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Saluting Chavez

December 02, 2007

Re "As Venezuela veers," editorial, Nov. 28

The editorial states that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has undeniably improved the lot of his country's poor but has spent nearly all of Venezuela's oil profits "on social programs and petro-diplomacy rather than reinvesting them for future growth."

Excuse me, but what would you call the people who benefit from these social programs? Aren't they -- especially the poor, who are the majority -- the country's future?

Ron Arias

Hermosa Beach

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Your editorial, which claims that Chavez is attempting to create a dictatorship, fails to report that under his presidency, Venezuela has experienced growth and has seen a decline in poverty. Free education and healthcare have been provided.

Many of the changes to the constitution are considered to be progressive. An open debate of these reforms has been underway since August. In true democratic form, the people will vote to determine if these amendments should be made. Why this would change the government from a democracy into a "Cuban-style" dictatorship escapes me.

Unlike many of the "rational economic policies" that former Central and South American oligarchies have imposed on their citizens, under Chavez, the average Venezuelan has been afforded the opportunity to share in the oil revenues, a national resource. I would only encourage others to follow his lead.

William V. Evans

Torrance

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