This letter appeared in the NJ Star-Ledger on March 12, 2013:
The nation of Venezuela and the world lost a great leader and statesman this week with the passing of President Hugo Chavez.
Chavez’s policies helped the poor in Venezuela. He provided health care, libraries, housing and, most important, he provided them with a chance to vote for something that served their self-interest. That is why he was re-elected twice and may have been re-elected for a fourth term.
Chavez also provided assistance to the poor in the United States. His policies, though not perfect, should serve as a model for 21st-century economies — economies whose natural resources and labor of the people benefit the people and not the 1 percent.
Ronald Cozzi, Rahway
I left these comments:
Hugo Chavez was a thug who looted private property like Exxon's oil facilities (euphemistically called "nationalization"), crushed free speech and political dissent, and turned whatever semi-freedom existed in Venezuela into a dictatorship. And like all socialists, Chavez was a spiritual parasite who practiced "charity" with wealth forcibly confiscated from the people who earned it. He rose to, and held, power by catering to the hordes of thieving poor who see their self-interest in receiving stolen property rather than their own honest, productive work. The honorable "poor" would demand and welcome the individual liberty of free market capitalism as the path out of poverty.
The gangster Chavez and his henchmen are the kind of "1%" created by socialism," and his supporters in America, the country of individual rights and self-supporting productive traders, should be morally ashamed of themselves.
Investors Business Daily published a nice editorial highlighting why Hugo Chavez was "no friend of the poor."
From Democracy to Dictatorship, by Roger F. Noriega
Iraqi Democracy vs. Freedom