Many of you might have heard about Hugo Chavez’s death almost a week ago. He was the first socialist president of Venezuela and elections will be held to see if there will be a second socialist leader. During his time in power (1999 – 2013) he had brought many changes to his country. He nationalized many key industries, including the oil industry. He also increased government funding towards health care, education and social welfare programs.
He was also a key figure in development of the Americas. Many of the South and Latin American countries relied on Venezuela’s aid.
“During his time in power, Venezuela earned almost $1 trillion, according the Hoover Institute. And many countries in the region have depended on Chavez’s generous economic aid, which was funded by Venezuela’s oil reserves.”
“On the day Hugo Chavez took office in February 1999, oil was around $30 a barrel and by the day he died, it was $111, after a peak of around $140 a barrel during the 2008 financial crisis.” (A small clip on Aljazeera about Hugo Chavez’s death)
Although he was elected as president of Venezuela, almost every country in that region had benefited from him. But many criticize his input in Venezuela. There are some who believe that he did not do enough for Venezuela. They believe that he should have invested more in Venezuela first, before helping their neighbors. He had given economic aid or preferential trade deals to neighboring countries to counter. His death leaves uncertainty in the region.
Is Hugo Chavez is a good leader? What does his death mean for Venezuela and its neighbors? Is Venezuela better off continuing its socialist regime?