Categorized | Current Events, Politics

Riding the Tiger remembers Hugo Chavez

Riding the Tiger today remembers Hugo Chavez and extends our deepest sympathies to the Venezuelan people on the loss of their leader. His death on Tuesday March 5th, after a long struggle with cancer could not have come at a worse time, both for his own people and internationally.

Hugo Chavez first shot to prominence leading a failed coup against the Perez government in 1992 and won a landslide victory in his bid for Presidency in 1998. This victory echoed a dramatic change for Venezuela, as Chavez veered his country on an independent path, instituting social programs to benefit the poor of his own country rather than line the pockets of the rich and won their love.   Before the Chavez government in 1998, Venezuela was a poverty-stricken nation.  21% of the its population was malnourished. The Chavez administration sought to make Venezuela agriculturally independent, reducing the amount of imported food, and establishing subsidized food distribution. During his 14 years in office poverty was reduced by 44 % and medical care was nationalized, with the help of Cuban doctors and the quality markedly improved. Education was made free for all and Venezuela has one of the highest percentages of university graduates in the world.  Food imports were reduced by 60%, strengthening Venezuela’s ability to survive on its own.

Chavez completely overhauled the foreign relations of his nation, and stood as a staunch opponent to neoliberal globalist imperialism., and denounced the global status quo as a mortal threat to humanity. He pursued friendship with Cuba and attempted to build a coalition in Latin America and abroad that would be counteract the pressures from Washington.  Moreover, at a time when many Western nation betrayed Serbia, Chávez said that Venezuela will not recognize an independent Kosovo, warning that the southeastern European nation’s separation from Serbia could spark war in the Balkans.  His generous assistance is one of the factors that has eased life in Cuba after the difficult period following the collapse of the USSR. He also maintained good relations with Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Libya under Qaddafi, Iran, Belarus and other states under pressure from the west. His outspoken support won him the scorn of the United States and the UK who sought to court the opposition and considered his government a threat.

An attempted coup against Chavez in 2002 failed as the people came out and rallied support for their imprisoned leader- the United States government quickly recognized the coup government before backtracking when it became clear it would fail.

Chavez was a rarity amongst modern leaders, a man who genuinely believed in his cause and stuck to his guns, with principles. When Qaddafi was being abandoned by his erstwhile friends during the NATO attack on his country, it was Chavez who defended him, refusing to renounce the Libyan leader even while others sought to curry favor with the NATO backed rebels, and did the same for Syria now that Syria is enduring the same situation. He stood by Serbia on the Kosovo question and Cuba against the pressure of the embargo and was the only head of state to visit Iraq after the first Gulf War. He never wavered in his support for the Palestinian people.

Some traditionalist minded people may question our support for leftist governments like that of Venezuela and Cuba today, but such support is necessary, and opposition is nitpicking. As Chavez himself told a reporter in 1998, “I am not a communist, not a fascist. I am a Bolivarian, whose ideology exists as an ideology of liberty.” Chavez was one of the few leaders who had the bravery to stand for an alternative to American neo-liberalism in South America.  His government (as with any government) was not perfect and there certainly were errors made, and he certainly wasn’t a Traditionalist to be sure. His movement could be described as socialist or Third Positionist. He was not shackled to materialist ideology but rather he did what he believed was best and right for his country. In today’s day and age, when politicians simply line their own pockets and do the bidding of international finance, Chavez stood out as one of the few who would not bow down- he will not be forgotten. We pray his successor has the strength and will to carry on his program and honor his memory. Rest in peace Presidente!

About Ray Wilson

Ray Wilson is a New York City resident with a degree in history and interests in philosophy, theology and entomology.
  • https://www.facebook.com/romanbernard Roman Bernard

    Education was made free for all

    There’s no such thing as “free” education. Someone has to pick up the tab, and in Venezuela, that meant White middle-class people.

    From the fact that libertarianism (or, more precisely, classical liberalism) is evil, it does not follow that socialism is good, as both are essentially mirror images of each other. We don’t have to choose between Scylla and Charybdis, we have to pass through this false dichotomy. We have to go beyond that.

    • Ray Wilson

      The point is the government invested money in something that was actually for its people- I personally have a rather low opinion of public education living in the United States, but it can serve a purpose if done properly. It is done properly in Cuba for example, with small class room sizes. Socialism if implemented correctly is a fine system, and the command economy, despite its flaws, does allow for more protection of national sovereignty. The government should be able to reign in on businesses which are working against the interests of the people. For example, large corporations set up shop in third world countries to cut down on costs of manufacturing, while inside the United States they encourage and hire illegals and those on the margins in order to avoid paying a decent wage for a day’s work. the United States has neither the will nor the ability to stop this behavior because of its economic model, while a socialist state (or a corporatist state) theoretically would. National interests trump profits always.

      Quite a few traditional thinkers and those on the right also were for socialism at least to an extent, Oswald Spengler, Francis Parker Yockey, and the Strasser brothers (among others) all were pro socialist insofar as socialism benefits national interests. Socialism would not work in the United States as it currently stands, i’ll give it that. It is too dissolute, with too many different peoples and too many purposes to ever have a united conscious. It may have had the beginnings of one in the past but that died decades ago.

      Thank you for your response, I appreciate the feedback. – Ray Wilson

    • http://www.ridingthetiger.org/ RayJWilson

      The point is the government invested money in something that was actually for its people- I personally have a rather low opinion of public education living in the United States, but it can serve a purpose if done properly. It is done properly in Cuba for example, with small class room sizes. Socialism if implemented correctly is a fine system, and the command economy, despite its flaws, does allow for more protection of national sovereignty. The government should be able to reign in on businesses which are working against the interests of the people. For example, large corporations set up shop in third world countries to cut down on costs of manufacturing, while inside the United States they encourage and hire illegals and those on the margins in order to avoid paying a decent wage for a day’s work. the United States has neither the will nor the ability to stop this behavior because of its economic model, while a socialist state (or a corporatist state) theoretically would. National interests trump profits always.

      Quite a few traditional thinkers and those on the right also were for socialism at least to an extent, Oswald Spengler, Francis Parker Yockey, and the Strasser brothers (among others) all were pro socialist insofar as socialism benefits national interests. Socialism would not work in the United States as it currently stands, i’ll give it that. It is too dissolute, with too many different peoples and too many purposes to ever have a united conscious. It may have had the beginnings of one in the past but that died decades ago.

      Thank you for your response, I appreciate the feedback. – Ray Wilson

      • Albert8184

        I think the ONLY WAY we are ever going to finally convince people that socialism can’t and won’t work, is for the entire planet to be eventually brought under the domination of it. For about a century or so. If that ever happens, I would bet any amount socialism would fail miserably. And probably in ways far worse than we could ever imagine, economically or otherwise..

  • http://www.ridingthetiger.org/ RayJWilson

    Mr. Bernard- thank you for your feedback and I apologize for the length of time it took

    for this response.
    “By saying that, you seem to be assuming that the government has no interest in corporate
    profits. But it has. The more corporations’ profits grow, the more the State’s tax
    revenues grow. Even when the production is outsourced in the Third World, the State will
    tax this production when it is sold back in the West, as, eventually, the production flow
    ends its course in the West.” This is only true in a government whose primary motivations
    are profits made from international trade, not a nationalist, properly oriented
    government. the problem here is that the government is in the pockets of big business and
    nations are run as big businesses. States essentially exist today as glorified trade
    barriers and nothing more. A proper government puts the interests of the nation as a
    whole, from top to bottom first and individual profits second. Libertarianism is not
    “traditional” ideal, although it may admittedly be a workable solution in the United
    States where the elites are essentially professional politicians, careerists and nothing
    more. I do not believe, as you say that the government is the embodiment of the people- i
    believe that the government SHOULD BE the embodiment of the people, and fails insofar as
    the government betrays the people. And let us be clear i do not mean the “people” in the
    egalitarian sense, I mean the people in the sense of a cohesive, cultural unit. Big
    government and big business have gone hand in hand because both are run by the same
    people, a class of corrupt oligarchs whose ideals don’t extend beyond their next paycheck
    or the next election. A proper state would not be run by people such as these (and many
    times they were not, our period is unique in history for the extent of the rot on the top
    levels of our society, but this should be no surprise; as Guenon said modern society is
    literally an inversion of normal traditional order).

    I always puzzle when people say “such and such was a product of its time” as you did
    there, but so is everyone. If their views are “products of their times” then how can we give credence to anything they said? One can discount virtually every idea and faith based on the fact that it was written at some point in the past yet history has shown us that there is very little that has been entirely “left behind” and things we may today view as progressive may one day be viewed as regressive and backwards too. Spengler and Yockey wrote half a century ago, but this does not make their viewpoints any less valid today than
    they were then. Both were more ideologically flexible than you give them credit for.
    Spengler argued for socialism without internationalism and maintained contacts with the
    Strasser brothers, and Yockey praised Fidel, Nasser, and other erstwhile “leftist” leaders . He may not have supported the USSR as a “communist” to be sure, but he certainly had
    gone to the point of acknowledging the effects of americanism on Western europe were
    ultimately far more harmful than anything the “Mongols of the Kremlin” could do to the
    western spirit. Yockey also flirted with communism in his youth, as did many who
    eventually migrated to the “extreme right”.

    AS for the failures of socialism, i see socialism being adopted by more and more areas
    successfully, the fact that it will fail in the United States is only because socialism
    cannot function in a society so hopelessly corrupt and no sense of itself. The state has
    too many loopholes that can be taken advantage of. Of course, as traditionalists we don’t
    advocate a modern, socialist state as our ideal, but a preferable alternative. The best
    way, the ideal way is of course, somewhere in the middle, where small businesses are
    encouraged but large corporations clamped down on. The government shouldn’t exist to harass
    the shopkeeper but needs enough power to step in when businesses are setting up shop
    overseas and actively undermining their country. My interest is a state that functions
    best without outside support- in which trade is a luxury and not a necessity, basically an
    autarky. Whatever economic form allows this to happen best, be it distributism or guild
    socialism or what have you, that is the best system. I find the economic question to be a
    dull one, indeed most traditional states did not have an organized modern economy and
    viewed economic questions as secondary. This is one thing in which the fascists were
    correct. Mussolini said marxism was putting economics above politics, fascism was putting
    politics above economics. This is far closer to the appropriate mindset and approach. In
    the modern world economic questions take precedence because societies measure their
    success solely by their GDP and economic growth, even if it comes at the expense of their
    souls. A traditional state would not have the same economic output to be sure, but it
    would be healthier and a more sane place to live.

    This is all just speculation, and we need to be able to see that the lines are drawn between
    nations wholly within the western/ American camp and nations which are not. The latter
    have ideological differences that a dogmatist would find irreconciliable but we cannot be
    dogmatists. Evola wrote that if we expected to save anything of tradition we had to be
    prepared to “discard almost everything” about our civilization in order to save what was
    worth saving. Looking at how things are, what is worth saving is very little in comparison
    to the vast amount of baggage which we must be willing to discard.

    • https://www.facebook.com/romanbernard Roman Bernard

      “Libertarianism is not “traditional” ideal”

      Nowhere did I say that. I said, in my first comment here, “From the fact that libertarianism (or, more precisely, classical liberalism) is evil, it does not follow that socialism is good, as both are essentially mirror images of each other. We don’t have to choose between Scylla and Charybdis, we have to pass through this false dichotomy. We have to go beyond that.”

      “If their views are “products of their times” then how can we give credence to anything they said?”

      How? By recognizing what is essential in their thought, and what is contingent. Yockey, whom I have read at length, advocated a temporary and circonstantial alliance between Europe and the USSR. But his aim was to crush the Soviets anyway, read The Enemy of Europe. So yes, his view on the alliance with USSR was a product of its time. What wasn’t was his defense of Europe.

      “Spengler and Yockey wrote half a century ago, but this does not make their viewpoints any less valid today thanthey were then.”

      The essential viewpoints, no, the contingent ones, yes. Yockey wanted to establish a European Imperium and for that he wanted the Soviet Union to be neutral in the fight for its constitution. That means that he couldn’t ally, today, with people hostile to Whites’ interest… as was Chavez.

      “Both were more ideologically flexible than you give them credit for.

      That’s precisely what I said: “Yockey’s thought evolved accordingly to the context.”

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