[The Oil Wars blog argues that a video showing recent moves by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to pay close attention to his supporters' complaints show the best and worst of Chavez. The blog argues that after watching the videos it is easy to understand why Chavez is loved by millions, but also to see why Chavez's entire project is likely to end in failure.]
Monday, January 14, 2008 - http://oilwars.blogspot.com/
There once was a senator from the state of New York who was famous for paying close attention to constituent complaints. For his efforts, he became known as "Senator Pothole".
In the wake of his recent electoral defeat Chavez seems to be doing his best to mimick that senator's actions. Just watch these videos and you'll see "President Pothole" in all his splendor.
The thing that I found interesting about these videos is that at the same time they show the best of Chavez, and the worst. That is after watching this it is easy to understand why he is loved by millions. But it is also easy to see why entire project is likely to end in failure.
First, what is good. He we see Chavez freely taking questions from the public (yes, a pro-Chavez public but the public nonetheless). He freely listened to all sorts of complaints, mainly about the poor state of the local roads. Personally, I can't think of an instance of the governor of the state I live in ever taking these sorts of questions from the public.
Second, Chavez acknowledges some problems that definitely needed acknowledging. For example, that neither the mayors, nor governors, nor the president himself have the resources needed to solve all of Venezuela's problems. Well, it is about time someone took note of the obvious. Further, he noted that government officials need to spend time getting a first hand view of what is really going on in the field and not spend all their time cloistered in offices in Caracas relying on filtered and possibly erroneous information. That too is certainly good advice.
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