0's great comments and am releaved! I truly believe that Chávez is the greatest leader to emerge in the last century. i would rather have a frindly dictator than a puppet strung up by corporate and secret society interests! Just because you yell democracy a million times doesn't make it so. America and its psychopathic allies are run by war and death loving deamons and your actions in the world make you fascists, and they make me sick!! I wish Mr. Cháve, peace, love and endurance til he dies or is killed by these f--kers, and wish all of you who think for yourselves the same. Let us change the world; with our heads, hearts and hands, not with guns and bombs like those pu**y! Go back to school america and learn how to think, get out of ALL other countries in the world, and fix your own s*it! the world would appreciate it immensly!

    thank you, please don't come again!

    greetings from bavaria, Germany

    1. pwndecaf

      Umm - sorry to break it to you, but he is already dead.

  11. John C. Randolph

    He didn’t deserve to die of cancer. He deserved to die from a broken neck at the end of a rope. Good riddance to that commie rat b*stard.

  12. Paul Gloor

    sounds like he needs help more than he needs opposition. I think he needs more financially minded people to assist him to strengthen the middle class, infrastructure and create work for the impoverished as they find their feet. That hes willing to dump into the social system and bringing some large interest business under public domain is a refreshing change over today's wanton privatization. The biggest problem seems that hes a soldier and not at all a business man when he needs to be both.

    1. Imightberiding

      Unfortunately his most immediate & biggest problem of all is that he is now dead. He recently passed away.

    2. Paul Gloor

      Shows how much I watch the news :P

    3. Imightberiding

      Shhh! Don't say that out loud. Keep up the facade & generally accepted idea that we as Canadians are if not more than, at least well informed on the matters of consequence in the world.

      When I lived in the U.S. for a dozen or so years back in the 80's & 90's I basked in the myth that by virtue of being from Canada I was falsely considered somehow more worldly, knowledgeable & intelligent than the far more educated & generous people I encountered at many dinners, parties & openings. This doesn't even address the fact that I have spent most of my life in construction.

      The truth, should it get out is the same for everyone on this planet. The older I get, the less I know.

  13. wald0

    A fairly good documentary. I thought they should have spent more time talking about his policies and so forth though. They explained that the poor loved him and the rest of the country basically hated him but, they never really explained why, except the power cuts. What policies or laws did this man put in place that made all these people love or hate him? They said he claims there is a drought and that is why power is low but, they never went on to say if he was right or just making excuses. They implied he was only making excuses but never out right accused him of it, they just left it up to us to believe it or not. I don't know, I just get the feeling that we often form opinions of such people or situations based on what is at best vague information. I would have to have much more information and time to really verify it before i could really form an informed opinion on this subject. Too many times before my government, special interest groups, etc. have managed to mislead me.

    I really don't know what the average person is to do. i mean we want to stay informed but every where you turn someone is handing you a lie wrapped in pretty paper. Politics, economics, etc. have become global in nature and as a result they are very complicated and nuanced subjects. There seems to be no where to simply get a run down on what has happened minus the opinions and commentary. Every media source has its own agenda and needs access to the political sphere so you obviously can't trust them. They have become hyper partisan entertainment more than news shows. Online sources become a judgement call, you have to evaluate each one independently and with real care, and it is still easy for the most well meaning person to fall victim to someone's agenda or propaganda. How are we to form legitimate opinions any longer?

    1. Robert Elliot

      It sure ain't easy. One needs a great deal of discernment, first of all.
      If bias is detected, it's also something one can learn from. What is
      the angle of a particular source? Cui bono? Much of the truth can be
      pieced together that way. The positive side is, if so many outlets are
      trying to lead/mislead us down one path or another, our thoughts must be
      pretty important - and they are. This is one of my favorite sites,
      where I think you will find a much more comprehensive and mostly
      positive picture of Chavez, among many other things -

    2. wald0

      Thank you, i really like the site you recommended. I had never heard of it before, but its great. I am in the process of finding out who sponsors it, that is were i always start when vetting a site. Thanks again, and thanks for the reply.

    3. Imightberiding

      Hey Waldo. Knowing your cravings for information & knowledge, I just thought I would put my 2 cents in with regards to I for one think it's a good source & think you will find it a refreshing alternative to the usual suspects you are faced with to parse out any useful or meaningful news in your part of the world.

      A rather decent offering on Robert Elliot's part.

      Perhaps I'm out of line on this thread for the following, but I trust enough time has past that you have forgiven me for my out of character & rather callus remark about "Strawberry". My sincere apologies for the offense. Cheers mate & I hope you enjoy this new source of news passed on to you & the rest of us by Mr. Elliot.

    4. wald0

      Sure man, all is forgiven- we all do things we regret sometimes, me included. I agree about globalresearchdotca as well, a great site for current, factual information. Thanks for the info on Chavez as well, he sounds like someone I would agree with, for the most part. Taking care of the poor is very important, but as much as it pains me to admit it one can't simply neglect the rich either. Not if you hope to have a vibrant economy and sufficient employment for those poor you are taking care of that is. Now don't get me wrong, we go way over board in the U.S. with this idea. Trickle down economics hasn't worked here, obviously. But completely abandoning the rich wouldn't work either, in my opinion.

      I think the key is to figure out how to stimulate the rich to invest in the economy enough to employ the poor. I guess that is kind of common knowledge though, the question is how to get them to do it. Here in the U.S. they are free to invest any where on the globe they choose. As long as they can get cheaper labor, materials, transportation, etc. they will continue to invest out of country. Those who don't invest out of country are busy playing the numbers game on paper, making money without employing anyone or producing anything tangible. In fact often their investment is to buy some company that does employ Americans and does produce a American made product to export and then sell it off in pieces and close it down. This is why I hate capitalism so badly, because as long as they let profits take precedence over people and their own country this will continue to happen.

    5. Imightberiding

      Thanks for the link. You have provided a valuable & in my opinion, reputable source not just for Waldo but for any of the other fine folks who follow TDF & thirst for knowledge.

      Good job. Cheers

    6. Geoffrey Grekin

      Hey Wald0,

      Your right, this documentary is a bit misleading, doesn't address the real questions like policy, still it does a good job at giving a view of different positions.

      Nevertheless, this view of Chavez is from a mainstream economic point of view from a western perspective, and although i believe the journalist was sincere in his openness, his ignorance and bias ultimately dictated the direction of this documentary.

      Yes, Chavez wasn't popular man with Milton freeman type economics (free-marketing),or even american system that relied on foreign economic interest.
      But one need only look at the history of some of his Latin american neighbors and the nature of free-markets and privatization to understand why.:
      For example, Most Latin american countries that decided to go the route of socialism in the 1970's (which this documentary briefly introduced) failed not because of unsound policy, but rather because of coups and assassinations of these same socialist leaders
      One of their key policies, as with Chavez was to nationalize from private hands their main export. Venezuela obviously have an advantage because their chief export was oil.

      Essentially, what this means is that under privatization all profits exported from the country are given to a small elite group of individuals, whereas nationalization means the country's government can utilize the profits and potentially redistribute to the needy people. (which is what Chavez did, even if his policies weren't always effective).

      Of course this angered a minority of the population that benefited from privatization; the elite and middle class that were usually the managers, accountants and skilled laborers etc.
      The reasons private business do so poorly now in Venezuela is because foreign and wealthy elites are unable able to effectively exploit the cheap and abundant poor labors without harsh regulations pressed upon them to redistribute their profits back upon the labors.
      It's much easier for these same entrepreneurs to relocate to other third world countries where there is little or no restriction on labor to make profit.

      Ultimately, however the types of policies Chavez enacted come at a cost, they alienate very influential and powerful individuals while also isolating them from the global economic system.
      additionally they also do not help unemployment because of the lack of jobs in the private sector and must rely on government employment which is always limited

      Love him or hate him though, you have to admire the man. he stood up and fought for what he believed in.
      If he wanted to, he could have went the way of Saudi Arabia kept all the wealth to make himself insanely rich while the rest of the population remained destitute.

    7. Terry Beaton

      It sounds like you want your food to come to you pre-chewed so all you need to do is swallow it. Thinking for yourself means gathering information from diverse sources and then deciding, (if it's neccessary to decide at all). Chavez was hero to some and a threat to others. Why do you think that was? And who do you relate to the most in this picture? Wanting someone to tell you the 'truth' about such things seems rather quaint at best.

    8. wald0

      "t sounds like you want your food to come to you pre-chewed so all you need to do is swallow it. "

      Yeah, your right- we don't have any problem at all with misleading media and propaganda- I'm just lazy and don't want to go look for myself. Cause it so easy to get the truth right, I mean no one would lie about a thing like that would they?

      ."Thinking for yourself means gathering information from diverse sources and then deciding,"

      I always wondered how that worked, thank you for being so helpful. So, if I collect enough of the lies and then average them out- it equals the truth somehow. Amazing!

      "Chavez was hero to some and a threat to others. Why do you think that was?"

      My point exactly, why do we need to ask this question after watching a full length documentary about the man? It would have been fairly easy to discern had they bothered to share what the man did while he was in power. .If the theme of your doc. is that the poor loved this guy and the rich hated him, it would seem pertinent to explain why.

      "Wanting someone to tell you the 'truth' about such things seems rather quaint at best."

      Really, it is quaint to expect the truth from a documentary? That is the most ridiculous, ill conceived assertion I have heard in quite some time. Has it come to this, that we have been lied to for long enough that you actually think it is "quaint" to desire, expect, or even demand they tell the truth? That says more about the state of current affairs than any doc ever could. Wow, that really makes me sad.

    9. Imightberiding

      A brief & far from exhaustive comment on Hugo Chavez & why he was so loved by the poorer classes would be simply because he poured heaps & heaps into the infrastructure to help the poor & down-trodden. More for the have nots not so much for the haves.

      An example would be massive housing projects, transportation, schools & hospitals almost if not all entirely to benefit the poor & leaving middle classes & wealthy to fend for themselves (the poor miserable bast@rds all felt left out in the cold).

      This is just one observation & one opinion regarding the polarization of this man.

      He certainly wasn't without some scary/crazy ideas & opinions himself. I am sure that many people have been directly hurt or detrimentally effected by this man. Far more people than I have ever harmed in my life time. As a counterpoint it would also be very safe to say that Mr. Chavez is also directly responsible for helping & even saving the lives of countless unfortunate people who's only transgression or mistake was to be born poor. Again, far more than I have ever positively effected by being on this earth.

      Good or bad? Like him or hate him? Chavez certainly left his mark on this world & his nation. He left behind a legacy that for many will be remembered as a generous man who cared for & helped those who needed it. Not those who didn't like so many other leaders in this world. R.I.P.