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Culture & Politics

Shocker: Venezuela Bans Guns

by Robert W. Hunnicutt   |  June 1st, 2012 4

In what has to qualify as a dog-bites-man story, the authoritarian regime of Venezuela has banned private gun ownership This is in advance of what should be, with any luck, the last election campaign for dictator Hugo Chavez, who is terminally ill with cancer.

Venezuela has a stupendous murder rate of 49 per 100,000 population, which is almost 10 times the U.S. rate., and well ahead of other dangerous south-of-the-border spots like Mexico (18) and Colombia (33). The murder rate has vastly increased since Chavez took power in 1999, thanks to his politicization of the police and judiciary and his arming of political allies.

Civilian disarmament, of course, will mean Chavez’ legions will retain the upper hand against any opponents after his death, perpetuating, he hopes, his “Bolivarian revolution.” The fruits of that revolution have, of course, mainly been association with Cuba, Iran and Russia, the squandering of vast oil wealth, repression and violent crime. In that context, a gun ban was about as surprising as the sparks flying upward.

  • Lucy

    Venezuela is ruled by an authoritarian regime? Chavez nationalised the country's oil reserves and set about using the revenue from the oil business to be used to finance social and development programmes.
    Chavez began literacy campaigns, built free medical centres and hospitals and constructed schools in the poorest neighbourhoods as well as subsidising supermarkets to reduce the cost of food to the poorest families. Access to education has dramatically increased, including more than 1 million people participating in free adult literacy classes, leading to Venezuela eradicating illiteracy by UN standards.
    The 60% of the population in poverty in 1998, is down to below 30% today. The Venezuelan economy has grown by almost 80% with inflation down from 120% in 1998 to just under 20% now.
    Yep, the man is Stalin reicarnated.

    • Jared

      Yeah, it is. After 1958 when the two party system in Venezuela was established is basically when it all started. Bi-party systems, by their very nature, are a pretext to power strangleholds because they can easily, and often do, become depolarized. This in combination with its unicameral legislature and the ability for president to "rule by decree" is recipe for disaster. Not to mention, Chavez pushed to remove term limits and restricted broadcast of opposition media. That's pretty much the definition of authoritarian.

      Now he's making a move to disarm the civilian populace, and succeeded in completely politicizing the Venezuelan military. No doubt in order to further solidify his "legacy." All authoritarianism is usually under the guise of "helping the people."

      That being said, what should be done? Nothing, I'm not a neocon.

  • Counsel Dew

    The issue is the money from oil sales drives the economy. It is government spending that continues to rise. While that is good, for now… what happens if oil prices decrease? Can growth continue with less money in circulation? It isn't as simple as saying Chavez has solved the issues…

    Either way, the focus on authoritarian regime has little to do with guns or the economy…See Saudi Arabia, for one…

  • Tim

    When I left Venezuela in 2001 it was around 760 Bolivars to one dollar. Now it is 4,300 to one dollar. Chavez never finished anything and suppressed free speech by not renewing licenses for unfreindly radio etc. He attempted then to make himself the permanent leader, Threw out the constitution since he controlled the military. Etc, Dictator.

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