Friday, July 22, 2016

The Donald and The Hugo

As time goes on, the similarities between Donald Trump and Hugo Chávez become more and more apparent. His speech cemented that. As I watched, I could not get it out of my mind.

1. He talks endlessly about how he is a savior. He could easily sit once a week on a "Hello, President" show, solving people's problems and humiliating his cabinet in public. "I am your voice" and "I am your champion."

2. He argues that government is the only institution capable of solving problems created by capitalism. And the state is him.

3. He says he will spend enormous amounts of money to help the common person, without talking about where that money will come from.

4. There is no other person capable of leading that government-oriented spending program than him.

5. He talks about unity while demonizing the opposition. That opposition, he says, is controlled by evil capitalists.

6. You blame foreigners for a lot of your problems.

Venezuelans underestimated Chávez from the beginning, and could not believe it when he won.


shah8 11:43 PM  

Yeah, I've been seeing a lot of this, and I don't really buy it.

For the most part the listing of characteristics is highly generic, and applies to numerous politicians to one degree or another.

To the limited extent that Trump could be compared to anyone, he's more comparable to Duarte, Boris Johnson, the late Rob Ford, etc. More than that, Trump's whole play is fundamentally about the preservation of white supremacy--Hugo Chavez was on the other end of that sort of virulence in Venezuela, and his mode of politics in part derives from the constant need to assert legitimacy despite the lack of good breeding.

Lastly, I think such comparisons are bad for us in terms of our ability to appreciate what's going on in Latin America--to me, the fundamental crisis of Latin American economics and politics ultimately derives from the impossibility of funding racial castes structure in a globalized world (with a rapidly diminishing pool of Eurodollars). I view Macri, Temer, and Kuczynski as doomed because their countries requires restructuring, in effect, away from supporting small white upper working/middle (mostly urban) classes on the backs of exporting raw goods produced by cheap brown labor. Reform is not reopening polluting foundries, you know. South America needs a true mass consumer market, and it also needs to develop more global capable export firms. Like the US South after the boll weevil and the first maquiladoras, South America has to tolerate the social changes inherent in genuinely international and competitive firms.

Hugo Chavez isn't an episodic figure of terror, like Hitler, or Trump. He and his movement was simply one fumbling effort of reform to entrenched habits.

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