Friday, April 21, 2006

An Alternative to Chavez

Hugo Chavez has been a beacon of hope to many of us on the left. He has proven that revolution is still possible and that the poor masses haven't been marginalized into complacency. He's implemented sweeping social programs that have helped bring many Venezuelans out of poverty. He does, however, have his flaws. Many in Venezuela, even on the left, consider him to be a bit of an authotarian when it comes issues of personal liberty, such as the freedom of the press. Teodoro Petkoff, the newest horse in the race for the Venezuelan Presidency, looks like he may give us the best of both worlds: a libertarian society with socialist economics.

In his youth, Petkoff was a member of the communist guerilla insurgency focused on toppling dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez and later Romulo Betancourt. In 1971 he left the communist insurgency and formed the Socialist Party of Venezuela. Since then, he has unsuccessfully run for President three times. Recently, he has opened the Tal Cual newspaper, which has consistently provided a socialist critique of Chavez's policies. Petkoff wants to expand the oil industry in Venezuela to create much needed jobs. He does however fall behind Chavez in the polls - 72% to 28%.

I'll do some more research on Mr. Petkoff later, as he appears to be a viable alternative to Chavez.