Chavez was killed a long time ago
The so-called free and fair press in the democratic world killed Hugo Chavez a long time before he died. A steady and strong flow of articles worldwide demonised Chavez over the years. You may wonder why he got all this one-sided media attention while other South American leaders were left outside the spotlight? Who was behind those attacks that seemed so well organised and timed? An enemy state? Miami-based Venezuelans? Maybe the National Endowment for Democracy, as Mike Pirsch says in his excellent letter?
Over 80 per cent of the news media in Venezuela are private. They hated Chavez and still do. Only 5 per cent were and are state media, and the rest are community-run outlets. Chavez closed one TV station, which supported the coup-makers in 2002. Surprised? Then he closed radio stations operating without licences. Surprised again? You can then wonder which are worse: the media in the rich, "free" world or the media in Venezuela? It seems the Western world has very strict and vocal ways to condemn the media situation in countries that challenge the West, but is silent about countries with the worst media situations, like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
It seems that Western commentators, in their comments after Chavez's death, looked at Venezuela from a business perspective. In contradiction to that, Chavez redistributed oil money to the poor and gave them healthcare and basic education. Many commentators, seeing Venezuela from their comfortable middle-class point of view, seem to think that a healthy and more educated population isn't sustainable. Chavez started with giving democracy to all, not like before, when only 25 per cent voted and the wealthy and upper middle class shared all oil income among themselves and gave nothing to the poor. That background is what Chavez should be measured against, not against an already developed but failing Western world.
Thaksin and Chavez had the same power base. Thaksin's supporters got Bt200. Thaksin is the US's best friend - some say he is the US proxy in Thailand - a man who used the voting power of the poor to enrich himself. Chavez lifted the poor from the mud and made them proud, and I never heard that he enriched himself. At least now, Venezuela's future will not be decided only by the rich.